Category Archives: education

The ripple effect of enrollment

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Cade McAllister
Staff Writer

This year, Kayhi has one of the largest freshman classes in recent years, with a class of 175 freshmen bringing our total enrollment to about 575 students. Mrs. O’Brien is the freshman and sophomore classes counselor, and she says that the big changes are really just the freshmen class sizes.
“The freshman science classes are a bit bigger,” said O’Brien. “The Algebra Ones are really big too.”
Mr. Sivertsen, one of our science class teachers-isn’t a fan of teaching large classes. He prefers the close teaching relationship he can develop with his students.
“It makes a difference having fewer students, and it feels like a more intimate experience.”
For Mr. Scarzella, his Algebra one class size hasn’t changed much from previous years.  
“Traditionally it’s around 20ish, so this year is 17, but a few of the kids transferred out at the beginning of the year to get me to 17, so they’re actually in a different Algebra one class. But traditionally it’s about the same, for me anyway.”
On the contrary, Mr. Raber’s classes have grown in size from last year.
“[Classes are] bigger than last year for sure, like mid 20s.”
Mrs. Troina’s english department has taken on a few more teachers to accommodate for. 
“We have more freshmen teachers than we usually do,” said Troina. “We usually just have three freshmen teachers each year for English One, so we have five different teachers for it now.”
She also mentioned that the English department didn’t have enough books to loan out individually to students. Instead, they’ve had to keep the books in class.


I have class(es)

Brittany Slick
Online Editor

It’s officially real.
I am signing up for classes. College classes. Classes like Communication: Public Speaking 101 and Integrated Value of Business 109.  
I have never wished I had Mr. McClory available more than I do now. Seriously.
Scheduling for classes in high school is a breeze compared to scheduling for college. In high school, I had less class options, set times, and same classes all year. I would basically write my own schedule every year, schmoozing the counselors into giving me my favorite teacher or that one class with ALL my friends. I thought college registration was gonna be at least somewhat alike. But as I was scrolling through the 50 pages of classes, I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was doing.
The great thing is, I wasn’t unhappy with this new world of scheduling, I was just very, very overwhelmed. I am in no way a schedule expert, let alone a college expert. Actually, I am the farthest from that. I am officially a freshman again, trying to find my way through this whole new world of scheduling. But if I was to give myself any credit, this is coming from a girl that has no 8 a.m. classes, no more than three classes a day, and absolutely no classes on Fridays… her freshman year of college. I mean, not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty proud of how I found the ins and outs of college registration.

Courses or ice cream flavors?
One would think that more options is better.. but that’s not necessarily true. There are so many options, like so so many. The only other thing I can think of with that many options is ice cream flavors. Classes go from like English 101 to the Introduction of Beekeeping. That’s like going from vanilla to wasabi pea dust flavored ice cream. So. Many. Options. Scrolling through every class that’s offered taking into consideration the subject, teacher, fees, class size, class times, etc. would take a normal person probably like three hours. Thank the college gods for general eds. Yes, they suck to the future quantum physicists and molecular biologists who are already jumping out of their pants to take their major-specific classes. But if you’re like me and have no idea what to do with your life, or you are just unsure about your current interests, general eds are a god sent.

Classes before classes?
General Education courses are prerequisites that every student is required to take before diving full-fledged into their major courses. Basically, you get told what classes to take your freshman/sophomore year. Gen eds include all the core classes (English, math, science, human resources, etc.) that give you a solid foundation to build on with your future, more important classes. For those of you that are wrinkling your nose at this, don’t worry, there are loopholes. You can receive qualifying scores on placement tests (SAT, ACT) to bypass some gen eds. For example, I received an SAT English score that allowed me to skip ENG 101 (the freshman English class) and take ENG 102 my freshman year. Moral of the story, those stupid placement tests that we all study so hard for have more important purposes than just helping you get into a college. Taking AP courses and receiving a worthy score could also help you bypass a gen ed. The difference with this method is that you would get college credit for the gen ed you are able to skip by receiving a certain score on the AP Test–saving money and getting you one step closer to your college diploma.

The magic number
To be considered a full-time student at many colleges, you have to take around 12 credits. 15 puts you on track to graduate in 4 years, as long as you don’t take any classes that overlap or are a waste and put into your pile of elective credits. This means that after you lay out all your gen eds, you can take two or three major specific or exploration classes a.k.a. the fun stuff. There are so many elective classes that I never even knew existed. From personality research to rock climbing, there are options for everyone. Choosing all your classes may seem like the hardest part in this scheduling process– but oh are you in for a surprise.
After you get organized and narrow your class options down, you now have to play Tetris. You have to worry about the professor, time of day, length of class, class size, class fees, location of class, how long will it take you to walk across campus to get to those classes. There’s probably a lot more things to take into account for those of us that are on a higher level of OCD than the average person. But even that listed minimum is the most overwhelming part of registration. At that moment, Schedule Planner became my new best friend. Most, if not all colleges have their own online system called Schedule Planner that is specific to their courses. You basically list all of the classes you would potentially take that semester and the computer calculates every single combination that your schedule could be. From there, you can narrow it down by selecting certain teachers, times, etc. I started with 1,578 possible schedules and I narrowed it down until I had the perfect schedule for me. I highly recommend finding some kind of magical program like Schedule Planner, it makes it uber easy.

Who can be as important as what
Okay now listen up. If you are looking for one takeaway from all of this advice, here it is.
From what I’ve heard… time, place, class size, everything else doesn’t even matter if you have a disengaged, pretentious, self-absorbed professor. The one who makes you buy their book, but doesn’t have any questions, on any tests, about anything in their “masterpiece”. This website is the holy grail for avoiding that, let me tell you. It is basically like Yelp or TripAdvisor, but for professors. There is a profile for every professor in every subject for your specific college on this website. Previous students who take classes with a professor log on and answer different questions to give the professor a rating. Things like: did they care about their students, did they give extra credit, level of difficulty, and even a “hot” scale– although that part doesn’t really help with scheduling. The website takes all the students’ opinions and creates an overall rate for the professor. I believe an instructor can make or break your class. And from what I read on, my belief is a truth to many. So I made it a point to pay attention to all those four or five stars. I did not want to sign up for a run down, barely functional Super 8 Motel professor.
We’ll see if all this is true, but it seems pretty legit.
So right now I feel like a genius and that I’m ready. We’ll see if that’s true too.

Senioritis at its Finest

Photo By: Rosie Kacenas

Rosie Kacenas
Staff Writer

Oh, the project is due next Friday? That means I don’t need to start until Thursday night.
Second semester, senior hall is a wasteland filled with zombies being strangled by vines of antipathy.
Kayhi senior Cole Varela said he feels threatened by the grip senioritis is starting to have on his academic progress.
“Senioritis is definitely affecting my motivation to do any school work,” said Varela. “It’s hard for teachers to work around it when they have students who aren’t seniors in their classes, but they should realize that some seniors just aren’t as motivated to put in as much work.”
Most adults laugh this off, but in NYU Steinhardt’s article on senioritis, “The Dangerous, Costly Phenomenon (That Only Affects High School Seniors)”, associate professor of applied psychology, Lisa Suzuki, said that it can actually threaten the welfare of high school seniors.
“School counselors are intimately aware of the causes, symptoms, and potential negative consequences of senioritis,” said Suzuki. “It is critical that students continue to stay engaged in school to learn critical life skills needed for success in college, and create exciting and fun memories of the end of the high school years.”
Suzuki acknowledged that senior year can be incredibly hard, but also stressed the importance of seeking help when it’s needed.
“Though senior year is a time for high-schoolers to cherish and celebrate, senioritis can hinder them both in the short-term and the years ahead,” said Suzuki. “However, by recognizing the symptoms and taking steps to avoid the ill effects, parents, teachers, counselors, and students themselves can help mitigate the consequences to succeed in senior year and beyond.”
Kayhi English teacher Jeff Lund said that senioritis is often used as an excuse for students to slack off.
“People in general are looking for the easiest way out. Very few people are like, ‘I want to do the most difficult thing to get the most out of it’,” said Lund. “Because we look for shortcuts, senioritis ends up being the easiest sort of way to excuse behavior. It’s a kind of culturally accepted way of missing the mark.”
Lund explained that losing some motivation toward the end of your high school career is normal, but shouldn’t be an excuse to give up altogether.
“The academic stamina that you need to have for your entire four years starts to wane a little bit because you’re tired, and that’s totally a thing, that happens,” said Lund. “But the danger in accepting the whole ‘I just have senioritis’ is giving something else the control rather than you having the control.”
Lund said that he tries to be over-the-top negative towards senioritis so as not to encourage it. He said that he’d encourage students to use their future goals as motivation.
“If you look into the bigger picture, this is not about chemistry class, this is not about math, it’s not about English,” said Lund. “This is about your willingness to get stuff done rather than using an excuse and saying ‘oh, it’s happening to me’, you can’t do that.”
Kayhi senior Largim Zhuta said that he agrees with Lund, but also thinks that senioritis can have a real effect on students.
“I do agree that senioritis is basically just a lack of motivation, and laziness on behalf of the student,” said Zhuta. “But in high school, pretty much from my freshman to senior year, I’d say I was a motivated student, and this year I realized that I can get away with maybe putting in ten or 20 percent effort and still have my As.”
Zhuta explained that although he’s not worried about senioritis hurting his academic career, he thinks that it could be detrimental to his future.
“I think I have to be aware of it, and I have been thinking about it a lot lately, but I wouldn’t say I’m a victim to it,” said Zhuta. “Knowing the problem exists is a great first step, but then you’ve gotta take other actions to curve it.”

No Cell-f Control

Hannah Maxwell

I crafted a dream schedule this school year. Two aide periods, one online lab, and an English class gives me the freedom to write what I want. I thought I had carved out four hours, five days a week, for scholarships. Instead I have become a pro at many thoughtless games and I check social media fives times more than I used to. Decent plan, poor execution.
In an attempt to take back some of that lost time, I deleted all games and social media, excluding Twitter, from my phone. The sad thing is, I still find myself unlocking my phone just as many times a day. Instead of scrolling through posts I’d already seen, I stare blankly trying the think of the reason I opened it in the first place. Initially I thought I was having withdrawals, but then I realized something way worse, constantly being on my phone had become a habit.
It would be an easy habit to break if I had a better understanding of what caused my internal need to have my phone in hand at all hours. Even when I’m at my own house I rarely set it down. I get anxious if I can’t feel its weight in my pocket.
Because I have made being on my phone essential to my existence, I have trouble focusing on things for more than a couple minutes since my mind is constantly thinking about my stupid phone. I’ve tried to make reading a habit and it’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be. I get distracted at the slightest things and end up scanning the pages without soaking in the information. Someone else’s phone dinging or the phantom vibration in my pocket instantly takes my attention away from what I’m trying to accomplish. I am no longer in control of myself, it feels like part of my mind is on a social media leash perfected by the neurologists employed by Facebook et al.
Not once in four years of high school have I forgot my phone at home, not one single day. The scariest thing is that I’m aware of the problem, but haven’t done anything to find a solution until now. I got my first B in Chem 2 and thinking back I don’t think I ever gave Powell my undivided attention. I’m proud of my 3.93 GPA but I can’t help wondering if my addiction to my phone is the reason I let that other tenth of a point slip away. In the long run it hasn’t made a difference, but it’s the principle of it. My lack of prioritization was my demise. I let my phone take over, I watched it reach for the controls and did nothing to stop it.
I want to believe I won’t accept this fate. That I will fight back and not let myself be controlled by an inanimate object. That by admitting I have a problem I can start taking steps toward a permanent solution. I will turn off my phone an hour before I go to bed and I will put my phone on airplane mode during class.
Well, that’s the plan anyway.


Balance between Sports and Education

Largim Zhuta
Staff Writer

It’s no secret that the United States trails other countries in the classroom, but
would the United States be willing to sacrifice its sports supremacy to fix its educational system?
Kayhi principal Bob Marshall believes participating in high school sports has positive impacts that go beyond academics.
“[The] team element–where you’re having to work with people– [is] going to be huge one day in the workplace, but also in life,” said Marshall. “With sports, your going to have those competitions but there’s rules and regulations. Which just like life, there’s going to be competition but you have to work within the guidelines that are presented.”
For Kayhi senior baseball player, Tug Olson, sports don’t only benefit the athletes participating in them, but the entire school is positively influenced by them.
“[School sports] keep morale up. Xavier (the exchange student from Belgium) was telling us they don’t have school sports in Belgium, and he loves it here,” said Olson. “He gets to go out and cheer, participate, and have his fellow high schoolers cheer him on. It’s a whole other experience.”
Sports clearly play a considerable role in students’ lives that affect them in other ways besides their academic performance.
Kayhi vocational teacher and business owner Todd Henke thinks sports also play a larger, more communal role.
“Is the whole athletic program apart of the community identity? I think in a small town it definitely is,” said Henke. “It helps the community in being a community. It gives a sense of pride and belonging.”
Countries like South Korea and Singapore do indeed have better performing education institutions without the use of athletics. But, these are also the same countries which are described as “pressure-cookers” when it comes to academia.
Teacher Joey Fama, who has wrestled and is now coaching at Kayhi, was surprised at the strictness and high stress environment of South Korean schooling.
“I had an exchange student from South Korea a couple years ago, and it was pretty crazy hearing about the testing amount and how stressed they are,” said Fama. “I mean there were suicides.”
The system that boasts efficiency and success comes with a cost.
“She couldn’t do what she wanted to do for a career,” said Fama. “In third grade she got a B on her English test, and now she can’t be a doctor.”
When exchange students like Xavier come to the United States, they say high school is fun and are surprised with different schooling experiences. With all the focus being on graduation rates, GPAs, and so on, the fun aspect of high school may get neglected in other countries.
Marshall thinks the emotional well being of students is just as important as their success in school. Sports meet the emotional needs of students.
“I think investing in those type of activities is important and it’s not a waste of money,” said Marshall. “I just think it’s fun. Most people when they do it, have some enjoyment. It gets kids involved that otherwise wouldn’t be.”

Finals at Kayhi

Alex Boegler
Staff Writer

After a grueling semester of work, it’s time to wrap it up and dive into finals. Finals begin on Monday, Dec. 18, and end on Wednesday, Dec. 21. The morning finals will be periods 1, 2, and 3, leaving periods 4, 5, and 6 for the afternoon sessions. Each day of finals will be split into one final in the morning and one in the afternoon.
The schedule for the day will start with a 40 minute study session beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 8:40 . After the study time, there will be a 15 minute break, ending at 8:55. The first final of the day will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m. for a 40 minute lunch break. The study session for afternoon final will start at 11:45 a.m. and end at 12:25 for another 15 minute break. The second final will begin at 12:45 p.m and end at normal release time.


KOI at Kayhi

Chanell Browne
Staff Writer

PBIS is a new education program created by KOI (Knowledge Outcomes Impact) that’s being implemented in schools across the country. The goal of the program is to help students focus more in school and to stabilize their behavior.
Principal Bob Marshall said he is excited to implement the program at Kayhi. He hopes it will improve student’s abilities to learn and process new information at school. The program is targeted towards students who lack focus and aren’t succeeding as a result.
“As you know most kids come to school from families where parents are present and have a good foundation, other kids don’t have some of those things,” said Marshall. “It’s figuring out how to help students who have a lack of behavior leading to their lack of success.”
Marshall selected the teachers he wanted to participate in the program. Those teachers received two days of training and instruction in finding effective ways to approach students who need additional guidance.
“There was a site team decided by me so I got to choose teachers that were going to be good leaders in learning what KOI is and how it works,” said Marshall. “Basically it’s a school wide positive behavior interventions and support training. It’s a program that tries to encourage more positive behaviors.”
The site team will meet again in March and the program created by the site team will be rolled out next year.