Eighth-graders write English LAA in hopes of changing others’ middle school experience


Medalisa Kargbo

Divitha Mathe, an eighth- grader on the wolves team, is sitting outside by the trailers while reading over her letter.

Some eighth-grade students at Rachel Carson Middle School ,other wise known as RCMS were chosen to read their LAA  ,local area assessment, project to RCMS Principal Mr. Gordon Stokes in hopes of making a change in future RCMS students’ experience in Middle School, the letters were read in the school library.

“The project really helped improve my writing skills for high school,” says Chinmayi Karthik and eighth-grader on the Yellow Jackets team.

The reasoning behind the LAA project is actually for the faculty and  Mr. Stokes to get more familiar with student struggles. It is a way for the students to present their opinions and struggles to be fixed or stopped. 

I feel like the purpose is that students can create an impact on the environment and a good public speaking opportunity as well,” says Chinmayi  Karthik.

It also helps faculty to see if they could do anything to make the student’s experience better, and also to give more ways for students to express their opinions on certain topics in a more professional way.

“It’s to give students a real world example of how persuasion in the written form can be useful,” said Mrs. Joanna Silva, an English teacher on the Yellow Jackets Team. 

Staff members can see these troubles but they can be different for some people who work with their time differently.

“There’s certain things I never thought of as a principal’s view and from my eyes like hallway time in between classes,” says  Mr. Stokes.

Students worry that staff members don’t see their struggles which is one of the main reasons why this project was used.

This project over the past two-years has made an impact on the lives of students. Last year the majority of the eighth-graders chose to have a brain break in the middle of the day, which brings us to having recess this year. This year many prompts were considered, such as more time in between classes and carrying backpacks, which Mr. Stokes thought was very understanding as he sees students being late for classes because of these issues.

The process of writing the project is about two-three weeks. Although it’s incredibly stressful, there’s parts of it that students like ,such as research and discovering things that the students were not familiar with.

“I loved getting to find out things that different places have in place and we don’t,” says Chinmayi Karthink.

This year many prompts were chosen such as  giving the students more diverse language classes or more options from different cultures and traditions on the food menu. 

“The best thing is when they pick things like something I have never considered, like increasing the space of the clinic and I have never been in the clinic, before so I would never know,” says Mrs. Silva. 

Many projects came as a surprise to many faculty members because they had not considered it.. 

“There were a few different things that were ongoing  troubles that were brought up like, carrying backpacks, having cell phones, and time between classes  which were understandable as  common troubles,” says Mr. Stokes.

There is no doubt that topics used in the past two years for this project have made an impact on the school. Originally the LAA took the place of the writing SOL ,standards of learning test , and many students  found it much easier .

Many people have found it much easier to handle the science, reading, and math SOL’s eighth-graders have to take. In addition to the English LAA project, eighth-grade students also have to do another LAA project for civics, taking the place of the civics SOL.

I think the LAA is a lot less stressful for students and it’s easier because of the longer timespan, and the writing SOL would be over a day,” says Chinmayi.