The Student News Site of Gabrielino High School

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

New school year brings changes to Eagles’ nest

By Kaylee Chan | Staff Writer

   After over a year of students being away from campus, in-person school at Gabrielino began on Aug. 23. There are many changes this year, including new staff, new health protocols, new facilities, a free lunch program, and a return to a daily six-period schedule.

   New Gabrielino staff members include Principal David Rynkiewicz, teachers Phillip Tse and Flora Ung, office clerk Dolly Sengelmann, and speech and language therapist Yousaf Haq.

   The return to on-campus learning during an ongoing pandemic has resulted in multiple health protocols being put in place to ensure student safety. Measures include daily health screenings on the StudentSquare app, required face masks, and air filters in every classroom to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

   In accordance with safety rules, eating and drinking are no longer allowed indoors. Sharing of items such as computers is also being kept to a minimum, as students are expected to bring their own school-issued Chromebook or personal device to class each day.

   “A lot of the rules are good, especially requiring masks indoors,” stated sophomore Kayley Chow. “The rules for social distancing could be more strict, though. The stairs and the entrance of the school can get very crowded.”

  California is providing school meals for all students, so the Cafeteria distributes free breakfast and lunch to students. There are no financial requirements or necessary paperwork involved.

  “I think it’s a great change,” said Chow, one of the many Gabrielino students who use the school lunch program. “I don’t have to worry about paying anymore. Also, it’s helpful for lower-income families.”

   There are also physical changes to the campus, such as the new M Building near the north side of the football field, which was completed last year during the campus closure. The M building contains rooms for music, wrestling and dance.

   Additionally, Gabrielino will have a new AC system installed on Sept. 24.

   Introduced as a website last year, the Wellness Center is now located in B144. Chris Saporito, counselor, oversees the space and coordinates all activities.

The Wellness Center promotes student mental health and well-being by providing calming exercises and a comfortable place for students to relax and refocus. Students can ask their teacher for a pass to visit when in need of emotional or mental support.

   Instead of the block schedule of Virtual Academy, the traditional six-period daily schedule has resumed with Embedded Time periods on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is also a shortened “Collaboration Day” schedule on Wednesdays to allow for faculty and department meetings before 3pm.

   “I’m not used to it,” says Alice Pham, junior. “I’m so used to having only three periods [each day]. Now I’m trying to process all my other classes.”

All of these changes are meant to enhance students’ experiences and create a safe learning environment for everyone, especially after an extended hiatus from an in-person school setting.

   “Before, it was all computers and virtual stuff,” Pham says. “It feels really different now. I’m getting a different vibe from it.”

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New school year brings changes to Eagles’ nest