The times they are a-changin

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The times they are a-changin

Rachel Treisman, Web Features Editor

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Gluten-free muffins, Zumba in gym, and sophomores taking AP classes. These are only a few of the academic and social changes that have taken Staples by storm in recent years.

Whether it’s eliminating courses or revamping the cafeteria, the administration has revolutionized students’ day-to-day lives by making a series of important changes.

The first of these was the cancellation of Arena, the process through which students chose their desired class, teacher, and period by signing up at different tables.

“[My sister] Emily did it going into her sophomore year in 2010,” said Megan Nuzzo ’15. “She said she always saw students crying when they didn’t get what they wanted and that literally nothing good came out of Arena.”

While the elimination of Arena took the fate of students’ schedules out of their own hands, many believe the new system is more efficient.

“Sometimes I wish we were able to choose which teachers we want,” said Nuzzo. “But no matter what, you always end up with a positive experience.”

The school environment has also benefitted from Advanced Placement courses allowing enrollment from students in multiple grades.

With classes like AP US History now open to sophomores, underclassmen taking accelerated math courses, and AP Literature opening to all upperclassmen next year, grades are no longer as segregated.

“The distinct grade sections of the cafeteria no longer have the power they did back when we were freshmen,” said Steven Sobel ‘14.

A less-welcome change was the cancellation of Collab, the interdisciplinary course between US History Honors and English 2 Honors.

Social studies teacher Cathy Schager said she was told the class was cancelled due to a lack of enrollment, but the students she taught really enjoyed it.

“I loved teaching the course,” said Schager. “Students created pretty incredible stuff and conducted all sorts of impressive research and interviews.”

Students who took Collab consider themselves fortunate to have been part of such a unique class.

“Collab was an interesting class as it allowed for the type of critical thinking and discussion that is becoming more and more valued in modern education,” said Sobel.

Another change was the implementation of standard-based grading in certain classes.

“I’ve never had standard-based grading, but I’ve heard that it makes it really hard to do well in class because if you do badly on even one test it’s hard to catch up,” said Jenna Bernard ‘14.

Bernard believes that these negative changes are balanced out by other recent improvements at school, even small tweaks like the introduction of gluten-free foods in the cafeteria.

“I think it’s great that people have worked so hard to make changes in the caf, and I think it’s an example of how Staples is becoming more accommodating,” said Bernard.

While changes around school haven’t always been met with positive reactions, students say that, for the most part, Staples has been transformed for the better.

Plus, according to Sobel, the sandwich line has gotten more efficient.

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