Full december issue

Page 1

2017-2018 Staff Listing

To see additonal content, be sure to check out our website: www.lhsdoi.com

Hannah Hutchins, Editor-in-Chief Maria Thames, Editor-in-Chief Savanna Winiecki, Online Editor Lola Akinlade, Features Editor Rachel Benner, Features Editor Maggie Burnetti, Sports Editor Matt Smith, Sports Editor Sam Nelson, Photo Editor Olivia Griffith, Layout Editor Colleen Mullins, Social Media Editor Paula Baworska Anya Belomoina Amanda Black Molly Boufford Ariella Bucio Jenna Carnazzola Ian Cox Olivia Devin Rachel Dudley Moira Duffy Maggie Evers Megan Fahey Katie Felsl Lizzie Foley Zachary Ford OIivia Gauvin Demi Glusic Jenna Grayson Kath Haidvogel Emily Hamilton Dylan Heimert Abbey Humbert Maggie Hutchins Ben Kanches Jacob Kemp Corey Kuchler Allie Kuhlman Anna Legutki Stephanie Luce Elizabeth Manley Ella Marsden Kylie Rodriguez Claire Salemi Bulat Schamiloglu Kelly Shinnick Brandon Simberg Lanie Storiz Nate Sweitzer Dylan Trott Maddie Wasser Megan Wolter Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact us at doi@lhswildcats.org

“Cafeteria to serve more gluten-free items” By Ian Cox, Photo by Kylie Rodriguez

“Pop Up Art Show” slideshow by Emily Hamilton

“Busy Bees, and a Buzzing Business” By Maggie Hutchins, Photo courtesy of Lisa Zhao

Michael Gluskin, Faculty Adviser

December 12, 2017


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News New, blended courses on next year’s schedule


Opinion 20-21

New classes are being implemented next school year, changing the course of some departments and offering students new classes to take.

Rigorous course loads have many students taking mental-health days to keep up with work and de-stress. The majority of the DOI staff believes that students should be able to take these days off, if needed.

Feature An All-Inclusive Education


The definition of “smart” can be interpreted in many different ways depending on one’s point of view.

The Gifted Effect

Many students question school curriculum and whether or not it helps us in the future; Demi Glusic argues what students really need to learn.


As the winter sports season continues, Wildcat Stats highlights the different sports’ newest statistics.

Substitutes of Libertyville


Substitute teachers give insight to themselves and everyday life at LHS, along with what they love most about the environment.


Fitness for Four Years

Illinois requires a curriculum of four years of physical education, which has exposed both negative and positive reactions to students’ daily schedules.

Eyes behind the screen

The school has numerous ways to monitor technology, including Hapara, weekly parent emails and PowerSchool.


Sports Wildcats Stats

Teaching Beyond the Classroom

21st-century ideas have affected how some teachers are instructing their courses, including a couple of teachers at LHS who are transitioning from the “traditional” ways of teaching.


What about the important skills?


Students explain their experiences in gifted courses and how they can positively or negatively separate them from other students.


The subjectivity of “smart”


Different services are offered to students for the benefit of their education, including Individual Education Plans and 504 plans, among other accommodations.


Give Students a Break


The Money Behind Sports

Each sport is provided money from the district and is budgeted througout the season in order for each sport to meet its individual needs.

Comparing Competitiveness

With more AP classes offered to students attending LHS, competitiveness for higher education has become the norm in students’ schedules. Contents


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Contents by Maddie Wasser Cover illustrations by Nate Sweitzer





Study Skills


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here are many layers to the school system: students and teachers make up these layers, of course, but the system goes beyond this. The system and the education that goes along with it is based upon learning and a curriculum that is for all different types of students with all different kinds of capabilities and interests, and the way this education is implemented varies from school to school. At LHS, the implementation of education includes the abundance of rigorous courses offered, the access the school has on students' searches, the innovative teaching styles present among teachers, the special services offered and the substitute teachers that fill in for teachers when they cannot be present, just to name a few. With these examples, and education in general, there are also varying opinions on what school does for its students and what school should expect out of its students, topics which are explored in this issue. As each student and teacher has their own experience, it is nearly impossible to report on every educational aspect of school, but, in our School System Issue, it is our intention to highlight some of the important educational aspects of LHS. Writing and Photo by Maria Thames

Focus Cover


Layout by Livi Griffith

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New, blended courses on next year’s schedule By Moira Duffy

Photo by Bulat Schamiloglu Mrs. Bachar, a science teacher, is the future teacher of the new Blended Chemistry course. Blended Chemistry will be available to LHS students next year, where students can take a course very similar to regular Chemistry, but it will run on a more college-like schedule. Curriculum changes for the 2018-2019 school year include the addition of blended courses meant to challenge students’ independence and time-management skills required for college. Dr. Debra Kellum, supervisor of the Applied Technology, Business Education, Family and Consumer Sciences and Library Department, stated that blended courses are new classes designed to help students prepare for college-style learning: “The AP-level classes have a designed curricular rigor that completely is identical to a college-level class. [Blended courses], however, are going to be like a college-level class [in their] administration.” The schedule of blended courses will be nearly identical to the structure of most college classes. For example, instead of meeting in a classroom five days a week, students in a blended class may have class Monday and Tuesday, but independent research time Wednesday and a meeting for a group project Thursday, with work time Friday. On days when they’re not in the classroom, students will be in areas such as the Drop-in Lab, Library and M.A.S.H. “[The loose structure] gives the students a sense of independence,” stated Mr. Ole Stevens, the Director of Student Services. These new courses include Blended Chemistry, Blended Algebra II, Blended Personal Finance, Blended Consumer Management, Mobile Maker’s App Development and AP Research. They will be available for sign up starting in January through mid-February to next year’s juniors and seniors. Blended Chemistry and Blended Algebra II are open to sophomores only if they are recommended for them. Blended courses will allow students to get credit for two classes in one. “A student who would probably do well would be able to monitor their own progress and have a realistic idea of, ‘Am I good enough with this particular content, or could I use my time and work on something else?’” said Science Department Supervisor Mr. Pete Dawson. Blended Personal Finance and Consumer Management are meant to fill the Consumer Education requirement for graduation: “Personal finance is more of a business focus; family consumer science has the same requirements, but they cook once a week,” said Dr. Kellum. Mr. Dawson described Blended Chemistry as similar to regular


chemistry but with added benefits: “Students can get more support, more examples, more help individually if they need it, but if they feel like they’re strong on the concepts, they can go to a different area and work on some different content.” The distinction between taking regular chemistry and Blended Chemistry would be in their scheduling. In terms of learning targets and expectations, the classes will be nearly identical, Mr. Dawson said. Dr. Kellum also excitedly introduced the Mobile Maker’s App Development course: “You literally could sit in this class and learn how to create your own app, put it out on the market, and earn money.” The administrative team brought blended courses to LHS after exploring the idea for the past four years. Multiple teachers visited Huntley High School and observed blended classes before proposing a trial at LHS, eventually convincing principal Dr. Tom Koulentes and assistant principal Mr. Ray Albin to add the courses to next year’s options. Dr. Kellum recommended that students take a blended course because “they [teach] skills that every student should have before they go off to college or enter the workforce.” These soon-to-come additions to the LHS curriculum are not the only changes to be made. Subjects such as Bible as Lit and Computer Arts are changing their names to better reflect their content. Bible as Lit will become Literature of World Religions, designed to study religious texts besides those of Christianity, such as those from Islam and Judaism. Computer Arts will be known as Digital Art and Design to broaden its reach to students by encompassing art and design skills rather than just computer use. Other changes in next year´s curriculum include expanding the availability of certain courses. Marketing will be open to freshmen through juniors; both Personal Finance and Consumer Management will be open to grades 10-12; and AP English Literature and AP English Language will be for grades 11-12. AP Seminar was modified to have English credit. The rest of the new classes are American Studies, Advanced Weight Training and Conditioning, Advanced CrossFit, Guitar Ensemble, Developmental College English, AP Environmental Science and Preschool 2.


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By Zachary Ford and Hannah Hutchins Photos by Anya Belomoina Layout by Jenna Carnazzola

An All-Inclusive Education Although it is one of the lesser-known departments at Libertyville High School, the Special Services Department accommodates 8 percent of all LHS students and caters to their individual needs, providing students with educational and social support plans throughout their time at Libertyville. The department is not only composed of teachers, but also psychologists, social workers, speech and language pathologists, teachers’ assistants and physical aides, all of whom make sure students with disabilities can fully access the curriculum within their classes. According to Ms. Karin Morgan, the supervisor of the Special Services Department, students qualify for special education


after an initial evaluation is completed by school staff. The evaluation process is led by a school psychologist, but depending on the student’s disability, a social worker, language pathologist, physical therapist or any other staff member may also be part of the evaluation. The evaluation process can take up to 60 school days. Some examples of what this process can evaluate include specific learning disabilities (SLD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, emotional disabilities, speech or language impairments, visual and hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.


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IEP & 504 According to Ms. Morgan, there are two different types of plans through which students who qualify for educational accommodations can receive aid from: a 504 plan and/or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). A 504 plan is something for students within the general education population and is referred to as an accommodation plan. This type of plan is for students outside of special services who are typically in all general education classes but are provided with various accommodations that help them learn the curriculum in the way that is best for them. Within a student’s 504 plan, they may qualify for services such as extra time on exams, preferential seating, alternate testing locations, diabetic care, certain scheduling requests or copies of classroom notes. On the other hand, an IEP is a higher level of support. While a 504 deals with the accommodations and tools that help within the classroom, an IEP is the support students receive beyond that. Students who qualify for a 504 plan have a decision team, which decides whether or not the students can be successful with classroom accommodations provided through their 504 plan or if the student needs additional accom-

modations and services. Students with an IEP have a team created to help them, which is known as an IEP team. It is composed of a general education teacher, a special education teacher, their parents, that student and a Local Educational Authority (LEA) representative. IEP teams look at a student’s educational levels, their ability to manage their emotions and the type of aid they qualify for under their 504 plans. Together, parents, teachers and students create individualized goals that are manageable, yet challenging for a student, pushing them to continuously work towards these goals all year. IEP meetings are required at least once a year, and the Special Service Department is in charge of providing quarterly updates to parents every nine weeks with what progress their student has made in reaching their goal. Members of the IEP team closely monitor a student’s progress throughout the academic year and determine whether or not they’ve reached their goal. At the beginning of every school year, or once noticeable progress has been made in reaching a goal, the team then starts the process over again and decides whether or not the student is going to continue with the same goal or make a new one.

“ It’s a great opportunity if kids need more guidance, assistance, or just more time to really focus and do their work. ” -Mrs. Price

Accommodations Working with so many students, the Special Service Department works to create individualized aid for all students, providing them with appropriate accommodations based on their needs. Ms. Morgan has worked as head of the Special Service Department at Libertyville for the past five years. Throughout her time, Ms. Morgan has seen the department grow in its ability to accommodate students of all learning levels: “I would say we are successful at identifying what the [student’s] needs are and then developing the programs that we need to help them.” Class sizes in special education tend to be much smaller than those in general education. Special education English teacher Mrs. Susan Price sees many ways in which her students benefit from these smaller classes: “I think a teacher has a much more clear view if students are grasping and getting [the curriculum] or [if they] need it repeated, or are challenged by it in a different way. You’ve got a smaller class and a wider range of abilities.” Mrs. Price believes her smaller class sizes make


it easier for her to attend to a student’s individual needs, allowing her to assess how she can help them grasp the material best. In doing so, she is able to work with a student more rigorously by playing into their strengths, with the hope that these strengths will eventually allow students in special education courses to perform well in general education courses. One unique service that the Special Services Department offers is the Flex program. Flex is a short-term program for students who need to master a few learning skills, such as reading comprehension, writing or speaking skills, before they can go back into their own classes. Another service that is offered to students in the special education program is ninth hour. Ninth hour is a period of study hall at the end of the traditional eight-period day where students can come in for extra help. “It’s a great opportunity if kids need more guidance, assistance, or just more time to really focus and do their work,” stated Mrs. Price.


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Need Based Classes The curriculum in special education springboards from the curriculum in general education. In general education, there are AP and honors classes as well as single and team-taught classes. In special service education, there are instructional classes, which feature a modified curriculum, but are still very similar to the general education curriculum. One type of class that students with learning disabilities are commonly placed in is co-taught classes. These classes have two teachers in them, allowing students to receive more individualized aid in their areas of struggle. In co-taught classes, the curriculum is taught at a different pace, providing students with additional support as needed. According to Mrs. Price, students with learning disabilities and ADHD typically need the curriculum to be restructured and modified so that they can best understand the material. In her World Literature English class, Mrs. Price identifies her students’ strengths and utilizes them so that her students can always be learning at their fullest potential. “Sometimes it’s trying to present information a lit-

tle bit differently throughout a small modality where [students] have more of a strength. Presenting it to a more auditory level rather than a visual level, or visa versa, may help you reach a student more easily or more successfully,” she said. “[In general, just] playing to their strengths.” Another special education class that many students receive aid from is Tutorial. According to Ms. Morgan, “[Tutorial is] a resource period where [students] have a case manager [who] knows what their disability is and what classes [they] have, and helps [with] organizing homework [and] understanding what [a student has] learned that day in class. [A student’s case manager is their] go-to person here.” While at times students are able to use their Tutorial period as a guided study hall, the time is often spent working towards the goals outlined in their IEP. For example, if a student has a reading disability, they will oftentimes spend their tutorial period doing reading interventions or learning new strategies that will ultimately improve their reading skills.

Mrs. Stephanie Henrichs LHS Transition Coordinator

Ms. Karin Morgan Head of the Special Service Department

Mrs. Susan Price LHS English Teacher

Transition After Libertyville, there are many different paths for students, for those both with and without disabilities. For students who have utilized the Special Services Department, there are a number of options: they may go to a four-year university and access accommodations or support services there; they may attend a specific institution that has even more services and a case manager there; or, they may attend a transition program offered through District 128. “For those that aren’t ready for a college classroom or curriculum, we have a transition program where students can continue to be a D128 student, but can move on to a program [that] focuses on job, life and independent living skills,” Ms. Morgan explained. This program is for Libertyville High School and


Vernon Hills High School graduates and is available to them until they are 22 years old. There are transition programs offered through two sites: College of Lake County and SEDOL, the Special Education District of Lake County. Mrs. Stephanie Henrichs, the transition coordinator at LHS, explained that the program provides different services for each person involved; it is a very individualized program. As transition coordinator, her job is to help students, whether they are in special services or not, explore different options for life after high school. “There is a stigma around [transition], around tech campus, which is unfortunate. We live in a town and society that emphasizes college after high school, when in reality, a four-year university is not the path for everyone,” Mrs. Henrichs said.


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The Gifted Effect I

n a small, active classroom with an average of 10 to 12 students is the gifted program: an organized By Olivia Gauvin curriculum for academically advanced children Photos by Dylan Trott who are previously tested to take the separate Layout by Ian Cox accelerated classes. After years of often private and secluded classrooms, the effects of a gifted program are felt through a wide range of impacts, and as students and faculty alike have noted, Although it has been previously disputed, evidence has recently shown that gifted children inherit their those impacts are both advanced learning abilities from birth. These abilities can be seen from a young age. beneficial and burdening. The main gifted program that feeds into Libertyville given a picture and you had to replicate that picture High School is through Libertyville School District 70. using all of these cubes.” The students featured in this story were all involved in As Greenberg explained, she joined the Adler Park the various gifted programs offered through District Elementary School’s gifted program in fourth grade 70: those being the transfer program to Adler as well as and was taught through fifth grade in the same the option to take separate classes offered at the classroom with roughly the same eight children. elementary school the students origi“[The switch to gifted classes] was a very different nally attend. Students in environment because in fourth and fifth grade, it was either of these programs just this small class for every subject and you’re kind of “[The gifted program] sets then continued onto the isolated from everyone else, but it was okay for me gifted program at because it allowed [me] to accelerate [my] learning in a [students] on this Highland Middle School, way that before in elementary school, [I wasn’t] able high-achieving path and they which has a program of to,” Greenberg said. separated, higher-level The gifted students expressed how influential their start working hard at a really classes for English and elementary school teachers were in their early young age, which sets the Mathematics. education; one of Adler’s gifted teachers, Mrs. Emily While acceleratWeber (formerly Ms. Maki), was notably adored tone for the rest of [the ed-style classes were among them. The Drops of Ink staff contacted Mrs. students’] education.” available to students as Weber, as well as other District 70 gifted teachers, to early as second grade, the discuss their teaching experiences within the gifted - Ms. Marissa Frederick established gifted program for this story, however, the District 70 public program was offered to relations facilitator indicated that the District declined District 70 students to participate in commenting on the topic. entering the fourth grade. Mrs. Weber, who taught the fourth-grade gifted academics, was the teacher the students most fondly Sophomore Izzy Greenberg explained the prerequispoke of. As both junior Matt Wagner and Greenberg sites required for being accepted into the gifted individually stated, Weber’s engagement with program: “[The first round involved District 70 technology and her care for the children created an establishing] this list of [student] names from the environment of positive learning. entire district. The second round of testing [involved the students testing at Adler], and it was mathematics, like visualizing things. [The teachers] would give you these cubes that had different patterns...and you were



“[Mrs. Weber] was amazing. She was super techoriented, so we had iPods in the classroom and we got to use those a lot," said Wagner. "That's what

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got me interested in technology because just seeing how you can use [iPods] for things aside from just games, like [using] them in an educational way, was super cool.” Ms. Marissa Frederick, a school psychologist at Libertyville High School, explained how a rigorous, gifted education can be quite positive: “[The gifted program] sets [students] on this high-achieving path and they start working hard at a really young age, which sets the tone for the rest of [the students’] education.” However, some of the students interviewed had negative experiences pertaining to the gifted program as well, the most prominent being the stigma of the word “gifted” itself. Becca Lothspeich, who graduated LHS in 2015, expressed how she struggled with fulfilling the expectations of the term “gifted.” In her elementary years in the program, Lothspeich explained she often dealt with teachers and fellow students who expected her to understand the challenging schoolwork taught in the program and would scold her when she could not meet their expectations. “I remember not knowing the answer to some things, and [the teacher would] belittle me, and make me feel so dumb, so stupid, for not knowing this,” explained Lothspeich, over the phone. “Part of the negative experiences with the gifted program [are] the expectations that are set [for] you…[people] just expected us to have this inherently gifted [knowledge].” The other students interviewed each individually expressed a similar concern and the pressure that comes from those expectations can be detrimental. Ms. Frederick said the pressure behind the word “gifted” can affect both students inside and outside the program. “I think that when [students] are called ‘gifted’, then [if] they encounter a problem, or a difficulty that might not be something that they encounter regularly, [they] don’t have the emotional wherewithal to be able to manage themselves, or [if they] don’t have support in place to help themselves in those situations, it can be really upsetting to get a problem wrong. I think it’s a lot about perception [as well]," she explained. As junior Alex Houser communicated, the pressure on her became overwhelming: “[At Highland Middle School], I did sixth and seventh grade [gifted Language Arts] and math, but I dropped [the gifted program] because it was just way too much….It was a lot of pressure, I think. That was the biggest thing, it was more pressure to have really great grades, and pressure to get A’s and also to do well in my other classes. And I guess, I was 14, and I [wanted] to enjoy middle school because I was always so stressed.” Those interviewed expressed that, while rigorous academics are positive for their education, the staff in charge of any kind of gifted program must help provide a healthy balance for students, academically and socially.


Lothspeich, who currently studies education and teaching at the University of Illinois, noted that some of the most important components to improving the gifted programs are the teachers themselves. “The gifted program can be a really positive experience...as long as the kids aren’t presented with teachers who intimidate them or make them feel inadequate,” she stated, indicating that her current studies in education have developed her perception of the gifted program today. “So much of the classroom experience depends on the environAccording to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, ment that the teacher playing make-believe, such as doctor or restaurant, is one of the most creates.” beneficial actions that lead to development in young children. It is important to note that the separated gifted program at Adler Park School is no longer an established program today. Today, students who choose to study in District 70’s gifted program only do so at their local elementary school, as opposed to traveling to Adler. Essentially, this means the students are now pulled out of their classes throughout the week to study in the separated gifted courses at their respective elementary “The gifted program can schools. The LHS Class be a really positive of 2020 was the final experience...as long as class that was offered the transfer to Adler’s gifted the kids aren’t presented program. with teachers who In the District 70’s gifted programs, students intimdate them or make have the opportunity to them feel inadequate.” work hard and strengthen their academics — with activities like constella - Becca Lothspeich tion projections in a space-stimulated dome and lessons centered around complex polynomials. However, staff members and students both emphasized that “gifted” does not mean better than others. The “gifted” children complete the rigorous tests of academic growth; and when reflecting on their experiences, the students made it clear that while the pressure to excel beyond the gifted expectation is extremely burdening, their opportunities were extraordinary, and in some cases, unique gifts in themselves.


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m o o r s s a l C g n gi

n a h C The

Throughout the past century, many things have changed in the world, such as cell phones and cars, but one thing that has remained very much the same is the school system. Students sit in desks organized into rows and columns, listening to a teacher lecturing from the front of the room while taking notes. In the 1800s, there would be one teacher per schoolhouse with students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade all in the same classroom. The teacher would lecture and the students would take notes on slates with chalk. While the world now may be more technologically advanced, the same basic structure is still present in many of our classes. Some teachers remain very traditional with their teaching styles, while some are evolving their methods and becoming more modern. Their curriculum has begun to shift to allow for open discussion and encourage more questions and curiosity. With these new methods, students are able to explore their classes and alter them to their interests. Teachers are adapting to different students’ learning styles and consequently changing their lessons and activities. A study from the Proecdia -- Social and Behavioral Sciences journal in 2011 looked into whether or not a student’s learning style affected their academic success and whether or not the teacher’s teaching style affected the students. It concluded that “a good teaching method is the one that implies relevant and visible training values which shall motivate students and make them aware of their understanding and reflection, [and] help them make up their critical thinking which will guarantee their trust in their own forces. The students then become more capable of acquiring the skills necessary to become successful in the future.

follow the structure of students listening to the teacher lecture and taking notes, practicing repetition and solving the same types of problems in order to retain the information. For example, one day in class Ms. Joesten might say, “We are going on a hike and I have my backpack, and in that backpack I have measuring tapes and compasses, and we walk around school and I bring them out to the courtyard. I say, ‘You have to only use the tools in my backpack and you have to figure the distance from where you are standing to get to the tree.’” This type of activity is designed to allow students to come up with creative ways to solve the problem. The students are not allowed to ask Ms. Joesten for the answer or how to solve the problem. Without being explicitly told the solution the students are forced to come up with it themselves. Ms. Joesten believes that this helps better prepare students for their future. This isn’t the way math classes are typically taught, and from Ms. Joesten’s experience, she has noticed nothing but positive improvements from her students. According to Ms. Joesten, students are performing at high levels and they are way more motivated. Joesten has also noticed a change in the way that students act during math. They seem more confident and less stressed during class. “This class has changed me as a student,” said Christine Zhang, a junior enrolled in one of Ms. Joesten’s classes. “I feel more confident in my math skills and less nervous about making mistakes because I know that I can always improve my score. I’m less afraid of failing, and I’m more comfortable asking questions on why I got something wrong.” Another aspect of Ms. Joesten’s precalculus class that is different is her


One teacher who has made this transtion is Ms. Christee Joesten, a math teacher who has taught at Libertyville High School for five years; she has developed a new curriculum for her precalculus course. Her variation of this old course is taught based upon what she refers to as the four C’s: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. These four fundamental topics help students solve open-ended questions that Ms. Joesten has not explicitly told them how to do prior to them solving the problem. “[The goal is to] solve something where I haven’t told them how to solve it so they have to be creative and use critical thinking,” she said. Ms. Joesten’s inspiration to change the way she taught and to develop this new style was from a video that she saw, which was produced by XQ America and the XQ Super School project. The design of this project was to reimagine high school and the way that students learn. Ms. Joesten used her inspiration from the project to create a new way to learn precalculus in order to keep students interested and engaged. One way that she has redesigned her class is by allowing the students to have more interaction with each other and engage in hands-on learning, which isn’t always typical in a math course. Typical math courses


Ms. Joesten shows off one of the many measuring tools she uses with her math class for projects. 12

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By Emily Hamilton and Megan Wolter Photos by Lanie Storiz Layout by Corey Kuchler grading system. Students do not receive a grade on every assignment that they complete. Ms. Joesten believes that when she gives students a grade, it doesn’t show them what they can do better; she said it is more helpful to have written feedback. This written feedback allows a conversation between the student and the teacher and provides the student with what they can do better and how they can improve. Due to the fact that students do not receive a grade until the end of each progress period, the written feedback provides them with time to understand the material and have a better grasp on the concepts, possibly by going in for extra help, which could allow students to receive a better grade at the end of each quarter and, in turn, a better overall grade in the class. One of the major changes to Ms. Joesten’s class and quite possibly the base of how the whole class is designed, according to Ms. Joesten, is the individual website that each student creates. The students set up a website where they upload different assignments and problems that they have worked on throughout the progress period. They then also provide Ms. Joesten with the grade that they believe they deserve. The students base this grade off of how well they did on each of their assignments and on how well they believe they understand the material. Students must provide evidence for the grade by relating it to the four C’s mentioned earlier. Ms. Joesten has been quite surprised by the success of having students grade themselves. She has found that students are “incredibly honest about the grade that they deserve. I haven’t had to have [many] one-on-one conversations about the grade that they deserve; our opinions typically match up.”


Mr. David Kreutz is currently a human anatomy and physiology teacher at LHS, but he has been teaching here for 12 years and has taught biology, chemistry, honors biology, physics, physical science, and chemical research and development in the past. Prior to LHS, he taught at Burlington High School in Wisconsin for 11 years. Mr. Kreutz said his teaching philosophy “begins with the understanding that all students are unique and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.” He believes that a teacher should be a facilitator or a guide in learning, and that students should “let their curiosity direct their learning.” He continued on to say, “Students cannot learn if they are anxious, intimidated, frightened or in some personal trauma.” Because of this, he tries to keep an “intellectual but entertaining” classroom environment “of collaboration and openness.” There is no “normal day” in Mr. Kreutz’s classroom. He described having the same schedule for each lesson as watching the same movie over and over again.

Mr. Kreutz uses models in his classes to indicate different parts of the spine. “I try to keep each day interesting and exciting for my students and myself,” he said. “If I’m bored teaching the lesson, how will my students feel or react to my instruction?” His students respond well to his methods. “It’s very loosely taught, but you learn all the information,” said Jessica Fu, a senior at LHS, currently enrolled in Human Physiology and Anatomy with Mr. Kreutz. “You learn by hands-on experience and you learn by what you know, and it’s not him teaching you all the time; it’s having you figure out things by yourself and then getting the feedback from that too.” In preparation for being interviewed for this story, Mr. Kreutz asked his former students, through social media, about his teaching methods. He said that one of his former students raved about how Mr. Kreutz was more interested in the students themselves and whether or not the students were enjoying learning, rather than being worried about grades. Other students recalled how interesting his class was and how engaged they were during his class. While Mr. Kreutz does admit that some students don’t like his teaching methods, for the most part, he said he gets very positive feedback. He added that his classes are full, and he said he teaches the way he does because “kids tend to respond to it and they work hard for me. When I need them to do something, they do it. I’m pretty relaxed in class, but they totally know when I need them to do this or that or whatever.”

“I try to keep each day interesting and exciting for my students and myself. If I’m bored teaching the lesson, how will my students feel or react to my instruction?” - Mr. David Kreutz Feature


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Layout and photo illustrations by Paula Baworska

Substitutes of Libertyville

In the style of our online blog, Humans of Libertyville, which is based off the famous blog, Humans of New York, we interviewed some substitute teachers at Libertyville High School to give more insight about who they are. While students likely only interact with subs for 50 minutes once or twice a week, they come in and out of the building every day, making sure that students stay on

By Jacob Kemp and Maria Thames

Photos by Sam Nelson

“I am a photographer outside of substitute teaching, and I finished up college a few years ago. I didn’t study photography, but I got really into photography towards the end of college. [I] just got a little camera ... and started taking pictures and really fell in love with it. I wasn’t liking my internships or what I was really studying, wasn’t like really in love with it like I thought I was going to be. So when I got done with college, I moved back home and started my own business in photography, so that was something I became passionate about in college and decided to go for and pursue it as a career, so I’ve been working really hard at that for the past two and a half years.”

“I feel like I’m a little bit more --I’ve heard one student call me -- chill. I’m a little bit more relaxed as a teacher [than other teachers]. I don’t like yelling or disciplining. The big thing about teaching for me is that it’s important to have a positive learning environment, and it’s important to have those connections and relationships. I just try and make it fun. Obviously math has some boring aspects to it. I just try to inject some craziness. I was weird in high school. I’d argue that I’m still weird now.”

- Mr. Nicholas Gerjol

“Libertyville is just the best. I had this eighth period honors class, I think they graduated last year. At Homecoming, this kid comes up to me and says, ‘Would you wear my jersey?’ Again, I didn’t even know that was a thing. He brings me the paper that says why you chose this teacher. I was just taken aback! You have to understand, this is a person who isn’t vocal, isn’t loud, is a quiet student, is a respectful student. But I was very impressed and surprised by that. I’m here only part of your year, but the fact that he felt that comfortable to ask me to do that told me a lot about the relationship I had with that class and those students. It’s just a really cool relationship you can build over time, but we clicked.”

- Mrs. Catherine Abreu

- Mr. Eric Decker



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track and classes continue according to schedule. Students depend on substitutes to be here when their teachers can’t, but often they aren’t given the opportunity to get to know them. In the following quotes, we strive to introduce you to a few of these subs you might see every day, walking in the hall or standing in the front of your classroom with their name written on the whiteboard.

“Coming out of [teaching at] North Chicago, I’ve had a lot of experiences. Students will ask me, ‘Oh, how could you teach at North Chicago?’ I say, ‘No, they’re students too. They’re just like you. Now they may have more responsibilities. They may work forty hour jobs. I know that’s illegal, but they have to do it.’ That’s where I learned to respect students. When I tell kids I taught at North Chicago, it gives me some street cred. I was taught at North Chicago by my old students that if I respect the students, I will develop a reputation, and I will get the respect back. When and if I get the feeling that I’m coming here because it’s a job and I don’t want to see these kids again, then I will not be here. There’s a purpose to being here.”

“I’ve been in education my whole life and it never gets old ... It’s always a challenge, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

“Something that I really appreciate is that at the end of the class when the bell rings and the students are leaving, there’s usually several students who will thank me for being there. I don’t know of any teachers that say, ‘Make sure you thank your substitute while I’m gone.’ It just makes me feel good to know that they appreciate me being there when their teacher can’t. Especially that they think to do it without somebody else telling them to do it.”

“There’s a saying: ‘Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I think that’s really true. … I never didn’t want to go to work any day. I always enjoyed it. It’s always different.”

- Mrs. Ginny Reis

- Mrs. Barbara Boes


- Ms. Judy Craig


“I just really love [being a sub]. I enjoy it. People ask me when [I] check in or when [I] check out at the end of the day, ‘How was your day?’ and my answer always is, ‘What’s not to love?’ I love being here. I love coming in, I like being with the students, I like sitting and talking to them. I learn a lot from them too about what’s going on in the world and their lives. [My husband and I] don’t have children this age anymore, ours [have] all graduated from Libertyville High School, so it’s nice to stay in touch with the kids here and know what’s happening in the high-school age group.”

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- Mrs. Arlene Vuturo



s new technologies are implemented at Libertyville High School, certain rules are put into place by the administration in order to check up on students and make sure they are staying on task and behaving appropriately in and outside of the classroom. Taken from the Student Handbook, the LHS Internet Safety Policy states, “It is the policy of Community High School District 128 to: (a) prevent user access over its computer network to, or transmission of, inappropriate material via Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communications; (b) prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful online activity; (c) prevent unauthorized online disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification information of minors; and (d) comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act.” The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was enacted by Congress to prevent inappropriate student network usage. Inappropriate student network usage can be classified as cyberbullying, hacking or any illegal activity. Depending on the technology being used, LHS’s administration, teachers and parents are able to monitor students in some form through Chromebooks, Hapara, PowerSchool and cell phones.

CHROMEBOOKS Three years ago, LHS introduced Chromebooks to the school’s Digital Learning Strategy (DLS). Since then, the administration has implemented rules and restrictions on the devices. In order to receive federal funding, the school is required to set up website blockers and meet certain requirements because of CIPA. “What the Children’s Internet Protection Act requires us to filter is basically pornopgraphy, obscene materials, dangerous materials, something that could potentially harm a child’s safety. Some districts maybe over-filter, they block YouTube or social media…We don’t do that...We filter the minimum amount required by CIPA,” said the district’s Educational Technology Director, Mr. Mick Torres. Securly is a website filtering system that the school uses to either block or put restrictions on certain websites. It is also responsible for the weekly emails sent out to parents that report a student’s search history. Securly makes it so “the software


cannot be modified to be dangerous,” explained Mr. Temple Murphy, LHS’s network manager. “I think it is a good thing that the school monitors the Chromebooks because you open up this huge freedom... and students can get themselves in trouble,” expressed Mr. Dave Lapish, an English teacher. “We don’t want students to be doing things on the internet that are harmful to [themselves] or to others.” If a student happened to violate the LHS Internet Safety Policy, they would be sent to their dean, their parents would be notified and there would be a talk between the parents, student and dean. While students are sometimes sent to their LST based upon their search history, there has never been an instance where a student Chromebook had to be taken away permanently, according to Mr. Murphy.


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HAPARA Along with administration’s ability to manage Chromebooks, teachers have ways to control the Chromebooks from inside the classroom. Using a cloud-based system called Hapara, teachers can see the most recent student activity on Chromebooks. Hapara supports collaborative assignments and highlights student browsing activity so teachers can be present with their students through this tool. “I use Hapara whenever students are working on projects in class,” said Mrs. Tiffany Owens, a science teacher. “For the most part, students are on task, doing their work, so I think that using Hapara periodically to check in to make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing is important.” In addition to teachers being able to see what students are doing while

on their Chromebooks, Hapara can also automatically create folders in the student’s Google Drive for the teachers to easily gather and organize projects that students have been working on. “I wouldn’t say it is an invasion of privacy,” expressed sophomore Katlyn McQuillen. “I’d say if you have a certain amount of time to work on something on Google Classroom, then I think it is okay if your teacher wants to make sure everyone is actually working on it instead of messing around.” Other students feel uncomfortable knowing that teachers are watching what they are doing. “It kinda felt awkward when they would close out of all your other tabs...sometimes it would get annoying, but I see why they need to monitor what you’re doing,” said junior McKenna Rudolphi.

EMAILS As of this year, the school has been sending out weekly emails to parents that show what sites their child has visited in the past week. Parents were able to sign up for this feature during registration for the school year. “We have 1,800 parents currently enrolled,” expressed Mr. Murphy. The school has received little but positive feedback about this, he said. According to Mr. Murphy, in previous school years, there had been numerous requests from parents to see what their child had been viewing. The school decided that it would be more beneficial and time-saving to have weekly emails instead of having to process each individual parent request to see the sites their children are accessing. “With 1,800 parents requesting that type of information, it’s likely we’ll need to continue that [service], with that kind of data,” explained Mr. Murphy. The updates come from Securly. LHS has a one-year agreement with

the company, and the agreement will be reevaluated at the end of the school year. When parents receive an email from Securly, they are given a snapshot of what their student has been looking at. It shows searched words, watched videos, and websites -- both educational and non-educational -- that were viewed. If the parent wants a more detailed report, they can go to their parent portal to see what sites were used on what day and time. There is also a separate category for any sites that Securly may have flagged. While Rudolphi’s parents do not receive emails, she believes, “[the use of these emails] depends on the relationship between the parent and the child. If there a lot of trust between them, then I think it’s a bit excessive but if, as a parent, you think that your child need to be closely monitored, then I think that would be okay.”

PHONES During the day, many students connect to the guest Wi-Fi provided at school. When connected to the school’s Wi-Fi, the school monitors and tracks everything done on a cellular device. Any sites or apps that are trying to be accessed from the phone go through a filter put in by Securly. The filter allows the school to block certain sites from being used when on the Wi-Fi. The school, however, does not have a visual of the device’s screen as they do with Chromebooks. They do not have access to see what students may be doing in an app such as Snapchat, for example; they can only know that the app is being used, Mr. Torres said. He added that text messages can also not be read by the administration. “If your personal device is using our Wi-Fi network, then yes, we can filter and monitor traffic, but still cannot read text messages or see what you do in a personal app,” said Mr. Torres. If a student is not using the school’s Wi-Fi but rather their own service provider (Verizon, AT&T, etc.), they have free access to anything on the internet. “The minute you go on to our Wi-Fi, your phone has become one of the devices now that is ultimately in that D128 circle there and is now subject to our filtering,” said Mr. Torres. Rudolphi said that she was not aware that the school was monitoring cellular devices. “I had no idea [the school had the ability to monitor phones]. I think


to a certain extent, that [monitoring phones is] a little odd. Everyone knows they are monitoring our Chromebooks and what we are doing, but I don’t think many people know about the phones,” explained Rudolphi. The school is looking to prevent hacking from phones and illegal activity on phones, Mr. Torres said. While the usage of phones is monitored, it’s not sent home along with the weekly emails.

POWERSCHOOL PowerSchool is another tool that is used by the school to monitor students. The platform allows students and parents to see their overall grades for each class, GPA and individual assignments. There is also an app for PowerSchool that makes it easier for students to access. The app shows each student what assignments are late, incomplete or missing. It also shows assignments that were recently added to the gradebook. Mr. Murphy and Mr. Torres both believe that the portal is an easy and effective way for parents to have communication with the work their children are doing throughout the year. “[My parents] know I always check my grades and then just tell them if there’s a problem or something,” expressed Rudolphi.


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Comparing Competitiveness


By Demi Glusic

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Savanna Winiecki

Layout by Ian Cox

n recent years, schools around the nation, as well as Libertyville High School, have seen an increase in academic competitiveness, which is partially due to the drastic increase of Advanced Placement (AP) classes available. These AP classes can increase students’ weighted Grade Point Average (GPA), since AP classes are weighted more than regular or honors-level classes. Additionally, the drive for students to take AP classes and tests has grown because some highly selective colleges look for these classes on transcripts. The number of students taking higher-level courses has increased within the past years at LHS, which can bring more opportunities for a student to learn. In addition to the observed increase in student participation in AP courses, an increase in rigor, test scores and GPAs have elevated as well within the past decade inside the walls of LHS. Currently at LHS, there are several teachers who attended LHS as students, many of whom have noticed the academic competitiveness amongst students. Mr. Brady Sullivan, a math teacher who graduated from LHS in 1998, believes that Libertyville will always be a community that tries to push people to the best of their abilities. “I feel like we have that expectation to be super involved in everything, but still do well in school and in

all [our] activities, and there’s definitely a lot of pressure in our community to be good at everything. I don’t think that’s changed. That’s been here before, and it’s still here,” Mr. Sullivan said. Senior Yvonne Montano is a student who has taken one AP class in her high school career because she is already very busy. “The teachers really push students to think for themselves and do the best they can do but it’s not to the point where it is too much,” said Yvonne over email. “I don’t think LHS’s expectations of students are too much because we all can achieve great things. I think it’s really easy to succeed here in LHS as long as you keep up with homework and ask for help when you need it.” Other staff members in the building, such as Ms. Amy



Belstra, the College Resource Counselor, have similar beliefs about Libertyville’s atmosphere. “I think in our community, because we are such a highly college-bound community, that that adds to [the pressure] as well,” she said. “What we want students to do is take the classes that are right for [them], where [they’re] going to be successful but [they’re] also going to be pushed a little bit.” Montano sees LHS as a great place to learn as a high school student. “Academic competitiveness is the basis of this school. I think that everyone strives to get the best grades and be deemed as one of the top students of the school which I totally love,” she explained. Mr. Ole Stevens, the Director of Student Services at LHS, believes that there are “a lot of families who move in between eighth grade and freshman year that are coming from other districts in the surrounding area to capitalize and have access to those opportunities.” That competitiveness between students has increased partially due to the fact that information is easier to obtain nowadays and students often know where they stand a bit more, explained Mr. Timothy Matheson, a 2008 LHS graduate who teaches math. However, he believes this competition can also be beneficial: “Sometimes it’s a good thing: competing to set your bar higher and higher every year based on where your peers are. [Part of] the social aspect of school is staying with where your peers are at and making sure to raise your own bar.” The pressure students feel regarding the high academic rigor at LHS affects them sometimes because they haven’t had to deal with these types of pressures before, according to Mr. Matheson. Additionally, students face all of this pressure at one time; however, Mr. Matheson thinks it’s good for students to learn how to deal with the pressure because it’s going to be similar to what they experience in college as they move forward in their academic career. Mr. Sullivan had similar thoughts: “When [LHS students] go to college, they tend to find they are really well prepared … and really successful.” Mr. Matheson feels that peer pressure, with social media especially, is definitely a negative component to academic competitiveness. Sometimes kids feel like failures when they compare themselves to other students when that may not be the case at all. “Sometimes students try to add too much because they know the importance of adding other things now to what they were doing academically. That wasn’t as big of a deal when I was in high school,” he said. LHS offers many AP classes for students who wish to enroll themselves in higher-level courses. The number and variety of courses offered have increased within the past few years, as the number of test takers has gone up. When Mr. Sullivan attended LHS, he said that students, for the most part, would only be willing to take AP classes if they were extremely talented in that subject area. Today, students are taking tougher courses to challenge themselves and to improve their skills.

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Mr. Matheson noted that when he was an LHS student, it was not very common to see a student taking three or four AP classes at once like it is now. Mr. Sullivan added that “the most ambitious students were still taking the AP tests without the AP classes.” The advantages to taking AP courses are twofold, according to Ms. Belstra. Firstly, they provide students a

sense of what to expect in college, as far as expectations and workload. AP classes also allow students to receive college credit, which can benefit them in the long run. Senior Allison Tong is one LHS student who has chosen to take many advanced classes. Tong is taking seven AP classes this year and will have taken 14 AP tests in total throughout her high school career. “Moving forward, a lot of colleges emphasize that they want to see you challenge yourself,” Tong explained. “I feel like I’ve been able to take those classes and manage my time well enough to take those classes, so I’ve always pushed myself to take whatever is available, whatever is interesting to me at that higher level.” Students are driven to take higher-level courses for different reasons, some of which include earning college credit, or taking the courses because of pressures students feel in the academic atmosphere. “I think there’s a lot of social pressures too, with there being so many options to take AP classes that it almost seems more common, so maybe students think ‘six of my 10 friends are taking AP courses, so I should be taking them too,’” said Mr. Matheson. Social pressures to perform as well as or better than friends can contribute to both positive and negative tensions among students. Pushing oneself past their comfort zone could allow for an expansion of knowledge, but venturing too far into the AP world can cause stress and hardships. “The disadvantage is that definitely students are overloading, and it scares me to see the stress levels where they are and it’s not just at Libertyville; it’s happening everywhere, literally,” Ms. Belstra said. Montano is currently taking one AP class; it is her first


due to her busy schedule and she is a student who has worked through the higher stress levels. “Sometimes I do think the pressure is really high when thinking about how many things I need to do, like apply for college, do homework, study, go to Mock Trial, wake up early for WISH meetings, attempt to make my mark in the school, and all while keeping my sanity through senior year,” she said. Students need to find the balance of challenging work that also does not overload their abilities. “I chose to take an amount that would be easy to maintain, yet still challenge me,” said senior Jorie Ryan over email. “I also chose to take AP classes that interested me and would be valuable for my future endeavors." AP courses are sought after because a passing score on the AP test can give college credit, as well look good on a transcript, however, according to Ms. Belstra, the number of AP courses a student participates in does not have a major effect to the outcome of college acceptance. “I would say the vast majority of colleges will admit students with no AP classes on their schedule. We are at a really great high school where I consider all of our classes college prep. All of them. Any class is going to give you the preparation necessary in order to be a successful student in college,” said Ms. Belstra. As indicated by these individuals, there will always be pressure on students to perform well in school, but finding healthy ways to keep the stress down can be vital. No amount of AP classes can guarantee anything in the future, so students should consider their own needs first to find a harmony of challenging classes that suits them the best. No two people are alike, and all in their own ways have the potential to become successful if the right needs are met. LHS faculty and staff are always on hand to help students meet those needs, and drive them towards being a healthy well-rounded individual.


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Give Students a Break Staff Editorial

Photo and photo illustration by Olivia Devin There are a multitude of things that cloud students’ minds, leaving them stressed; more days off or designated no-homework nights could ameliorate this problem.

Mental Health Days High school is hard. Five days out of the week, students are expected to come to school for more than seven hours a day, be given assignments and then return home, only to spend a few more hours doing schoolwork. The work can stack up, creating a great amount of stress. Sometimes, it’s nice to be granted a break. A mental health day, in a school setting, is when a student or teacher takes a day off for reasons other than a physical illness. They may spend this day renewing their energy and relieving their stress. Many people, including members of the Drops of Ink staff, have differing opinions on whether mental health days should be allowed at school. Some Drops of Ink staffers feel that mental health is just as equal as physical health, and it should be treated as such. Not allowing students to take days off for their mental health only perpetuates the negative stigma surrounding mental illness. Mental health days don’t just have to be for people struggling with a mental illness, but they can also be for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed. We all get homework, which means we all get stressed, and on occasion, deserve a day off. Should a student ignore their stress and still come to school, it could negatively affect their performance. They might not be able to focus on the lessons, and not being able to function properly can only make them feel worse until they begin to start slacking off on each of their assignments. Students who are unwell begin to only live for the weekends -- when they are free from the additional work -- which is no way to live. Having a mental health day to rest can clarify a student’s mind and refresh them, helping things fall into place, including their grades. However, some of our staff believes mental health days might



do more harm than good. Their number-one reason for this is the amount of learning and work they are going to miss if they take a day off. If you skip school to catch up on your assignments and relieve stress, doesn’t missing a day only add to both of those things? While that may not be the intention, it could defeat the purpose. Some DOI members argued that students should not be allowed to miss school to focus on their mental health because it is not the same as their physical health. When you are sick, you are taken out of school because you are contagious, and you don’t want to infect the other kids. Mental health isn’t contagious, and therefore shouldn’t be treated the same. If the school should realize the power of mental health days, when should they happen? Is it up to the student to decide when he/she should have a day off for their mental health or should the school set aside specific days in the school year for a schoolwide day off? The DOI staff argued for both sides. One side said that it should be up to the individual because mental health is personal and tailored to each person differently. If there aren’t built-in mental breakdowns, there shouldn’t be builtin mental health days. The other side of the argument said that since missing school isn’t ideal, having already designated days might help fix the problem of extra stress and homework. One blanket day could eliminate any consequences a student may have to face after taking a mental health day. Another potential solution provided was to have no-school days maybe once a month, once a semester or after busy weekends, such as school dances, to restore vitality.

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“...The school needs to realize there is more to life than spending six hours on homework outside of school.” No-homework Days Schools around the world have begun to implement no-homework days into their schedules to give their students a much-needed break from schoolwork. Finland, ranked as having the best educational system in the world by Scholastic, does not give their students homework. That’s obviously not the case at LHS. However, if LHS is nationally ranked, why don’t students feel more cared for? Having no-homework days would allow kids to spend a few hours a day or a weekend doing things they love. High school is a time to explore interests and learn what we are passionate about, but it’s hard to do that if we are cooped up in room spending hours on homework. The time teenagers spend doing homework could be used for spending time with family and friends, relaxing, or doing things they love. Not being constantly at work could strengthen relationships and improve general wellness. One DOI staffer pointed out that the school needs to realize there is more to life than spending six hours on homework outside of school. Some members said that there would be a slim chance of the school establishing no-homework days because our school is recognized by colleges for its intensive program and prestige. Allowing students to skip out on homework for a day or weekend could make our school look soft in a sense and could potentially harm students once we reach an advanced college curriculum. Plus, if students sign up for higher-level courses, they should expect the loads of homework they will receive.

School's Job While there are varying viewpoints on the benefits and drawbacks of days without school or homework, the staff of Drops of Ink was unanimous in this decision: high schoolers are stressed, sometimes beyond the point of what they can handle, regardless of if they are in regular or AP courses. LHS can and should play a role in helping manage this stress in and outside of the classroom. This can occur by allowing students to take mental health days with minimal consequences. The first step is to understand the reasons a student may be taking the day off. This can be

done with the help of the student’s LST and communication between the student and their social worker or counselor, for instance. Another recommendation by staff members was allowing students a mental health period, in a place like their LST, as a way to restore their energy without missing a full day. Outside of the LST, teachers can support students as well by limiting the amount of coursework they give each night. As most teachers realize, students are taking up to seven classes a day, meaning that their class is not the only one students have homework in. That is not to say a teacher should avoid giving homework completely, but rather to be considerate and aware of this other homework. Additionally, the DOI staff feels that there should also be ongoing communication between teachers and students. Creating a relationship not only helps the student to be heard and makes the class more meaningful for them, but it helps to build a mutual trust and respect between teachers and students, which could benefit both parties. If a student is having a rough week, teachers could try to empathize with a student and maybe provide an extension on a large assignment, or they could exempt homework given while a student is taking a mental health day. Now, there is always the chance that students could possibly take advantage of these options, but this should not be the only factor limiting the implementation of these options in the classroom. Similar to the options provided for mental health days, staff members suggested we have no-homework days on weekends during school dances or other big events, weekends with holidays, or once a week or once a semester. No-homework days could even eliminate built-in mental health days, considering that a lot of stress comes from schoolwork. If the school decides to give no-homework days, then teachers shouldn’t pile on homework and tests the day before or the day after to compensate for the lost day. A break from homework truly needs to be a break. Although high school can be full of stress, there can be some things done to give students a break and ease up on the pressure that constantly strains students’ lives.

Tuesday December


Mental Health Day

Note: As this piece is a staff editorial, it is representative of the opinions of Drops of Ink staff as a whole. The staff is comprised of LHS students from each grade level and spans a wide range of opinions from two class periods, with 51 students total. The author(s) of this piece did not place their personal opinions in the story; they merely reflect the staff ’s thoughts.



Drops of Ink

The subjectivity of “smart”

By Hannah Hutchins

Photo and photo illustration by Maria Thames “Smart,” a term commonly used based on grades, GPA and test scores, goes beyond the realm of academics; it can also convey students’ talents and passions outside of school. Most adjectives are pretty plain to see; if I called something “big” or “blue” or “square,” there’s not too much to debate. The word “smart,” however, has become a completely objective term where it should be subjective. Instead of varying from person to person, society as a whole has decided that being smart, or brilliant, is synonymous with a high GPA and good grades. “[The academic smart is] what our community values most, it’s what our parents value most, and it is what the education industry--and I know we don’t like to think of it as an industry, but it is--focuses on,” AP European History and World History Honors teacher Mr. Kevin O’Neill said. However, there are a lot of ways to define “brilliance.” You might be really great at painting. Perhaps you are an adept mechanic. You could be good at horseback riding or doing makeup or swimming the butterfly stroke, but if you were to tell someone this, “smart” would not be the first word that comes to mind. I’m here to tell you that I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry that society has told you that if you don’t do well on standardized tests, you won’t do well in life. I’m sorry for every teacher, every peer, every parent who has ever told you that getting good grades is more important than pursuing your passion and finding your place in the world. I’m sorry that you haven’t been told how brilliant you truly are. Mr. Mike Mansell, a teacher in the Special Services Department, stressed the idea that there are a variety of ways to be brilliant. “[The kids I teach] are just as intelligent as students in the mainstream education program, but they haven’t always been given the opportunity



to show their type of intelligence. Forgive the bluntness, but I don’t give a shit about [a student’s] past. Every single person is capable of greatness; they just need that platform, that outlet, to show it,” Mr. Mansell explained. Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” We have adopted a culture of high achievement, especially academically, effectively placing a “no outlet” sign on every other path aside from a four-year university. Mr. O’Neill believes that this definition of smart can be traced back to the pressure put on students. “[It comes] to an ever-larger question about how much pressure we are putting on you guys - is it [the teachers], is it the parents. Where does that end?” Mr. O’Neill said. A combination of pressure and competitiveness has led to a whole population of students believing that they cannot be successful in life if they do not excel at school. If you don’t take all of the APs and honors classes that you can or score in the upper 30s on your ACT or get an A on that test, how will you ever succeed? I would be naive to think that my column could change all of this, but that isn’t the point; this is: take that woods class, that graphics class, that cooking class. Explore all of the options that Tech Campus has to offer. Stop stressing so much about taking every single AP course. Can this idea of being smart ever change? Maybe. I hope so. But the first step starts with you.

Drops of Ink

What about the important skills? By Demi Glusic

Photo by Abbey Humbert School may teach what the world of academics thinks is important for adolescents to know, but it doesn’t exactly prepare adolescents for the real world. Quick! You’re becoming the victim of a robbery at gunpoint -- what do you do? A. Use self-defense mechanisms to protect yourself or B. Sing the quadratic formula Oh wait, right! School never taught you anything that will aid in self-defense; quadratic formula it is then! Belting out the quadratic formula song stuns the attacker -- good for you! You run away as the last verse, “all over two a,” floats behind you; the attacker is still stunned that you remember that song from high school. Great job, you’re safe this time. The quadratic formula really knows the trick and saved your life! Last week after that close call, a couple walked past while taking a nice stroll outside when one of them pulled out knowledge they must have learned years ago in science class. “You know,” they said, pointing up to the wispy clouds in the sky, “those are cirrus clouds, not cumulonimbus as you may think! They may also form in the upper troposphere!” You go, man! Go get that girl with your cloud knowledge! While you’re at it, throw in some facts about the humidity, too. How about you tell her that the closer the relative humidity gets to 100 percent, the more likely clouds are to form. That’s a real head-turner!

are encouraged to use it to learn. Every day, we are sucked into using technology that is readily available at our fingertips. If the power in our homes goes out, how many students know to check if the backup generator is working? I will take a wild stab in the dark and say hardly any. That shouldn’t be a worry, though; running all appliances and electrical charges through homemade potato batteries you made in the third grade will be a breeze. Just run to Costco and pick up a few 10-pound bags of potatoes, and everything should be set! Hopefully the power comes back on before the potatoes rot. We learn the stages of photosynthesis by heart, how the mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell, the quadratic formula, all of these facts about Earth and how to make potato batteries. But who will teach us how to pay our taxes? To balance a checkbook or lease cars? What about learning about what we should look for in a good health insurance plan or maintaining good relationships? Nobody is going to pick up a dead frog off of the street and impress their friends by perfectly dissecting it like they were taught to in seventh grade. There will be no pop quiz while vacationing in Egypt about the area of the triangle face of one of the great pyramids. The point of this, by all means, isn’t meant to bash teachers or schools in general at all. I do believe we gain a great education by going to high school and learn a lot of information that will help us in the future, but at the same time, there are some things students are taught that I just will never understand. There should be more mandatory life lessons students should have exposure to before they graduate and are released into the world. After all, if I ever get attacked, I’d much rather show off some sweet defensive ninja kicks than my subpar quadratic singing voice.

During students’ years of being educated in school, we seem to learn everything under the sun. There are certain things we are taught and learn that, unless we go into a very specific career field, we will never use again. On the flip side, there are other subjects that school doesn’t cover, which are crucial to know as we get older and have to take on more responsibilities. In school, students don’t learn to function without technology; we



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Fitness for four Years By Maggie Evers Photos by Amanda Black Layout by Megan Wolter For every student at Libertyville High School, the time comes during their day when they exchange their normal clothes for their orange and black gym uniform. It can be a relaxing period of the day for some, where they can have a fun workout with their friends, while others hate the idea of getting hot and sweaty during school, making it their most dreaded period. Despite this divide, Illinois public high schools require that all enrolled students must take part -- every day -- in Physical Education (P.E.) for all four years of attendance.

Department Demands According to a study published by the Illinois Department of Public Health in 2012, one in three Illinois teens struggles with obesity or being overweight. That being the case, it’s no surprise that Illinois is one of only six states that have mandatory four years of high school P.E. The other five states are Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi and North Carolina. Ms. Patti Mascia, the Physical Welfare Department supervisor, discussed the danger of how obesity numbers, for not only the state but also the nation, have been on the rise in recent years. “We are the most overweight country, and childhood obesity has been on the forefront for many, many years. We’re trying to curve that,” she said. “If you take [P.E.] away, [the nation] worries that kids won’t have the opportunity to be active at all.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study in 2016, only about 27 percent of high school students took part in 60 minutes of physical activity each day of the week. By mandating that students enroll in P.E. all four years, this gives them the opportunity to be active in some way for five days of the week. Besides the rise in adolescent health risks, researchers have also begun to shine light on the relationship between one’s exercise and their academic performance. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between being active and one’s academic success. In its 2016 report, the CDC stated that students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance and classroom behaviors. “It’s not only that you’re active, but at what point of the day you are active. Research shows that if you are active right before you take a big test, or right before your toughest subject, your academic success raises,” Ms. Mascia added. This also supports the idea explaining why all students should take P.E., especially the athletes who claim they already receive enough daily activity outside of the school day. When student-athletes attend P.E., it increases their scholastic performance, along with their physical wellness, the CDC said. The state legislation is required to take into account all of the school districts within the state when making new laws. When faced with a wide range of diverse areas, the state attempts to find a balance for the laws that would benefit the majority of the schools and students.


Illinois allows each district to look at their own financial budgets to give them the freedom to decide if they can afford a P.E. program. “We live in a very affluent neighborhood, Lake County itself, so we are very fortunate for what we have. [Legislation] has to look at the entire state, not just what we have or [what] downstate doesn’t have, so that’s another reason why they require [four years],” Ms. Mascia said.

Freshmen Joey Neal, Claire Arnold and Dillon McDonald are just some of the freshmen participating in the basketball gym unit in Ms. Patti Mascia’s thirdperiod freshman P.E. class.


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Students’ Stance As stated before, the student body remains divided on the P.E. debate. Lisa Lamb, a junior at LHS and three-sport athlete, comes to school every day at 6:30 a.m. to take part in the zero-hour CrossFit class, which she isn’t even enrolled in. Lamb was enrolled in the class last year but decided to take a regular P.E. class during the day this year, allowing her to exempt and use as a study hall instead. Missing the class and people so much, Lamb made the decision, without much hesitation, to go in voluntarily every day to take part in the extensive morning workouts. “When I go to zero hour, I come in tired, but after, I feel refreshed and ready to go for the day. I just have a lot more energy,” Lamb said. While Lamb describes the zero-hour class as “a community,” she also distinguishes the different motivation she has in the class compared to in sports. “CrossFit is really individual and it’s [about] pushing yourself past your own limits and seeing a workout, seeing an obstacle, and saying, ‘I can do that.’ It gives me a sense of independence and achievement for myself. It feels good,” Lamb explained. Even though Lamb participates in cross country, basketball and soccer with practices after school every day, she still always looks forward to working out at school and credits it to helping her “feel a lot better in class” with “more focus.”

Other students, like junior student-athlete Chris Fischer, despise the idea of using one of their 50-minute periods to attend P.E. With academic demands and expectations on the rise, many students argue that P.E. takes time away from more core instruction classes. “I have trouble fitting everything that I want to take into my schedule, and gym just feels like a wasted period to me,” Fischer stated. Fischer has participated in football, wrestling and lacrosse, but now solely focuses on lacrosse. He is a part of the group of students who argue that they already receive enough daily physical activity outside of school without their period of P.E. during the day. “I would find it more beneficial for me to take another academic class [instead of P.E.] and then get my physical activity outside of school,” Fischer said. Fischer also discussed the frustration of feeling “sweaty and gross” after P.E. and then having to attend the rest of his classes in that uncomfortable state. But with the state requiring four years of P.E., LHS and the Physical Welfare Department try to encourage all students to find an aspect of P.E. that they can enjoy. “The only way we can do that is by continually offering new class-es, so that’s our goal, to continue to offer what [the students] want to take,” Ms. Mascia stated.

Maguire Marth, a sophomore taking Mrs. Carrie Keske's third-period lifeguarding class, practices saving dummies, along with real students, in the pool, trying to “rescue” them.

Senior Micah Holzwarth does the bench press during Mr. Daniel Gooris’s third-period weightlifting class.



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The Money Behind Sports

By Rachel Benner and Maggie Burnetti

Infographics by Nate Sweitzer

Layout by Colleen Mullins


housands of dollars are provided annually to each sport at Libertyville High School. People may make assumptions that there are inequalities that exist between how much money each sport is given on a yearly basis, and people may not understand how the budgets are determined and allocated. A more-rounded view of budgets doesn’t come from an analysis of one single year, but rather by looking at the budgets from at least three years, which can show the fluctuations between separate sports. Over the course of two months, the following information was obtained through research and interviews with the assistance of one of the current LHS interim athletic directors, Mr. Randy Oberembt; former LHS athletic director and current associate superintendent for the district, Mr. Briant Kelly; and Mr. Daniel Stanley, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance.

Basics of Budgeting

Excluding coaches’ salaries, for the past three school years, the total sports budget has been in between $440,000 to $450,000 per year for Libertyville High School. Regardless of the change in money given to each individual sport, the designated money spent by the school on athletics each year stays the same. Budgets from the past three school years – 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 – show how even sports budgets are over a larger time span. The aforementioned money is provided by both the district and state. “[On] average, in Illinois, you see about two-thirds [of the money] is local, [about] one-third state and [the rest is] federal,” explained Mr. Stanley. He elaborated, stating that District 128 is different from the average in Illinois: “We get about 3 percent from the state and then maybe 1 percent from the federal government.” That leaves about 96 percent of the District’s revenues coming from local sources like income tax. Another example of local revenue is the athletic fee. All students who participate in a fall, winter or spring sport pay an athletic fee of $60.



All together, the total of all students’ athletic fees combined may seem like a substantial amount of money, but Mr. Kelly clarified that the money mainly just offsets some costs for Libertyville athletics. The actual budgeting process starts with an annual meeting in January, where coaches and athletic directors meet to decide on how much money a sport will be provided for the upcoming year. Spring sports are budgeted for the following season, without having played their season for the current year. Money is usually distributed by how much the coach requests at that meeting. All of the money budgeted and given is often spent by the coaches in the budgeted year. The money does not carry over to the individual program; all of that remaining money goes to a reserve account, so a coach can’t save money to use the next year. “[Coaches] have to do a pretty good job of budgeting or thinking ahead, and that’s why it’s the coach and then the athletic director really that will be looking at it,” Mr. Kelly explained.

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Coaches’ Salaries

Coaches’ salaries are also a huge factor in how much money goes into a sport. Different coaches receive different salaries depending on several factors, with one being community expectations. Mr. Randy Oberembt explained how this factor can influence coaches’ salaries: “There are levels of expectations and sometimes [words] that people will use [are] ‘pressure, visibility.’ We could argue whether this is right or wrong, but [there’s] not much argument to whether it’s true or not; in some sports, there’s more visibility. Sometimes that’s accounted for as part of what that job takes.” A coach will start off with a beginning salary, and then every year they continue to coach, they will get more money until they receive their maximum amount during their ninth year of coaching. After that year, their stipend remains constant until retirement. For the sports with more participants, such as football, a coach might make an average of $10,750 at the end of their nine years, whereas a smaller sport’s coach, like bowling, might make an average of $8,750. For all sports, there is one coach deemed the head of the program,

leaving the rest of the coaches to be considered assistant coaches. Head coaches receive more money than the assistant coaches, however, it is not substantially different. “Obviously the head coach does get a little more, it’s not much but they do get a little more money because of the responsibilities being the head coach at the level,” explained Mr. Brian Zyrkowski, the head boys basketball coach. There is no monetary bonus for those sports that go far in the playoffs or make it to state. “I think that’s a good thing [coaches don’t receive additional money for a team’s success] because […] you’re not coaching to get a stipend. Really you’re not. You’re coaching because it’s something you’re passionate about and you want to do,” according to Mr. Zyrkowski. He added that when he previously would coach at a different school and receive no money at all, he was fine with it.











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Equipment Budget

AVERAGE YEARLY BUDGET 2015-2017 A major part of how much money goes into each sport varsity (or sophomore level), and so forth. This generis attached to its equipment budget. The equipment

BOYS BOWLING budget includes money used for supplies, warmups and BASEBALL BOYS BASKETBALL uniforms, and various sport-specific equipment. Specific BOYS sports,XCsuch as boys and girls water polo, for example, FOOTBALL share some equipment, so they budget together. BOYS GOLF According to Mr. Oberembt, certain spikes in data BOYS GYMNASTICS BOYS in SOCCER individual sports budgets can be accounted for by BOYS SWIM uniform replacement. Uniform replacement consists BOYS TENNIS ofTRACK purchasing new uniforms for the varsity level and BOYS rotating the former varsity uniforms down to the junior WRESTLING BOYS VOLLEYBALL INTRAMURALS TRAINERS GIRLS BASKETBALL GIRLS XC GIRLS GOLF GIRLS GYMNASTICS SOFTBALL GIRLS SWIM There are several other costs to a sport that don’t initialGIRLS TENNIS GIRLS ly TRACK come to mind when people think of sports’ budgets. GIRLS VOLLEYBALL About $31,000 is set aside for repairs and postage fees. GIRLS SOCCER That covers various projects such as new nets for boys CHEER andPOMS girls water polo, for example. Money that comes from GIRLS BOWLING ticket sales at sporting events goes towards an overarchWATER POLO

Additional Costs

ing account that pays for these additional costs. Sports $0 $20,000 $30,000 that require tickets to$10,000 enter the game include football, boys basketball, girls basketball on Friday nights, and boys and girls soccer and volleyball during playoffs. The school sets aside $60,000 a year for officials’ fees, which are paid to all referees, officials and umpires who work sporting events. At all athletic competitions, an

ally occurs every three years. However, replacement can vary depending on the sport. Some sports buy new uniforms every year because of hygiene and wear and NON-UNIFORM tear reasons, including boys and girlsYEAR teams for tennis, golf and swim. UNIFORM YEAR A sport’s performance during its season does not affect how much money they receive from the school, said Mr. Oberembt. For example, if a sport wins a state championship one year, the school won’t give them any more money than they need for the next year because they won.

$60,000 for Officials

IHSA official is required to be in attendance. Compensation to officials makes up 13 percent of the overall budget for the 2017-2018 school year. Another $60,000 is devoted to transportation and competition fees. Transportation can include the usage of both yellow charter buses, when teams have to hire a separate bus driver for various competitions, as well as $40,000 $50,000 the use of white, district-owned buses. “The way people determine whether they’re taking a yellow bus or a white bus...has to do with the number of kids on the team and also the length of the [competition],” Mr. Kelly explained.

$30,500 for Repairs

$12,000 for Tournament fees


The other money provided to all sports is given through the Parent Cats organization. Parent Cats raises money in general and then later can provide money to the athletic department based on need. One activity that they undertake and run is the Spirit Store, located near the Main Gym. In the store, they sell Wildcat apparel and accessories, as well as gym uniforms. Parent Cats also organizes the senior Graduation Party, which occurs right after the graduation ceremony. All other fundraising falls to individual sports and can depend per team. For example, sports like boys basketball, baseball and football have separate booster programs for their sports. Another example of fundraising that’s independent from the athletic budget are the springbreak trips taken by softball and baseball, who separately raise money for these experiences.

Other teams, such as cheerleading, attend an annual summer camp for which they fundraise separately. They also $1,000 for receive assistance from their booster Postage Fees group, the Wildcats Cheer Parents Organization; even with these efforts, students still pay a fee to attend the camp. On top of all that, activities deemed supplementary and nonessential to be covered by the athletic department are funded separately from the allotted budget. These may include activities such as a team-building events or team t-shirts. Parents also donate or raise money for their teams by hosting pasta parties and providing other food for teams before or after games.

Regardless of where the money comes from and what it is going towards, this larger analysis reveals what comprises the actual sports budgets when all of the different financial categories per sport are taken into account. The money behind sports is compiled from more than just one source and does not only rely on success and community expectations.




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