What’s Up With the New Grading Policy? Reply

On the first day of school, there are many things on the mind of a student, like seeing their friends after a long time, and meeting their new teachers. One thing no one expected to hear was that last year’s open grading policy everyone was used to was overhauled into a uniform policy. While in the past, teachers were allowed to set their own weightings for grade breakdowns, now every teacher must use a 60%, 30%, 10% policy. Minor assignments like homework and quizzes are now worth 30% of the grade, and class participation is only worth 10%. Tests and major assessments remain a significant portion of the final grade at 60%.

Several teachers and students told us what they about the radical change. “I would say not to worry. I feel like the types of assessments that teachers are giving aren’t going to change that much,” Mr. Anderson said. “All it has done is just publicize what the grading policy is going to be, for everybody in the school, so we could have more uniformity… I think a lot of the grades are pretty much going to be around the same.” Several other teachers seemed to say things along these lines. “I’m not going to put any different emphasis on assignments. It simply means that I will have to keep a little bit closer track of certain assignments, so that I can include them in the grade,” explained Shantanu Saha. Another teacher agreed. “I don’t think it will change it too much. In the past, homework probably accounted for somewhat more in my class then it will now, but I think students that do all the homework and get good grades on homework will get good grades on major assignments.” A third, anonymous teacher also said something along these lines. “This has been my grading policy for a long time. I’m also glad that it’s a universal grading policy as opposed to confusing the heck out of the kids.” Several seventh graders, to whom this had not been a change, said they felt it was fair. “I think it makes it easier for everything to be more uniform and not mixed up,” said one seventh grader. “I don’t think I really care,” claimed another from 7-4, and his friend agreed. “It was the same thing at my old school, so it’s not really a big change.”

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Costume Drive!

photoMr. Anderson’s advisory is recently holding a Costume Drive that will last from October 8 to October 23. Students are encouraged to donate their old Halloween costumes to the Salvation Army, an international charitable organization with a mission to help those in need. Students who want to donate can bring their costumes to their advisories. They can contact Mr. Anderson, Akifah Ahmed, or Jason Wilkins for more information about the drive.

“Do Not Use Shorts” Reply

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You are walking down the hallway, trying to avoid the daily traffic congestion. You see the same posters from last week: another advisory bake sale, blood donation, club to eventually join… and a poster about shorts? Recently, BSGE’s walls have been adorned with posters mimicking the nature of the “In case of fire, do not use elevators, use stairs” sign by the elevators. Instead of advocating for fire safety, however, the poster states, “In case of severe heat, do not use shorts, burn for the sake of boys not being distracted instead.” The posters appear to be making a statement against the dress code in terms of the length of females’ shorts. Several copies have been taped to the hallway walls, girls’ bathroom mirrors and stalls, as well as the staircases. Four BSGE students were interviewed and chose to remain anonymous. They all agreed that the dress code being based off of the concept that “boys will be boys” is ridiculous and sexist. However, there were some discrepancies in their opinions on Tanksy and their posters. Some students described the posters as “courageous,” “striking,” and “a battle for student justice.” Whereas others agreed that the cause was just, but felt that the means were a bit “disrespectful” to “the people who are setting us up for our future education and lives.” More…

Lady Sting Ends 2015 Season Reply

Photo Credit: Lauren Katzenstein

The team, coaches and alumni at the annual barbeque. Photo Credit: Lauren Katzenstein

BSGE’s varsity softball team has concluded what many consider to be its most successful season yet. Despite being eliminated by Robert H. Goddard High School in the first round of PSAL’s B Division playoffs, Lady Sting won its division, Queens B I, for the first time in BSGE history, with a season record of 15-1. Lady Sting was ranked #2 in Queens entering the postseason. “The 2015 season was the best season that BSGE has ever seen,” said co-captain Nina Don ’16. “It was fun. We played more efficiently than we had in previous years. It went well especially considering we lost some experienced players last year.” More…

Students Distraught Over Chinese Program Ending Reply

After hearing the news about Ms. Shen’s retirement from BSGE, Chinese students felt sadness but quickly wondered about who their new Chinese teacher would be. The answer they received was as unexpected as it was absurd to them. BSGE is planning to end its Chinese program and instead of continuing Chinese with another teacher, all of the students will be transferred to taking Language B French.

Currently there students in grades 7, 9, and 10 taking Chinese. For 7th graders, who have only taken Chinese for a year, the transition to taking French class will be easier and they have a lot more time to learn a new language. However, for the high school students, especially the sophomores, the transition is expected to make a huge impact. “The fact that I’ve taken four years of a language and am now being told I have to start all over again is absolutely absurd,” said Danielle Bahnasy ‘17.

An email by Ms. Johnson was sent out to BSGE parents regarding the school’s new decision to move away Language B Chinese. “This decision is geared toward strengthening our IB Diploma Program and the future goal of students learning two languages,” Ms. Johnson said in her email. 9th and 10th grade students are scheduled to take French ab initio for the rest of their time in BSGE. “French ab initio is a two year introductory IB Diploma course designed for students who need to switch languages in high school. The achievement of students on the French IB Diploma assessments supports this decision. This course will still permit these students to be eligible for the IB Diploma.”

Many Chinese students were strongly against this idea. “A year and a half worth of French is not enough to pursue the language,” said Elizabeth Levkovich, ‘17, “we’re kind of risking the exams we have to take senior year and all the perspective we had of taking Chinese is More…

Ms. Lily Shen to Retire at the End of the School Year Reply

LilyLong time BSGE teacher, Ms. Lily Shen, recently announced that she plans to retire at the end of the current school year. Ms. Shen has been teaching Chinese at BSGE since it opened its doors in 2002 and was one of its founding members.

When asked why this year was the right time to retire, Ms. Shen said that she’s been teaching all her life and that “it’s time to do something different while I’m still young enough to make the change.”

Ms. Shen started teaching right after she graduated from high school in China and has been teaching for 35 years total. She’s taught students from Pre-K to 12th grade at different points in her career.

Ms. Shen does not plan to be idle in her life after BSGE. She wants to remain involved in education in a different capacity by helping train new teachers and continuing to work with the IB. She also wants to go back to school herself. She was interested in pursuing a PhD but was unsure about what field to study. Her years spent teaching informed her curiosity about children and how they learn. She said that she’s “fascinated about how kids learn and how to find better ways to help them learn.”

She would also like to spend time volunteer at New York Chinese Scholars Garden in Staten Island. She wants to help bring student groups to visit the garden built by Chinese artists entirely More…

Ending the School Year Reply

For most students, the end of the school year is an event of celebration and only means that summer vacation is coming closer and closer. The end of school seems so near, only about a month left. After that, it’s freedom for more than two months, without too much stress and worrying about assignments. After the state tests in many schools, students’ learning aren’t as rigorous as in the beginning of the year. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case for many students in BSGE.

Especially for BSGE students, it may seem like the end of the school year brings an overload of tests, assignments, projects, essays, and more. All of these things combined in different subjects can make for a lot of time spent doing schoolwork. Despite it being beneficial for learning, it can be detrimental to students’ anxiety and the amount of energy they have to last them the entire school day.

Despite the fact that stress can actually help motivate a student to do better in school, too much stress can make it harder for concentration skills. People can have their social lives deteriorate with too much going on in their academic lifestyle.

According to the American Psychological Association, forty-five percent of teens were stressed by school pressures. Some teens in BSGE are probably in this percentage of stressed teens from all the work they have been getting, especially in the upper grades, having to fulfill the requirements for achieving More…

BSGE Spirit Week 2014-15 Reply

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The last Spirit Week of BSGE’s 2014-15 year is coming near! It will start on Monday, June 8th and end on Friday, June 12th. Monday’s theme is “Multicultural Monday” in which students and staff are welcome to represent a country, preferably their own. This can range from painting the colors of a country’s flag on student’s bodies and faces, wearing the traditional garb of that culture or simply wearing the colors of a country’s flag.

The following day is “Sting Tuesday,” which has never been done before in the history of BSGE’s chosen Spirit Week days. On this day, students and staff should wear gear that shows their BSGE spirit. They can wear the popular “Eat Sleep Sting Repeat” shirts, or the BSGE sweatpants/hoodies, BSGE’s athletic team jerseys and uniforms, BSGE senior sweaters, and if you don’t have any school clothes, simply come in with the school colors: blue and white!

Hump Day will be “Sportswear Wednesday,” which some complain is too similar to Sting Tuesday. However on Sportswear Wednesday, students and staff are invited to come into school with workout clothes. Sport team jerseys, running clothes, soccer cleats, tennis skirts… Anything you would wear to the gym or to a sports game, wear to school! Ms. Johnson does remind students to follow the dress code.

Thursday will be the popular “Throwback Thursday” that is celebrated almost every year. On this day, BSGE will be transformed into a time machine, in which students and staff will dress up More…

BSGE Hosts Fourth Annual Team Geography Bee Reply

photo 5Ms. Dikes and Mr. Lakhaney hosted BSGE’s fourth annual Team Geography Bee on Thursday, May 28th. Students from grades 7-12 participated with 27 teams and almost 100 students in attendance. “The Betty White Power Rangers,” a team composed of 10th grade students, Malcolm Sherman-Godfrey, Adrian Kulesza, and John Bost, finished in first and each took home $20 gift amazon gift certificates along with copies of Chimera by David Wellington. “The Bomb.Com,” composed of 7th graders Owen Smith, Rashmika Batra, More…

New Police Brutality Subcommittee Reply

Recently, police brutality has been a major issue throughout New York City and the United States. These cases and many others involving police brutality caused protests all over America, as most recently seen from the riots in Baltimore. There was a mixture of violent and peaceful protesting against the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of the police.  Being such a significant and controversial topic, BSGE’s Helping Hands decided that students should be allowed to take a stand. A police brutality subcommittee was created to help BSGE students be better informed on what is actually happening.

Members of this new subcommittee feel very strongly about this topic and are willing to do as much as possible to get people to understand how serious of a topic this is. After watching the movie Fruitvale Station, Natalia Blagic ‘18 was deeply affected. She noticed how it related to current cases such as the Eric Garner. After seeing all of this unfairness, she decided to join the police brutality subcommittee. Ramisa Bashar ‘18 joined because she wanted to help advertise how police brutality doesn’t just affect specific races, it affects all people whether they be minorities or not. Another member I talked to, Rayna Barua ‘18, said, “I wanted to join the police brutality committee because there were many recent cases such as the Michael Brown case and the Eric Garner case. It just really intrigued me how police were abusing their power and authority”.

This committee has many plans for the future and they are all looking really well. A future plan is to sell buttons relating to recent, controversial police brutality cases. This will raise awareness towards police brutality and will also help raise money for different charities that help families who have been affected by police brutality. This committee has a lot of potential and we must do our best to help support it. This subcommittee is open to all members of Helping Hands, so if you feel very strongly about this topic, it would be a great idea to join. Be on the look out for new events that will be hosted by the Police Brutality Subcommittee.

BSGE Ranked #28 High School in the U.S. Reply

BSGeRecently, BSGE was ranked the #5 high school in New York State and #28 in the country. U.S. News & World Report, the famous American media company that ranked our school, is the oldest and best-known ranking of academic institutions. This time, High School of American Studies at Lehman College made it to the #1 high school in New York State, while the School for the Gifted and Talented in Dallas, Texas has been named the #1 high school in America for the fourth year in a row.

“I am happy for our students and our family,” says Ms. Johnson about our new ranking. Each year, the rankings given by the U.S. News Report are based on the college readiness of the graduating class from two years ago. This year, our school’s rankings came from statistics of the 2013-2014 school year. This “college readiness” score tries to calculate how well schools prepare their students for college based on their performance on IB or AP tests. In addition, these rankings include how well “disadvantaged students” perform in the school among other factors. Jessica Koziol, a BSGE alumni who graduated from 2013, said: “I’m really glad to see that all More…

What It’s Like to Be a Senior Taking IB Exams Reply

For BSGE’s class of 2015, IB exam season began April of 2014 with test prep running heavy for their Standard Level Chemistry and Biology exams in May. This stressful period has once again returned for seniors, with their first exam being English Literature Higher Level (HL) from May 4th to the 5th. These exams will then be followed by Mathematics Standard Level (SL) and Spanish SL exams from May 12th to 13th, History of the Americas HL on May 14, 15 and 18 and finally French SL exams on May 18th and 19th. For those unfamiliar with the International Baccalaureate curriculum – which is much harder than AP, just so you know – receiving an IB Diploma, the much coveted and respected diploma that helps students be internationally recognized by their education, is only attainable by completing 150 CAS hours, earning between a Grade A and Grade E on the Extended Essay and performing well enough on the IB exams to get a minimum of 24 points total, among other rules and requirements. These exams consist of three Higher Level subjects and three Standard Level subjects. For BSGE seniors’, their HLs include Visual Art, English Literature and History of the Americas. Their SLs are Mathematics, Science (Bio or Chem) and Language B (Spanish or French). More…

Career Day at BSGE

IMG_4417On February 25th, 2015, BSGE had its first career day for ninth grade students. The event was planned and organized by Tim David-Lang, our guidance counselor. Two separate panels were composed of parents of current BSGE students. In each panel, parents talked about what their jobs were, what they did at their jobs at the classrooms that they went to, along with how they got their jobs. However, the process was not just centered around their current job. They also told about what happened after college, and how many other jobs they had tried before they got their current job.

The purpose of career day was to answer the questions about jobs asked by the ninth graders. Noah Bumas ‘18 said “I think career day gave me a better insight on what finding a career actually is.” However, as it turns out, for some of the ninth graders, they More…

BSGE Night Out at Citi Field Reply

A Mets Fundraiser will be taking place on May 15, at 7 P.M. Each ticket will be $20, and $10 from each ticket will be donated to the school. This money will go to after school activities and clubs. Mr. Lakhaney was one of the staff members who helped plan the event. Below is an interview with him about the event.

Are you a Mets fan and who is your favorite baseball player?

“Yes I am a Mets fan and I don’t have a favorite player, but my favorite players from past Mets teams were Dwight Gooden and Edgardo Alfonzo.”

What is the Mets Fundraiser? What does it raise money for? How would a student be able to buy these tickets?

“We are going to sell tickets to people who want them. For each ticket we sell, the school will get $10. We already received a block of tickets and the money received will go to school clubs. You will be able to order tickets from Ms. Margaret and you must buy the tickets before April 27.” More…

More Than 50% of 8th Graders Leaving BSGE Reply

On the fated day of March 5th, the majority of the 8th grade became increasingly nervous as the end of the day approached.  It didn’t matter which class they had last period, whether it was Living Environment, Art, or Humanities.  It was insignificant, because during that last five minutes of class, high school results were given out. People held their breaths as they opened the letter, the one that determined where they were going for the next four years. Many were filled with joy and celebrated with elation because of their acceptances.  Several tears were shed over the not-so-satisfying results. Everyone ran around in a frenzy, sharing and exchanging results with any fellow 8th grader they came across.

It’s not unusual for around 20% of each grade to leave for other schools in 8th grade.  This year, however, more than 50% of the 8th graders are leaving. Within the past few years, parents and students have become more and more ambitious on the topic of education. It’s common knowledge that it is easier to get accepted into one’s “dream college” if their high school has been known for being academically rigorous for over fifty years, so it’s understandable that many students pick a more widely-known school over BSGE.  Unfortunately, this is one of the sad realities of attending this school.

Having started about only 15 years ago, barely anyone recognizes the name “The Baccalaureate School for Global Education,” despite the academics being on par with, if not higher than, specialized high schools across the city. Come on, let’s face it. How many times have we awkwardly mumbled “Uhhh I go to the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, but we just call it BSGE” whenever people ask what school we go to?  You would receive a blank face, whereas if you told someone you went to Stuyvesant or Bronx Science, a flash of recognition would pass on their face, followed by comments like “Oh that’s so cool!” and “Wow, you must be very smart then.” More…

IB Science Now Requires Independent Scientific Investigations from Students Reply

There have been many changes introduced to the IB Science Department that will be affecting the 11th grade next year and the years to come. These changes will be affecting the way students are graded and the way they are supposed to think about the field of science. According to Ms. Mihalache, the changes include internal assessments that require a great depth of knowledge inscientific investigation. The internal assessment is 20% of a student’s final grade. A 10 hour long scientific investigation on an area of a student’s personal interest within the scope of their subject of study is required. The other laboratory investigations are a mix of mandated labs and teacher selected labs.

Another new methodology that is going to be assessed is the nature of science. The curriculum is also being reduced to one of four options that IB gives students. Dr. Helfenbein adds that the biggest change is the concept of a student creating their own experiment and conducting it themselves. He states “The changes are going to require a lot of time, thought and determination. They are major changes and it’s the first time IB asked for this to happen. It is going to require thinking and reading over the summer. When students start to work on it, it is going to require meeting with teachers on several occasions.” More…

What’s The Deal With Engrade?

In BSGE, Engrade is an essential part to a student’s day whether it’s constantly checking for test grades or homework. Engrade was established by a high school student in 2003, and over the years has grown to more than 4.5 million users across the world. This really demonstrates how essential online grading really is in this day and age. Many of us see the use of it while others find that it causes a lot of stress.

More recently, teachers have taken percentages off of the scores shown on engrade in order to reduce this stress while still being informative. For a lot of students, this only seems to be more frustrating. Percentages were a way to monitor exactly where they were in a grade percentile, although a simple solution is going to the teacher and asking for a grade summary.

When asking some students about their experiences and opinions on online grading, mixed reviews were received. “It’s only good for when your grades are rising, but if you get one or two bad grades on tests you see it plummet and this puts a lot  of pressure on students” said an anonymous 9th grader, showing the real pressure it has on students. Others students favor Engrade such as Nadja M. ’18 who said “I really like that I don’t have to copy my homework for some classes because it is waiting on Engrade for me.”

Teachers seem to have a very similar perspective on this technology. When asking Ms.Lambrini, an active Engrade user, she responded: “The only online grade-book that I have used is Engrade. Besides posting grades, I use it to post homework assignments, write comments, record attendance and communicate with students and More…

BSGE Visits Costa Rica! Reply

For this school year’s spring break, BSGE organized a 10-day trip to Costa Rica. 14 students – 6 juniors and 8 sophomores – joined the trip this year, which was led by Mr. Mehan, Mr. Lakhaney, and Ms. You. The group departed early in the morning on April 1st, and returned on April 10th, two days before school started. After last year’s expedition to Spain and France, which had a cultural emphasis, this year’s trip focused more on adventure and nature, while allowing students who take Spanish to practice their language skills. However, it also incorporated elements of community service, as the students completed almost 10 hours of volunteer work during the trip.
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