‘The Plaid Line’

Hello,

Due to a number of circumstances, Newspaper class is at risk of being cancelled for 2nd semester. Unfortunately, this means that ‘The Plaid Line’ would no longer be putting out new content consistently, after the last batch of articles from 1st semester were published.

At this time, a week has been given to try to recruit students to the class.

If you are a student that has interest in being in Newspaper, or if you know anyone that may be interested, please contact your counselor ASAP to try to be added to the class (or tell the person you know to contact their counselor).

In the end, we hope that the class will be able to continue. We still feel that it is vitally important that students have a place to have their voice heard.

If the class is discontinued, we hope to be able to publish at large features periodically from a club model.

Thank you for your continued support and readership.

The effects of marijuana on teens

By Nora Doyle

Image taken from: ‘Scientific American’

Consuming marijuana has become more and more normalized in the teenager age group. It’s become more and more common in college, high school, and even middle school students.

Teens use it for multiple different reasons. It can be used in a party situation, or for fun, as a coping mechanism for different mental illnesses, or even just when they’re bored. These are all reasons that teens smoke weed according to Mentalhelp.net. Another major reason is peer pressure, and wanting to be accepted by other kids.

Teens tend to believe that smoking weed isn’t bad for you or has any negative effects on their bodies or brains. But in reality, according to the CDC, marijuana can have permanent effects on the developing brain.

The CDC says that frequent, or long-term, use of marijuana is often linked to students dropping out of school due to how it negatively affects learning abilities and paying attention. It causes difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and also affects the memory.

As for the effects on mental health, the CDC says that it increases the risk of mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Although marijuana is sometimes known for helping these issues, it makes it harder for the body to produce the chemicals and hormones that make you happy naturally. This is why teens become reliant on weed for their mental health, but it also has the opposite effect.

When it comes to long term physical effects, according to Teendrugabuseuse.gov, it truly affects the lungs and breathing ability. Smoke from marijuana can irritate the lungs and cause a chronic cough. Although, the possible worst symptom is that it can affect women’s ability to have a healthy baby. Excessive smoking of weed can decrease the male’s sperm found and delay ovulation in women so it makes it harder to get pregnant.

Despite what you may hear about marijuana, it is not good for a teen’s developing brain and body. Stay away from weed as much as possible and learn ways to avoid peer pressure.

You don’t need to smoke weed to fit in.

Why are teens smoking more now?

By: Heidy Ramirez

“Why are teens smoking more now?” is the question of the day.

A lot of them are smoking because of peer pressure or stress and it has not been good with the pandemic going on. They don’t really have anyone to turn to, so people turn to drugs.

2020 was no one‘s year. There was a riot, pandemic lockdown, and COVID.

The teens that start to smoke, mostly start before the age of 18 because of their friends, older siblings or they think they look cool. Another big reason they start is stress, because of everything in the world.

Right now, with the entire pandemic, and with the students not going to regular school, and parents not going to work, there is a lot of pressure at home because of school and work. So, there are a lot of arguments going on, and that creates people wanting to let out steam which is smoke, so they start smoking. 

There is a lot of pressure, and it mostly falls on the teens because we have to show leadership to these younger kids, but the parents don’t understand that it could be a little bit too much for us, so we turn our heads to smoking.

Some teens think that doing grown up stuff can make you grow, but that’s not what happens with smoking; they are smoking their life’s up. The teens are using vapes, juul’s and e-cigs now these days, and there are different flavors so you can choose the one you like and get hooked on it.

For more information, please visit:

Horrible Homework

By Nora Doyle and Olivia Miller

Image taken from: Study.com

Ugh homework!

It’s something every kid has to do if they want to succeed in school.

But why do we do it?

Most students think it’s pointless and adds to the daily stress of school. We have work in class everyday, about 6 hours a day, so why give us more at home? That’s supposed to be the space where we get to relax, eat, sleep, and do things we actually enjoy.

If you were to ask any student, they will most likely say homework hurts them more than it helps them. Maybe they are right, I mean, do we really need homework? What good does it do? Who even created the idea in the first place?

The question of who is to blame for the invention of homework is sort of a controversial question. According to ‘Market Business News’, many people argue that homework was invented by Italian educator Roberto Nevilis, in either 1095 or 1905. But, if both of these are looked into, neither are possible according to this site. This is because in the year 1095, there was no formal system of education in, and around, Europe. Even in the 1500s, education was given by private tutors.

It couldn’t have been invented in 1905 either, because 4 years before that, in 1901, the state of California passed an act to ban homework for any child studying below the 8th grade. The law was passed because during that period, homework was frowned upon by parents. They felt that homework interfered with a child’s time for house chores. Sweet times, right? Anyway, Mr. Nevilis couldn’t have been spreading the idea of homework when he couldn’t even do it himself.

So when did it truly start?

According to ‘Market Business News’, homework has historically existed in one form or another for simply just practicing at home. It could have been singing, poetry, playing an instrument, or reading the Bible. So, in a certain way, homework has always been a thing when it comes to education.

Homework is a very controversial topic when it comes to deciding whether or not it is beneficial to students. There have been many arguments and laws throughout the years surrounding homework. According to Study.com, in 1930, homework became frowned upon because it was declared as a form of child labor, which had recently become illegal.

Opinions vary among students, teachers, and parents. Coming from a non biased point of view, here are some pros and cons of homework that have been proven, or come from a variety of studies.

Pros: According to Goodschools.com, homework is beneficial to a student’s learning when it comes to developing study skills. “From time management and organisation to self-motivation and independent learning, homework teaches students a range of positive skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and working lives. Home learning motivates students to take responsibility for their workload, while also encouraging the development of positive research practices.”

Another pro to giving students homework, according to Vittana.org, is that it, “Provides an indication of academic comprehension. Assigning learning tasks at home is a useful way for teachers to identify whether students are understanding the curriculum. Teachers can analyse gaps in comprehension or information through homework, making it easier for them to tailor their approach to each student’s needs. they can recognise students who need extra support in certain learning areas, while also identifying children who may benefit from more complex learning tasks.”

Cons: According to the American Psychological Association, a Duke University social psychologist, Harris Cooper says, “Too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.” He believes in the 10 minute rule, which implies “That students should do no more than 10 minutes a night per grade level — from about 10 minutes in first grade up to a maximum of about two hours in high school. Both the National Education Association and National Parent Teacher Association support that limit.”

So, next time you complain about doing homework, consider the good that it does, but also keep in mind that too much homework can make you burnt out, so limit yourself, but get it done!

10 tips to help with time management during online school

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Online school has forced a great change on all students and staff at Highland. This can be a challenging experience for all of us because everything is so new. So, here are 10 tips to help you manage your time and stay focused during online school. 

1. Get up and move!

Getting up and doing a quick stretch in between classes will help you decrease back pain from sitting around all day. It can also give your mind a break from classes and can also help wake you up which will help you stay focused during class! 

2. Move to different areas when working on different things

If you stay in a single area during your classes and while you do your work, you could get tired faster from staying in one spot. In order to prevent this you can have a designated area to attend class and a different one to do your work. 

3. Simply start your assignments 

One of the hardest things to do is to complete your assignments. A way to help you complete them is by telling yourself you’ll work on it for at least 5 minutes, and chances are that after you get going you’ll want to continue. In the end, you’ll either have completed it or at least gotten farther than you were before.

4. Avoid Burnout 

It’s okay to take breaks! In fact you should take them! Breaks can help you take time for yourself and help you stay balanced which avoids burnout which can affect you negatively. 

5. Plan out your days

Having a plan helps you avoid wasting time on figuring out what you should do first. It also helps you stay on track and lowers stress because you know that you’ll have time to finish the rest of your work the next day. 

6. Write down due dates 

Writing down due dates can help you have a better idea of the bigger picture which can help you create your daily plan.

7. Focus on one task 

When working on a specific task try to avoid multitasking and social media. This will help you finish faster and not get distracted as easily.

8. Split up assignments 

If you split up an assignment into chunks it can be less overwhelming and easier to finish throughout the days you have time to work on it. It can reduce stress because you aren’t taking an entire project head on. 

9. Have mini deadlines 

Having mini deadlines can help you avoid procrastination and stay on track.

10. Reflect 

Reflecting on how your week went and deciding to experiment new things can always bring good things. This is because everyone is different, so it’s best to know what makes you comfortable. 

How COVID-19 has affected students’ education

By: Leslie Lopez Ibanez and Kayla Arellano

Image taken from: ps://napavalleyregister.com/opinion/article_c0d56bba-492b-5892-ac59-edf39607dec2.html

In December of 2020, a virus was discovered in Wuhan, China. The virus slowly went spreading worldwide creating a human pandemic. This virus is called the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and thousands of people have died from it. Some have recovered, but there is no cure for it yet.

To prevent the spread, there have been restrictions that caused all businesses and schools to shut down with only a few businesses open because they were deemed essential.

Now that the schools are closed, teachers are forced to be giving online classes. They are slowly opening everything back up, but still with restrictions, and it’s very difficult because school districts have to get their system approved on how they are going to manage to have all their students in school safely.

COVID-19 has affected student’s education in a couple different ways. Many schools around the U.S. have switched to full time online learning to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to social distance.

Other school’s have chosen to do part time online and part time in school.

Students K-12 are not being able to do face-to-face learning because of the restrictions. A family source informed the authors that because of this, parents are now taking their kids out of public schools to put them in private school because private schools are now open.

But not everyone can afford a private school, and are instead forced into isolation. They also can face depression and anxiety due to always being inside their house and not being able to go to school everyday.

Some students also don’t have equipment that the school provides for them like WiFi, food, and much more. A lot of families can’t afford WiFi, or an everyday meal for their kids, and a lot of students rely on the schools for that. 

Due to the pandemic, and school getting held back, student assignments are getting canceled or postponed. This is affecting students in a negative way because it’s interrupting their learning and they aren’t receiving the education they need.

Studies show that students have lost a large percentage of their learning skills, achievements in math and reading, and overall learning skills. According to brooking.edu, students are now showing low grades and are making less than 50% of educational gains, which may be putting them almost a year behind compared to when they were attending school. 

The class of 2020 graduation was also affected by COVID-19. College students have experienced teaching interruptions in the final parts of their studies. Instead of them graduating on time, they get to graduate at the beginning of a major global recession. As for high schoolers, they didn’t get the graduation they thought they would’ve had. Some schools did virtual graduation and some schools did a graduation ceremony, but having to be 6 feet apart or more without any family or friends being present. 

Many high school graduates have changed their mind about going to college and what they want to study for because of the crisis going on. Some of them are having a delay on college to start, or some of them just have decided to just work and not even go to college anymore. 

Even though all this negative stuff is happening, let’s look on the positive side!

Students are getting the chance for a new learning opportunity. Some people may find online school better for them and might just switch to online school learning from now on. People are also considering this because they find it more affordable and it’s a way to keep yourself socially distanced.

With all of this happening, this also means that there are more online resources for the students. More programs and educational resources are becoming available for students doing online classes. 

Making distance learning easier

By: Annika Getz

The transition from In-School-Learning to Distance Learning has been a tough one, for parents and students alike. I’ve found that younger students especially are having a hard time. I know this because I have two siblings, both under the age of ten, and my block has a lot of younger kids.

Many parents are struggling to make Distance Learning work, but there are several small things that you, as a parent, can do to help your younger children adjust to this new way of learning.

One way is to go back to school shopping – just as if it were a normal year

If you don’t feel comfortable going into stores, you can just shop online. Get notebooks, and pencils, and whatever else your child needs. Make sure you do this with your child, that way it’s more meaningful for them.

When you do this, you may want to get things that your child doesn’t necessarily need this year, but would normally. Like pencil cases or binders. This also just makes the year seem a bit more normal.

Another thing you can do is set up study dates for your child

If they have any friends in their class, they can either do class together, or just do the homework together (with masks on obviously, and probably outside depending on what you’re comfortable with).

This obviously might not work for all children, as some of them would get distracted, but if you think it might work for you, then I’d suggest trying it. Not only does working with people feel a bit more like a classroom, but it also makes learning more fun.

The most important thing is to just be there for your child when they need you

They may not be able to actually go to school, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a good school year.

I hope some of these tips can help your family through these uncertain times.

Image taken from: (https://www.wnep.com/article/news/local/kroger-to-give-teachers-free-school-supplies-next- week/93-9fc6f63a-6388-4b70-90aa-a26fa5afa838)

 

 

What happened to the school lunches for SPPS?

By: Elsie Olive

Most students have already noticed, but if you hadn’t already, the lunches served at St. Paul Public Schools have severely gone downhill between the 2018-2019 school year and this one.

In the years prior to the 2019-2020 school year, SPPS had provided a variety of nutritional foods. In fact, in 2013, TwinCities.com said SPPS lunches had gotten national attention for the incredible and healthy foods the schools were providing.

However if you look at the lunches served now, almost always the options are either some variant of chicken, hamburgers, gyros, or Italian dunkers, and every lunch is served with a side of fries.

So, what changed in the few months between these two school years?

Unfortunately, there is hardly any information that explains exactly what happened, but, by checking some of the links on the SPPS lunch menus page, there is one that takes us to Nutrislice.com. Here, at spps.nutrislice.com, it gives us a message which suggests that SPPS no longer uses Nutrislice as a means of supplying their lunches. The newest and working links on the SPPS page take us to SchoolCafé.com, where you can view current school lunch menus.

It could be that this is the only reason school lunches have decreased in value this much, but it is hard to believe that such a small change could completely offset the school’s menu. It is likely that there were some staff changes in the Nutritional Services and Wellness department of SPPS.

At this point, there isn’t much other information available, and the lack of information provided on the SPPS website about it’s staff members or exactly what changed between this school year and the last one doesn’t help with that.

However, it probably has much more to do with the relaxing of regulations for school-provided meals by the Trump Administration according to BusinessInsider.com. This particular article also mentions that the billions of dollars cut from the education budget has deeply affected the ability for schools to provide enough nutritional food for all of their students.

The PLP course

By: Vivian S

Schoology screenshot

If you are anything like me, when you returned to Schoology for Quarter 4, you received a big unexplained surprise. All of a sudden there was a new course labeled “PLP” in my listing.

I was sent into a spiral of panic, wondering what new class had been thrust upon me, and it took a few weeks for me to read through all the schoology updates and find out what it is. So, if you were confused like me, hopefully this will help.

PLP is an extra course – not required. It was created to help students plan for their futures. There are assignments to help one consider possible careers, necessary education, and internships. 

The course may be extra, but that does not mean it doesn’t offer credit. If you complete the course, having all assignments finished and turned in, and all quizzes passed, you can apply for a Career Seminar elective credit. Your work would be looked over by Mr. McCann, who would decide whether or not to give you the credit.

Completing the PLP course opens up internship opportunities for when you reach 11th or 12th grade. 

To find out exactly what this course is, I decided to go try out one of the assignments.

The first assignment is a self-exploration one, which isn’t really an exploration of your self but rather your career opportunities. This is, and drumroll please, a career survey! To start this assignment, you take a career survey, and the rest of the assignment is reflecting on the results you receive. 

I was actually a bit surprised by the results I received, as most of them were jobs I’d never really thought about going into (and some I’d never even heard of). So, if you want to check out some different job opportunities that you might have never thought of, then this assignment is for you.

And if you are just here to figure out if this is something for you to do for the credit, this assignment did only take me a bit less than an hour, so it’s pretty doable. 

It does appear you need to do the assignments in order though. The Career Research Assignment requires information you get from the Self-Exploration assignment, so I’d advise you do them in order.

Remember to focus on your actual classes first though! Then you can do this for an extra credit!

Online school

Recently, it was announced that Minnesota schools will be finishing out the 2019-2020 school year online. This means we will all be checking Schoology until June 9, doing various assignments, discussions, and tests for every class. Here are a couple of positive and negative things about the distance learning program.

One of the main benefits of doing online school is having flexibility for whatever tasks, and things that need to be done, while in quarantine. Instead of having one class after another in a timely manner at the school building, during online learning you can decide to eat lunch or walk your dog in between classes because it isn’t as structured as normal school.

Along with that, school most likely does not take you seven hours per day, as it normally would. Hopefully, this leaves everyone with more free time to go outside, relax for a little bit, or get other things done.

In addition to those benefits, another positive thing is that you do not have to do classes in the order of what your normal school day was like at school. This means you can choose to start with an easier class to just warm up your brain, or get harder assignments done earlier so that you can take on small, maybe even fun, assignments at the end.

But when there are positives, there are usually also negatives.

One of these cons is that it is harder to stay motivated and on task. Unlike at school, there are many more distractions and challenges you may face at home including: pets, electronics, and even the nice weather outside. This means that there is more responsibility on you to check Schoology often and to make sure work gets done and turned in on time.

Another negative effect of online school is that the internet and technology is the foundation of distance learning. The program is heavily reliant on the internet and using devices, such as your school iPad, to be checking and sending in responses and assignments daily.

Not only that, but when school is done online, you don’t have friends sitting next to you as they normally would in some classes, maybe making it lonelier, and even harder for some people.