Bonding over the bonfire

View the original West Side Story post here.

Pumpkins, paint supplies, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate occupied the tables under the pavilion at Willow Creek Park. On Wednesday, Oct. 24 English Language Learner (ELL) students and teachers gathered at  the park to bond over roasting marshmallows and painting pumpkins. Victor, a black lab service dog, joined in on the fun as he romped around the field, playing fetch with any student that would pick up his slobbery tennis ball.

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Unlikely exercise companions

Originally published on the West Side Story on April 25, 2018. View the original post with pictures of the goats from Maddi Shinall here.

In the white tent on Lucky Star Farm, women gathered to practice yoga. There was no music; instead, the occasional bleating of animals interrupted the quiet. A participant might extend their leg and brush their bare foot against some fur, or raise their head from their yoga mat and come face to face with a farm animal. If they were lucky, they shared their mat with a four-legged creature. This doesn’t apply to most yoga classes, but that’s what people look forward to when they sign up for goat yoga.

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Permissive topics will stay in secretary’s contracts

Originally published on February 25, 2018 on the West Side Story website. View the original post with photos by Maddi Shinall here

An elementary student breaks his finger. A flustered high schooler forgets their locker combination. A misbehaving student needs a playmate. Who handles all these situations?

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Tragedy in Florida leads to activism in Johnson County

Originally posted on the West Side Story website on February 24, 2018. View the original post with Maddi Shinall here

Parkland and Iowa City are 1,442 miles away from each other, but they have been united, along with the rest of the country, in mourning the 17 lives lost in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The students from Parkland are advocating for more gun control and calling out politicians whose campaigns have been funded by the NRA, such as Marco RubioThese activists have inspired others across the country, especially high school students, to fight for safety and demand legislation to prevent these tragedies.

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Cultural proficiency team takes new approach to MLK day celebrations

Originally published on January 16, 2018 on the West Side Story website. I collaborated with Sophie Stephens on the article. View the original post with photos here.

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. led the equality movement in the South and made history for his work with minority group rights. But in recent years, students have expressed that they feel underrepresented, unnoticed or unwanted in school because of their race, gender identity, sexual preferences or religion.

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