Posts Tagged ‘ arizona ’

Envirothon Takes First!

By Amanda Bertsch
On the weekend of April 1st, 60 Arizona high school students gathered at the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Center. The students were there to participate in the Arizona Envirothon competition, an ecology challenge.
The Envirothon competition has four areas of testing. In aquatic ecology, students test water samples and answer questions about water conservation concepts. In soils and land use, students test soils for texture, chemical content, and color, and use land use booklets to determine best land management practices. In forestry, students use National Park Service equipment to identify trees and determine uses for various types of lumber, and in wildlife, students identify pelts, skulls, photos, and habitat ranges for species.
Each year also has a special topic. This year the competition centered around sustainable agriculture and land use, meaning that the students had two hours to prepare a presentation on the management of a hypothetical farm with a host of issues. They synthesized a thick packet of information into a 10-minute presentation.
Ten Tri-City Prep students participated in this year’s competition, forming two teams. Amanda Bertsch captained a team of Kaleb Lyonnais, Kim Zamora-Delgado, Brianna D’Angelo, and Ethan Krafft, while Tieran Rashid captained a team of Audrey Guess, Julia Goswick, Deven Kohler, and Natalie D’Angelo.
“It truly felt like a team and professional experience,” Tieran Rashid said, adding “we had a lot of fun.”
Bertsch’s team took home 1st in aquatic ecology, 1st in forestry, 2nd in wildlife, and 3rd in soils and land use. They also won the first place overall, meaning they will represent Arizona in the North American Envirothon competition in Baltimore this summer. This is the second time Tri-City has won the top award but the first time the school will be attending the North American competition.


TCP’s Best-Kept Secret

By Amanda Bertsch

envirothon students

TCP’s Envirothon students show off their plaques.

What do eating bad lasagna, playing with soil, and hiking with rattlesnakes have in common? This Friday and Saturday, 60 Arizona high school students found out.

Envirothon is a North American (US and Canada) ecology competition. Students in teams of five complete written and practical tests in soils and land use, aquatics, and wildlife/forestry. They also have two hours to prepare a solution to a problem based around the year’s topic (this year, invasive species), which is presented to a panel of judges.

Envirothon has often been called Tri-City’s best-kept secret, and not without cause. Many balk at the idea of doing tests and public speaking on a weekend (not to mention getting up early), but Envirothon has an extremely high returning student rate for a reason. The competition is both fun and fast-paced, with plenty of opportunities to just enjoy the outdoors. Continue reading

Is there Any Merit to the AzMERIT?

By Amanda Bertsch

Note: the opinions expressed in this article are not those of Denobis staff, Tri-City College Prep, or any other body except the author.


On April fourth to the seventh, more than three quarters of Tri-City’s students will be taking the new AzMERIT. Why? No one seems to know.

Nearly everyone agrees that last year’s limited AzMERIT testing was an unmitigated disaster, paralleled only by Common Core’s PARCC test. Students complained that the test was far too easy but strangely worded, with questions that didn’t make sense and answers that, well, didn’t answer the questions. Teachers fretted about the time adapting to a new test would take away from lessons.

The result? We now have the AzMERIT here to stay, and teachers took time away from their classes in the past week to administer practice tests. Yet the time needed to adjust to an entirely new test would be worthwhile if the test actually improved on the hated AIMS. Different, however, does not equate to better.

The AzMERIT’s high school tests are End-Of-Course (EOC) assessments. This means that instead of taking the test once or twice to test benchmarks, a separate test is taken at the end of each language arts and math course (through 11th grade English and algebra 2). Now, comparing scores from year to year will no longer be a valid way to see if students are improving overall. A high score in geometry, for instance, does not mean the student understands algebra.

A brief pop quiz: What will the EOC exams be used for? A), graduation requirements; B), a way to award funding to schools with high-achieving students; C), students with failing scores will have to repeat the course; or D) absolutely nothing.

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