My ACT Experience

by Amie Kabera, age 17

As a junior at La Follette High School, the majority of my school year was focused on preparing for the ACT college entrance exam. The ACT test plays a big role in determining college acceptance, in addition to GPA and other factors. As a student, it sometimes feels like it determines your entire future. Achieving a high score on the ACT greatly improves a student’s chance of being accepted to tougher universities or colleges. High scores can also mean scholarships and more financial aid. For me, scoring well on the ACT would allow me to branch out, leave Madison, thrive in my potential field, and to reach my ultimate goal of becoming a lawyer representing underserved people from diverse communities. [read more]

Amara Stovall Finds Success
as a CEO of Tomorrow

by Amie Kabera, age 17

Amara Stovall is an eight-grade student at Wright Middle School and student writer at Simpson Street Free Press. Amara has launched a business intended to change the lives of survivors affected by police brutality. Her business dream is now a reality.

At the age of 13, Amara Stovall joined a High School program called CEOs of Tomorrow. The program helps students create businesses that solve social issues. She was able to be in the program with a little help from her grandmother. [read more]

Restorative Justice Alternatives Will Keep Kids in the Classroom

by Kadjata Bah, age 14

The way that behavior is managed in schools can be crucial, especially in this time when “school-to-prison pipelines” are realities for many students. Schools are often quick to impose suspensions that leave students out of classrooms during school-day hours. This problem, however, does not impact all students equally. Across the country, Black students are three times as likely to be suspended than white students, according to findings of the Civil Rights Data Collection. Research shows that placing law enforcement officers in schools only adds to suspensions, expulsions, and even arrests. One way to challenge school-to-prison pipelines is to replace zero tolerance policies with Restorative Justice alternatives. [read more]

SSFP Student Wins Metal in
Karate at World Championship

by Leila Fletcher, age 16

Yoanna Hoskins is an eighth grader at Sennett Middle School and a reporter at Simpson Street Free Press. She is also a karate champion. In September she took part in the WAKO World Championship For Cadets & Juniors in Jesolo, Italy, and came home with a bronze medal.

Yoanna started taking karate lessons when she was four-years-old. Her parents wanted her to learn self-defense skills, so they enrolled her at Karate America in Cottage Grove. She has since transferred to Infinity Martial Arts in Fitchburg. Yoanna advanced through the belt system at a steady pace and earned her second degree black belt at age 12. [read more]

Learning to Be a Journalist at
Simpson Street Free Press

by Abigail Comerford, age 14

I remember the first time I entered the Capital Newspapers building next to my school. I remember seeing professional journalists at work and thinking about how I could be like them one day. At James Wright Free Press I received constructive criticism on my articles from editors and volunteers. This was hard to take at first. My ambition was to be a writer and, at the time, I thought I was fairly good at it. However, with time and effort, I was producing one or more articles every month, and this summer I produced even more.

I will admit, it did take some time to get used to not being able to choose what write about. Free Press editors usually pick assignments for our newer student reporters. They want us to write about things we study at school. But as I gained experience, the editors gave me the freedom to choose my own topics. [read more]

A Girl's Life in Vietnam: What the First
Amendment Means for My Family

by Virginia Quach, age 15

The forefathers of our democracy believed that “all men are created equal” and “are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.” While today these words incorporated into the Declaration of Independence might sound outdated, they are just as important as ever.

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights remains a remarkable document that makes the United States of America a beacon of hope for people all over the world. The First Amendment states that people are entitled to the freedoms of expression, religion and assembly, and to freedom of the press and the freedom to petition the government. [read more]

Yoanna Hoskins is an eighth grader at Sennett Middle School and a reporter at Simpson Street Free Press. She is also a karate champion. In September she took part in the WAKO World Championship For Cadets & Juniors in Jesolo, Italy, and came home with a bronze medal. [read more...]
The term "Doom Loop" describes a vicious cycle. An attempted solution makes a situation worse by not addressing the root of the problem. In finance, this refers to the boom-bust structure that leads to economic crises. Sometimes Madison uses the same doom loops many times before learning hard lessons. [read more...]
Some students don’t get the opportunity to show they’re advanced, at least not outside the realm of standardized tests. But there are other strategies that can help more students show their true potential. Studies suggest that low-achieving students perform better academically when they attend classes with their higher-achieving peers. This implies that students from disadvantaged backgrounds have the same potential to be advanced learners as their White peers. So, why aren’t there more students of color in advanced programs? [read more...]
I remember the first time I entered the Capital Newspapers building next to my school. I remember seeing professional journalists at work and thinking about how I could be like them one day. At James Wright Free Press I received constructive criticism on my articles from editors and volunteers. This was hard to take at first. My ambition was to be a writer and, at the time, I thought I was fairly good at it. However, with time and effort, I was producing one or more articles every month, and this summer I produced even more. [read more...]
Some students cannot read. What should be done to ensure that all students can read before they get to high school? This is, of course, a tough question. But it’s a question that needs to be asked. It’s sad but true, not all Madison students can read before they get to high school. In fact, in Madison Wisconsin in 2018, less than half of local students are proficient or advanced in reading. This is unacceptable. Too often in Madison we act far too slowly when the lives and futures of black and brown kids are at stake. Now is the time for urgent and immediate action. Extended-day, out-of-school time, opportunities focused on academics and reading will make immediate dents in local achievement gaps. [read more...]
he way that behavior is managed in schools can be crucial, especially in this time when “school-to-prison pipelines” are realities for many students. Schools are often quick to impose suspensions that leave students out of classrooms during school-day hours. This problem, however, does not impact all students equally. Across the country, Black students are three times as likely to be suspended than white students, according to findings of the Civil Rights Data Collection. Research shows that placing law enforcement officers in schools only adds to suspensions, expulsions, and even arrests. One way to challenge school-to-prison pipelines is to replace zero tolerance policies with Restorative Justice alternatives. [read more...]
The forefathers of our democracy believed that “all men are created equal” and “are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.” While today these words incorporated into the Declaration of Independence might sound outdated, they are just as important as ever. [read more...]
As a junior at La Follette High School, the majority of my school year was focused on preparing for the ACT college entrance exam. The ACT test plays a big role in determining college acceptance, in addition to GPA and other factors. As a student, it sometimes feels like it determines your entire future. Achieving a high score on the ACT greatly improves a student’s chance of being accepted to tougher universities or colleges. [read more...]
The Madison Metropolitan School District Vision 2030 Research Report lays out education objectives going forward. The report consists seems to focus largely on “soft skills,” such as work ethic, attitude, and social grace, rather than on core academic subjects. [read more...]
Amara Stovall is an eight-grade student at Wright Middle School and student writer at Simpson Street Free Press. Amara has launched a business intended to change the lives of survivors affected by police brutality. Her business dream is now a reality. [read more...]