Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Spring is in the airrr....

My hands automatically waved back to Anna as I watched her walking briskly pass my window. ' C'mon ' she mouthed and swinging her forearms at her sides gesturing me to follow her. I smiled back at her while shaking my head. 'Okay..' she mouthed back and off she goes for her morning walk. For a 65 year old lady she amazes me! It has been raining since Thursday last week & this morning looks like a fine spring day after all...
Tomorrow we're going to DC again. Anis has got to go for an interview at MARA office there. Thank goodness, the interview has been shifted to DC and not back home...or else, we'ld be scratching our heads by now! I am always told i worry too much. But, that's me! :)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Newton South High School, MA

Newton South High School 140, Brandeis Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459.
My youngest daughter goes to the Newton South High School, here in Newton. Everybody says it's a good school. As I've come to know the Grade 9 teachers who are forever doing their best for the students, I agree with them. The likes of Ms Carol McNally, Mr Van Beever, Mr Peabody, Mr Mendez, Ms Jason, Ms Gilicina and many more are irreplaceable. Being an English Language Learner (ELL), meaning English is her second language, I do hope my daughter will improve & flourish as a student as well as a person under their guidance.
From my readings, Newton is served by fifteen elementary schools, four middle schools, and two large high schools, one of which is Newton South High School. According to the Massachusetts Department of Education, the schools in Newton spent a lot more for their students compared to schools in other districts in the state. Student population at NSHS increased quite a bit these few years. The student body has also seen demographic change. At Newton South, 13.6 % of the students are Asian, 5.0 % are black or Hispanic, 77.8 % are Caucasian and 3.5 % identify themselves as “other.” The largest group of immigrants at NSHS comes from countries in the former Soviet Union. For approximately one-third of the students, English is a second language. Somehow, I am glad my daughter is not alone when it comes to learning the English language. She has friends from practically around the globe in her ELL class - friends from Korea, China, Japan, South America, Israel...Everyday, she comes back with plenty of delightful stories to tell..
Newton South has always taken pride in the way its students exceeded both national and statewide College Board scores and Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) scores. While the statewide mean on the SAT verbal score was 511 and the statewide math score was 519, NSHS's mean SAT verbal was 600 and mean SAT math score was 629, as reported in the 2004 College Board test results. On the new SAT, South’s mean critical reading score was 605 and the mean math score was 630. To note : Standardised Acceptance Test (SAT) is a test that students have to take in order to get accepted into Colleges or Universities here in the US. My eldest son has taken the test somewhere in March this year. The SAT is known to be difficult especially the English part. But, I think most Malaysian students have no problems in the Math. My son did just fairly in both. We are still waiting for the results on his University application as a Transfer Student this Fall Admission. I pray for the best!! As the name says, MCAS exam is only applicable for Massachusettes schools and it became a graduation requirement a few years back. All NSHS students except for three have passed in time to graduate with their classes, and overall scores have stayed relatively the same over recent years with 98 passing and 88 scoring Advanced or Proficient in 2005. My daughter will go for Maths & English tuition held in Newton North this summer. I worry for her and I really hope she will progress & does well for her MCAS exams.
On the subject of teachers in NSHS, in addition to the required bachelors' degree, 49 teachers have a master’s degree, 29 have a masters' degree plus thirty or forty-five credits, and 8 of teachers have their doctorates. Meaning teachers in High School, or in Malaysia called Secondary Schools are with PHDs. I would love to see the day when PHDs are plentiful in Secondary Schools of Malaysia. Undoubtedly, with their knowledge, guidance and/or management would actually lift our education standard to a whole new level!.