Extra Stuff: Presentation Day

I attended the presentation session on Thursday. I was very impressed with the outcome of the presentation. Students presented their mapping commonplace assignments on a presentation screen. The presentations was very organized. I especially enjoyed viewing John’s presentation because he hit all the key points of a successful mapping commonplace assignment. I also felt like he was very passionate and proud of his work. A lot of these presentation implemented a lot of multimodal modes such as pictures, hyperlinks, videos, etc. Overall, I feel like many of the work presented was very creative.

Standardized Testing

Teaching to the test is not a helpful to students, and should not be a preached practice in public school systems. That sort of “to the test” teaching is replacing good teaching practices with “drill and kill” rote learning. Standardized testing can increase stress, which stress is the body’s response to physical, emotional or mental pressure placed on it. According to Nicky Hayes, editor of Foundations of Psychology, he claimed stress may induce triggers in the autonomic nervous and endocrine system. Hayes claimed that common responses to exam stress would include disturbed sleep patterns, tiredness, worries, irregular eating habits, increased infections, and inability to concentrate. Also, Hayes studied cognitive impairment and reported decreased memory capacity in stressed individuals. Standardized testing is increasing the levels of stress in individuals taking exams and stress can produce inaccurate results for test takers.

Standardized testing is an inaccurate form of of measuring a student’s intelligence. Not every student is learning the same material or is placed on the same level of education. As well, an individual student may not learn or comprehend material at the same pace as another student. Standardized testing results is supposed reflect on whether a student comprehended the materials learned or was supposed to have learned in the classroom environment.



Hayes, Nicky. Foundations of Psychology: an Introductory Text. London, Thomson Learning, 2000.

Commonplace 12 Policy Brief

Initially, I have always taken an interest in children welfare. I plan to devout the rest of my life working with children in nonprofit volunteerism work and within the health industry. Within this commonplace assignment, I took one of my poly briefs that I have written and planned to analyze it. This policy brief addresses school based health centers within Washington DC schools and ways to improve them. I discussed how there needs to be more programs to ensure students receive proper care. As well, these programs need to ensure students with low income background are receiving the proper care needed in order to remain healthy such as free vaccinations in public school settings. This brief is a prime example of how passionate I am pertaining to children in my local community. All children should have the opportunity to access free health care, especially in the learning environment.


Advocating for District of Columbia Public and Charter Schools to                                                                                                         administer vaccinations and improve school-based health centers services


Executive Summary:

Administering school-based vaccinations are appropriate for District of Columbia Public and Charter schools especially since there is a presence of school-based health centers (SBHC). School-based health centers are care centers within schools that provide therapeutic counseling, school nursing, and aid from social workers. SBHCs are found in all types schools, according to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). As stated from the AFT, the primary purpose of an SBHC in a school is to improve access to necessary health care services for hard to reach and low-income students, who may refrain from required care. Several SBHCs in the US have administered vaccinations to students and doing the same for District of Columbia Public and Charter schools is necessary.



In the District of Columbia, health physicals and oral health assessments are required annually.  Students also must be current with their immunizations to attend school. If the proper health documents are not returned, students are not permitted within school premises until proper paperwork is received. This is a problem because hundreds of students in the District of Columbia miss school due to their lack of reported health documents. Eventually, students become behind due to the many missed days of school and possibly are held back.


Responses and Policy Options:

School-based health centers (SBHC) are found in all types of schools. As stated previously, the primary purpose for SBHCs is to improve access to necessary health care services for hard to reach and low-income students, who may refrain from required care. SBHCs provide services at various levels, including at individual, small-group, classroom and school levels, but generally SBHCs provide therapeutic counseling, school nursing, and aid from social workers. However, SBHCs are not restricted to just providing the services listed. Other services include:

  • Immunizations and vision and hearing screenings
  • Oral and dental hygiene services
  • Laboratory and prescription services
  • Treatment of acute illnesses
  • Access to mental health providers, counseling and behavioral risk assessments
  • Medication monitoring
  • Medical records review
  • Implementation of Individualized Health Plans
  • Development of Individualized Education Plans
  • Enrollment into public insurance programs.

As well, 67% of SBHCs provide aid to students outside of school and office hours. However, District of Columbia public and charter schools do not provide all of the services listed above. Evidence has shown schools that have provided full SBHCs services have improved student attendance rates, reduced out of class time and early dismissal rates, fostered positive learning environments, improved parent engagement, improved access to mental health, lowered depression rates, and provided confidentiality services.


Providing all of these services would improve District of Columbia public and charter schools and funding is not that difficult to obtain. SBHCs receive a variety of funding sources, including public and private insurance, donations and grants.


The Academy’s Position:

SBHCs address many of the challenges to health care access for students. Since, SBHCs are located where students spend a large amount of their time, scheduling and transportation barriers are low. SBHCs also help with financial challenges by helping to enroll eligible students in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program and also offering free services for uninsured students. Also, SBHCs increase youth’s’ health care use, specifically for sexual health issues, drug or alcohol problems, and mental health problems, by providing convenient, immediate, and confidential care.

Surveys from students, parents, and pediatricians show that the majority of them are supportive of SBHCs and believe SBHCs increase access to healthcare for youth. In addition, authors from several studies documented that students who use SBHCs have more care visits and fewer emergency department visits than compared with those who do not use SBHCs. Overall, the American Academy of Pediatrics is in full support for SBHCs and recognize the benefits of having a SBHC with full services.


All District of Columbia council represents should meet together and consider making the immediate changes.














Commonplace 11 Gender Inclusive bathrooms

This sign is a clear indication that American University is working towards having a progressive and inclusive environment. Having an inclusive environment has always been an ultimate goal for American University, especially within this year where many controversial issues such diversity, race, religion, etc. have arose. A college environment should be a place where  students and staff members feel safe and welcomed and the school is trying to do so through the bathrooms. Using terms such as “inclusive” is supposed to allude to this idea of feeling welcomed and individuality acknowledgment. I feel as though using that term also makes people feel appreciated, which was a term used within this flier multiple times.

Also, this flier acknowledges change and how potentially people sharing a bathroom is for the better with the use of the lines, “Sharing a bathroom could feel new and different”. Using the lines was smart since not everyone might be comfortable with a gender inclusive bathroom, but acknowledging the upcoming change and appreciating the empathy being received.  
I think it is good American University is incorporating gender inclusive bathrooms, especially since there are people who do and do not self identify with a gender. Having these bathrooms will feel like there is less pressure and possible de-stigmatizes gender stereotypes within certain environments.

Slowly Breathing Out

For this common place assignment, I chose to do something a little bit different. I am sharing a poem I recently wrote, which describes holding in pain and mixed feelings.





      Holds Breath In

   Don’t know if ready to breath out

Inhaling mixed emotions;


   Urging to say something, but couldn’t.

  Inhaling the arguments,

The drama


Constantly trying to stay out

       Still getting dragged in


   Inhaling the negative surroundings,

Bad vibes

   Trying to keep afloat,

Still drowning.

       Inhaling worries


Afraid people will know

But surely will find out

Inhaling the accusations


Thinking you owe the world an explanation,

But really don’t.

      Slowly Breathing Out

Psalms 37:4

A few months ago I found this dollar lying around on the ground of a laundromat. I picked it up and was ready to use it to buy a snack from the vending machine. Before inserting the dollar into the machine, I noticed there was a small inscription on the side of the dollar, which stated, “Psalms 37:4”. Initially, I thought it was weird finding a bible verse on a dollar bill. I immediately pulled out my phone and looked up the verse. Psalms 37:4 states, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. For a few minutes, I stood there in dismay and confusion. This was a period in my life where I slowly was losing touch with God and I found that dollar during that period. I wondered whether this was a coincidence or a message. I didn’t if there were more dollars out there with that same exact bible verse written out. I showed the dollar to my mom and she thought this was a message from God. I am not sure why that dollar and verse came into my life. I have always thought that it was weird that specific verse on was written on that dollar. That verse specifies that God is around when you give him a chance and appreciate his works.

Shida Shoes

These sandal-like shoes known to Eritreans as “shida” or “congos” are the staple of Eritrean culture, politics, and fashion. To outsiders, they seem like simple unsupportive shoes, but these flexible sandals are more than that. During the 1960s’, the peak of the Eritrean Ethiopian war conflict, Eritrean nationalist and soldiers wore the shoes during the struggle for independence. When a person wore the shoes, civilians automatically knew they were a fighter. Many of the Eritrean soldiers didn’t have a proper uniform at the time, but the shoes were worn by soldiers. The shoes became a part of the soldier uniform and essentially became a symbol of freedom for Eritreans. These shoes had many benefits such as its flexibility and many openings for the feet to breathe. As well, repairs were very easy. Whenever the shoe ripped, soldier burned the plastic pieces of the shoes together. The shoes were used again by soldiers during the 1998 war against Ethiopia. Now the shoes are popular amongst society as a fashion staple and historic symbol. There is a Shida statue located in Asmara dedicated to the soldiers who have fought for Eritrea’s independence. As an Eritrean, I believe it is important to know the significance of the shoes, especially since Western Society may not understand the importance. These shoes are a reminder of our Eritrean independence and struggles made. Unfortunately, Western Society has their own alteration of the shoes called “jellies” and lack historical significance and cultural appropriation.

Beckett’s Try Again

Samuel Beckett has once stated “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Published within his “Worstward Ho!” novel, Beckett urges reader to continue to not not give up readily, but continuously make efforts. Beckett does not specify why to to keep trying. However, it is safe to assume that he is sending an underlying message that he wants readers to learn from mistakes, become stronger, and push forward. The way Beckett sends the message is very interesting and it seems as though he is asking someone. If he took the DC IC approach, Beckett’s statement would not have the same effect. The conversation approach Beckett took seems as though he is trying to be a friend. A friend will encourage you to keep pushing forward.

Semitic Linguistic Group in Eritrea

Tribes within the Semitic group relate to the Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic cultures and languages. The Tigrinya and Tigre tribes are under the Semitic group. The Tigrinya and Tigre are similar to each other, especially in religion and social structure. Both tribes are more alike to each other compared to the other tribes. Many of the people within both tribes are farmers and/or shopkeepers. The Tigrinya and Tigre tribes generally get along since there are similarities, but do not get along with the Nilotic group. The Nilotic group consists of the Nara and Kunama tribes. The Nara and Kunama tribes have very different political and cultural views compared to the Tigrinya and Tigre. The Nara and Kunama tribes inhabited Eritrean land longer than the Tigrinya and Tigre tribes. The Tigrinya tribe have tried to influence the Kunama tribe to conform to their views. An example, would be dress wear. Typically, people of the Kunama tribe roam around the area with limited clothing, due to the culture and extreme weather surrounding the inhabited land and the Tigrinya tribe enforced more of the usage of clothing. Overall, the Tigre and Tigrinya tribes do not really have issues with the other tribes/groups.

Could Swindoll be Right?

According to renowned Pastor Charles Swindoll, author of “The Grace Awakening”, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. After reading Swindoll’s statement, I questioned many of my life choices and how those decisions came about. I have always believed that whatever you give in life comes back in return. Swindoll’s statement agrees with my viewpoint. Though, I think it’s very interesting that Swindoll uses the percentage to explain his viewpoint. Before reading his quote, I never really though how a reaction can impact situations and make certain situations better or worse. Yes, life can throw curve balls and yes there are obstacles in the way. However, the reaction or the way you approach particular situations can cause an aftereffect. No matter how bad an issue can be and no matter how badly you want to change it, it might be the attitude you give. I feel as though the use of the exaggerated percentage does a good job of getting the point and message across.