Bronx Science’s 9th and 10th Graders Adjust to In-Person Learning

As Bronx Science returns from over a year of mostly remote instruction, both 9th and 10th graders are adjusting to a school environment they have never been in before.

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Benjamin Raab

Big Sibs Safwan Almobin ’22, Ahanaf Samin ’22, Ben Raab ’22, Harper Prentice ’22, and Yilin Manfredi ’22, along with guidance counselor Ms. Maylor, run an advisory session for homeroom B18.

Coming to the Bronx Science building for the first time has always been an adjustment for each ninth grade class since the school’s creation in 1938, and the 2021-2022 school year has proved to be no different. However, it is not every year that most of the sophomore class has also never been in the building before.

Last year, many Bronx Science students chose the ‘fully remote learning’ option due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, most of the current 9th and 10th graders at Bronx Science have not spent any time in the building until this academic year, when they returned to the building starting on Monday, September 13th, 2021. This has presented new challenges for both the underclassmen, who have to make a bigger adjustment to in-person learning, and for the administration, who have more students new to the building than usual, in order to help them transition to in-person learning and to a new building.

Sophomores in homeroom B18 ask questions during an Sophomore Advisory Session. (Benjamin Fishbein)

The Big Sibs program has traditionally been an important way to get the entering ninth grade class comfortable at Bronx Science. Last year, the program was completely online with Big Sibs interacting with ninth graders via Zoom or Discord. This year, the program has been expanded to serve both 9th and 10th grade students. An August 2021 Orientation Session was spread out into six different sessions in order to accommodate both grades. Advisory has also been expanded: Ninth Graders have it once a month in September 2021, November 2021, December 2021, January 2022, February 2022, April 2022, and May 2022, while Sophomores will have it in October 2021, November 2021, February 2022, and May 2022.

The members of Big Sibs have taken on extra responsibilities this year. “We now have both 9th and 10th-grade advisory sessions this year,” said Victoria Diaz ’22, a member of the Big Sibs’ Board, “so the Big Sibs members are taking on twice the amount of meetings, twice the amount of students, and basically twice the amount of responsibility.”

Big Sib Yilin Manfredi ‘22 helps a student during a Ninth Grade advisory session. (Benjamin Fishbein)

“I think the Big Sibs have been very open and willing to helping both grades this year, ninth graders and sophomores,” said Ben Raab ’22, a Big Sib for homerooms A17 and B17. “I see my younger self in a lot of the ‘lil Sibs’. I’ve enjoyed my time at Bronx Science, and I want to be able to help guide them along their transition so that by the time they’re seniors they too can reflect and feel good about the decisions that they have made during their time at Bronx Science.”

Next year, only the seniors will have experienced Bronx Science during pre-COVID years, and the year after that the entire student body will have started high school during the “new normal” of the pandemic years. It is hard to say how different the world will still be years after the pandemic’s start, but it will surely be a very gradual readjustment.

The Big Sibs program has traditionally been an important way to get the entering ninth grade class comfortable at Bronx Science.

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