Month: May 2016

April Showers Bring May Flowers!

May 2016 Newsletter

Finally, May is here! Only one month remains, Pinnacle Prep students. Let’s all do our best to achieve all our goals and promises made in the start. May is a month of sorrow and joy. There are many important celebrations that take place in this month including Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Forces Day.

mothers-day-card-with-flowers-on-wood-background_23-2147509375Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a holiday celebrated annually as a tribute to all mothers and motherhood. It is celebrated on various dates in many parts of the world. Although the origins of the holiday dates back the ancient Greeks and Romans, the modern celebration of Mother’s Day in the United States began in the early 20th century.
It was first celebrated in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother Ann Reeves Jarvis who, in turn, many years earlier had founded Mother’s Day Work Clubs in five cities. Anna Jarvis began a campaign to make the Mother’s Day a national holiday, and she succeeded in 1914 when the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May “Mother’s Day.” Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant, or other treats to their mother as well as mother figures like grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers. This is a great way to show your mother love and appreciation for what she has done.

soldier-with-american-flag-background_23-2147506816Memorial Day

“A true soldier fights not because he hates what’s in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” -G.K. Chesterton.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear: Memorial Day was carried out of the Civil War and was based on a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Armed Forces Day is similar to Memorial Day, except it honors those who are currently serving the country. It is for those who want to sacrifice their lives for their country and protect it, even if it means to die.
-Alsa Khan

Cursed Child

“It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”
We all have something to look forward to this summer, once school is over. We’ll finally be getting the eighth book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
Harry Potter is one of the most well-known books in history.  J.K. Rowling was inspired to write it on a train. She wrote seven books, and on July 31st, Harry’s birthday and her own, she will be releasing the newest book and play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Before the summary came out, fans from all over the world speculated that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was about Harry’s childhood, the secrets from before the Dursleys took him in. Other fans claim the story is more about Albus since Rowling focused the mostly on Albus at the end of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.
On the Cursed Child website, one may preorder the book, and there is a countdown until the first performance on the website. The cover shows a small boy, perhaps Harry or Albus, in a bird’s nest.
As of today, fans are still waiting until the clock strikes midnight, when it is officially July 31st. When the countdown clock hits zero on days, hours, minutes, and seconds. When the final book of Harry Potter comes out.
-Safia Yunus

Bake Sale

dessertAt Pinnacle Prep School, an extremely accelerated and extremely fun private school, Safia Yunus set up a Bake Sale, and all of the money went to an orphanage in Africa. Our reporter, Mehdi Kizilbash, was on site to interview Safia about the sale.
What inspired you to create such a commandingly difficult Bake Sale?
I had just baked some cookies, and went outside to sell them at a park, when I saw a homeless person, and decided to do something about the troubles of the needy people in the world.
Who works in this sale?
Almost everyone in the school.  Some members of my class are also doing extra work such as Mehdi Kizilbash and Humza Zaidi, who work with dealing with the money and accounting that goes to an orphanage in Africa.  We’ve already collected $440, and it’s only the third day!
Thank you parents and children for your support!  We appreciate it!
•Mehdi Kizilbash
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Teacher Interview

Name: Gonzalo Gonzalez
Occupation: Science Teacher
At Pinnacle Prep School, the new science teacher, Mr. Gonzalo Gonzalez is liked by students and teachers alike.  “He’s really fun, and he’s the only teacher I know who gives candy and an experiment the first day.  Best. Teacher. Ever. Period,” says Mehdi Kizilbash, a student in his class.  “He’s awesome and almost every day, he let’s us watch fun science videos. He also brought a set of real, natural gemstones and let us make stuff with them,” says another student, Humza Zaidi. Once again, we had our intrepid reporter to get the scoop on the new science teacher.
Mr. Gonzalez was at first a professor at a college, then became a physics scientist.  He has worked with many electronic materials such as lasers, and now he has decided on teaching at Pinnacle Prep School.
Thank you Mr. Gonzalez!
•Mehdi Kizilbash

Standardized Testing

close-up-hands-and-exam_1098-209
During the third week of May, our upper students will be taking the Stanford 10 achievement test to assess the progress they’ve made over the year.
Established in 1926, the Stanford test has undergone ten major changes to create the version we’ll be taking to close out the year. Its biggest revisions came in 1940 when 80 percent of the test was changed to meet the needs of students at the time, and in the 1960s, the test went from its subjective grading system, in which teachers determined the score, to the now almost completely objectively graded system. The test covers a variety of subjects including reading comprehension, language, math, social and physical sciences, and spelling.
Standardized testing, the Stanford 10 included, has been a hot button issue in America, especially following the No Child Left Behind Act which was passed in 2001, but the trend dates all the way back to imperial China. During the Sui Dynasty, in 605, the examinations were implemented as a means of determining who was promoted in government. Each examination covered the Six Arts, the basis of education in ancient Chinese society. Based on Confucian philosophy, the Six Arts included Rites (knowledge of rituals), Music, Archery, Charioteering (horsemanship), Calligraphy (writing), and Mathematics. As society changed, certain arts were favored over others, some were dropped and re-added later, and new ones, like painting, were added.
The tests remained in use during the Tang Dynasty, which quickly succeeded the Sui in 618, but on a much smaller scale. The emperor Wu Zetian (624-705) is credited for expanding the exams quite extensively during his reign, but scholars still debate how much impact his use of the testing system had.
It’s during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) that use of examinations became a prominent means of determining merit and assessing academic and institutional ability. The exams expanded as the Chinese government switched from a less military-aristocratic system, where power was concentrated between wealthy military officials, to a more bureaucratic system. In the Song Dynasty, pretty much the only way to public office was through one of the Civil Service exams, believing that this produced the most-qualified workers. The exams fluctuated in and out of popularity throughout subsequent dynasties and were eventually done away with entirely in 1905.
By comparison, standardized testing in American education dates back to the 1800s. At first, standardized tests were used primarily to test the newly immigrated so that they can be granted citizenship—a practice still held to this day.
In 1959, Everett Lindquist created the American College Testing exam, more commonly known as ACT, to test high school students as they transitioned to college. Debate about how the federal government should handle national education standards continued to boil with each election cycle, and in 1965, as a part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The bill regulated how funding for public schooling is dispersed and is the farthest reaching legislation on national education ever passed. Furthermore, congress re-writes and re-enacts the bill after every 5 years, and with each new version of the legislation, standardized testing plays a different role in how funding is handled.
Perhaps the most notable reauthorization of the bill came in 2001. That year, Bush reauthorized the bill under the name, “No Child Left Behind.”  The bill mandated that any school that received federal funding had to test its students annually. Underperforming schools had to meet certain stipulations in order to improve the school, and if the school failed to meet testing standards after five years, then the school would need to be completely restructured. Though the bill passed pretty decisively in both the House and the Senate, it has been heavily criticized since its passing, and in 2015, President Obama replaced the bill with the Every Student Succeeds Act which made states primarily responsible for how schools are assessed and funded.
ESSA did not do away with standardized testing but, rather, modified how and how often they were administered. Standardized testing is likely to remain in the American education system for a while longer. Throughout the year, we’ve been preparing not just for these sorts of tests but for a well-rounded education. Pinnacle Preppers will go into May’s tests ready to ace them and move onto bigger, better tasks.
-Mr. Enfield

Closing Sentiments

It’s been an excellent school year, Pinnacle Prep School. We, students and faculty alike, have all grown in a number of positive ways. I’m sure we can all attest to that, and next year, we look to improve upon all the solid work we’ve done. Finish strong, Pinnacle Preppers! Give yourself something to recoup from this summer!