South Medford High School is proud to announce that we have been awarded the silver medal by U.S. News and World Report. Nationally, only 8.6% of schools are awarded this honor. This award is given based on the number of students completing college level work and state assessment scores. Out of the 287 high school in Oregon, we are ranked #22. Part of why our ranking is so amazing is because our percent of economically challenged students is greater than most of the higher ranking schools. This school has risen above those numbers to achieve the silver medal. Teachers have been stating since freshmen year that SMHS is an exceptional school— this just goes to show that they’re right!
To view Oregon Rankings follow this link
-Grant Metternich, Digital Journalism and - Kylie McDermott, Digital Journalism
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Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon Spring Concerts
The Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon is proud to present their third and final concert season of their 27th year. Performances will be held at the SOU Recital Hall (Friday, May 29th @ 7:30 PM,) the Grants Pass Performing Arts Center (Saturday, May 30th @ 7:30 PM,) and the Craterian Theater (Sunday, May 31st @ 3:00 PM.) Their final performance will honor the graduating seniors of the organization.
This season’s soloist will be none other than South Medford’s own Jerry Su. Jerry is the principal clarinet with the Youth Symphony, and is a member of the school’s band under the direction of Yoko Kan. He is also active in regional and statewide music competitions. The Symphony will be backing him in a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major for all three concerts.
The Youth Symphony is also excited to present the world premiere of Crater Lake Fantasy: Another Sky at Our Feet, an original composition by Dr. Mark Elliot Jacobs. The piece is the second by Dr. Jacobs to commissioned by the YSSO (the first being Orchard City in 2012-13 to honor the organization’s 25th year) and is written in honor of Dr. Cynthia Hutton’s 20th anniversary as Director and Conductor of the Orchestra and Symphony. The work contains exactly 1,946 quarter-note beats, one for every foot of depth of Crater Lake, and is hung on the idea of the lake as the circle of fifths. As you musically travel around the lake, the key changes to match your location on the circle.
Tickets for the spring concert season may be purchased at Paddington Station in Ashland, Oregon Books in Grants Pass, or Larry’s music in Medford. They are also available at the Craterian Theater Box Office, or one hour before show time at the SOU Recital Hall Box Office.
Prices are $5 for students with ID, $10 for general admission. Carriers of Oregon Trail Cards from the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may purchase two general admission tickets for the price of $5 each, when available.
-Drew Thompson, Digital Journalism-
Don’t Let Summer be a Break
The second the school year begins, we all have one thing on our minds: summer break. We’ve finally come to the time when it’s appropriate to look forward to it, seeing as it’s in just about a month. However, many of us have high expectations for summer and in reality end up sleeping in until 3 in the afternoon, then proceeding to not get out of bed. Instead, you scroll through your phone watching other people on their summer excursions while you’re a blanket-wrapped burrito. Now, this kind of day might seem like heaven to some, but what is the point of summer if you’re not going to make some memories of your own?
Here in the Rogue Valley, life might seem fairly boring at times, but it doesn’t take a lot of money or time to travel to some nearby destinations that will make summer 2015 one of the best yet. Our valley is in the middle of countless hiking trails with views that make you forget how much your legs burned on the way up. Spend a summer evening soaking in the hot springs with some friends. Wake up early and visit one of the farmers markets held in Medford and Ashland and taste some local food you’ve never had before. Leave your technology at home and plan a two night camping trip (but don’t forget the marshmallows.) Find the tallest rock to jump off of into an ice cold river. All these things are within minutes of where we live and don’t cost anything but a little time, so you have no excuses! Whatever you do, don’t forget to do it around people who mean the most to you, and don’t let this be another summer to pass by without really making it count. -Holly Kloefkorn, Digital Journalism-
There’s Fitness, and Then There’s CrossFit
If you’re really looking to take your fitness to the next level, CrossFit’s the answer. By eating right and starting Crossfit, there is a guarantee you will get the results you are looking for, instead of following the regular gym routine and finding your physical being stay the same. CrossFit’s 10 key physical qualities are: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. CrossFit provides extreme results because it challenges your mind and body with routines you have probably never even thought of doing before. There is a new workout of the day (WOD) every day, and you will successfully warm up, stretch, workout and cool down all in one hour at the most. It works by shocking your body with intense movements, such as Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, and other exercises to cause results.
CrossFit is a fitness company founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000 in Santa Cruz, California. Promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and also a competitive fitness sport. CrossFit is a fitness program for everyone, regardless of age or ability who is interested in improving fitness. I think a quote from CrossFit’s website really shows their philosophy: “We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change the programs”. –CrossFit.com. CrossFit treats every member as an athlete, and seeks to challenge that athlete with constantly changing program featuring a wide range of functional movements performed at high intensity. CrossFit develops and maintains one’s ability to engage in the activities that improve and extend the quality of life.-Maddy Myers. Digital Journalism.
Everything You Need to Know About the Smarter Balance Test
We’ve all heard about it by now; this year the OAKS test is being replaced by the Smarter Balance test. It holds a bit of ambiguity since not much has been said about it which concerns most students about how drastic the changes are.
What is it?
The first thing that is important is knowing what Smarter Balance even is. The Smarter Balance test is an assessment that is shared by approximately 45 states and is based on the Common Core standards.
Why did they change it?
One of the biggest questions students have about the Smarter Balance test is, “Why did they change it?” Hal Jones provides an explanation for this change. “All states used to have their own standards and their own ways of testing, which caused problems with research and comparison since all of them were very different,” he explains. “The Smarter Balance test adopts a common set of standards and a common way of assessing students’ knowledge and skills of those same standards.” With all states sharing a common assessment, it benefits research and makes it easier to analyze information.
Is it harder than OAKS?
Many students at school are very concerned that it is harder than OAKS. At the moment, the administrators are unsure as it will depend on the test itself and the students taking the test. “It’s the first year and it will be interesting to see other students’ experiences with this format,” Jones says. “We expect them to do their best like in the past. Together, we’ll all learn a lot.”
Who is taking it and when is it?
This year, the Smarter Balance test is to be only taken by juniors, but remains unclear for the next few years to come. Testing starts on April 20th, 2015 and will continue through the end of May.
Is it required to graduate?
Another thing students are worried about regarding the Smarter Balance test is that whether it will be required to pass it to graduate high school. Jones knows the answer for this important question. “As long as they meet the 24 credit requirement and meet the essential skills in proficiency through Smarter Balance or work samples, they can meet graduation requirements,” he explains. “In order to graduate, students must demonstrate proficiency in essential academic skills (reading, writing, and math). Smarter Balance is an important way to measure a student’s academic skill development.”
How are OAKS and Smarter Balance different?
The difference between Smarter Balance and OAKS is that all students in high school are eligible to take the OAKS test, while the Smarter Balance test is only offered for juniors. The latter assessment is based on the Common Core standards, which tend to require a deeper level of knowledge and skill. Also, the Smarter Balance is a computer adaptive test and a performance task.
How does it affect earning the Purple Tassel?
Since Smarter Balance is affecting graduation, students who want a purple tassel are wondering how the test will affect earning it. “We’re not sure how it’s going to affect the current juniors next year, so it is in development and we’ll share the criteria as soon as we have it,” Jones answers. “Work samples will still remain a part of graduation.”
As for those anxious about it, Jones leaves these last words. “Just relax,” he says. “The best way to prepare is to work hard in classes, go to office hours, and let yourself think deeply about subjects you are studying. –Alison Eagle, Digital Journalism-
SMHS Library's BIG News!
*You can check out a Kindle in the Library
We have several Kindles, loaded with books, available for checkout. See Mrs. K for information and to request a Kindle.
*You can check your own due dates and fines and put books on hold with your own library catalog login.
Your login to the library catalog is the same as your usual network login. Try it! The login link is in the SMHS library catalog at the top right of the screen.
*You can check out free eBooks (including some audiobooks) using the Overdrive app for your phone, Kindle, Nook, laptop, etc.
The Overdrive link is on the SMHS library website. Over 500 eBooks are available and more will be added. First you get the Overdrive app from your app store, then you login to Overdrive with your regular South High network login. See Mrs. K or Mrs. Stebbins for more information.
Sleepless in South Medford
Our school is full of students with unique talents and characteristics that make them the great people they are. No matter how different we are from one another, there’s one factor brings us all together: sleep deprivation. No matter what time you go to bed, ask any student near you if they’re tired, you’ll hear the same answer. Ever tire of your parents envying your youth because of energy? Well, the youth part of that statement is accurate-as far as energy goes…there’s something not adding up. The obvious answer is go to bed earlier, but studies show that’s something easier said than done.
During adolescence, it isn’t unusual for a person to be unable to sleep before 11:00PM. For some, that time can be even later. That means the only solution to sleep deprivation would be to wake up later. But as you all know, it’s a little difficult to sleep in when school starts at 8 in the morning. It’s suggested that anywhere from 8 to 10 hours of sleep allows teens to perform to their max potentials. The amount of people that this is a reality for is extremely low. A sleep deprecated state leads to forgetfulness, irritation, and an overall decrease in physical and mental health. Not such a good place to be when you’re at school. So that leads to the question: should school start at a later time? It’s nice to get out at a decent hour and have most of your afternoon left, but when you’re exhausted all of the time, is it worth it? Even getting an extra hour of sleep might improve health, test scores, and overall happiness in students. So what do you think? Would it be worth it to you to give up an hour in your day for an extra hour of sleep?
-Holly Kloefkorn, Digital Journalism-
Trivia Crack: Fun and Educational Application, or
Pointless Game that No One Will Stop Playing Until the End of Time?
Do you know how many countries use the imperial system over the metric (cough, better) system? I don’t. I don’t even know if that’s one of the questions in the game. What game? Trivia Crack. This is the newest smart phone application. Well, not the newest, as new apps are being made every second, so as soon as you say that any given app is the newest app, your statement is immediately outdated. Newest popular app. Yes; Trivia Crack is that. Just how many students play trivia crack? Trivia Crack was first translated around December of 2014 and quickly became the most downloaded Apple app of December 2014.1 It already has >100 million downloads.2 Short answer: a lot. Everyone? No. Probably not. Probably not. So, what is “Trivia Crack”? Answer: A trivia game. That is all. Really. It’s nothing particularly unique; just trivia.
Though trivia initially meant a place where 3 roads meet, the Oxford dictionary defines trivia today as “Details, considerations, or pieces of information of little importance or value.”3 Same thing, right? This definition makes one question how we can have a genre of game based on this; useless facts. In this trivia game, the player answers questions from randomly selected categories until they get one wrong, then the turn goes to an enemy player. But then, why is Trivia Crack so popular? Well, there are a multitude of factors that can determine popularity, besides the fact that popularity increases itself. Trivia Crack is a competitive, multi-player game and that competition urges everyone to test their skills against others. Everyone wants to see how well they can do, and everyone can do at least so well because the game requires no skill whatsoever, but rather just semi-common knowledge. There is also a limit to the number of games you can play daily. This is a common application feature that prevents people from getting bored of playing, as they cannot play for countless hours at a time. They may instead play countless hours over slightly longer periods of time.
The Trivia Crack spinner.
Spinning all the time.
What’s his name?
Doesn’t he get dizzy?
We may never know.
This non-stop trivia might prove useful, though. Does this application assist in one’s total amount useful knowledge? Remember that trivia literally means useless facts. Of the 6 categories of information, only history, science, and geography could be considered subjects useful to the average individual; 50%. How many of these questions and answers would one be expected to remember? The app doesn’t teach you, it just lists the answer when you get it wrong; not exactly memorization. Without encountering the question again soon after to remind them, one would forget the answer within perhaps a month, and the chances of encountering the same question again are minute; maybe <5%. Only maybe tens of random trivia questions one would be asked a month, out of hundreds of thousands of possible questions. All of these estimates are being generous. The practicality seems rather low here. Compare it to the great Flappy Bird disaster of 2k14 though, the last majorly popular application that everyone had and played for weeks at a time, and Trivia Crack is college-level education. It’s better than nothing.
It has been established that this application is ludicrously popular among everyone ever, but for how long? According to digital journalism student Andrew Guisler, Trivia crack has less than a month of popularity left. “Flappy Bird, the most popular app for students last year, lasted less than a month, despite its absolutely relentless popularity. I refer to that month as the great Flappy Bird disaster of 2k14. But, something can only be new for so long. Apps, it seems, can be new for a month.” Trivia Crack has been out for more than one month and is definitely lessening slightly in popularity. A game in the app store cannot be super popular forever. At least trivia has a small educational value. Gaming apps are sort of the worst education, but Trivia Crack is the best of the worst. Not as good as the worst of the best, but not that bad. The final answer to the original question is that Trivia Crack is a “Fun and barely but sort of educational app that no one will stop playing until the end of time or until it’s not new anymore.” As for the answer to the other question, I have no idea how many countries use the imperial system. I couldn’t find it. I’m very sorry that I am a disappointment. –Andrew Guisler, Digital Journalism.-
1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivia_Crack *
2 http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/01/28/trivia-crack-twitter-latest-game-craze/22474407/ *
3 http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/trivia *
* Reliable source? Probably; seemed legit.
South Medford Track and Field 2015!
The Track and Field team for the spring of 2015 is looking like an amazing one. With over 50 students on the team, we are sure to have a great season! With rigorous training already underway, we are getting in shape and ready to compete! The first track and field meet will be on Wednesday, April 1st @ North Medford High School.
Coach Rupp’s hope for the 2015 season is that we, as a team, will make it to state and win! Along with coach Rupp, there are many other amazing coaches helping the South Medford team become the best we can be! With all the amazing field and track events and all our amazing athletes, we will strive to become the absolute best!
-Courtney Naylor, Digital Journalism-
Have You Done Your Community Service For Our Sparrow Yet?
If you haven’t yet, there is still time! We’ve raised a good amount of money for our sparrow, Alejandro Munoz, and you could add to the pile to help Alejandro get the kidney transplant that he needs. Every amount, no matter how large or small, will make a difference. You can earn money by either doing community service or joining a fundraiser. Many fundraising projects exist, and you can donate straight to OHSU as well (through the link below.) Community service papers are available in most classrooms and in the office.
The SMHS Sparrow Club is generously sponsored by: Rogue Disposal and Recycling.
-Brandon Bartholomew, Digital Journalism-
The South Medford Digital Journalism staff have been working hard this year to write quality stories and get more students interested in school activities. Grace Lewis says, “We write stories that are important to our school in some way, and we maintain the school website.” Some stories involve school sports teams, grading systems, and stories about the community that somehow impact students and their lives. The journalism team has big plans for the upcoming year, bigger and more exciting than ever before. Lewis says, “We plan on building a new school website that students and parents alike will enjoy and find use in, and to continue producing quality stories.” The journalism staff is very talented and creative, they all do their best work and try their hardest.
Not only does the Digital Journalism team write stories, they also learn new techniques and tricks to make their writing more enjoyable to read. Lewis responds, “Digital Journalism teaches students how to collect relevant information and how to present it in an understandable manner.” Students have been taught how to correctly find information for their articles and how to write without bias. If you ever need to know what is going on within South Medford High School, check out the Panther’s home webpage through the District website and read the stories that the Journalism Staff has created. –Megan Curry, Digital Journalism-
A Local Legend
One of the most successful athletes to ever go through the South Medford High School sports program is Kyle Singler. During his Senior year, Kyle averaged 29.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.In 2006, Singler signed a letter of intent to go to Duke and in 2007, Kyle led our Panthers to win their first-ever state basketball championship.
In the 2006-2007 season, Kyle started at power forward as a freshman. He averaged 13.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Even though he was the leading scorer and helped Duke obtain a record of 28-6, he said that he did not want to enter the NBA draft because he wasn’t ready both physically and mentally. He stated he wanted to improve his game and become stronger and quicker.
In 2011, Kyle was selected as the 33rd pick in the NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. It was on July 11, 2012 that Kyle officially signed with the Pistons. He had a career-high game scoring 22 points in the 2012-2013 season which might have helped him be chosen for the All-Rookie second team.
On February 19th, 2015, Kyle was traded in a three-team deal to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
From the small town of Medford, Oregon, Kyle Singler was selected to play basketball at a top college, Duke, was drafted into the NBA, and is now playing on a team with some of the most decorated players in the NBA: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Dion Waiters, Jeremy Lamb, and Serge Ibaka. Perhaps Kyle Singler will be the next NBA star. John-James Agnifili, Digital Journalism
Food is Fuel
I know how this looks, another story reprimanding athletes to eat more carbs and get their energy up so they can perform to their maximum potential. There’s nothing wrong with those stories, but what about the eating habits for those people who aren’t into sports? Isn’t their nutrition important too? The answer is: absolutely. The difference between an athlete and an average person is simple. We don’t expend as many calories. We still need to hold ourselves accountable for taking care of our bodies and making sure we get the essential fuel required to make it through the day. It sounds simple, but it’s hard to do in our day and age. It’s not only easy and cheap to get pre-packaged foods, but the ingredients are highly addictive.
Let’s talk about GMO’s. I know you hear it all the time, but what is so bad about these little guys? Well, imagine your food going along a conveyor belt in some factory, slowly made to look and taste the way it should through added chemicals, colors, and preservatives. Kind of sounds like a Spongebob episode, but it’s very real; it’s what you’re eating. You recognize it as food, but your body tells a different story. Those chemicals break down the natural bacteria in your body that helps digest food and the stuff you eat just stays there. Not to mention, your body doesn’t register that it’s actually food, so you don’t get the energy from what you’ve eaten. Ever feel sluggish after a meal? You should feel the exact opposite. Remember: food is fuel!
Changing your diet is easier said than done, and the intention here is not to make anybody feel guilty. Just remember that no matter how poor your eating habits are now, you can always change. Your body is smart. It can heal itself. Even if you have to take baby steps to begin the transformation from processed to fresh food, your body will immediately notice and your energy and mood will thank you. -Holly Kloefkorn, Digital Journalism-
The Writing Center
Do you need help with your essay? Do you not understand what’s going on in class? Consider going to the Writing Center to get extra help or to find a tutor. It can be found in room A144, which is Mr. Weston’s lab. It’s open during office hours every day of the week except for Wednesday. All you have to do to get help is just walk in. Students of any grade can go in for aid. When asked if the Writing Center is a good use of time, all the students agreed. “I got excellent feedback,” Emily Zavala said.
The Writing Center offers assistance in several subjects. Phoebe Whittington, a tutor at the center, explains, “It’s mainly writing and English, but you can find tutors for Spanish and history, and sometimes math and science.” She also noted that the number of tutors that a student can have depends on the subjects and tutors themselves. To become a tutor, a student simply has to go to the center, talk to Mrs. Beard and sign up.
-Alison Eagle and Grace Lewis, Digital Journalism-
The Cell Phone Hassle
The school wide cell phone rule for the class room is that “Cell Phones need to be off and away unless authorized use by a teacher.” Now that sounds like a fair rule, though do any of us students, even some teachers, follow that rule the way it’s supposed to be followed? Do we all turn off our phones and put them away the minute the bell rings, or yet, at all?
In reality, no we do not. In fact many of us students will use our cell phones during class and try to get away with it. Some teachers strongly enforce the cell phone rule and will take them away if they are seen, but many teachers just don’t care. Now is that because they really don’t care? Or is it merely that reminding and reprimanding is getting old? You would think that at 14-18 years old we would be able to follow a simple rule of turning it off for a little over an hour while class is in. According to many teachers, “reprimanding is just to exhausting when there is no guarantee that the student will listen.” Turning off a cell phone is not hard, especially for that short of a time, so why not save yourself the hassle of getting it taken and simply put it away and learn?
-Courtney Naylor, Digital Journalism-
Are teens really not reading?
In recent years there have been many studies showing that kids and teens are reading less and less. There can be many reasons for this: lack of time due to school and other extracurricular activities, lack of interest, or that these studies don’t include online newspapers, magazines, blogs or other social media-based reading.
High school students that take every opportunity to further themselves and their education are extremely busy with honors classes and the homework load from them, hours practicing their sport or art, and attempting to have some sort of a social life, none of which leaves time for leisure. Unfortunately reading is considered a leisure activity and precious leisure time is becoming filled by TV, video games, and social media. These flashy and loud things can capture a teen’s attention easier than a simple paperback sitting on the table. Besides, who wants to read when they’ve been doing it all day at boring old school? Reading high-level literature like the classics or fact based fiction helps build an extended vocabulary and critical thinking skills, but that fact has been crammed down teen’s throats since grade school making adults just sound like a broken record now. There is a possibility that online reading through social media and other online articles isn’t the worst way to get the reading for the day in.
One recent study on teen’s digital literacy activities, Writing, Technology, and Teens, reported that even teens who report high levels of these literacy activities do not consider them to be “real” reading or writing. This attitude is likely responsible for the underreporting of teen leisure reading levels, and it is probable that teens’ dismissive attitude toward digital literacy activities stems from the attitudes and beliefs of their teachers and parents–another indication of the divide between today’s teens and older adults. More support for the role of digital media in teens’ lives can be found in the 2007 Pew report Teens and Social Media, which reports that 59 percent of teens surveyed regularly participate in online creation activities, from reading, writing, and sharing fan fiction, to reading and posting to blogs, to remixing online music, images, and videos. (Moyer).
It’s not that teens aren’t reading, it’s that teens don’t consider their online reading activities as “counting.” There are talented writers out there that have only been published online. Reading these stories should be counted as actual reading, though making sure that classics and other print published books are still read is important.
Moyer, Jessica E. ""Teens Today Don't Read Books Anymore": A Study of Differences in
Interest and Comprehension Based on Reading Modalities: Part 1, Introduction and Methodology." The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults. N.p., 02 Nov. 2010. Web. 09 Jan. 2015.
-Kylie McDermott, Digital Journalism-
Choosing a College
High school is a time to grow up. It is a time to learn how to be an adult, and a time to find out who you are. So it is fitting that in these precious four years, you should start figuring out where you might like to go, and what you might like to do. Choosing the right college is one of the most important decisions you will make in high school (no pressure). I understand fully how difficult and nerve wracking this can be. There are so many factors! You can decide for yourself which criteria are more important than others. Remember, this is about you, and your future. Enjoy it! So here is an outline of some of the things you should consider before you make a choice.
Location Consider whether you want to be close to home, as far away as possible, or somewhere in between. Make sure that the college you choose is in a place that you won’t mind living. Think about the state. Think about the demographic. Choosing a college in an area that you hate will not do you any favors.
Merit Pay attention to the reputation of the college. You can bet that if you go to a school that has a reputation for being a party school, you won’t exactly be in a good environment to study. Chooses a school that is known for having a great program for what you wish to study.
Opportunities Think about the opportunities you might have at your prospective schools. Is there a good chance of getting an internship? Will there be other job opportunities in the area?
Cost The average tuition of a 4 year college has increased by 1120% in the last 30 years. Consider ahead of time whether you will need scholarships to pay for tuition. Avoid student loans! Surveys show that the average four year college graduate in 2014 will have $33,000 in student loan debt. Consider alternative financing. Programs like FAFSA, as well as Pell Grants are a much more logical option for most students.
Programs Look into the programs your prospective schools have for your field of study. For example, if your decided field of study is sociology, the best school for you would be one that has an accredited sociology department. -Violet Ward-Abernathy, Digital Journalism-
Are the School Censors Taking it Too Far?
As many people know, the school district blocks websites that they find to be vulgar or inappropriate. Other sites are now being blocked just because they are not considered school related. On top of this, the classifications for the sites are often misrepresented. Some sites that are purely informative or gaming are being blocked as well as shopping or even dating!
On the opposite end, sites such as Facebook and Pinterest, at the time of this righting, have been unblocked allowing students full, unrestricted access. Students also have the ability to proceed to many blocked pages anyway if they believe they were blocked for no reason. This privilege has been widely abused by students to access sites that have been blocked in previous years. While I fully believe in freedom of speech, there are some sites that should not be allowed to be accessed at schools. -Ryland Dungan - Digital Journalism-
Attendance is important
When students don’t attend school, it’s hurting their education and their progress towards graduation. When asked how attendance affects students, Mrs. Beth Anderson, One of the administrators at South, Says “It directly correlates to education and their grades are not as high as those who come to school every day.” A school can have an average daily attendance of 90% and still have 40% of its students chronically absent, missing 10% of school a year for any reason, because on different days, different students make up that 90%. Students who miss too much school, get assigned a Truancy Officer and what they do is they investigate why a student is missing too much school, excused or not. How does attendance affect seniors who are graduating? Mrs. Anderson says “In order to graduate, the student must attend school, and learn and show they are meeting the learning targets but a student will not graduate if they do not attend school, they are not earning enough credits for graduation.”
In a high school, where chronic absenteeism is higher, 250 or more students are missing a month or more of school. What if there attendance is excused? Does it matter? Mrs. Anderson says “We still follow up on those students because they are not earning any credits. The only reason we wouldn’t follow up on them was if they had a really good reason, like a family emergency or a doctor’s note.” They also follow up on the students who come to school only because they have to or are forced to come; the teachers or administrators try to make a connection with that student and try to give them a good reason why it is important to come to school. When asked why students miss too much school and if they care at all about their education, Mrs. Anderson responded with “I believe that they do care but life situations cause them not to attend. Maybe they don’t quite understand the value of having a high school diploma. They should try to prioritize their education.” It is very important for students to come to school, even if you think high school is a waste of time it isn’t; high school is preparing you for college and college is going to prepare you to face the world on your own.
-Angeles Guzman, Digital Journalism-
Falling Behind in a Class? Here are Some Tips to Get Your Grades Up.
From time to time, every student falls behind in a class. It’s important to know this, and to remember that it’s not the end of the world. With some hard work and dedication, you can get your grades up quickly and easily. So here are some helpful tips to get you back on track.
1. Focus on work rather than friends. We all know the temptation that comes along with an invite to a party or movie night. However, until you get your grades on track you should resolve yourself to decline any invites. It’s a small price to pay for the grades you want and deserve.
2. Make a list of everything you have to do. Being organized goes a long way in clearing your head and preparing to work. Additionally, a clear work space can help you to. Organize your work area and then get working!
3. Stay in touch with/work with your teachers; they are there to help you learn and succeed. A good relationship with teachers will manifest understanding. Teachers will be more willing to help you if you are respectful, and it is clear that you are ready to work. Inform teachers of other commitments you have, being friendly and responsible will do wonders for you
4. Stay calm. When you feel yourself getting worked up, take a deep breath and remind yourself that being over stressed will not help you. Remember that taking breaks is perfectly acceptable. For every hour of work take a fifteen minute break.
5. Take care of yourself. Above all, taking care of yourself will do the most good. When some students get overstressed, it is easy to forget to do this. Eating, sleeping, and relaxing often take a back seat in stressful situations. It is perfectly okay to take some time to relax before you get to work. Try to get at least 8 hours sleep, and remember to eat! Your body needs fuel, don’t try to make yourself run on empty.
To sum it all up; Focus, get Organized, Work with teachers, Stay calm, and Take care of yourself. If you follow these tips you will be back on the road to success in no time at all. -Violet Ward-Abernathy Digital Journalism-
Changes in Proficiency Grading
By now all students must know of the changes in proficiency grading that have been enacted this school year. Homework is now being counted as a percentage of student’s grades- a drastic difference from last year’s policies. Before, the policies allowed homework to not affect scores, but instead had only summative assessments factor into the student’s grades. That is most certainly not the case this year. Teachers and administrators now have the power to decide what percentage of grades will be formative assessments and how much will be summative assessments. Most teachers have landed on 20% to 80%, or 30% to 70%.
So what led to these changes? The district held surveys to collect information on how parents felt about the old proficiency system. 45% of 650 parent surveyors rated the quality of the system as “poor”, and even 32.3% said it was “not good”. In a separate set of questions, 50% said that they felt less informed and 43% noticed that the system was not helping their children. If a student didn’t pass one test and they failed to make it up, they failed the class for that quarter. Unfortunately the same is still true for learning targets. If a student fails a learning target they are given as many chances as they need to prove that they have learned the content and can pass the assessment. This also means that if a student doesn’t do any homework, their grade will be pulled down by whatever percent that formative assessments counts for in that class. Additionally, teachers can penalize students for turning in work late. So it’s now imperative that all students and parents keep in mind that homework does matter. As Megan Curry, a student at South, said, “I think the changes in proficiency grading are better preparing students for the real world, because it teaches the students accountability.” - Grace Lewis - Digital Journalism -
WinterSpring Helps Students Who are Grieving
Are you grieving from the loss of someone close to you? If you are, WinterSpring is the program to join. According to South Medford Counselor Martin Mares, “WinterSpring is a grief counseling group for students who are having trouble coping with the loss of a loved one.” This group will meet once a week in a conference room in the front office. I have been through this program myself a few years ago, so I can vouch that these people know what they are doing and they can help. If you wish to be a part of this group, talk to Mr. Mares in the front office.
WinterSpring is run by trained volunteers who want to help students that need counseling, but can’t afford it. This nonprofit organization has been available to students since 1989. All of this is made possible from grants in order to keep this excellent organization running. In addition to grants, there are some people who generously make donations as well, because the volunteers are so great at the work and effort they pour into this group. The program revolves around helping those students in need. So if you really need the help, I highly recommend joining WinterSpring.
- D.J. Kirkendall, Digital Journalism
New Format for Student Report Cards
|The new district report card has several new sources of information for parents and students. As you read the new report card, look under course and term for the letter grade. Note the next section labeled “Reporting Standards” to check your student’s progress on class assessments. Then check the "Career Related Learning Standards" portion for the skills and behaviors students need to master for their future. For your convenience, click this link to see a handy guide to the new report card.