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Middle school students call for end to plastic utensils

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Eloquent middle schoolers came before the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education on Thursday, requesting that board members stick a fork in plastic utensils at Jefferson Middle School.

Born from a class research project, the young activists shared with the board the information they have gleaned. In their presentation, the group estimated 720 people typically eat school lunches at Jefferson, which they believe equates to 1,440 utensils each day.

Armed with stats, pictures of sea life entangled in plastic – picture a seagull’s beak entrapped in plastic soda can rings – and cost charts, Jefferson students Morgyn Judkins-Cooper, Penelope Loyd Sment, Emily Watkins and Sidney Vance gave their pitch to switch to reusable utensils.

They argued that the school should do its part to reduce plastic pollution.

A petition they started has hundreds of signatures, they said.

WORK OF ART: Eight APS schools will get special access to some artsy learning opportunities next school year.

This week, seven elementary schools and a middle school were dubbed “Elevated Arts Schools” for the 2019-20 school year.

Alamosa, Alvarado, Dolores Gonzales, Helen Cordero, Lew Wallace, Montezuma, Sombra del Monte and Van Burren Middle School made the list.

Born through city and community partnerships, the schools will be able to learn from teaching artists and see demonstrations from community arts organizations.

Field trips and hands-on experiences are also afforded to the schools.

The idea of an Elevated Arts School is to emphasize arts throughout curricula.

“We have always known students who participate in fine arts benefit academically,” Superintendent Raquel Reedy said.

In her statement, the superintendent goes on to say the Elevated Arts Schools are part of a 10-year plan to ramp up the focus on arts in and out of the classroom.

The Elevated Arts model is a focus of a multi-partner initiative called Any Given Child Albuquerque, which aims to boost access to arts education for kids.

SEAL OF APPROVAL: Many APS graduates will have a bilingual seal on their diplomas this year.

According to the district, 266 high school seniors earned the honor by completing coursework to maintain, develop and advance in two languages.

To get the seal, a student must take eight core credits – such as arts, math and sciences – in English and eight in their additional language and earn at least a 2.0 grade point average. A written and oral portfolio is also required.

Most kids are getting their seal in Spanish while some others are getting it for French or German. In a newsletter to the community, Reedy said for the first time one student got a Chinese bilingual seal.

Most APS graduations will take place this week.

In addition to the seniors, about 100 fifth and eighth graders will move onto the next level of their education careers with a bilingual seal of their own.

Shelby Perea: sperea@abqjournal.com

 

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