Students and faculty wrap up first year in Freshman Academy

Overall positive reviews for G building

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Students and faculty wrap up first year in Freshman Academy

Nat Carnevalla, freshman science teacher, assists students in reviewing classwork before the school year comes to a close.

Nat Carnevalla, freshman science teacher, assists students in reviewing classwork before the school year comes to a close.

Abigail Craig

Nat Carnevalla, freshman science teacher, assists students in reviewing classwork before the school year comes to a close.

Abigail Craig

Abigail Craig

Nat Carnevalla, freshman science teacher, assists students in reviewing classwork before the school year comes to a close.

Abigail Craig, Staff Writer

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The new standalone Freshman Academy — known as G building — has earned an A in its first year of hosting 9th-graders and their faculty teams.

Kris Davidson, academy principal, said he was pleased with the outcome. “I think this year went really well,” Davidson said. “We tried hard to have every freshman experience the new building at some capacity.”

Pros from Davidson’s point of view is that “the school has a ton more space, the building is new, cleaner, and nicer. The science rooms are also really state of the art and the new gym is awesome.”

With pros come cons, and Davidson recognizes that there are issues that need to be adapted to or resolved. Despite having more space, the G building was not big enough to accommodate all the freshmen teams and even Davidson, whose office remains on D4.

The fact that he “is not over there in the building is tough,” Davidson said. “The walls look kind of bare, which is something that we will be working on by getting some murals up on the walls, some artwork to spruce it up a little bit, and we need some signage saying ‘G-building, this way’ or ‘D-building this way,’” Davidson said.

Word had spread that there was a leak in the ceiling on G3 and when asking teachers within the building to identify issues the leak was a common topic. In regards to this leak, “The school has a flat roof and there is flashing. Therefore, if the flashing lifts up, then the water ultimately ends up getting underneath,” Davidson explains.

However, Davidson reassures that the matter is currently being taken care of and both he and Principal Dan Donovan are well aware of the damage in need of repair.

Teachers have taken the renovation responsibilities into their own hands by putting up a poster of a large sea turtle on the wall in attempts to cover the leak damage on G3. Freshman science teacher Jared Cowden shares that “There was some leaky water in the printer room but I think that is just new building things that are getting addressed. I don’t see any real cons to the building itself or how it’s designed.”

Many of the team teachers are pleased overall. Cowden has been pleased with the new equipment saying “the mounted projectors are really nice and I like how the tables go up and town.”

Cowden has also been pleased with the modern lighting features, and says that “the climate control is nice now that there’s air conditioning.” D4, where the academy used to be, is known for being a sweat box in the hotter months.

However, Cowden adds, “I don’t know if we need to be trained better on how to control [the AC system] or if it’s controlled from a main system, but it kind of has a mind of its own.”

Science teacher Nat Carnevalla said he likes working in the building. “I think it’s a nice building and the air conditioning is good. As we get into the summer months, it gets harder and harder for us to sit for an hour and forty minutes in hot classrooms.”

Cowden said he is hoping something can be done about fixed seating arrangements in the science rooms because it makes pairing/group activities difficult to organize. Similarly, “not all rooms have chairs with wheels, but many of the rooms ended up having chairs with wheels and that’s really not good or safe for science labs,” the science teacher said.

Krisanthia Panaelidis, English I teacher, said she is happy with the tight relationships that come with being in the new building. The G-building helps “the freshmen to have a sense of unity and belonging as they transition to high school,” Panaelidis says.

As a member of Team 1, she adds that “we’re all neighbors, and the students as well as the other teachers on my team love [being so close together].”

The one main concern for science teacher Meghan Bresson is not “so much a con of the building itself, it’s just more so there’s not enough space.” “I feel like we are separated from the rest of our department and some freshman teachers didn’t get to come to the g-building so we have two teams in each subject that are [separated between buildings],” Bresson shares.

However, “the pro is definitely having one area where all of the freshman can be because it was separated [more in the previous years] and science was in a completely different building.” Therefore, “it’s nice to have a team in one area. I also think that it’s easier for the students to navigate,” says Bresson.

Math teacher Amanda Peterson shares that she has been quite happy in the academy. “Beautiful new building,” she said. “I love the new technology and it’s nice to have a wall-mounted projector.”

As for the students, freshmen seemed to be quite pleased with the way the building and classrooms have played out this year.

For Team 2 freshman Abby Hamilton, being in the G building has gone well. The smaller environment has benefited Hamilton in making many new friends. She says that a great thing about the  building is how students are able to “meet new people from other middle schools” and form new bonds.

Freshman Greg Parker from Team 5 also speaks highly of the building, saying “I don’t really have any cons about this year in the building. The building was built extremely well judging from the classrooms I’ve been in and I’ve enjoyed being in the G wing.”

On the con side of things, however, Hannah Kwarteng from Team 4 acknowledges the fact that it has been quite frustrating and “inconvenient that the bathrooms in the G building always seem to be locked.” Kwarteng also shares similar opinions with Cowden regarding the climate control saying, “The freshman building was always cold, even throughout winter,” and feels as though the AC and heating controls should be modified.

 

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