Students and staff share their opinions about ongoing problems at American High School that they feel need to be fixed.

Abigail Manalese

Staff Writer

     “An issue consistently overlooked in our schools is mental health and the circumstances that cause poor mental health in our students, like race, sexuality, and ability. Just recently, the board passed a motion to send two “troubled teens” to residential care facilities in Utah. If we implement systems like the multi-tiered systems of support in our schools, we can take proactive rather than extreme reactive steps. As a student who has witnessed poor mental health in myself and my peers, I strongly urge our school to take steps like hiring specialized staff (psychiatrists, trauma response counselors, etc.), implementing necessary frameworks like MTSS, and building community awareness and engagement around this issue. Above all, I hope the school approaches this issue with empathy and cultural sensitivity.” – Megha Govindu (11)

     “Based on the responses we’ve received from the survey, we would say that one of the many things that need to change in our school is communication between staff, teachers, and students.  Loopmail is one of the only ways of communication we really have with teachers, and it’s incredibly difficult when some teachers don’t respond to emails soon enough, or don’t respond at all. A majority of students are also overwhelmed with work from school. I think that there’s this big misconception that now because we are at home, we have all this time to do assignments at home, which simply isn’t true. Not everyone at home has the same living situation, and some have it harder than others. To expect every student to do even more homework now that we are at home is a little bit unreasonable.” – Vaneet Pani (11)

     “From the teacher’s side, it’s really the same old stuff that’s never gotten addressed. Class sizes are too large, counselor and psychologist and nurse caseloads are too large. Our counselors at American have anywhere from 500 to 800 students on their caseload. How can they serve all those students? There’s just not enough time in a day. And then teachers [have] 150+ students total per year. I did the math, and if I wanted to spend individual time with students, that would be about two minutes and fifteen seconds per day that I would be able to spend with every student. And that’s working at 100% efficiency, no downtime or lecturing or anything like that. Our students simply just aren’t being served. In normal times, when we’re not doing this Zoom thing, we have to consider that 40% of our faculty lives outside of Fremont. The record that I’ve heard is a 5-hour daily commute. You shouldn’t be lesson planning in your free time anyway, but how can you do that if most of your free time is spent going to and from work? The faculty is just struggling to do their job, because their job is too much.” – Ryan Howard (English Teacher)

     “For me personally, a negative thing that should be changed at American is the amount of work that is given. Whether online or not, no matter what grade, it is always a case for a student to feel overwhelmed at times with school and outside things they have to worry about as well. For example, I am a freshman, but I’m also part of our class’s student council, an officer for Interact, and overall an ordinary person! Having these things that I’m truly passionate about, also having to worry about an assignment due at 11:59, and on top of that taking care of myself as well, it is never the easiest to manage both!” – Kiarra Bautista (9)

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