By Miriam Lee
The Charter News – 5/17/19
Picture this: it’s 2015, the last week of school, and class after class you’ve had a party. Stuffing your face with chocolate cupcakes, exotic fruit, or maybe some potato chips. A full week of endless parties, at school.
Not too long ago, this was the reality at ACA. For those who have been attending for awhile, you’ve probably experienced some of these end-of-the-school year parties.
“What happened one year, is we literally had parties everyday all day for the last week. It made a big mess, we had kids being crazy, and it made the last week really hard to do anything academic, the concern is: we don’t want that,” says David Toth, math teacher at ACA.
Another problem ACA was having with the parties, was that some teachers would use leftover class funds for food, rather than putting it back into the school for future years. “The cost to the school through materials funds was over $1000. The trash generated was also large,” says support staff in finance, Danelle Till.
“They [the funds] are not to be used for class parties, unless they are part of the curriculum of the class (ie specific food for studying other cultures or time periods, parties for motivational purposes, etc.- year end parties are not to be funded). At the end of the year any remaining funds will be folded into the school budget,” is stated in ACA’s Material and Curriculum Fee Guidelines.
In a poll conducted by The Charter, in which twenty-nine people replied, more than half those individuals would like class parties. All student participants said yes, which is to be expected, and thirty-five percent of participating teachers said yes also.
This doesn’t come as a surprise because Parent Liaison, Carla Calhoun, spoke about how as a teacher, she tends to want to use that last day to celebrate the end of the year. Then she realizes that her co-workers are all thinking the same thing, hence, why it got so out of hand previous years.
Teachers have gotten control over the situation by using the “parties” as enriching, fun, learning experiences for the students. Previously, a class party meant food, activities, and nothing academic for the last day. Now teachers are using this last day to celebrate learning, rather than celebrating summer.
For example, Kristen Kohl has planned an activity titled “Vendor Shops” for the last day of her Spanish 1 class. The assignment says that students will partner up and each bring items to sell, whether that’s food, artwork, smoothies, etc, it is up to the student. While one person is at their stand selling their food, their partner will go and buy from other stands. All of this is done using Spanish to communicate, they will barter to find a right price, and pay with paper pesos. This will give students experience in what it’s like to shop in Latin America, while also providing a fun day for her students.
Of course every teacher is different, Toth likes to use food to represent real life word problems, he says, “As a teacher and a parent, I don’t want my kids eating garbage, I don’t want to feed kids garbage, but I think parties are fun if they’re enriching.” While other teachers like science teacher, Ann Heppner, like to leave food out of it and use that day for dissection; which doesn’t happen often and has been highly anticipated by her Biology class.
The excitement for summer is rising as we enter the last week of school, and although some classes will be ending the year with intriguing activities, ACA always holds an “After School Celebration.” Seanna Bloemer says that there will be a water fight outside after school on May 23rd; she says there will be ice cream and other snacks as a final goodbye to the school year, and a hello to summer vacation.
Fill out this form to help widen the responses to the poll:
Whittet, Deborah. Personal Interview. May 7th, 2019.
Calhoun, Carla. Personal Interview. May 7th, 2019.
Till, Danelle. Online Interview. May 13th, 2019.
Toth, David. Personal Interview. May 13th, 2019.
Bloemer, Seanna. Online Interview. May 13th, 2019.
Kohl, Kristen. Online Interview. May 17th, 2019.