ByJesse Hausknecht-Brown, Natalie Dunlap, Marta Leira, Kailey Gee and Alex Carlon |
Looking back, Jazsime Vanpelt wishes she could have done her freshman and sophomore years differently. Checking her grades multiple times a day, loading too many extracurriculars onto her schedule and unnecessary pressure to do well in school created stress and anxiety in and outside of the classroom. Jazsime Vanpelt, Iowa City High School student (Photo by Jhakyra Banister)
The pressure wasn’t from Vanpelt’s parents. She did it to herself, the Iowa City High School senior said. “I would like to freak out if my grades went down, even a little bit,” Vanpelt, 17, said.
Making good grades is but one of several pressures high school students interviewed for a new IowaWatch High School journalism project said.
The word “college” stresses many high school students, whether or not their resume has enough activities on it, if they have a high enough ACT score, the change of living on their own, or when their applications are due.
And, because someone — them, their families — has to pay for it.
“It makes me feel bad and burdensome because I know that my parents are really stressed about money in general, and I know they want to support me,” Marina Beachy, a senior at Mid-Prairie High School in Wellman, said in an IowaWatch high school journalism project about pressure Iowa high school students face. Pressure when picking a college came up often in that project, conducted in the first three months of 2020 by student journalists at City and West High schools in Iowa City working with their teachers and IowaWatch. Money is a big reason for the stress. ABOUT THIS PROJECT
High School Pressure is an IowaWatch High School journalism collaboration with the award-winning Iowa City high school newpapers The Little Hawk and West Side Story, at City High School and West High School, respectively. Journalists who produced this project, working with IowaWatch’s Lyle Muller and their journalism teachers, were:
Natalie Dunlap, West HighMarta Leira, West HighAlex Carlon, West HighKailey Gee, West HighShoshanna Hemley, City HighJesse Hausknecht-Brown, City HighNina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos, City HighJulianne Berry-Stoelzle, City High
Teachers assisting in this project are Sara Whittaker, West High School, and Jonathan Rogers, City High.This project was supported by a grant from the Community Foundation of Johnson County.
High school sophomores and juniors around the country check what they received when preliminary scholastic aptitude test scores — better known as PSAT scores — are posted in December.
The “what did you get?” and “did you do better than me?” questions follow. Jenny Geng, Iowa City West High School student (Photo provided Jenny Geng)
“I hate the comparison of test scores,” Jenny Geng, 16, a junior at Iowa City West High School, said. “It makes them feel bad about themselves,” she said about students she knows. “But you can’t stop it and it’s going to happen,” she said. “I don’t like it.”
Competition in high school is producing stress for high school students in many aspects of their lives. High school students participating in an IowaWatch high school journalism project this year rattled off a list of ways they compete with one another: how your body looks, social life, academics.
READ THESE STORIES:GRADES, FRIENDS, COMPETITION: THEY STRESS OUR HIGH SCHOOLERS MORE THAN YOU MIGHT THINKCOMPETING FOR SO MANY REASONS IN HIGH SCHOOL, NOT ALL OF THEM GOODCOLLEGE-BOUND, BUT FEELING PRESSURE ABOUT IT IN HIGH SCHOOL
ByJackson Schulte/IowaWatch and The Scarlet & Black |
GRINNELL, Iowa – Some Grinnell College seniors have chosen to finish their undergraduate days by staying in town, even though the college sent most of their peers home for the rest of the school year and canceled the spring graduation ceremony because of COVID-19. They’re staying in town for a variety of reasons but mainly to continue living in homes for which they’re contractually obligated to pay rent and to make their final months as seniors feel meaningful. “My
rent here is paid, it’s sort of a sunk cost,” Pete Zelles, 22, a senior from
St. Paul, Minnesota, said. “I realized that the majority of my friends are
staying because they’re in the same position.
Grinnell College acted ahead of other colleges and universities in the state when moving students off campus and canceling spring graduation. Now, students are figuring out how to handle that when they return to classes – virtually – from spring break.
This story about immigrant students was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. IowaWatch is the exclusive Iowa partner. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter. SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The rolling backpack was grey with bright orange zippers. Made by Totto, a popular South American brand, the backpack had been 13-year-old Cristian Rubio’s hand luggage on his flight from Ecuador to the United States a week earlier.
One of the most common types of violence in Iowa’s K-12 schools does not involve fistfights or guns. This form of violence often flies under society’s radar, not receiving attention it should from school boards, the governor, the Legislature, and from the news media. This explosive behavior involves students who go on rampages in classrooms, cursing and screaming at the teacher, tipping over desks, knocking computers, books and other supplies to the floor, and who force the teacher to shoo other students into the hallway for their safety while the teacher tries to persuade the out-of-control student to calm down. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He is a former editorial page editor and assistant managing editor of The Des Moines Register.
Several Iowa school districts have taken on debt the last 17 years, with one district owing as much as $35,448 per student, to handle student enrollment increases but also repairs to aging buildings. The question they face is: how to manage that debt?
Half of all states, including Kansas, pay less than 10 percent of school construction costs. Districts in those states are largely at the mercy of voters to finance new schools and major renovations. Low-wealth districts — particularly in rural areas — struggle to convince voters to do so.