Categorized | Feature

Teachers, students reach for their personal best

Desiree Gonzalez cub writer

Brian Harward cub writer

Mikaela Rabizadeh cub writer

Whether it is reaching an academic goal, maintaining a social status or simply walking across the stage at graduation, success in high school is not limited to any one definition.

As an educational institution, the district recognizes that each student has a different path. Rather than fostering an environment where success is solely based on grades and test scores, each individual is encouraged to reach their personal best.

“Beverly has been really open to me freely advancing my own talents and interests,” incoming senior Priscilla Hopper said. “There are so many opportunities and options; every student enrolled can find something they can be involved in.”

In terms of enforcing incentives to push for academic performance, Principal Dave Jackson believes that administration should play a small role in governing the goals of students. Instead, each individual should strive to excel to the best of his or her own ability.

“I don’t think it’s just up to administration, it’s up to teachers, it’s up to individual students,” Jackson said. “There’s nothing wrong with getting a B in a class, there’s nothing wrong with getting a C in a class. Everybody, our whole culture here in Beverly Hills, needs to just say ‘do the best you can’ and if you tried your best, I’m happy.”

Of a teacher’s many responsibilities, recognizing potential can maximize motivation in the classroom. When a teacher is displaying their own personal best in the classroom, students are more likely to reciprocate the same energy and passion.

When trying to bring out the best in her students, English teacher Julie Goler reflects on her own teaching methods.  By making modifications according to her classes, she strives to reach her personal best as an educator.

“As a teacher, I’m always trying to challenge myself to do something new every year. For the last several years, the new thing has been technology, so I’ve tried to change what I’m doing. I’m not collecting papers anymore; everything’s submitted online,” she said.

According to Goler, regardless of intellectual ability, one who presents their personal best can achieve both academic and individual success.

“I have many students for whom English does not come naturally to them,” Goler said.  “I think that resilience and hard work can go farther than anything else in living a  successful life ultimately.”

As an underclassman taking a rigorous course load, sophomore Sean Toobi is familiar with pushing himself beyond what is expected of him. Going into his junior year, Toobi will represent his class as ASB vice-president and hold an executive position as DECA president.  He sets himself apart by focusing on how he can play to his particular strengths.

“I look to myself when I’m falling short of my personal best, because I always reflect upon how am I doing and what I can change to progress for the better,” Toobi said.

While Toobi relies on himself to determine success, his teachers provide him with the tools to do so.  He applies the guidance and work ethic stressed by his teachers to better himself not just in school, but in a business setting as well.

“The teachers that I have really care about my future and how I’m going to prosper in later life. With a reflection of everything I do in and out of class, my teachers mold me into the best version of myself,” Toobi said.

For those looking to take initiative, students are offered a diverse range of opportunities for students to get ahead in. While some complete the minimum amount of work required to graduate, others look to find ways in which they can shine.

“When I fell into the journalism program, I discovered a newfound love for AP Style, journalism conventions, design and photography. I was able to explore my options and new avenues that Beverly so graciously offered,” Hopper said.

SBAC testing, first given in 2015, was created to calculate scores solely based on the success of the student body as a whole. Although its purpose is to evaluate the entire school, Principal Jackson encouraged individual performance by offering off-campus passes for students who did exceptionally well.

“We implemented an offer of an off-campus lunch pass,” Jackson said. “If you get ‘proficient’ on both the math and english sections, you’ll get to leave at 1:10 for lunch instead of at 1:40.”

The theory behind offering lunch passes was to motivate those on the borderline of a proficient score.  By giving students an early dismissal privilege, they are given a purpose to give the test their personal best.

As Principal Jackson oversees the student achievement and growth, he emphasizes the significance of self-worth and acknowledging the best in oneself.

“Our kids got into every school around,” he said. “They’re in Paris, they’re in Israel, London; they’re at Harvard, Princeton, Yale; the list goes on and on and on. What I want to do is let kids know that they have to have pride in themselves, pride in their schools and pride in their communities.”

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