Madison Fernandez, ‘17
With the new school year came new members of BHSEC’s class of 2017. Approximately 30 students transferred into 10th grade this year, making it the largest transfer group ever. When having that many new students, it is important to make sure that they each get placed into the appropriate classes that match the required courses. Accounting for so many students had led to some problems. The issue was not that administration didn’t know how to handle transfers, but they didn’t know how to handle so many of them at the same time because BHSEC has never had this many at once before.
The main goal is to make the transfers feel comfortable in the BHSEC community. Realistically, it is impossible to seamlessly fit in to a group of diverse people that have already known each other for a year. “It’s like there are sub-grades within the grade,” 10th grader Kyle Greene said. She said that the “new girl” feeling is lost because she is transferring in with so many other people. They have to adjust to not only the grade and the school, but to each other. For many of them, it was not long-term plan to come to BHSEC. Some recently moved to New York City or transferred in just a few weeks before school started.
Sometimes, the transfers feel separated from the rest of the 10th grade. They are split up into their own advisories consisting of only transfers led by Dr. Gamper and Dr. Freund. Here, they talk about their adjustment and problems they specifically have, such as with classes. The issue with transfer-only advisories is that because advisory is a bonding experience, they feel like they are only getting to know each other well. They were separated at first to give them individual attention and help them become comfortable and adjust to BHSEC. However, integration amongst the other advisories will start soon.
Another issue is that many transfer students did not take Physics or American History in 9th grade like BHSEC teaches. Because of this, some are placed into freshman classes. “I’m friends with freshmen and sophomores,” said 10th grader Maria Broom, “but we can relate to the freshmen because they’re new to BHSEC, too.”
Other scheduling issues have included being placed in world drumming classes during 8th period. Since the transfers were not able to choose their art at the end of freshman year, many were placed into the class that had space. Since this class is later in the day, some students have free periods when the rest of the grade doesn’t, making it harder to spend time with each other.
The faculty and students are trying to make the adaption to BHSEC easier for these students. A few weeks ago, a Student Union-run transfer meeting was created so that transfer students could voice their concerns and brainstorm solutions. Many transfer students did say that things at school are going well for them. Right at the beginning of the year, Writing and Thinking was helpful in mixing the transfer students with the other grades, allowing them to meet new people. Joining clubs has allowed them to bond with others, even if they don’t share classes or frees throughout the day. The fact that they took different classes last year hasn’t affected them much either. As Maria said, “The teachers care about us and how we’re doing with our work.”
The BHSEC administration is not trying to single out any group of students through these methods. It is important to provide specific support for students acclimating to a new environment. Fiona Brackley, a 10th grader, said, “I don’t feel it is singling out — it’s an attempt, and a solid one, to make sure the transfers feel okay so far and making them feel part of the community.” These students are, in fact, now members of the BHSEC community. Despite a few issues at the beginning of the year, the 10th grade transfer students have successfully assimilated into our school environment.