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New security checks, badges for CV visitors In an effort to improve campus safety, Clayton Valley Charter High School has adopted a new way to track visitors. The Raptor Visitor Management System, provided by Raptor Technology, is used by many schools around the country. When visitors come to the office to sign in to enter the school, they are asked to present a valid state-issued ID. A staff member will scan the ID into the system, which does a quick security check. Raptor does not retain any of the information from the security check, and it will not be accessible to anyone on the system after the check. Once approved, the visitor receives a badge with a photo,


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name, campus destination, date and timestamp. CVCHS office manager Janet Thys recommended the system after realizing that the old system was not optimal for the safety of students or visi-

tors. “At any given time, we know exactly who’s on campus,” Thys says of the new tracking. She notes that Raptor is crucial for keeping visitors safe during natural disasters such as earthquakes or other issues that may endanger everyone on campus. Visitors who only wish to enter the office to drop off or pick up something will not need a visitor badge. If for some reason a visitor does not have identification and needs to enter the school, a staff member will escort them around the campus. If issues arise with Raptor, the system has a safe and reliable way to deal with the problems. If pressed, an emergency

choice on the system’s screen will send an immediate text message to Thys, interim Principal Patrick Gaffney, Deputy Principal John McMorris and the IT crew. “The safety of our students is our highest priority, and the Raptor Visitor Management System provides a consistent way to aid in keeping away people who may present a danger to our students,” Gaffney said in an email to parents. “Thank you, in advance, for your understanding and support of enhancing school safety protocols at CVCHS.” Sydney Skow is a sophomore at CVCHS. Email her at

CVCHS students keep pushing upward

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January was a banner month for student academic and athletic recognitions at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Last fall, 741 high schools throughout the country participated in the Graduate for Más Challenge. Funded by the Taco Bell Foundation, it is designed to motivate students to make an explicit commitment to their educations. Under the guidance of AVID teacher Sarah Lovick,

CVCHS was recognized as a round 1 regional winner. The school received a $1,000 grant and will continue to compete for national honors in round 2. In addition, the first semester Honor Roll acknowledged more than 1,400 students – including 578 who had a 4.0 GPA or higher. On Jan. 27, Principal Patrick Gaffney congratulated Honor Roll students during morning announcements and presented them with Honor Roll certificates and car stickers. The list of Honor Roll recipients is on display outside of C Hall. Each year, CVCHS honors numerous scholarship and academic award winners at the senior dessert evening. For the first time in the school’s history, a senior was awarded the distinguished California Charter School Association Scholarship. Vanessa Wan is one of five students presented with a $2,000 scholarship named for Susan Steelman Bragato, the co-

founder of the state’s first charter school. I am also proud to acknowledge five seniors who will be moving on to play college athletics. CVCHS hosted a National Signing Day ceremony for student athletes and their families. By making this event “a big deal,” we hope to encourage high school juniors – and those younger – to start thinking about college and planning to apply. Here are the student athletes: • Jalen McKenzie, University of Southern California, football. • Bryce Brand, University of Maryland, football. • Alexis Espitia, Sonoma State, soccer. • Bill Ralston, Saint Mary’s College, baseball. • Nick Becker, Dominican University, lacrosse.

tion, health care, taxes, government spending, global warming, social security, energy, hunger, pollution and national debt. Overall, the majority of voters only got five questions correct. In addition, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute surveyed 2,500 randomly selected adult citizens to take a basic U.S. history and government test. Seventy-one percent got a 49 percent or below, more commonly known as an F.

Many schools across the country are taking a new look at civics courses. They are holding mock elections and debates to teach students how to gather truthful information about candidates and political issues. In a survey by CIRCLE (, 60 percent of citizens who said they studied civics in high school cast a ballot in the 2012 presidential election, vs. the 43 percent of voters who said they did not take a civics class in high school. Civics classes educate students about how the government operates and about current issues. When students participate in mock elections and debates, it increases voter turnout. This should create more active citizens and pro-

Career Center reported that Texas Christian University, Colorado Mesa, Maryville of St. Louis and Arizona State were scheduled to participate in a college fair on Feb. 9. An evening presentation entitled “Why Out-of-State College?” provided CVCHS students with greater college access by increasing their college options with out-of-state opportunities. Students in Western states may enroll in participating twoand four-year public college programs at a reduced tuition level. I’m pleased to see the excitement of our soon-to-be graduates as well as the inspiration of our younger students. Traditionally, CV graduates have been accepted to the finest universities and colleges, with about 95 percent pursuing a post-secondary education. David Linzey is executive director of CVCHS. Contact him And finally, the College &

Civics classes teach life-long lessons

Although almost every state requires students to pass some sort of civics or social studies class to graduate, many U.S. citizens do not know basic facts about U.S. history and government and they are not informed about governmentrelated issues. In 2015, Just Facts surveyed 700 voters to “scientifically determine” how much voters understand about political issues. The survey consisted of 23 questions about educa-

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mote democracy. It may also equip future voters with the tools they need to be responsible citizens.

Natalie Pursche is an eighthgrader at DVMS and a regular contributor to the Pioneer. Send comments to

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FEB 10 Clayton Pioneer 2017  
FEB 10 Clayton Pioneer 2017