More to the Story: Q&A With GCCS Board Members

What is your goal for the upcoming year?
Janelle Fitzpatrick: A place for students to learn in and have no limits on their future … a place where educators want to work … [to] move forward with the Academy and Pathway system, as well as listen to the concerns of the people (teachers, students, parents) and address them. Also, look at each school individually. They aren’t all the same, and deal with issues at each individual one. I want more people to feel as though they can share their concerns and be listened to – students, teachers, anyone wanting to be heard on a certain subject.

John Buckwalter: I am honored to be a board member and to move in a forward motion. I’m excited to collaborate with the community and it is very critical to move forward to do the best for GCCS.

Milton Clayton: For 2019, we will be monitoring the downtown school building and securing a temporary interim superintendent until we get one in place for the long run.

Which is better for our new superintendent: someone from our area or an outsider?

John Buckwalter: We need fresh eyes to address these topics and issues and someone who is ready to move forward and not focus on the past.

Milton Clayton: You’re not going to make everyone happy, but we’ll make the best educated decision to benefit GCCS. I’m happy to work with the new members and to welcome them, as well as new faces and perspectives, to the board. We cannot limit our options when it comes to getting a new superintendent.

Katie Hutchison: Someone from this area would be someone from inside the community and knows the little sub-communities as well as the history behind the area, and would probably be here to stay. Someone that isn’t from around here might not have the roots or the means to stay … but they’d bring fresh thoughts to the operation.

Written by Haylee Hedrick

GCCS Board Swears in New Members

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Finding a new superintendent is a pressing issue for the new school district leaders.

Later this year, Greater Clark County Schools is expected to name a new superintendent. However, change has already started to take place, as three new school board members were sworn in on Jan. 8: Janelle Fitzpatrick, John Buckwalter and Bill Hawkins.

On Dec. 24, 2018, Dr. Andrew Melin resigned as the superintendent of GCCS. Now the school board – which consists of the three new members as well as Milton Clayton, Teresa Perkins, Christina Gilkey and Katie Hutchison – is facing the immediate challenge of filling the top position in the district.

At the Jan. 8 school board meeting, Hutchinson was named president of the board and proceeded to run the meeting. Other newly filled positions included Fitzpatrick as vice president and Clayton as secretary. “It’s kind of scary to be the new vice president of the board, but also exciting to make some positive changes and to work with Katie and the whole board,” Fitzpatrick said.

“The number one goal is to find a superintendent and fill that empty chair at the table,” Hutchinson said.

The new superintendent must be ready for change in any direction. There are different ideas of which direction that should be. For instance, the school board isn’t sure if they will limit their search to people from within the community or expand it beyond the Greater Clark County school district.

“You’re not going to make everyone happy, but we’ll make the best educated decision to benefit GCCS,” Clayton said.

Buckwalter said the new superintendent must be “a good listener, equitable, and ready to take on the task of increasing our climate and culture.”

Until the new superintendent is selected, Charlestown High School principal Mark Laughner is serving as interim superintendent. Laughner was named to the interim superintendent position effective Jan. 23. The contract approved by the board will expire on June 30, 2019.

Written by Haylee Hedrick and Emma Ellis

Photos by Haylee Hedrick

Editorial: Jeffersonville’s Promise Deserves the Chance to Prove its Value

When Jeffersonville’s Promise was announced in November, many praised the program as a way to give hope to the hopeless. The program promised two free years of tuition at Ivy Tech for qualifying Jeff High graduates, starting with this year’s senior class. When you consider that more than half of the students at Jeff High receive free or reduced price lunches, the impact of Jeffersonville’s Promise is monumental for those who could not afford college otherwise.

However, a bill recently introduced in the state House of Representatives puts the future of Jeffersonville’s Promise in doubt. House Bill 1596, which is primarily sponsored by Ed Clere, R-New Albany, would stop or curtail the program. After a quick decision to move forward with the bill in a committee, this week the bill was moved to a different committee, according to a report in the News and Tribune.

For now, the program still stands while Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore continues to advocate for the program.

We, the Hyphen staff, believe the bill sheds light on the need to define more rigorous standards for how the scholarship money is used. However, we believe that Jeffersonville’s Promise should stand, because it is a wise use of tax dollars. Just as we use tax dollars to provide libraries and public schools for citizens, we should use tax dollars to provide college education.

Some would say that Clere is using this measure to continue the ongoing feud between Jeffersonville and New Albany high schools. The issues are deeper than that. But there is one thing we can all agree on: a more educated population in Jeffersonville benefits our entire area — including New Albany.

Chess: The Sport of Mind

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There are 400 different openings that are possible at the start of a game of chess. Calculating that first move intelligently and with close precision is crucial. All members on the team use different strategies to beat their opponent. Though it may not seem straining, moving pieces across a checkered black-and-white board takes mental strength, high concentration and rigorous training. So while chess does not require the physical endurance of activities like basketball, soccer or swimming, it still qualifies as a sport – a sport of the mind. Chess fits within the same category as debate, speedcubing (racing to solve a Rubik’s Cube) and backgammon.

Calculating each move with precision “To the T” within a controlled amount of time, like a pre-planned quarter of a sporting event, makes the challenge of the game even harder. All the possible moves must be determined for the player to decipher which move has the most strategic advantages. Then they must try to presume what their opponent will do next and anticipate the result, hopefully toward to their personal victory. “We train, putting in hours of [training] like any athletic sport, and we compete,” coach Paul Washington said. “The talent within the team determines the outcome. It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything you do in life. Chess is no different.”

Members of a chess team are given a rank and they compete against other players locally, regionally and nationally to receive points. Wins and losses determine how highly ranked the chess player goes.

Junior Emmanuel Simmons is the highest-ranked player at Jeff High and is the team captain. When a good move becomes apparent, there is a physical reaction, he says: “My heart starts beating out of my chest, my ears start ringing, I’m looking at the move thinking, ‘This is it. This is it.’”

Similar to tennis, each win counts as a point for the individual and accumulates to either a win or a loss for the team as an entirety. The stress of a match is simulated within the team’s training.

“The heart is a muscle and if adrenaline is pumping then I’m working out a muscle,” said coach Anthony Willis. “To do that, we have trainings that we do here, drills that we put these kids through. If you lose, you lose for your entire team to get their adrenaline flying … Just like that guy playing football calling the plays, he reads the defense and puts his people in the best position to execute the play.”

Whether it gets recognized as a sport locally or not, chess has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a sport since 2000. The chess team at Jeff High illustrates why chess requires a level of training and focus like other athletic endeavors.

 

Written by Haylee Hedrick

Academy System Continues to Grow at Jeff High

This school year (2018-19), Greater Clark County Schools started a new system of learning called the Academies of Greater Clark. The Academies encourage students to pick a pathway that goes along with their career choice in order to focus on the future. The Academies at Jeffersonville High School include Health Services, Public Service, Engineering and Manufacturing, and Business and Entrepreneurship. Freshmen start out in the Freshmen Academy. The question is: how successful have the Academies been so far and how are they changing Jeffersonville High School?

Jeff High Principal Julie Straight believes that the Academies have gone well and that students will benefit from them. “We have created small schools in a large school,” Straight said. “We should not have as many students slipping through cracks or getting too far behind without a team of teachers that are talking about ‘What can we do?’ and hopefully intervene, which is definitely a benefit.”

Each Academy has its own principal and counselor, along with teachers in that pathway to help students explore the career that they may want to pursue in the future. This also applies to the Freshman Academy.

Jan Haire, the Freshman Academy counselor, talked about the benefits that freshmen are receiving from the program. “There are three teams of core teachers who share the same students. Those teachers meet every week with Mrs. Hall (the Freshman Academy principal) and me and we discuss what students are doing well and which ones need extra support. I feel like we know the students better with the Freshman Academy,” Haire said.

Straight says that current sophomores will the first to truly experience the benefits of the Academies, as they will be the first class to have three years in a row of their career interest. However, she notes that even upperclassmen will benefit from the program. “Embrace what opportunities there are,” Straight said. “At Jeff High, we still have more opportunities to explore your interest for your future than any other high school in the area. We have welding here … we have Radio/TV, we have Journalism, our arts.” Straight also noted that students have been able to go on focused field trips and get real-world experience.“We have some seniors in internships, so there’s some good things happening,” Straight said.

Sophomore Karina Hernandez recognizes the benefits of the Academies, but said the Academies still need some improvements. “Students can now be guided in taking the classes that they will actually use in their career choice,” Hernandez said. “However, they could be a bit more organized, but I get (that) it’s the first year they have done this.”

However, freshman November Shawler disagrees with the mission of the Academies. “Personally, I think that Academies are unnecessary pressure to chose the career you want when you are still a child,” Shawler said. “A career I think is good for me sophomore year perhaps won’t fit my interests senior year. And the fact that you can only change it once. What happens if you want to switch twice, and you are forced to have the credentials of a separate field entirely?”

For those who may worry that the Academies will completely change Jeff High, Straight reassured them. “(The) Academies don’t change everything in the school,” she said. “We’re still a high school and all the classes are the same. But we hope that as we keep moving and getting deeper in our transformation, that there is more of a thread that may run through core classes of your Academy that helps really keep interest and make it more engaging.”

 

Written by Greta Reel

 

Welcome the New Teachers at Jeff High

Exchange students, transfer students and freshmen aren’t the only new faces at Jeff High this year. We also welcomed several new teachers.

The Hyphen asked some of the new staff members for their thoughts on teaching. Here’s what they said:

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Ms. Stevens, Special Education
“No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helped you.”

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Mr. Russell, Special Education
“The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught. It’s that every student should be allowed to learn.”

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Mr. Stock, Social Studies
“The greatest use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

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Mr. Manley, ROTC
“When all else fails, march with your head high.”

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Ms. Esarey, Science
“When I was in the second grade I realized education can change your entire life. Now I’m honored to change someone else.”

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Mr. Glesing, Social Studies and PE
“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is the best.”

Written by Keandre Campbell

Glesing Photo by Antonio Thompson

All Other Photos by LifeTouch

Ivy Tech Scholarships: “Jeffersonville’s Promise” for the Future

A promise, a college education and a future. Many students stress about having enough money to attend college. However, the city of Jeffersonville has a solution and recently announced that they have partnered with community college Ivy Tech to offer a two-year scholarship to the graduates of Jeffersonville High School, starting with the Class of 2019. The program, “Jeffersonville’s Promise,” means that graduates are now able to attend two years of college at Ivy Tech for free.

Scott Hawkins, a social studies teacher at Jeff High and a member of the city’s Redevelopment Commission, explained how the program came together. “The program started with Travis Haire at Ivy Tech,” Hawkins said. “Haire contacted the mayor, who mulled over the idea for a while and in turn presented it to Redevelopment Commission members.” Other Commision members include Mayor Mike Moore, fellow Councilman Matt Owen, Monty Snelling and Jack Vissing.

“Our Promise is based on a similar program instituted in Kalamazoo, Michigan more than 10 years ago, so we had data to look at concerning effectiveness and impact. Four of us voted for the expenditure,” he continued.

According to a press release by the city,students must meet the following requirements to qualify:
• A minimum of a 2.0 G.P.A. while in high school
• Maintain a minimum of a 2.5 G.P.A. at Ivy Tech
• Accept all federal and local aid as well as scholarships before the Ivy Tech scholarship, as the program is intended as a “last dollar scholarship”
• Complete the FAFSA (The Free Application For Student Federal Aid)
• Enroll in classes with the intent of getting a certificate, certification or degree
• Enroll in Ivy Tech during the summer, fall or spring after high school, starting in 2019

There are no student income requirements for the scholarship, but Jeff High Principal Julie Straight anticipates that the program will be most beneficial to the middle class. “Our lowest income students — if they want to go to college through grants and things — generally they’re going to get it paid for that opportunity,” Straight said. “But the middle of the road where you have working families who make just enough … there’s a lot of people in that situation because college is expensive.”

Some, like junior Sophie Weber, are extremely excited about the program. Weber, who has juvenile arthritis, says this will help her family pay for much of her college.“My family does not qualify for much financial aid, but most of what we make goes to my medical bills,” Weber said. “Without this help I could be stuck in years worth of debt.” With this scholarship, she said, “I am able to worry about my education more than my financial situation.”

However, Weber is concerned that the program’s money will run out. “I am worried that the money will not accommodate every student who meets the qualifications and wishes to pursue this opportunity,” she said. “Even with taking every financial aid and scholarship provided first, it is not cheap to fund all this.”

Hawkins explained where the money is coming from.“It is funded through the Redevelopment Commission, which receives funding through TIF districts throughout the city,” Hawkins said. “No taxes or fees will be raised to implement this Promise. The money is already there.”

Overall, Straight thinks that the program is a win and gives much hope to students.“Lots of people (are) very excited and… the kids… that’s the best part. It really can be life-changing… It brought tears to my eyes when we were at the announcement.” It’s a win situation for Jeff High students,” she said. “For Jeffersonville as a community, for employers in Jeffersonville, we’re going to have a more educated workforce. For Ivy Tech, they’re going to have more students. It’s just a win all the way around.”

 

Written by Greta Reel

JHS Staff Honored for Excellence in High School Journalism

The Jeffersonville High School newspaper and yearbook have a long history of award-winning journalism. We recently added even more accolades to our collection at the 2018 IU Southeast High School Media Day.

The Hyphen newspaper and its staff members received the following News Organization Awards for Division 1 (Schools with more than 1,000 students):

First Place

  • Best Column – Chloe Treat
  • Best Feature Photo – Caleb Sorrells
  • Best Multimedia Package – Tristan Jackson, Bella Bungcayao and Kyle Tincher
  • Best Review – Bella Bungcayao

Second Place

  • Best Front-page Design

Third Place

  • Division 1 News Organization of the Year
  • Best Overall Design in One Issue
  • Best Unsigned, Staff Editorial
  • Best News/Editorial Graphics – Nicole Gomez

 

In addition, the 2018 Jeffersonville High School yearbook, The Topic, received several awards for Division 1 (schools with more than 1,000 students):

First Place

  • Cover
  • Opening Section
  • Photography

Second Place

  • Advertising
  • Coverage of Student Life

Third Place

  • Division 1 Yearbook of the Year
  • Copy
  • Coverage of Academics
  • Design
  • Sports Coverage

Hyphen and Topic staff members attend IUS Media Day

The Stress of a Student

Recent studies have shown that the modern-day student has equitable, if not more, stress and anxiety levels than that of a child psychiatric patient in 1950. Medical professionals have seen more anxiety in today’s teens than they’ve ever seen before.

Despite all of the cultural and generational discrepancies, why has the world seen such a peak in “teen angst” recently?

Students claim that the amount of work they are given is nearly impossible to
balance with a well-rounded schedule, but as far as the school system is concerned, there has not been a change in the amount of work given throughout the generations.

So with that being said, what is it like for a student who balances school, sports, work, and extracurriculars? Not to mention being able to have any down time with family, or a social life.

Junior Reece Elder has a first-hand experience with this busy schedule. Elder is the current 2020 Class President, is heavily involved in theater, choir, and is also a player on the tennis team.

“Trying to find time for grades on top of sports and theater can be really stressful depending on how well you handle your time,” Elder said, “I’m really bad at time management, personally,so I do experience a lot of stress trying to balance all of this.” The same can be said for most, if not all, of the busy students here at Jeff High.

Eventually, everyone will grow up and have to juggle a lifestyle that is always booked with events and work to do. However, is it sound for a teenager’s mental health to handle a schedule that is just as occupied as a working adult’s?

Dr. Sara Villanueva reported on this subject through PsychologyToday.com. “Teens today feel a lot of pressure from parents, teachers, coaches, etc.” Villanueva said, “Failure has gone from being viewed as a learning opportunity to being clearly unacceptable.”

According to Villanueva, the cultural attitude and fear of failure is one of the leading causes of student stress.

From one student to another, there is nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed sometimes. But in the end, if your mental health is at stake, your grade can wait. However, if your anxious thoughts makes you a danger to yourself or others, please seek help.

Written by Bella Bungcayao

Your Cheat Sheet to Midterm Elections

With midterms coming up soon, political issues are on voters’ minds, but not everyone knows how the midterm election works or the importance it has for our government.

Midterm elections are for Congress — the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Congressional elections take place during even years, and the election in between presidential election years is known as the midterm.

In every midterm, about one-third of the Senate seats and all 435 House seats are voted on. This year, there are 35 Senate seats up for election.

Those voted into the House of Representatives have two-year terms, and are voted in based on districts within the state. Indiana has nine districts. Clark County is in the ninth district. The two candidates running for the ninth district House seat are incumbent Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth and Democrat challenger Liz Watson.

The Senate has 100 total members who serve six-year terms. The seats being voted on this year include one of the two seats for Indiana. Incumbent Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly is running against the Republican challenger Mike Braun, and the Libertarian challenger Lucy Brenton this November.

“Midterm elections are a referendum on the President. If voters don’t like what a president is doing, midterms can change control of one or both houses of Congress,” said Aaron Dorman, a government teacher at Jeffersonville High School.

The midterm election usually attracts a lower turnout of voters compared to the  presidential election, because not everyone thinks it is as important. If you are eligible to vote you should; the midterm election, just like the presidential election, is an opportunity to change the majority party in one of the three houses of the federal government.

By Meredith Shepherd

Candidate Profile: Liz Watson

Liz Watson is the local Democrat candidate for Indiana’s ninth district. Watson is running for the House of Representatives against Republican Trey Hollingsworth.

According to her website, Watson is running for Congress to fight for working families in Indiana.

Here are her views on some of the issues she would face in Congress:

Women’s Rights: Watson’s website says she has been an advocate for women for 20 years, especially for working women with families. She has worked on improving the juvenile justice system to help with the needs of girls and young women with histories of sexual abuse. If elected, she plans to demand full funding for the Violence Against Women Act, as well as advocating for women to have economic security and control of their own healthcare.

Immigration: Watson says she believes in “a pathway to citizenship” for immigrants. She supports the DREAM Act, an act that protects immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Watson say she doesn’t want to neglect border security; however, she believes the real job of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is to keep Americans safe, not to punish immigrants who are innocent.

Gun Laws: Watson says she respects the 2nd Amendment, but supports restrictions on assault weapons. Specifically, she wants to close loopholes that allow citizens to get their hands on guns more easily, such as the ability to conduct private sales of guns without a background checks. She opposes a bill that would require states to recognize concealed carry permits from other states. She wants more protection for the partners of domestic abusers, as federal law protects the spouses of the abusers but not the partners.

Health Care: Watson supports the Medicare for All Act of 2017 and plans to defend the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood. She says Planned Parenthood provides good care for both genders and that it can be lifesaving. On her campaign website she stated: “That’s why I support Planned Parenthood. It’s why I will oppose any effort to defund it, which would take lifesaving healthcare away from women in our district and across America.” In addition, she wants to work with both parties to accomplish good healthcare.

Climate Change: According to Watson, “climate change is the greatest threat to future generations” and “there is no time to waste.” Watson supports a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions, which would help companies develop a clean energy future. Doing this would raise over a billion dollars to develop green technology and infrastructure. She believes this will create good paying clean energy jobs for Southern Indiana residents.

 

By Greta Reel

Candidate Profile: Trey Hollingsworth

Trey Hollingsworth is the local Republican candidate for Indiana’s ninth district. Hollingsworth is running for re-election. He has represented Indiana in Congress since 2017.

According to his campaign website, Hollingsworth’s main goal is to see all Americans have the opportunity to succeed and direct the future of their families, which he believes should be free from government interference.

In addition, Hollingsworth has taken a stand on term limits. According to Hollingsworth, who has already served one two-year term in Congress, “Public service should not be a career path. I promise you that I will serve no more than eight years as your Representative.”

Here are his views on some of the issues facing Congress:

The Economy: Hollingsworth’s website says he has a “strong belief in the productivity of the American worker, the ingenuity of American companies, and the durability of the American economy.” As a result, it says, “Trey knows American manufacturing can compete anywhere in the world if only we get government out of the way.” He also notes, “I believe there is a big difference between people in the private sector earning a living and politicians living off our earnings. In my opinion, you shouldn’t ask for the right to spend our tax dollars until you have had to honestly earn them from outside government.”

Immigration: His views regarding immigration have never been directly stated, but according to his voting records he has voted no on bills that would ensure temporary legal status for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. DACA is an immigration policy that allows some people brought to the United States illegally as children to delay deportation and potentially become eligible for citizenship. He also approves the appropriations for a southern border wall to be built.

Gun Laws: Hollingsworth does not support gun control legislation. He is the author of the POLICE Act, which enables law enforcement officers to remain armed in public federal buildings with low-level security.

Women’s Rights: Hollingsworth’s views on women’s rights have never been directly stated, but when his wife was pregnant with their first child he made his views on abortion clear: “I am 100 percent pro-life, but now that my wife and I are expecting our first child, the sanctity of life means even more,” he said at the time.

Health Care: Hollingsworth does not support the 2010 Affordable Care Act and has voted to repeal it. “We are determined to provide relief to the millions of families facing tough choices as a direct result of Obamacare, and we hope that you’ll work with us to achieve our goal of more affordable, accessible health care that offers you and your family better options,” he says.

 

By Sophie Rousseau