MEET MR. KAPP, OUR ERUDITE ENGLISH TEACHER:
Hi everyone. I am Nick Kapp and I like the quiet life outside of work. I suppose this statement contradicts many of the the loud things I enjoy, namely motorcycles and rock and roll. But really, most of the time I like cooking and working in my garden. My wife and I landscaped our yard with native plants and a selective group of fruit trees. I also spend a lot of my free time working on my other plant related passion: bonsai. As a member of two local clubs, Baikoen Bonsai Club and Santa Anita Bonsai Society, I’ve been prepping a tree for several years for submission to our Winter Silhouette show held at the LA Arboretum in January. Someday I may be ready. The parallels between nurturing plants and human development are abundant and the metaphor of a classroom as a garden speaks to me. This year I am also renewing my National Board Certification.
Busy time, as always, around the classroom. My 10th grade classes are finishing up the magical realism of Like Water For Chocolate and will be presenting their analysis of the novel thorough various literary lenses. My 11th grade American Literature students are working on The Grapes of Wrath and a year-long Anthology writing project all related to a central question of personal importance that they created. My AP Language and Composition students are approaching the final leg of their Rhetorical Analysis portfolio with a political cartoon of their own design and the best rhetorical analysis essay they have done from this semester so far.
SAS students are the best on campus, hands down, for many reasons. Without a doubt they lead in energy and authenticity. Even if I have to nudge and implore, the students will deliver. They are hungry for success and knowledge and are willing to put in the time to achieve their goals. They are willing to push their thinking deeper and explore topics and concepts from all sorts of angles. And they are funny!
This year I hope to get another chance to share an educational experience outside of the classroom with my students. Last year we saw Independent Shakespeare’s production of Julius Caesar, which was fun and helped build a greater sense of the play itself, as well as our community.
Additionally, my 11th grade American Literature students need to conduct an interview with an individual with some knowledge or experience related to their Anthology’s area of focus. If any parent is willing, or knows of someone who would be, please let me know. I will compile a list of topics so people can know what is needed. I want to help connect the students with experts in their fields.
Marshall is truly a representative cross slice of our city, and in turn our state and country. I greatly appreciate observing all of our students working together successfully. Yes, there are tensions and challenges, but they get worked out. Our students give me hope for our society’s future in these troubling times.
MEET MS. KASSAM-CLAY, OUR INSPIRED WORLD AND U.S. HISTORY TEACHER:
Hello SAS Families!
I’m Ms. Kassam-Clay, aka Ms. K-C. I am a Philly girl, missing the autumn weather, but still very excited for Halloween costume. Last year I was Napoleon, but I have plans for another powerful figure this year… My husband and I just bought a house, which my 1 year old and 3 year old have been helping to decorate for Halloween. This mostly consists of them trying to bathe and sleep with their pumpkins. This year has been great so far. I was particularly impressed with the Sunrise Movement JMHS Club students that organized the climate strike rally attended by Mayor Garcetti and Superintendent Beutner.
In Honors U.S. History, the students participated in a Bill of Rights Survivor exercise. They had to defend and vote on the one most essential right, freedom, or protection guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Freedom of press had an unprecedented win! In Honors World History, students have been taking on the roles of historical figures. First they participated in a Socratic Seminar as an Enlightenment philosopher, then they simulated the French Revolution by trying to survive tax season with varying amounts of wealth. Emotions were felt and rebellions were planned.
SAS students are passionate not only about their own opinions and interests – they take joy in seeing their classmates nerd out. The Bill of Rights Survivor team defending the freedom of speech used their own classmates speeches at the climate strike rally to argue for its relevance in their lives. Students were gleeful to see their peers show up for the Socratic Seminar prepared with historically accurate accents and costumes.
In U.S. History we will be learning about the stories of Pocahontas, Thanksgiving, and the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of Native Americans past and present. In World History, we will be evaluation Toussaint L’Ouverture as a leader during the Haitian Revolution.
I love how engaged students are with their school and each other, especially how these connections bridge their academic and social worlds. The Asian Student Union meetings that I see in my classroom every week are a great example of this. One week they are teaching their peers about the concept of the model minority myth and the next they are celebrating with karaoke.
MEET MS. MKRTCHYAN, OUR BRILLIANT BIOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY TEACHER!
I am Ms. Mkrtchyan, the Honors Biology and Honors Physiology teacher. I am also a proud alumni of John Marshall High School. Throughout my 19 year teaching career, I have enjoyed the great diversity of students at our school.
This year our Honors Biology students made a great impression on me with their analysis of human impacts on biodiversity. They researched and presented their claims, with supporting evidence and analysis with reasoning as they addressed the major contributors in the loss of biodiversity and the impact on the ecosystem as a whole. They made surprising discoveries about how much can a single species can affect an entire ecosystem, as when we analyzed how the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park can impact the course of rivers.
It is a pleasure and honor to work with SAS students and see their knowledge and abilities grow. My students develop as critical thinkers, able to participate in self and peer evaluations, as well as exciting discussions and debates pertaining to the many moral and ethical issues in science.
There are many exciting projects that I look forward to introducing to my students. Parents, get ready to see your children baking bread and making yogurt as they study the cellular respiration, and later, blending strawberries to extract DNA from the cell.
I always look forward to introducing my students to new concepts and information, and to watch them grow and develop as students and young adults.
HAVE YOU MET MR. GREEN, OUR TERRIFIC NEW CHEMISTRY TEACHER?
He described what’s happening in his classes for us:
We are just wrapping up our thermo-chemistry unit — “Heat in the Earth System.” This is a fun unit because we look at the chemistry of heat through the lens of Earth Science. This is part of the NGSS 3 course model that covers some aspects of Earth Science, so we get to talk about earthquakes and volcanoes.
My SAS students are a great combination of being studious and concerned about grades and also curious, social and a lot of fun. I’m getting so many great questions in class about chemistry. One group had a great discussion about the helium shortage. It turns out that helium is very abundant in the universe but not so much on earth. It’s only formed on earth through radioactive decay of rocks.
Now we’re getting into the more traditional parts of chemistry such as atomic structure and conservation of mass. I have a great lab where we make Rice Krispie treats but the recipe amounts are in molecules and atoms and the students convert to grams. We’re going to need a lot of Rice Krispies, marshmallows and chocolate chips…
Marshall HS is so culturally diverse. I love it. I think the students learn as much from each other as they do from their teachers.
Last summer I was lucky enough to do a three-week tour of the U.K. with my rock band. I’ve also been playing with the Hollow Trees family folk music band for over ten years now. Next year my son will begin high school.