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Conflict arises over new P.E. exemption policy

by Hans Oberschelp

     Starting this fall, Lincoln High School students taking a sport will be allowed to forgo the school's physical education requirement. lightningpe.jpgThe policy, presented back in November of 2012 and given to the school in January, exempts students who are “engaged in a regular school-sponsored interscholastic athletic program carried on wholly or partially after school hours.”

    According to Barnaby Payne, school principal, the exemption that allows athletics to verify P.E. will make the most impact. The athletic department, P.E. Department, and school administration have been working together to develop a policy for ALHS which is now basically complete.

    Even though the policy is near complete and ready to be distributed, teachers are pressured not to share the news of the new policy with their students. An anonymous teacher said, “Students began asking about the exemption which was already in place at several SFUSD schools and wanted to know if they qualified. Mr. Payne was contacted and the policy was confirmed. Several teachers showed the policy with their students which resulted in backlash from the P.E. Department who were fearful that losing students in their program would result in a loss of teachers.”

    The teacher went on to explain, “Teachers were asked by the P.E. Department head to not share the policy with students. The policy is public, but I am cautious sharing the policy with students which does make me uncomfortable, but I am fearful of creating further animosity amongst staff. We as teachers want the administration to be the ones that share the policy, because when the administration is the one that shares the policy, there is less conflict between staff members.”

    English teacher and department head Shamira Gratch affirmed, “There was a feeling that we weren’t supposed to share information about the new policy.” Gratch also noted, “When I looked into that with other teachers we thought this would give students more flexibility in academies and electives. If that was true and it wasn't being told to students that was unfair.”

    The P.E. Department explained that they asked teachers to stop reporting the policy because they thought it would make students skip years of P.E. that they had obligated to taking junior year by taking another class instead of P.E. sophomore year. Leanna Walker, P.E. teacher, said, “We just heard a couple days before about the policy and one of the academy teachers told her kids about it. We had an agreement with the academies that students can skip sophomore P.E and take P.E. junior year. Now the academy teachers are telling their students that they can skip junior P.E.”

    Philip Ferrigno, P.E. teacher, coach, and department head noted that the P.E. Department was unable to give its input in the board meeting at which the policy was decided. “The policy was decided in December without any input from our P.E. Department. They gave us no guidelines. Nothing. We found out about the policy in March.”

    Ferrigno expressed concern that the new policy will result in a significant drop in students attending P.E. “Kids will always try to find loopholes to get out [of P.E.]. P.E. needs to be in everyone's day. The policy doesn't help athletics either because people will come out to get credit and just quit.”

    Janet Clark, P.E. teacher further stated, “Those exemptions are going to cut into our program. We're going to lose teachers.”

    ALHS's implementation of the policy includes an exception to the exemption. Payne made it clear that at Lincoln, no Freshman will be exempt from P.E. Payne further explained, “If I'm an athlete for only only one sport (a fall sport), schedule wise, what do we do with that student second semester. What obviously makes the most sense is putting the student in a new class in lieu of P.E. But then, if the student is dropped from the team, they're out a year of P.E.”

    Additionally, under the new policy, athletes will validate the requirement of physical education, but not give students the 5 credits that P.E. would. To help create a middleground between taking P.E. unnecessarily, and risking students getting no credits, ALHS will offer a new class, P.E. For Athletes next year. Payne noted, “Many student athletes can enroll in P.E. for athletes to stay in shape year round and support their athletic eligibility with good grades.

    Walker noted that special P.E. Classes for athletes used to exist. “We used to have P.E. for athletes. In a seven period day the last period was used for athletes. When we went to the six period day it made it harder [to keep the class]. It's hard for kids to skip an AP class sixth period to go to an athletic event.”

    The new policy goes into effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Amidst all the confusion and conflict, for students who are interested in how the policy will effect them, Payne recommends, “The best way to get information will be for student athletes to go to their counselor.”

Team Teaching movement moves students with disabilities into general ed classes

by Andrew Tang

           Starting in the school year of 2013-2014, more students currently in DSCF0361.jpgspecial ed classes at Lincoln High School are going to be moved into general education classes with two teachers teaching the class.


           This is a teaching strategy called, “Team Teaching,” an approach influenced by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a law that prohibits discrimination against the disabled in all public entities, including schools, work places and public facilities.


           Students in special day classes, for students with physical or mental disabilities who learn mostly the same curriculum but modified, will be moved from their small classrooms to be educated with their nondisabled peers.  Barnaby Payne says that this program is to “provide access to the core curriculum for all students no matter the disability, giving them the best quality education.”


           Team teaching is part of accommodations being made at Lincoln High School to meet the needs of providing equal opportunities to all students, disabled or not, of the ADA.  Section 504 and Title II of the law requires that public school systems remove policies or practices that discriminate on the basis of disability. Under the law, the disabled are to be educated with their non-disabled peers to the “maximum extent possible.”     


           Lincoln High Special Ed Department Head, Denyse Barris-Jones says that changes are necessary. “It’s one way of approaching providing equal access to education for all students.” The students with disabilities, according to her, would work normally, and believes that “with the accommodations, they have average level intelligence.”

           The difference is that classrooms will have two teachers instead of one, teaching the curriculum. Ninth grade English teacher, Paul Massi Cameli, for example, will be team teaching with James D. Garzelloni. The cooperation between the teachers and the integration of classrooms allows disabled students to get equal opportunities.


           Cameli supports the teaching strategy and looks forward to it. He says, “Two minds teaching a class could create a class that is twice as good…I think that the road we are heading down on is leading to an equality in education that is very necessary.”


           He did however express concerns for the tensions that could exist when two teachers are trying to teach the same curriculum. “I’m looking forward to it because me and Garzelloni are good friends and will work together very well. If two teachers share a class and are not good friends, I can imagine a lot of tensions.”


            The policies of the Americans with Disabilities Act aim to create “high educational outcomes.” According to Janet Schulze, Assistant Superintendent for SFUSD high schools, the goal is to make sure students with disabilities are able to get the same content as everyone else. Disabled students are to be taught by teachers who teach regular students and are experts in certain areas. For example, a teacher may be an expert in the subject of English.


             Janet Schulze fully supports team teaching. “I think it's great! I think it will result in greater academic achievement as well as a positive experience for all of our students.”

Concerns arise over cancellation of ESL Department

by Serina Fang

Lincoln administration and the School Site Council have decided for the English Second Language Department to be absorbed into the English Department starting next year. DSCF0365.jpgThe main factor for the decision is the limited budget. Only the larger departments will have money; whereas small departments such as the ESL Department, with only four teachers, will have to be cut.

    “The anticipation is that there won’t be much difference,” says assistant principal Susan Akram.  “The structure will not look different.”

    The English Language Arts and ESL Departments follow similar Common Core Standards, and many ESL students are in ELA classes already. All current ESL teachers are subject area teachers in English, so the shifting from the ESL Department to English would change very little. 

    However, some teachers have concerns regarding problems ESL students might face in areas other than school learning without the ESL Department.     

“There’d be nobody overseeing their [ESL students] progress in all subjects learning, and nobody would see to their assimilation into a new school environment and acculturation into a new country,” says ESL Department Head Fan Fang. 

    Forty-nine percent of all students presently at Lincoln are current or former ESL students. Fang adds, “It’s safe to say that 49% of students’ families are also EL. We have the largest percentage of EL students in the school district.”

    Shamira Gratch, head of the English Department, voices a similar concern. “I fought this change for several years. I don’t think it’s [ESL merging with English] a great idea. I don’t have the knowledge Fan Fang does, and the English Department is huge already.”

     Meetings for the two departments cover specific topics with some overlap, and Gratch fears that with the increase of size in the English Department, coming to a consensus could prove a challenge. “There are more voices to be heard, and second language acquisition isn’t the same as teaching native speakers,” explains Gratch. “However, on the plus side, I think [combined meetings] will help communication between these two areas.”

    Despite the cancellation of the ESL Department next year, counselors and parent liaisons part of the Newcomer Pathway are still available to assist ESL students and parents

Mustang class elections usher in new student body leaders

by Michael Nguyen


Ezra DeAsis- President

Tiffany Lee- Vice President

Patricia Banderia- Treasurer

Virginia Mac- Secretary

Jonathan Macato- Director of Clubs

Saba Gebrezghi- Director of Spirit

Veronica Kwan- Historian

Nick Hu- SAC Rep

Anthony Chiu- SAC Rep  


Associated Student Body handles many of the activities and events that occur at Lincoln. The ASB officers provide the general leadership of the entire student body. Ezra DeAsis will be the ASB president, and has many plans to make it an enjoyable year for everyone. “I plan on really increasing the school spirit and increasing the participation of our students in every school event, from sports to spirit rallies and school dances.” President DeAsis explains that the role of the ASB president is to be “the voice of the students and the one to have students’ issues heard and fixed.”


Senior Class Officers

 Liping Huang - President

Kelly Le- Vice President

Winnie Deng- Secretary

Kayla Acedez- Treasurer


This year’s senior presidential election came down to the wire between candidates Liping Huang and Razan Ghishan. However, Liping was able to accumulate the most votes and will be the president of Lincoln’s class of 2014. “I want to make more school competitions and dances, and make the whole year exciting for everyone,” says President Huang. He also wants to focus on class fundraising and promote class spirit, two things he felt that lacked this year. “I think that to have a good year, everyone should be having a great time together, and I plan to achieve that through hard work and dedication.”


Junior Class Officers

Hermin Lin- President

Joanne Luu- Vice President 

Kimberley Wong- Secretary

David Zheng- Treasurer


President Lin says ,“At first, to be honest, I did not expect that I would win the election when I first ran two years ago because of my Chinese accent. Student government was just a vague idea to me in freshman year, and I ran for this position just for fun, and to create a memorable event in my high school life.” However, Hermin Lin won the vote and will be the president of the class of 2015. Speaking about his plans for next year, president Lin says “I intend to stay as focused on my job as I have been for the past two years. If I can, I would like to host more lunch time rallies and other exiting events. These events can not only unite our class and create a stronger bond among students, they can also bring more fun to the most important year of high school. My goal is to motivate all students in our class to participate in our school events because I want them to feel like part of the Lincoln family.”


Sophomore Class Officers

Connie Chou-President

Vanessa Arreola-Vice President

Ying Liu-Treasurer

Hana Bixler-Secretary


President Chou’s goals for next year are to focus on rasing more funds for the class of 2016. “My goal is that we have more fundraisers and have more kids involved in the class of 2016 club. I think that we had a really good start this year with the beanie and candy gram sales! “ says President Chou. “My main goal is to make everyone proud and to make people think that they made a good decision voting for me as their president!”