New Superpods Mix Schools but Separate Friends


Henry Carson, staff writer

The effects of the two school’s merge have been significant in the lives of students.

Whether it be different teaching styles, grade weights and work amounts, or different lunch times that throw students off until their fourth period waiting for the sweet release of a BLT five periods away, the merge has thrown everyone off. But one of the most significant effects students report is the impact on friend groups.

This year, the two schools’ students are entirely mixed together across the two schools’ grades and there are “superpods” of 150 students who do not share a lunch wave with the other pods, thereby limiting the social interactions those students can have with their “old” school friends.

To have friends who care about your success and who you are is comforting and supportive; these friends play roles in your mental health. The loss or separation from friends might have bigger implications than just having different lunch periods.

“The reaction to separation depends on the student. Some can be overwhelmed,” said Ms. Jessica Rabine, an eighth grade guidance counselor, “They can be distracted in class while worrying about losing friends, which could lead to missing classwork.”

Research shows that kids with a positive social life do better in school and later in life. They can help a child develop the social skills like cooperation, problem solving, and communication. Losing this safety net could not only affect academics, but could also affect the emotional life of a student.

One who does not have a safety web in the form of a teacher or his/her parent or guardian could rely on having friends who can help with how they are feeling throughout the day. Losing that could mean emotional stability which could lead to worsening problems throughout the school day in terms of academics.

“Last year’s approach of running two separate schools under one roof simply would not work this year with the influx,” said Dr. Adam Rosen, principal of BMS, He understands the importance of friendships for students, “[One affect of separation is] loneliness, which can and often does exact a toll on mental health and emotional states.

Middle school students need to form strong friendships so they have a core of trusted peers to share their thoughts and feelings,” said Dr. Rosen.

As tough as having groups mixed and sometimes separated, however, there can be benefits to the separation, both academically and mentally.

“It’s also important for middle schoolers to remain fluid and open to forming new friendships and acquaintances while investing in existing relationships,” says Dr. Rosen, “ Based on many discussions I’ve had with students and parents, I know that there is a large population of students in all three grades that are thrilled by the combination of the schools since they now can see their friends from across town every day.”
Some being thrilled with the change and others dismayed, this year has started with a somewhat rocky start.

While the faculty and students are hard at work to get through this year, and get the same level of education, safety and friendships as past years, the administration does realize it’s going to be tough.

“It’s painful to me as principal that we can’t have all our students eat lunch together to reinforce bonds and strengthen existing and burgeoning friendships,” says Dr. Rosen. “Having a support group means that one is not alone in this school and ultimately not alone in this world.”