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Inside CPS

News and Stories from across the District

Taking my Grades from Good to Great

07 December 2022

Kali says that it's easy to stay focused in school when she's interested in what she's learning. 

Barton Student Kali

By Kali W., Sixth-Grade Student at Barton Elementary School

Whenever I feel like I’m getting off-track academically, I always think about a piece of advice my dad gave me. He told me that it’s important to stay moving in the right direction, which is straight, not right, not left. That encourages me to stay focused and not get distracted by any drama. 

I’ve found that it’s easy to stay focused at school when I’m interested in what I’m learning. This year, I’m loving science because we’re currently learning about the different parts of the head and other areas of the human body. I also like history. I’m especially interested in learning more about African American history to draw connections between slavery and segregation and our world today. 

My goal for the school year is to get straight As, and my progress report shows that I’m almost there. My dad also encourages me to be a better person than I was the day before, so that’s the advice I’m going to use to take that last step forward academically. 

Math is another subject I enjoy, but I’m struggling a little bit with it. I’ve been asking my teacher for help, and my dad has been helping me as well. Their help has given me the confidence to do the work on my own. 

If another student is struggling with a subject, I would encourage them to find an adult that they trust, either at school or at home, and talk to them about the work they are having difficulty with. You can also talk to this adult about other issues you are having at school that are not related to academics. 

A sign stating "The standard is excellence today and tomorrow"

I also think it’s important that students do not put too much pressure on themselves. I always try to set aside moments to breathe and clear my mind. 

Another way I take the pressure off is to balance my academics with activities that I enjoy. I’m involved in martial arts, majorette dance, basketball, and student council. I love staying busy and occupied. 

I enjoy singing as well. Last school year, we had a talent show, and I won with my performance of “Lost Boy” by Ruth B. I would love to be a singer when I grow up, just like Ariana Grande who I think is so pretty and so talented. 

Even though I’m thinking about the future, I know that I need to stay focused on sixth grade. One of the most challenging parts of sixth grade is the social side of school, because it’s easy to feel lost in the mix. My dad told me to just believe in myself, and I’ve been using that as a starting place for connecting with my peers. 

I’ve even been building relationships with some girls in my grade who came to Barton not too long ago. I found the confidence to have a conversation with them and get to know how they were doing and what they were interested in. 

One sign of feeling lost in sixth grade is that you start to copy what other people are doing or what is considered popular rather than just being yourself. My dad has shown me the importance of being myself because he told me that if you cheat who you are, you can get far, but you can’t get ahead. 

When I came to Barton three years ago, I stayed in my zone and didn’t talk to too many people. But, now that I’m in sixth grade, I’ve found some cool people to hang out with and feel confident being myself. That confidence also shows when I ask my teacher for help with my work or excel in one of my many after-school activities. 

I feel confident that the rest of the school year is going to be successful, and I believe that I will be able to keep going straight and be a better person with each new day. 

Kali says that one of her favorite parts of being a student at Barton is how the school goes above and beyond to celebrate different holidays. You can learn more about the school here.

Barton Elementary School sign

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