Freshmen Fly into NEST time

Freshmen Fly into NEST time

This year’s one hour lunch includes a major change from last year’s that most students probably haven’t noticed. That is, unless they are members of the Class of 2015. For the first nine weeks of the school year, freshmen are attending Eagles in Flight, a program designed by Mrs. L Smith and Ms. Harvard as a way of easing new students into high school life.

On Monday through Wednesday, forty four teachers from across the North Point staff meet with 9th grade homerooms in the modulars. On Thursdays and Fridays, up until last week, Eagles in Flight moved to the gym and auditorium where students participated in team building activities and icebreakers. From now on, those two days will be used to ease new students into the clubs and activities available during NEST.

“Eagles in Flight” is a program to help freshmen get acclimated to being freshmen,” said Mr. Burton, a math teacher who ordinarily has little interaction with ninth graders. So far, his students have touched on “what it means to be a North Point Eagle” and multiple intelligences.

Students are responsible for assessment pieces throughout the course that are turned in to their core teachers. Those assignments will make up as much as two percent of a ninth grader’s first quarter grades. This adds to the feeling among some that the program amounts to a ninth class, upping freshmen workloads.

Ninth graders thus far have very mixed reactions to their required NEST scheduling. “It gives me a better opportunity to know people, make new friends, and find common interests,” stated Asia Smith (’15). “It turns out that the people I sit next to in Eagles in Flight are becoming great friends.”

Smith’s peers weren’t all in agreement. While Brandy Kirkham (’15) admitted that the program helped her “learn how to manage time better since the start of the school year,” she stressed that that was a result of having a reduced time to eat lunch and attend club meetings. Other freshmen, including Stephanie McCarter (’15), expressed frustration that they were being encouraged to use their NEST time to make the most out of North Point’s activities, but were not given the chance to do so half of the time.

“It’s better to let them just go through the motions themselves instead of having it taught to them,” said Jessica Babiarz (’13). She believed that being left on one’s own devices to navigate high school is an important part of the experience.

Mr. Burton was in a separate camp, stating that the program has been very positive for the freshmen, helping them become adjusted faster.

Toward the beginning of the year, the large number of freshmen swamping the cafeteria at the same time caused issues with students not having time to buy lunch at all before the start of third block. That problem, however, seemed to resolve itself as the first month of school went on.

The overall effect of Eagles in Flight will only become clear once the program is over on November 1st. For now, freshmen will continue to grow their wings.