Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

At the end of their final Collection, the class of 2024 streamed onstage for a final dance, and shouts of SEN-IORS!
Class of 2024's Last Collection [Brief & Video]
With heartfelt speeches and whole-class choreography, seniors said farewell to their teachers and underclassmen.
Members of Friends Schools class of 2025 pose for a photo before their first prom.
Photos, Dancing, Memories - and Don't Forget the Food [Brief]
Missed prom? A Quill correspondent and first-time attendee recaps everything you need to know.
Friends juniors prepare for the 2023 Homecoming dance.
'Back to the Future' at Friends School [Brief]
Homecoming 2023 threw students from the '80s to the future, as DJ Ok got everyone on their feet, and even faculty busted a move.
Fans line up for snowballs from a Kona Ice truck during a break in the rain on Scarlet and Grey day.
Scarlet & Grey Day Hits the Quarter Century Mark [Brief]
On a recent rainy Saturday, Park and Friends School sports teams faced off in a series of contests, cheered on by hundreds of soggy fans.
On the final day of Spirit Week, seniors dressed in Friends School colors - scarlet and grey - for the annual Pep Rally.
A Silly, Spirited Week [Brief]
Leading up to Rivalry Day, students dressed up to show their school spirit - and sense of humor.
A senior accesses the Common App landing page for the University of Delaware. As college deadlines approach, the class of 24 is sleepy and stresses.
Seniors Feel College Pressure as Early Deadlines Approach [Brief]
The mood in senior hall is tense, as sleep-starved teens scramble to finish their essays - along with a heavy load of mid-semester schoolwork.
The Morgan State University Marching Band processes down the Friends School driveway, lined with cheering crowds of students, from preschoolers to 12th graders.
In a Year of Tragedy, Morgan Band Concert a Particular Gift [Brief]
Friends students expressed gratitude for the marching band's energetic performance - especially so soon after a shooting on the Morgan State University campus injured five students.
In Orioles fan and 12th grade dean Josh Carlins office, Friends memorabilia and a recent Baltimore Sun front page celebrating the teams winning season have pride of place.
Fans Dress for MLB Success on Friends' 'Orange Thursday' [Brief]
Led this season by an exciting core of young, up-and-coming stars, the Orioles have won back the hearts of many Friends School fans.
Award-winning novelist Jenny Offill visits the 10th grade English class of Rob Traviesso - her own former student.
Upper School Author Visit Brings Reunion [Brief]
Novelist Jenny Offill spent a day on campus meeting with students at the invitation of her own former student - English teacher Rob Travieso.
Senior Maeve Reichert, head of the literary magazine Mock Turtle, talks to potential 9th grade recruits during the 2023 clubs fair.
Highlights From Upper School Clubs Fair [Brief]
Dozens of clubs showed their stuff and courted new members at the high-energy, candy-fueled gathering on the quad.

Academic Alerts and Why They Suck [Opinion]

Hopefully teachers will take the move to open gradebook in January as an opportunity to stop sending so many stressful official notes.
Gabby Burns
In this photo illustration, a Friends student’s official note count is revealed (name removed to protect the innocent).

In my opinion, Academic Alerts and official notes suck. I understand that students are supposed to be notified when there is a concern for us at Friends School, and yes, these notifications about low grades are helpful for us when trying to avoid failure.

But why do they have to go to our parents right away? Notifying the student first should be enough for us to fix our problems. If we don’t get the problem fixed after receiving the alert, the concern can go to our parents then.

We are high schoolers. We don’t need to be treated like we are in Lower School. Notifying our parents adds to the stress of high school. It doesn’t always help motivate me and the other people who receive these official notes.

Plus, sometimes we get alerts for things that are out of our control. For example, when I had Covid last year, I got multiple academic alerts when I didn’t do some of my work because I was really sick. When we are sick, teachers do not need to send us notes. We know we have work to do. But I am not going to do it if I feel like I am dying in my bed sick. Some teachers just don’t understand that.

Sometimes official notes can help motivate me to do better. For example, Friendly Notes are always nice to get. They are usually reminders or compliments from teachers, but they come in the same format as Academic Alerts. So, when I get a Friendly Note, sometimes I automatically assume it’s bad – then it turns out it is really motivating and helpful to read. When I receive a compliment or something nice from one of my teachers that I am doing well in their class, I get more motivated to keep trying hard. 

Academic Alerts make me feel like a dumb student. I do not like receiving them unless I know what I did and feel like it deserves one. In my opinion, sending them to our parents first without our teachers warning us or talking with us about the problem first, is an ineffective communication tool. Overall, I wish Academic Alerts and Notes of Concern were sent less often, and only for very big problems – not just missing homework.  

In January, our school will switch to an open grade book. This means students will be able to see their grades in real time, for the rest of the year. But parents won’t.

Hopefully this means the number of Academic Alerts being sent out will decrease a lot. The open grade book will solve a lot of problems, because students will be able to see everything they need to turn in and how much it is affecting their grades so that they can fix the problem immediately. I hope this convinces teachers that they can trust us to try to solve our own problems before alerting our parents.

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About the Contributor
Gabby Burns
Gabby Burns, Contributor
Gabby, class of '24, is an active member of the varsity field hockey team. She is club co-head of the Jewish Student Union, and is involved in many other clubs at school, including Quaker Nation.
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