>>  Class Rock Painting

BY: AMAYA SANDERS


Love your class? Come prove it by helping paint your class rock! All Classes: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are currently painting their class rocks outside around the bus loop and faculty parking lot. Rock painting will go on until when the rocks are completed. Class Rocks are painted to show your pride for your class and your school. Class rock paintings are scheduled after school.


Participating in the class rock painting is a great way to meet up with people in your class and introduce yourself to the people in your class and meet new people.


Senior Sara Zaidi Loves Stonewall High. Sara says she has not yet participated in the class rock paintings but soon plans to. “Memories to enjoy later in life”, Sara says explaining the importance of the activity.


You don’t have to be good at painting or be Picasso. Coming out, meeting people and showing your pride for Stonewall High is what is intended.


Freshman Aaliyah Gravette says she isn’t the best artist and doesn’t like drawing or painting at all but knows that the class rock painting is a great way to show everyone what type of school Stonewall Jackson High School is. Tre Ellis, another SJ freshman at first didn’t know about the class rock painting, but after hearing about it and what the students do he agrees that it is a memorable activity.


“It is important to have the rock. It is a great idea.” Says Senior Dianna Bonilla. Dianna hasn’t yet participated because she felt like there would be too many people.


Many people come out to paint the class rocks and that is a great thing. The fun and mingling is the whole concept of the class rock painting. Mr. Donaldson, a Social Studies teacher explains how he loves stonewall high school. “I love Stonewall. I love all the people I work with, I love all of the students and the diversity”. Mr. Donaldson has been here at Stonewall for 13 years and this will be his 8th time in a row participating in the class rock painting. “I think it’s a good way for people to meet other people in their class and share ideas,” says Mr. Donaldson. Mr. Donaldson is the Junior class sponsor for class rock paintings. If you are a Freshmen, your class sponsor is Mr. Jones (math). Sophomores class sponsor is Mr. Donatelli (math), and the Seniors class sponsors are Mrs. Kohistani and Ms. McCarthy (social studies). Contact these teachers to know more about your classes’ rock painting.


So come on out and support the Stonewall Jackson Raiders by painting your class rock after school the weekdays before homecoming!



>>  PSAT DAY

BY: AMAYA SANDERS


Calling all Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors! The PSAT is set for October 11th, 2017. It will be during the school day in your second block class. The PSAT is taken in October and your earlier years of high school to get you prepared for the SAT.


College Board is looking for good scores to compete for the National Merit. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation identifies Juniors and Sophomores who get top scores on the PSAT. If your score is in the top 1%, you will be named a semifinalist. Being a semifinalist for the National Merit gives you a boost in your college applications and put you in consideration for many scholarships.


Most Freshmen and Sophomores take the PSAT to prepare themselves for when they take the PSAT as Juniors to compete for National Merit.


10th grader Brenda Amaoh says she has studied for the PSAT and says it is important. “Yes, the PSAT is important because it determines how colleges see you.”
9th grader Gabriela Rodriguez has not yet made plans to study for the PSAT because it’s only the first month of school but she believes the PSAT is important even for freshman because it gives you an estimate of what you should be studying for when you take it in your upperclassmen years of high school.


Other sophomores like Catherine Quezada and Reyna Gonzalez have also not yet made their plans to study for the PSAT but also know how important it is to lowerclassmen. “It determines how colleges see you”, stated Reyna Gonzalez. Catherine Quezada explains that it shows how we will do in college and what we need to graduate from high school.
Unlike the freshman, sophomores and Juniors, Seniors will not be taking the PSAT because they are preparing for the real test, the SAT, in October, November or December. Now, Seniors do not have to take the SAT late in the year. You can also take the SAT in May, June, and now even in August. 2017 was the first year they have allowed students to take the SAT in August. Hopefully many students took advantage of that!


We asked a Stonewall Senior what she would be doing during the PSAT.


“I will be studying for the SAT” says Sara Zaidi. She believes the PSAT is important because it gives you an idea of what the SAT will look like.
Students, remember, the PSAT is on October 11th. So study, get prepared and make sure you have a good breakfast that morning!



>>  The Real Standard of Learning

BY: AMAYA SANDERS



Are SOLS the REAL standard of learning? Standardized tests known as SOLS (Standard of Learning), are taken from March till the end of May and were made to set forth learning achievement expectations subjects for grades 3 – 12. Though, a lot of residents in the commonwealth of Virginia have different opinions on what they do and why they exist.


The SOLS were actually the second plan to judge the process of students in their learning. In 1992, the state of Virginia tried to start an education plan known as the Common Core of Learning but was stopped due to the opposing parents that argued it held no meaningful education plan and put more emphasis on behavioral issues. That plan was later replaced by the Standards of Learning and was created through the parents, teachers and citizens of VA. In 1997, Board of education established standards of accreditation, which means that if an SOL passing rate isn’t reached each year by a school, that school can lose its accreditation.


Controversy has been around these tests since they were created. There was debate over the validity of the test and administration of the process. The Department of Education refused to release information about the tests because they were concerned that it would lead to teaching to the test. There was also concern that since the teachers are evaluated on the student’s SOL performance, they will mostly focus on SOL subject matter instead of the overall course and learning.


Some teachers, especially at Stonewall, DO focus mostly on SOL subjects than overall learning. There have been times where teachers have dismissed a subject because an activity based on questions from the SOL for that class hasn’t been done yet, or it’d be more important to do an SOL activity rather than what the state says students have to learn in whole for that class.


Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia, has held an opinion about this certain issue even before his campaign. By getting rid of certain SOLS for classes such as social studies. A student in Virginia’s opinion is as important, if not more important than Ralph Northam’s.


Ralph Northam has said time to time that the SOLS aren’t working anymore and that they need to be thrown out. As stated by Northam hi multiple choice tests. The jobs of the future require more than teaching to the test”. Several Stonewall students had agreed to this. Some even strongly agreeing.


Mercedes Pullen, a Junior at Stonewall, has taken over six SOLS as a student and when asked if she thinks the SOLS are important, stated, “They are not important because they’re pointless. They aren’t showing how smart a student is because it’s all the things you’ve learned throughout life and how is one person supposed to remember it all?”


Ed Gillespie, runner up for governor of Virginia, stated “Virginia schools need the SOLS to measure process and accountability in a student’s learning. Naya Mangum, a sophomore at stonewall was neutral to this ideology, though she does agree that the SOLS are important because they monitor progress throughout the year.


Teachers also had a strong opinion. Mrs. Goebert, a foreign language teacher here at stonewall stated that “SOLS or another type of benchmark is necessary to measure student achievements and teacher’s professionalism.”