Gibson Ek HS Needs A Change
Gibson Ek HS Needs A Change
Why this petition matters
THIS IS A FIRST STEP IN ATTEMPTING TO BRING THE SCHOOL’S ATTENTION TO THEIR CURRENT STUDENT ISSUES IN BOTH ALLOWING STUDENTS TO LEARN FROM THE WAY THAT’S BEST FOR THEM AND ENSURING EVERY STUDENT FEELS SAFE.
Hello I am a sophomore at Gibson Ek High School in Issaquah, WA, and something needs to be changed. Not only towards reorganizing the school to become a better overall environment, but actually allowing students to learn the way they want to, as promised by the school. Our math program, Alek’s, is incredibly unhelpful and difficult to learn with. Many students throughout the years have expressed how learning math entirely on their own by reading off a computer screen and memorizing along with hours of guessing, does not fulfill their need to learn mathematics.
After speaking with an amazing advisor at the end of last school year, I had high hopes for the school administration to find an alternative way to teach math. This included giving many more options to students such as continuing using Alek’s independently, with a small group of peers, with an one-on-one math teacher, or even having small collaborative groups that can work at their own pace, also having a professional to answer their questions. All of these options allow students to pick what works best for them instead of being stuck to one choice.
Another idea that the advisor I spoke with had was introducing a new program called Brilliant. This program would allow students to learn at the level they are already at, as well as actually mastering the skills being taught to them. The company has all of their courses constructed by professionals from MIT, Caltech, Duke, Microsoft, Google and many more. Brilliant also has other programs in science, engineering, software development, ect. They pride themselves for teaching students how to “master, don’t memorize.”
However, many returning students were not surprised when we came back to see Alek’s as the only math course available yet again, with major changes that will push students backwards. Originally, everyone worked at their own pace, independently, in a silent room where the environment sent a message that questions we’re not encouraged. This year, instead of fixing students issues with the math program by allowing students to learn from asking questions to professionals, we are now required to take closely watched tests every Friday to prove we are learning. This is a major step-back, as this does not fix the ongoing issue of students not being able to ask questions towards a real math teacher in their specific year of math. We are being locked down even more and many students are asking for change that will better our learning without reverting back to a typical high school format.
The other issue that has been brought up by several students is that a new policy over not finishing a math course before the start of next school year will result in completely starting over, despite the classes from last year being closed early. For example, one student was at around 80% done with their course from last year. Roughly two weeks before school started, they logged in to finish the course to see they were already unenrolled and could no longer access the course. This was not what was promised to us, as we had always been told that the course would end on the first day of school. Once they came back to school and asked how they were supposed to finish the rest of their course since it had been closed early, their advisor told them, “if you do not get to 100% in your course by the start of the next school year, you are required to start that course over again at 0%. This should be easy for you since you learned everything already, right?” The first issue with this statement is that no one has ever been informed over having to completely restart a course. This has never been brought up in past years, and no student has ever heard about this rule until today. The second issue is that Alek’s program preps students to memorize topics for a short period of time to later make students repeat what they memorized for a knowledge check (way of testing students). Because of memorizing topics rather than mastering and deeply understanding them, this student will have to re-memorize the whole year again. This is an incredible waste of time for both the student and the advisor. Yet again, another example of the typical school system failing kids being brought back up into a school that promises to stay away from the outdated memorizing type of learning.
There are many flaws that are current at this school, and they need to be brought to light as people like me are tired of staying quiet and watching as the public school’s education systems are failing capable kids yet again.
Please sign this to show support towards the students at Gibson Ek High School wanting to overcome the learning barrier that has been put in front of us by the school’s administration.