Ready for Launch

Kiersten Hacker, Editor

As we launch into the new school year, new beginnings are prevalent in all aspects at Farmingdale High School. Whether it be clubs, classes, sports, or making new friends, students gain a fresh start to take advantage of all the opportunities available. Beginning this year, LAUNCH (Learners Access Unique New Channels for Help), a new program offered in the upstairs library, is accessible to extend help for all students to grow through learning. Ready to develop alongside the students, the space is a wonderful addition to our learning experience. 

Help has always been available in the form of POWER time, homework helpers, Regents review, or even studying with a teacher on hall duty, but these do not always work with the schedule of all students. Due to responsibilities at home, work, clubs, or maybe no free periods in school, students are not always readily available to seek the help needed. 

We needed something else, something different. Dr. Thompson, FHS principal, and Dr. Brennan, Assistant Superintendent for Innovation and Organizational Development, trusted the opinions and input of our district’s teachers and helped create an expansion from the successes of POWER Time. And now, LAUNCH has taken flight.

Open all periods of the day, LAUNCH is a beautiful area equipped with new furniture and technology conducive to providing the best education and a positive, unique environment. While many classrooms are characterized by organized, sometimes alphabetized rows, LAUNCH is different. According to Ms.Rossi, the full-time LAUNCH teacher, “We find value in who kids are: not industrialized, in alphabetical order, or told to sit down, be quiet, and take notes. Different channels of learning can heighten motivation, interest, and understanding in students as well as help those who may not always function best in a traditional, industrialized classroom setting. Students are free to come any time, taking ownership and responsibility as they sign in when they enter. From there, they set goals, receive help, and achieve success. 

At LAUNCH, children must be honest with themselves and allow room for personal growth. Goals are set as something to work towards achieving, and students see that change is truly plausible. Honesty with themselves about current habits like copying homework, poor organization, doing homework on the bus, is a necessary part of the program in order to improve beyond the grades. 

The goal of LAUNCH is to continue providing students with empowerment and confidence. Sitting in school all day listening to adults at all times, the feeling of personal strength can get lost, taking drive and confidence with it. Ms.Rossi said, “I want students to feel empowered and improve their sense of self. We built this space to show them that we care, that we value who they are, and to create a beautiful setting.” Too often receiving help has a negative stigma, but it is a necessary part of the process that should never be shied away from. LAUNCH will change the narrative, reflecting a positive attitude around help where educators value students, students value educators, and students value each other. 

At LAUNCH, school subjects can work together as well. Marrying topics together aids students’ understanding that there are no restrictions to what they can study and learn. Engineers must work with artists, scientists must work with writers, and there will never be a mathematician that does not incorporate some aspects from another area of study. Although interests may be different, functioning together connects fields that are related in order to produce the most successful end product.

When given the chance to take charge of the way they receive help and improve their habits, students will flourish in this new environment. The program is off to a great start and students should take advantage of the opportunities so ready for them to grasp. Get ready to LAUNCH this year!