Pittsburg High School's The Booster Redux, March 2016

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Thursday, March 31, 2016 www.boosterredux.com SECTION D

faculty proposes tardy policy change After several policy changes, tardiness still a concern LILY BLACK @PHSStudentPub


espite the tardy policy changing every year for the past five years, Principal Jon Bishop believes tardiness is still a perpetual problem. Administration has been re-working the tardy policy, in attempt to make it more concrete, which will ensure no reasons for tardiness and rational consequences for those who are. It will become active during the 2016-2017 school year. There have been proposals from faculty members to enhance consequences regarding tardies. These include: starting consequences after three tardies, reducing passing time back to four minutes, tardies equaling absences which will impact student’s attendance and teachers sweeping the halls. As of now, the tardy policy states at six tardies a student will receive a Friday Night School (FNS), after nine they will receive one day of In School Suspension (ISS) after 12 the student will receive three days of ISS and after 15 the student will receive a Student Improvement Team (SIT) referral as stated in the student handbook. After receiving one day of ISS for being excessively tardy, junior Devon Nelson believes the current policy is efficient in keeping tardiness limited. “Tardies add up really fast, and I ended up with ISS,” Nelson said. “[The policy] is pretty good, it is rational, and it helps students stay in check.” A few of the changes consist of the amount of tardies before any disciplinary action is taken and what

the ramifications of excessive tardies will be. When a student has three tardies, the first 30 minute detention will be served, and another one at four tardies. Five tardies will result in a FNS and a letter home, but it is undetermined what will occur after the fifth tardy. According to Bishop, the policy has been changed numerous times but this will be the last time it is changed. “Whatever is finalized is the way it is going to be. We are not going to change it as we have done the last few years,” Bishop said. “So whatever it is we are going to hammer it home and make sure all students know.” Last spring, passing periods increased from four to five minutes, aiming to reduce the total number of tardy students. Although administration has considered going back to four minutes, their final decision is to keep it as it is. However, English teacher Emily Rountree does not agree. “[The amount of tardies] has gotten worse, in my opinion. Four minutes is plenty of time to get from one class to the next, even if you are in the 600 hallway coming to my room [in the 300 hallway],” Rountree said. Nelson believes instead of punishing the majority of students who are on time, the reigns of the policy should be tightened. “Just because some students are not

doing what they are supposed to be doing, does not mean all of us should have to go back to four minutes,” Nelson said. “[Consequences should start at] five tardies, because after you get a detention you should not be late again. You should try to stay on track and not be late to class.” Rountree believes students need to be held more accountable for their lack of punctuality. Having more austere consequences will motivate students to get to class on time. “One of the reasons s t u d e n t s continue to be tardy is because there are not very stiff consequences,” Rountree said. “It is not an unrealistic expectation. - PRINCIPAL JON BISHOP Students will either adapt [to the policy changes] or they will face the consequences. Maybe they will adapt after that.” In addition to the other changes in the tardy policy, every three tardies will amount to one unexcused absence, which ties in with the attendance policy. If a student is absent too many times, they can be counted truant. “Truancy laws can take effect if you have three absences in a row or five overall unexcused absences,” Bishop said. “We are going to tighten down when kids are at the point of truancy.” Students who are habitually tardy

Whatever is finalized is the way it is going to be.

may not only face the consequences of their tardiness, but may also lose course credit from classes they are enrolled in. “When it starts affecting their ability to graduate, that is when they are going to take it seriously,” Rountree said. In addition to the revisions of the policy, administration is looking at introducing hall sweeps. Teachers would lock their doors at the bell, and staff members would congregate the late students to mark them tardy. This is to guarantee all tardy students will be counted tardy. Rountree would only want to turn to hall sweeps as a last resort. “I think more problems would arise rather than good things. If given the enforcement of stiffer consequences, and it is still a problem, then yes,” Rountree said. “But let’s try everything before we go to this jail-like setting.” The tardy policy is being changed to stress the importance of punctuality and attendance. “We are doing this to put an emphasis on attendance being important, not to threaten students,” Bishop said. “It is important to be in class.” “I think more problems would arise rather than good things. If given the enforcement of stiffer consequences, and it is still a problem, then yes,” Rountree said. “But let’s try everything before we go to this jail-like setting.” The tardy policy is being changed to stress the importance of punctuality and attendance. “We are doing this to put an emphasis on attendance being important, not to threaten students,” Bishop said. “It is important to be in class.”

Legistlature fails to appeal common core NICOLE KIONOPELKO @PHSStudentPub After six years of debate surrounding the controversial Kansas Common Core Standards, also known as the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards, a bill to repeal these standards passed through the Kansas House Education Committee and failed by a vote of 44-78 in the Kansas State Legislature House. The bill called for a new set of standards to be presented to the Legislature before implementation in 2017. The original Kansas Common Core Standards were created in 2010. The standards endure students who graduate high school are prepared for education at two or four year colleges or to enter the workforce. “The Kansas Common Core Standards are very important in preparing our kids to think critically, be able to learn how to read, understand the material that they read, be able to articulate [the material] and be able to listen critically,” assistant principal Rhonda White said. “The standards focus on the premise of being college and career ready.” Furthermore, the standards seek to establish consistent education across state lines. “Across the nation, we can agree that we want kids to learn to read and have educational skills that are similar from state to state,” superintendent Destry Brown said. “That’s what the standards are really set out to do.” As states moved into the implementation of the Common Core Standards, the standards became controversial. This controversy led to the passing of the bill to repeal the standards. Part of the decision of repealing Common Core is accredited to misconception. “There is a lot of misinformation and a lot of inaccurate information about what Common Core is. It’s got people all stirred up and upset for no reason. It’s just a common curriculum,” Brown said. Likewise, Brown believes the true purpose of Common Core is misunderstood. “For some reason, Common Core has been made into something that it’s not,” Brown said. “Some people think that we’re trying to track kids inappropriately or that we’re doing something shady. That’s just not what’s happening at all. [Common Core] was really formed to just strengthen the curriculum and make it more consistent across state-lines.” Senator Jacob LaTurner, a firm opponent of the Kansas

Common Core Standards, would like the standards to be under local control rather than national control. “We ought to trust local school boards to make decisions,” LaTurner said. “No one cares more about the education of students than the people in that student’s community. We ought to allow decisions to be made locally as much as possible. Common Core is the polar opposite of that. It’s a big standardized mandate.” Part of LaTurner’s concerns stem from numerous parents opposing the standards. “Parents tell me about their thoughts,” LaTurner said. “Parents from around my district tell me all the time that Common Core is having an adverse impact on their kids. That’s the big picture that we need to see.” The repealing of these standards would have a financial effect on the school. “The curriculum that we’ve purchased is aligned to Common Core Standards,” White said. “This bill would cause every school district in Kansas to go and purchase

allows students to take courses in their high school in which they can earn college credit and/or qualify for more advanced classes in college. “Studies show that students who take AP courses are much more prepared and much more likely to not need remedial courses in college and complete college within a six year time period,” White said. “There are a number of studies that have shown that students who do take AP courses are far more likely to finish college.” Senior Reyna Valenzuela has taken and successfully completed a total of four AP classes during high school. “AP classes really did help me get the starting courses out of the way,” Valenzuela said. “That way when I reach college I can jump ahead again and be in more advanced classes.” AP Literature and Composition teacher Melissa Fite Johnson believes banning AP classes would harm students when it comes to applying to colleges. “A lot of my AP students are applying to really big-time schools and it’s not just their GPA that gets taken into account,” Johnson said. “It’s the classes that they’re taking. If we don’t even offer those classes, then what a disadvantage that is to our students.” Although AP classes are aligned to Kansas Common Core, the classes are paced faster than regular classes. Valenzuela believes banning AP classes would have taken away students’ opportunities to challenge themselves in school. “Banning AP classes would seriously take away the experience of having a college-level class in a high-school setting, that way those who are more advanced than others have the opportunity to prepare through that or so that anyone who wants to be ready for college can take those,” Valenzuela said. Along with the challenge, rigor, and preparation for college they provide, AP classes also bring joy to both the teachers teaching them and the students taking them. “In AP classes, we get to go very deeply into the literature,” Johnson said. “Our discussions are so rich and so interesting. I’m really grateful to it.” “I absolutely love AP classes,” Valenzuela said. “Whenever I’m sick or whenever I’m not able to be in school I’m always like, ‘Dang it, I’m missing my AP literature class or my AP government class.’ I love being in those classes. The discussion and the work that we do is always a lot of fun.”

It’s the classes they’re taking. If we don’t even offer those classes, then what a disadvantage that is to our students. - MELISSA FITE JOHNSON new curriculum, new textbooks and new material, which would be an insane cost for districts to try to put into place. Everything we’ve purchased has been designed to support the standards. So what they’re saying is we would have to replace everything.” Another factor contributing to the repealing of Common Core is its tie to the Barack Obama Administration. “Anything that seems to be tied with President Obama’s administration seems to be very controversial and I don’t understand why, but it is,” Brown said. “A lot of people see the standards as coming from the Obama administration, though it really started with the Bush administration.” Before being stripped out, part of the original proposed bill included the banning of Advanced Placement (AP) Classes. According to the College Board, AP is a program that

Derek Curtis Brumbaugh 1998-2016 Derek Curtis Brumbaugh, 17, of Pittsburg, died at 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28, in an automobile accident north of Arma on U.S. Highway 69. He was born on June 17, 1998, in Pittsburg, to Curtis and Tami Albertini Brumbaugh. In addition to his parents of Pittsburg, he is survived by his sisters, Taylor Brumbaugh and Lindsey Kling and her husband Trent, all of Pittsburg, his paternal grandmother, Jerry Brumbaugh of Pittsburg, his girlfriend of two years, Aspen Lloyd, who was in the accident with him, and his teachers, cast, choir, and team members. He was preceded in death by paternal grandparents Bill Brumbaugh and maternal grandparents Henry and Wilma Albertini of Arma, and by a cousin, Sara Welch. The family suggests memorials to the Derek Curtis Brumbaugh Scholarship Fund or the SEK Humane Society. Donations may be sent to or left at Bedene Funeral Home, 517 E. Washington, Box 621, Arma, KS 66712.

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