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{central focus} francis howell central high school | volume seventeen | issue one | 8.8.2013

Anything but black & white Influx of transfer students from Normandy brings to light underlying concerns of FHSD community

Senior Andy Wagner and fellow gym students pass a volleyball

A whole Installation of artificial turf in Don Muench Memorial Stadium makes it possible for more teams to utilize school’s main athletic field more frequently By Ben Morrison be heard editor

Construction workers tear up the old, grass football field to

photos by kortney sheahan


delve | august 8, 2013

When students return to the doors of FHC after a long, relaxing summer break, the school always comes prepared with a batch full of new: new classes, new students, and new teachers. But this year, FHC comes prepared with another heaping pile of new, sure to impress this year’s sports teams and Astro fans alike, with a brand new turf football field. The news broke in October that FHN and FHC would be getting their own turf fields for the 2013-14 school year. The two fields combined had an estimated cost of 1.4 million dollars, according to the briefing paper from the Board of Education meeting in October. The process of installing the field at FHC began in late May, when the 2012-13 school year was drawing to a close. “They began the process in late May and broke ground on May 23,” said Activities Director Scott Harris. “They had a 90-day completion target and are nearing completion now.” After the project’s completion, there is little more to be done to the field. Unlike a regular grass field, a turf field does not require extensive maintenance and refining to be kept in working condition. “It will need to be groomed a couple of times a year, and then it will need to be replenished with the rubber filler every third year or so,” said Mr. Harris.

FHHS was the first to get a turf field because they lacked a proper field when their campus underwent renovations. “The field at Francis Howell had to be installed when it was due to construction on campus removing all available ‘green space’ and fields for practices,” said Mr. Harris. ”It was a necessity at the time as opposed to sending or bussing teams off site to practice and compete; having a turf field allowed all of their teams to practice in one location and then have games there.” As for where the money for the FHC and FHN turf fields came from, the money was left over from when FHHS had a turf field installed. “When the FHHS project came in under budget, this allowed the district some additional funds remaining from the Bond Issue,” said Mr. Harris. “They based their decision on the recommendations of the FHSD facilities committee and were able to put turf fields down at FHC & FHN.” For FHC, the decision to install turf will benefit many sports teams, both varsity and recreational alike. “For competitions, it will be [used by] Football (varsity, JV, and freshman), Boys Soccer (varsity, JV and freshman), Girls Soccer (varsity, JV & Freshman) & Marching Bands,” said Mr. Harris. “In addition, the following groups can use it for camps or practice: High school physical education classes, baseball, softball, youth leagues and feeder teams.”

new ball game



It cost million for Howell Central’s and Howell North’s turf fields combined.


Every year the turf will need to be refilled with rubber.


There was a day completion target to finish the field.

May 23

On , ground was broken, and the turf was finished early August.


activites will use the turf for competitions. In addition, high school P. E. classes, feeder teams, baseball, softball, and youth leagues will be able to use this for practices and camps.

When ground was broken on May 23, a lot of work was in front of the construction crew. In addition to building the field in Don Muench Stadium, the same company was installing the turf at Francis Howell North's stadium. The crew had a 90-day completion goal and is on pace to meet that goal. The field at Central is only a couple of days from completion, while North's field is a bit further from being finished. | delve


Faculty anticipate positive outBy Erica Swanson and Tyler Tran staff reporters

Normandy’s loss of accreditation and transfer students has stirred up much debate not only in their community, but ours as well. Principal Sonny Arnel is optimistic about the transfers, despite parents and members of the community’s concerns regarding safety, class sizes, and test scores. Safety concerns have arisen especially in the high school due to Normandy High School being ranked as one of the most dangerous high schools in the state. In 2012, Normandy High School reported 285 disciplinary incidents, resulting in out of school suspension at a rate of 27.8 percent of the student population, much higher than Francis Howell Central’s 80 reported incidents, and 4.2 percent rate. “I think those concerns are legitimate,” Dr. Arnel said. “So I have to remember that everyone comes from different perspectives, but that in itself is kind of offensive I think. Because what do I do with all of my kids for safety? Have we been running the school for the last 16 years with no regard with safety? I think we have steps in place to create safe environment.” These steps are outlined by the Code of Conduct that Francis Howell Central has used in the past. Based on the degree of the offense, disciplinary actions could vary from

intervention with a principal to expulsion. “We have been here 16 years and I have seen students, resident students who have done terrible things so its not because they live here or they live there that they are going to do something bad,” Dr. Arnel said. “We will use the same approach to make sure that this place is safe.” Another common concern among our community is how these transfer students will affect test scores. In Normandy’s 2012 performance report, 22 percent of Normandy’s students passed Communication Arts and 23 percent passed Mathematics, mirroring its 26 and 16.7 percentages from 2010 and its 19 and 15 percentages from 2007, failing to meet the current statewide passing rate of 55 percent. Dr. Arnel believes the effect will be minimal due to the low estimated enrollment of transfer students. It was announced on Friday 54 students from Normandy would be coming to FHC, while 475 would be attending school in the district. “Those kids will fit in and have support to try to get them caught up and have a chance to go to college or tech school or start a career and have a great life because that is our job,” Dr. Arnel said As for how the change will affect the classroom, Dr. Jennifer Miller, the World Languages department chair, echoes Dr. Arnel’s thoughts.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect us all that much,” Dr. Miller said. “As you spread the students out over the whole school district. It’s not going to be an enormous clump in every single building. There will be a few students here and there. In the past we have had students who have transferred from that part of town to this part of town and they have always joined us and we have taught them.” Dr. Miller also brings up how this new group will bring a new culture to the school. “I think they could probably teach the students at our school something about different cultures,” Dr. Miller said. “So many students in our building, regardless of their ethnicity, come from the same background in the sense of socioeconomics and I think these students can teach us a thing or two about open mindedness and how other people live their lives.” As for the situation as a whole, Dr. Arnel is prepared to extend his hand to these new students and give support them. “If I lived in Normandy and I had the chance to send my kids to Howell Central I would do it in a heartbeat. And I know what kind of kids we have here, what kind of teachers we have here, what kind of community we have here. It’s a great opportunity to make sure we are a better society in the future,” said Dr. Arnel.

Top: More than 2,500 people, including parents, students, and faculty, gathered at FHC on July 11th to discuss the transfer of Normandy students to FHSD. Emotions ran high as parents, students, and administrators sought answers from each other and the state. Above: Cars line Central School Rd. to attend the meeting, with traffic backing up almost 1.5 miles. The number of attendees surpassed the capacity of the gym, and a number were seated in the auditorium. Right: FHSD board members and district employees answer questions concerning the transfer from the community. Photos by Julia Becker

Normandy’s loss of accreditation results i By Alex Bushe staff reporter

With the news of the controversial Missouri State Supreme Court decision, and the school year beginning, students’, parents’, and faculty members’ anticipation for the introduction of the new Normandy School District transfer students now comes to an end, and a new horizon for the Francis Howell School District arises.


delve | august 8, 2013

No longer willing to tolerate such low numbers, the Missouri Board of Education made the decision on Sept. 18, 2012 to lower the Normandy District from its previous provisionally accredited status to an unaccredited status, taking effect on Jan. 1, 2013. Facing many concerned parents wanting to transfer their children, the Normandy district then needed to resolve the issue of dealing with

transferring students. According to Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.131 and the decision of the Breitenfeld v. School District of Clayton case, any students attending an unaccredited school district may decide to attend an accredited district in the same or a neighboring county, and the receiving district cannot refuse to admit them. The financial responsibility of the students’ tuition still remains to the

unaccredited district; however, the unaccredited district may choose specifically which district they’re willing to provide transportation to, leaving the responsibility of transportation of students wanting to attend a district other than the said chosen district to their families. This left the Normandy district with the task of selecting a district suitable for their transfer students, which was when the Francis Howell district

entered the picture. Coming to a decision on June 28, Normandy announced its choice to provide transportation for its transfer students to schools within the Francis Howell District. The decision was based on, according to new Normandy superintendent Tyrone McNichols, similar costs per student, the district’s exemplary academic reputation (FHC, for example, is ranked 18 out

Town Hall reveals frustration, anger Meeting regarding Normandy transfer students gave students, parents opportunity to express their thoughts on controversial issue By Claire Richardson The Scene Editor

With the school year approaching rapidly, students, parents, teachers, and administrators from all over the Francis Howell District packed the gym and auditorium of FHC. On July 11, a town hall meeting to address the concerns that arose after the Normandy School District announced students in their unaccredited district would be able to transfer to Francis Howell schools. “Honestly, I was going [to the meeting] to support my mother and grandma,” junior Elexis Geers said. “But when I got there, I realized that I went because I didn’t understand why the Normandy kids were coming here.” Following the announcement Normandy chose Francis Howell to receive its transfer students, this was a main question of parents, students, and administrators alike. “The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has recognized Francis Howell School District with numerous awards for quality education programs including the Distinction in Performance Award,” was just one reason, according to the Normandy School District website. On June 11, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down a decision in Turner v. School District of Clayton, which fought the practice of allowing transfer students in Clayton schools by requiring parents to pay the tuition costs. The ruling was based on a law from 1993 and allows students from unaccredited school districts to attend schools in accredited districts in their home county or a neighboring one with the unaccredited district paying the cost. Eric Lee, a senior at Francis Howell High School, who also spoke at the meeting, says he was surprised by the decision of the court and its implications. “It was a really haphazard policy for the courts to make, and it made the lives of administrators a lot harder, especially considering the timing of it all,” said Lee.

The town hall-style meeting was intended to answer parents’ and students’ questions and concerns regarding the transfer. Parents, students, and teachers were allowed two minutes to speak at a microphone and voice their concerns to the school board. “The meeting was disappointing in terms of the information they gave. I was surprised at how many of the questions that people asked were literally written in the FAQ packet that they handed out to everyone,” Lee said. Geers agreed the answers given at the meeting were not helpful in showing how the transfer might affect the district. “[The School Board] had no exact answers; they were all, ‘about...,’ ‘in this ballpark...,’ ‘we don’t know at this time,’” Geers said. The atmosphere of the meeting changed as the night went on. What started out with parents nervously chatting with friends and neighbors quickly turned into angry parents, according to Geers. “After [the meeting] started, [parents’] moods changed like a light switch; they got serious and upset ... it was crazy as the night went on. People were yelling, speaking their minds, and some people got upset,” Geers said. Lee thinks the student bodies at the different schools will respond more positively to the incoming transfers students than did some of the parents who attended the meeting. “Kids are extremely heavily influenced by their parents’ views. I think that most of the kids will be against the change, but I think they’ll change their minds if we can deal with the new students positively,” Lee said. Moving forward this year, Geers is concerned with everyone getting what they need to be successful, but also with the new students not fitting in. Lee, who is the class president for the senior class at Howell, offers this advice: “I’d recommend getting to know at least one of the new students. Maybe introduce them to your friends and teachers. If we help them transition socially into our schools, there shouldn’t be any problems.”

in growth in FHSD’s student enrollment of the 569 high schools in Missouri), and the available space within the district. Immediately, the decision sparked attention from the Francis Howell community, with many parents expressing their concerns over how this would affect the schools and the safety of their children. Parents voiced their opinions at a July 11 town hall meeting FHC’s gym, with many asking how many students

would be attending the district. Due to the number of transfer students not being finalized until early August, Francis Howell Superintendent Pam Sloan was only able to provide a rough estimate for a number of transfer students who might attend. In response to questions such as these and many more, a FAQ page was released after the town hall meeting on the district’s website in order to address the concerns of

parents. The change in status didn’t hurt the students attending Normandy in any way; students attending an unaccredited district still receive diplomas when they graduate, and are still eligible for scholarships and extracurricular activities. All the change did was lower the district’s reputation, letting people know the district was failing to met standards set by the state. Presently,

Normandy, Riverview Gardens and the Kansas City School District are not accredited in Missouri. From the answers provided in the FAQ, aside from FHSD being accountable for the standardized test scores of the transfer students, it appears that the only changes the community should expect is a new set of students arriving to the school district, nothing such as requiring clear book bags or

dress codes as in the Normandy district. The same policies Francis Howell has implemented in past years will remain; the same safety measures will be taken; and no new adjustments will be implemented that would negatively affect current Francis Howell students. All the Francis Howell community and district should anticipate is a greater student body to accommodate, and nothing more. | delve


FALL SPORTS Boys Soccer Head Coach Derek Phillips Boys Swimming Head Coach Andrew Morgan Cross Country Head Coach Michelle Breuer(Guidance) Football Head Coach Todd Berck (Math) Girls Golf Head Coach John Miller Girls Tennis Head Coach Brian Kirk Girls Volleyball Head Coach Mark McAfee (PE) Softball Head Coach Brian Cissell (Social Studies)

WINTER SPORTS Boys Basketball Head Coach Larry Anders Girls Basketball Head Coach Brian Ricker (Social Studies) Girls Swim/Dive Head Coach Jessica Nettles Wrestling Head Coach Steve Cross (Business)

SPRING SPORTS Baseball Head Coach Ray Howard (PE) Boys Golf Head Coach Paul Otto Boys & Girls Track Head Coach Bob Breuer Boys Tennis Head Coach Brian Kirk Boys Volleyball Head Coach Mark McAfee (PE) Girls Soccer Head Coach Derek Phillips Ultimate Frisbee Head Coach Jason Becker (Communication Arts) jason.becker@


delve | august 8, 2013

Extracurricular clubs and activities Spartan Regiment (Band) & Color Guard Nathan Griffin (Room 6) Spartan Regiment (Band): This is the marching band and is considered an extracurricular activity. We meet during the fall season and rehearse after school. This group plays for all home football games and competes in local and state-wide competitions. Spartan Color Guard: This group is a part of the Spartan Regiment and is the visual representation of the music on the field. This group is an auditioned group that incorporates dance, flag movement, and drill to enhance what the band is doing. Cheerleading: Head Coach Angeline O’Neal (Saeger) Cheerleaders are responsible to cheer for all football games, home and away, and post season play. All home boys’ soccer games and post season play. All boys’ basketball games, tournaments, and post season play. All home girls’ basketball games and post season play. All wrestling meets, tournaments and post season play. Choir/Chorus: Elisabeth Baird (Room 5) elisabeth.baird@ Chorus is an elective introductory performing class which is available to all students regardless of prior experience. Fundamental vocal techniques, music reading, unison, and part singing are emphasized by group rehearsal and written assignments. A variety of music styles are rehearsed. Drama: Michelle Moll (Room 22) michelle.moll@ Students in grades 9-12 participate in productions through the year in various technical and acting positions. Scholar Quiz Bowl: Sharon King (Room 96) sharon. This is an academic team sport that offers the challenge of answering questions in a competitive format. Questions cover general academic knowledge such as math, spelling, science, history, sports, pop culture and current events. Sensations (Pommers) Head Coach Jodi Nichols (Daniel Boone) Jodi.nichols@ Speech & Debate: Currently without sponsor The purpose of Speech and Debate Club is to promote proficiency in public speaking and debate skills for high school students. Senior Class: Jen Denny (Gym) jennifer.denny@ The purpose of the Senior Class Club is to ensure the senior’s final year is successful and memorable. They meet with administrators and decide what the senior class will give back to the school as their gift. Junior Class: Trish Morrow (Room 207) trisha.morrow@ Junior Class club is a group of selected students from the Junior Class, whose main responsibility is planning and implementing the Junior-Senior Prom on a yearly basis. Sophomore Class: Bethany Bear (Room 157) bethany. Sophomore Class club is a group of selected students from the Sophomore Class. Activities of the Sophomore Class include community service projects, Spirit Week, Powder Puff Football and class meetings. Freshman Class: Laurie Fay (Room 150) laurie.fay@ Freshman Class club is a group of selected students from the Freshman Class. Activities of the Freshman Class include Homecoming events and coming up with new ideas for the Freshman Class to get involved in. Arete: Amy Zykan (Room 2) ARETÉ recognizes students through the four “Pillars of Excellence”: Academic Excellence, Athletic Sportsmanship, Extracurricular Services and Productive Citizenship. Art Club: Amy Roesslein (Room 243) amy.roesslein@ The purpose of the club is to provide an opportunity for students to engage in artistic and creative projects that they might not otherwise have a chance to experience. Bowling:Tina Poole (Out of Building) thepoolesx4@aol. com Enjoy bowling? Come on out and join us. The bowling team is open to all students. If interested, contact Tina Poole @ Breakdown FHC: Jeremy Rohrbach (Room 109) jeremy. A club that students will tackle issues like bullying and how we can improve the climate at FHC. Website is http:// Chemistry Club: Currently without sponsor Chemistry Club invites, motivates, and encourages high school chemistry students, either former or current, who are fascinated by the many ways that chemistry connects to their world. Cultural Awareness: Lisa Harlan-Milos (Room 245) lisa. Students work on special events, fund raisers and other projects relating to Diversity in our school. DECA: Steve Cross (Room 102) steve.cross@ DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is organized around an ambitious goal: to improve educational and career opportunities in marketing, management and entrepreneurship for students. Destination Imagination: Margo Hoffman (Room 240) Destination Imagination is a community-based, schoolfriendly program that builds participants’ creativity, problem solving, and teamwork in enjoyable and meaningful ways. FBLA: Kay Neal (Room 106) The purpose of Future Business Leaders of America is to work with students in high school who are interested in a business career. FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes): Lauren Breite (Room 237) & Brian Cissell (Room 146) lauren.barth@

Begin year with right foot forward FCA’s purpose, at its absolute core, is to combine people’s passion for sports with their passion for Christ, and teach them that those two worlds don’t have to be separate. FCCLA: Bethany Bear (Room 157) bethany.bear@ (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) – The purpose of FCCLA is to provide opportunities for personal development and preparation for adult life. Future Problem Solving: Sharon King (Room 96) FPS prepares today’s students for tomorrow. It is a program designed to challenge students to think creatively, analytically and futuristically. Games Club: Ms. Kim Okai(Room 112) kimberly.okai@ Games Club is totally student-centered, and mostly student-run. It is an environment where students can come to play role play chess and role playing games like Magic and Dungeons and Dragons. Newspaper (Central Focus): Matthew Schott (Room 139) Members of the Central Focus produce and run the student newspaper and website – – as part of a co-curricular class. Knowledge Master: Sharon King (Room 96) sharon. Knowledge Master is a contest consisting of very challenging academic questions. The questions cover a wide range of subject areas including the arts, math, science, language arts, and social studies. Mentor: Wendy Ahearn (Guidance) wendy.ahearn@ Junior and senior mentors are responsible for tutoring underclassmen and assisting the Spartan Success teacher in English, Math, or Science Success classes. Mentors build positive relationships and serve as role models both inside and outside of school. National Honor Society: Dena Rulo (Room 203) dena. National Honor Society (NHS) is an academic/service organization where students must meet citizenship and academic requirements for membership. Pep Club: Jeremy Rohrbach (Room 109) jeremy. Pep Club is designed to promote school spirits and good sportsmanship in high school sports and activities. Students sit together for athletic events to cheer for teams, plan events before and after games. Website for Pep Club is Robotics: Mark Krueger (Off Campus) mark.krueger@ Robotics Club is for any student interested in technology. This includes programming, web design, computer graphics, robotics, digital photography and computer

technology with engineer mentors. Science Club: Jessica Rowe (Room 222) Jessica. Science Club students participate in community events such as water monitoring, stream clean ups, and tree plantings for habitat restoration, as well as volunteering for Earth Day festivals and Race for the Rivers. Between events, we do science labs in the classroom. Spartaneers and Student Ambassadors: Kris Miller (Guidance) Our Student Ambassadors are current students or former Spartaneers who want to assist new students in their orientation to Spartan life. Sports Management: Nick Beckmann (Room 129) Help assist Activities Director and activities office with hosting home events. Event Hosts for officials and visitors, marketing and promotions, and event administration support. Step Team: Tonishia Moore (Room 149) tonisha. A type of dance that expresses rhythm through dance and stepping. Rhythm is the skill set needed to participate. Student Council: Vicki Pohlman (Room 122) vicki. Student Council is a student-centered organization, which focuses on developing the leadership skills of teens by reaching out to the community and organizing school events. Table Tennis: Tom Whelan (Room 130) thomas. Everyone is welcome. All levels of play are encouraged to play. Racquets and Tables are provided. TSA: Don Barnes (Room 14) donald.barnes@ (Technology Students Association) TSA focuses on student with a dedicate interest in technology. Weight Room: Fall – Ken Henson (Room 155) ken. Winter – Mark McAfee (Gym) Spring – Ken Henson (Room 155) & Eric Heumann (Room 208) eric.heumann@ The weight room is open at various times throughout all seasons, exact days and times are listed outside of the weight room. World Language Club: Currently without sponsor The International Club allows students a chance to experience the cultures of the languages studied at FHC. Members also participate in service projects based on Spanish, German, & French culture. Yearbook: Matthew Schott (Room 139) matthew. Members of the Odyssey produce and run the student yearbook and website as part of a co-curricular class. The book is delivered in late July each year.


ll people at some time in their school career have come across the assignment of goal setting. Many times it is a teacher telling the class to set an academic goal for the quarter, the semester, or the year. I am guilty of putting down anything just to have something on the paper. I write down some random generic goal and put the paper in my binder where it is likely to never be seen again. Frequently, these goals go to waste. But, they don’t have to. Anyone looking to get the right start to make this school year a success can try a few simple tips. Tip #1: Get dedicated. Without the genuine desire to start the year off right, it will be difficult to accomplish anything else. Dedication can come from wanting to make friends, to have fun, By Courtney to prepare for the future or any other source of Jones desire. staff reporter Tip #2: Set good goals. Does this mean writing your goal on paper? Not necessarily (although it has been shown that writing down goals can increase the likelihood of accomplishing them). Think about what you want your high school experience to be, what you want to accomplish, and what you want to feel when you look back on this part of your life. Just be careful to make sure you set attainable goals that also challenge you at least a little bit. Tip #3: Get the right start. This can be accomplished many ways. Maybe it means including an agenda in your school supply shopping list so you can stay organized. Maybe it means starting to lift weights and practice for a winter or spring sport. Maybe it means finding the confidence to start a conversation with a stranger in hopes to make a new friend. Whatever is going to get you to accomplish the goal of making the most of this academic year, start now. Tip #4: Get involved. Perhaps you have heard once or twice how important it is to get involved in your school. However, getting involved goes beyond just your activities within the school. There are plenty of opportunities to find people that like to do the same things you enjoy. Better yet, try something that you may not have ever thought you liked. By making friends and having fun, you can really find enjoyment at school. It is a great feeling when you can go to school and know that you will have a friend to talk with. If you don’t find something you enjoy here at school, try going out into the community. Or you can even try to start a new activity here at school. Seek out opportunities. Don’t wait for them to find you. Tip #5: Reward or reassess. At some point during the year you may find that you are either easily meeting your goals or you have become derailed. If you have met your goals, then revel in all that you have accomplished and set new goals. However, if you have missed the target, it might be time for reassessment. Look at what you could be doing better or make a new goal. As far away as you may feel from your original goal, don’t think it is impossible to reach. Whatever it is that you want to achieve this year, start now. With some effort and patience, you can make the 2013-2014 school year a success. I hope you will join me in setting some good goals this year. You want to have fun and make memories that will last a lifetime. What are you waiting for? Make this year what you want it to be. | delve


Heavy lifting

Under the watch of Coach Eric Heumann, junior Alex Schierding flings a medicine ball away from himself during practice in late July. This exercise helps build core strength and stamina.

Junior Zach McKinley steadily brings the barbell down toward his chest, as senior Ben Schneider stands ready to spot him.

Returning members of the Spartan football team got to work the week of July 22, going through drills designed to improve conditioning, strength and stamina and build a solid foundation for the season beginning Friday, Aug. 30 at Fort Zumwalt West.

Junior Dyllan Lindsey encourages teammate and fellow junior Daniel Yates to flip over the massive tire to improve his strength and stamina for the coming

Photos by Abbie Kaplan

Freshmen were encouraged to take part in summer drills and freshman Matthew Creeley puts his shoulder into a tackling dummy.

Senior Kendall Morris bolts away from the starting line during a sprint drill in practice. Morris improved his 40-meter dash time to 4.45 seconds this summer, according to Coach Todd Berck.


aperture | august 8, 2013

August Issue  

This issue discusses events at the beginning of the school year and news of students transferring from Normandy School District.

August Issue  

This issue discusses events at the beginning of the school year and news of students transferring from Normandy School District.