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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Super Bowl XLIX
The 2015 Super Bowl is going to be held on Sunday, February 1st at 3:30pm! What team are you rooting for, New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks? What are you looking forward to the most? Is it the game, half time show, good food, or the great commercials? The Super Bowl is well on its way, and is going to be great!
The two teams going to the Super Bowl are both highly loved and voted for. The Seattle Seahawks season was a 14-4 season, and the Patriots had a 14-4 season as well! Both teams have great defense and offense members and the QB’s (Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson) are looking forward to the upcoming Super Bowl! Go Patriots! Go Seahawks!
-Courtney Naylor- 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-
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 out 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-
The Dangers of Driving In Ice
As the winter season inches its way closer and temperatures begin to drop, driving becomes more and more dangerous. One of the most dangerous and most common winter driving dangers here in Southern Oregon is black ice. Ice, as most any person knows, is frozen water however, there are few bubbles present in black ice causing it to look transparent. Therefore, the ice’s transparency leads drivers to assume that the road is not icy, just slightly damp.
In order to drive safely in this weather condition, there are many steps that all drivers need to take. The easiest of this driving tips is to simply drive slower and more cautiously. Although most people’s first instinct is to slam on the breaks when their tires begin to skid, this is not the correct thing to do because it will cause the driver to lose control easier and slide more. Drivers must also maintain a safe following distance so that if the driver in front of them begins to slide or they see ice, they can slow down more quickly and carefully. So remember to stay safe and drive slow. –Megan Curry, Digital Journalism-
Swimming Into the New Season
The swim team has just begun their season and word going around is this year is going to be one of the best. Last year they struggled with getting enough people to tryout. This year they can’t free up one lane! There are so many newcomers that there isn’t any space left in the pool. With a lot of new swimmers comes more talent swimming into the new season.
Sophie Deltour, a junior on varsity last year and this year says every year she looks forward to the swim season and improving her strokes. “Every practice at The Y we all have tons of fun swimming together, but we also get better and better every practice”, she says. They had their first meet which was a practice meet at SOU last Saturday. They all looked great out in the pool and everyone on the team can’t wait for the real swim meets to start.
- Kaitlin Brown, Digital Journalism-
Advantages of Being a Wrestler
Wrestling season has begun! There are quite a few new wrestlers consisting mostly of freshman, as well as a bunch of returning wrestlers. Every single person that comes up to the wrestling room, and sticks with the sport throughout the whole season and stays dedicated, is going to be mentally and physically stronger, and will feel accomplished as an athlete, even if they’ve never wrestled before.
Very few sports or workouts will challenge you on the level that wrestling will. The athletes that stay with wrestling through high school will know what it takes to persevere when times are tough, and will accept challenges and difficult tasks. There are few material advantages to wrestling, there isn’t a pro league, but the experience and values you gain and the friends you make, are worth the effort and dedication. –Braden Malony, 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
La Clinica Mobile Health Center Offers Students Free Medical and Dental Services
The La Clinica Mobile Health Center is a 40-foot clinic on wheels that provides medical, dental, and behavioral health care to patients who have difficulty reaching La Clinica's other health centers in the Rogue Valley. La Clinica’s Mobile Health Center will begin making weekly stops at South Medford in December, and parents and students will have an opportunity to tour the 40-foot clinic on wheels before service begins. La Clinica’s staff provides medical care on the mobile center, which looks like an RV but is outfitted with exam rooms and medical equipment and is staffed by a nurse, nurse practitioner, and aide.
Service at the school will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon every Monday starting December 2. The center will be open to all South students, although students 14 and younger must have parents’ permission to be seen. Discounts will be available for some students depending on family income. La Clinica has provided service to area schools since the mobile center opened in 2012.
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.