Absence of the PSAT for the Tenth Grade Reply

Every year, the PSATs (NMSQT) are administered to students in the tenth and eleventh grade. They are meant to give students the chance to understand the content of the SATs, and how much they need to study for them. For those in the eleventh grade, it is a chance to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, which enables high scoring students to be contacted by prestigious universities. This year, most students in NYC sat down on October 11th to take the test, but not the tenth graders of BSGE.

Less than a week before the PSAT, tenth graders were told that they would not be taking the test, leading to many complaints of its absence. The lack of a notice for the cancellation left many wondering why the school was not able to inform students earlier, and why steps were not taken to ensure there would be a solution to it. An anonymous student said, “It would have helped tremendously if the school staff decided to convey this information to us at least two weeks in advance. If the students were told of this earlier, we could have conversed with our parents and overall have more time to bargain with the principal on terms on which to take the PSAT.” The test was supposed to play a crucial part in preparing for next year’s SATs—a seemingly critical test in the college application process. Boguniecki ’20 agreed to this, saying they felt as if “it is a good practice that allows for the students to know what to expect on the future test and what to study for in that year-long gap between now and the SAT test day.” There was definitely anger and confusion felt by the tenth grade, with no official notice being given out. It took word of mouth and a few students repeatedly inquiring about it in order for students to be first informed about the lack of the test. While it was still the beginning of the year, there was overall agreement that better organization was needed for students to be well informed about the workings of the school. The year has just started, but it can be agreed that a more efficient form of informing students on important information is needed as soon as possible.

Some were outraged that the school could not administer the test as it has a relatively cheap cost.  Registration for the test is $16 per student. While this fee is usually covered by the school or DOE, that was not the case this year. Salkanovic ‘20 said, “ I do believe that the students would be willing to pay for some if not most of it themselves, as it would personally help them in the future with scholarships and college administration.” Indeed, in the aftermath of the revelation, many discussed their willingness to pay the fee themselves, just for the opportunity to be able to take it. While it is understood that budgeting has been a persistent concern for the school, students are prepared to work together to provide the funds for aspects that the school cannot cover.

As parents got wind of the cancellation, many began to contact the school and complain about this. Around the grade, students told tales of how annoyed their parents were that they would not be taking the PSATs. Due to this, the school is now administering the test for the tenth grade, this February, in order for students to get the practice that they need. As for why the test was cancelled in the first place, it has been rumored that it was due to the DOE no longer funding the test and BSGE not having enough space.

As February approaches, anxiety for the tenth graders has been building up. Good luck to everyone who will be taking the test!

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BSGE’S Lack of High School Ranking Reply

The U.S. News and World Report annually publishes a list of the nation’s, and each state’s, top high schools. For the past few years, BSGE has ranked among the top ten high schools in the state, and among the top 50 in the country. Last year the school was placed at #5 in New York, and #32 nationwide, ranking above Bronx Science and Stuyvesant, among others. This year though, BSGE was not listed among the top ten, or even the top 50 in the state, but rather has lost its high ranking.

This is because of “the lack of IB data,” as stated by the U.S. News and World Report. This year, the newspaper was unable to receive data from the IB, dramatically dropping the school’s rank. As the school is based of the IB program, there was very little data for the newspaper to base the school off of. The most that was gathered was the general statistics, such as number of students and their ethnicities, as well as standardized math and English test scores. There was no mention of the fact that most of the students take IB  exams, which is necessary for an important statistic known as the “college readiness index.” This means BSGE now has a bronze medal with no official ranking, besides being “nationally recognized.” More…

The Reality of School Lunch Reply

Every day, students at BSGE line up, wondering what’s for lunch. Some days it’s chicken, hamburgers or mozzarella sticks. In any case, there is a general consensus that the quality of the food is low, with it being at times undercooked, stale, or even frozen chocolate milk. It’s not just in BSGE though. Schools across the city have students complaining about food quality and the the fact that it can be greatly improved.

The official school food website states, regarding the meals for NYC schools, “nutrition standards always meet, and many times exceed, USDA Nutrition Standards for School Meals.” While this claim may appear impressive to some, the standards are do little to focus on serving food that students are willing to eat. For example, the USDA states that schools should “offer fruits and vegetables as two separate meal components.” This does not discuss what may be done to improve them or make sure that the food served tastes good. Furthermore, there have also been claims from students in NYC that they had found pieces of metal in the chicken tenders, according to CBS news. This report was made recently last month, with the city now removing the option from lunch. Other students have reported moldy pizza and choked on bones where they shouldn’t have been, CBS news continues. More…

The Civic Discussion Club Reply

We live in a time of great change. Faster than anyone thought possible, society has been evolving to better suit today’s modern culture. Every day, a new topic is brought to the table along with the controversy surrounding it. Issues such as LGBTQ rights, woman’s rights, the Black Lives Matter movement, abortion, and health care never seem to be too far away. The wars and conflicts in the Middle East are becoming more and more apparent in BSGE students’ everyday lives. Technology has been advancing beyond a level people can easily comprehend, while lives become more reliant on it, as well as new threats such as global warming now loom over humanity. There has never been a time when society has more rapidly been changing than right now. It’s hard to fully comprehend everything that’s been occurring, especially since the news spits out one thing after another. There barely is any time to discuss and fully think about what is happening. This is the reason Daniel Sahr ’20 has created the Civic Debate Club, “so students can learn about current events and issues.”

The club was created after he experienced a series of political discussions with friends and classmates. It has, Daniel said, “the ultimate goal of preparing the members to be able to formulate opinions and ideas based on information and facts, and work with other people to find effective ways of presenting.” Especially with the recent changes facing the country, the club serves as a way for people to become more “politically active in forming and defending opinions.” According to Olivia Wegrowski 20’, the club has “helped me see people’s viewpoints on significant issues we have and opened my eyes to those issues as well.” More…

The Truth on What’s on the Roof Reply

The roof of the school is a mystery to many people. Looking up towards it, it isn’t clear what is there. Some of the younger grades  say that there is a pool, while most say there is nothing there at all. One student, Kayla Powers ’20, believes that, “there is this greenhouse and this house thing and someone lives there.” Another one, Grace Lim ’22, said that when students “look up, they see something weird.” It’s seems absurd that there would be anything on the roof to begin with, that it serves a purpose besides making sure that the rain and wind don’t get in. While there is no greenhouse or pool, there is, in fact, a man who lives on the roof.

The roof hosts a cozy apartment loft, complete with a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom. According to Ms. Johnson, the man who lives there is the landlord of the school building. BSGE was originally his pocketbook factory, and a little more than a decade ago, he rented out the building to the DOE, who then converted it into a school. In the past he has even given the school some pocketbooks to sell at auctions. More…

Curriculum Night: Important but Overlooked Reply

While this annual occurrence has been overlooked by many, Curriculum Night recently proved to be crucial for parents who wanted to come a step closer to their children’s education. Held on Wednesday, September 28th, the night included a bake sale for student funds with many parents attending. Those who were able to be there realized how essential such an event is to their child’s education. One seventh grade parent said, “Before this I had absolutely no idea what my children were doing to be honest, now I know what to expect of them.”
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