Online Testing: The Challenge of Ensuring Fairness and Avoiding Dishonesty

Jeffersonville High School teachers are using a range of approaches to make sure students are keeping it honest when testing

Story by Amber Walker

With the introduction of Chromebooks, Greater Clark County Schools students were able to switch to online lessons and assignments relatively quickly and easily during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one issue stands out as a sticky subject: online assessments. 

Cheating on tests is not a new problem. Even before COVID-19, students were able to cheat using a range of methods, from writing notes on your palm to sharing pictures to wearing special sunglasses that allow you to spy on your classmates’ papers. However, the large number of students who are attending school online during the pandemic makes it much more difficult for teachers to spot and prevent cheating. 

Since the pandemic started, many schools have adopted tech solutions to prevent cheating. For example, GCCS Chromebooks have built-in monitoring software called Classwize. Using this service, teachers can monitor students’ screen activity and task behavior. Brittany Wright, who teaches Algebra 1 and Geometry at Jeff High, says she has used Classwize to keep students on task whether they are at home or physically in class working on their Chromebooks. “I can close their browser if they are doing something they’re not supposed to,” Wright says. However, the system is not foolproof because students may still have access to other devices such as phones and tablets. Still, Wright says, Classwize is “better than nothing.”

Some teachers approached the issue by making more thought-provoking, opinion-based test questions. English teacher Taylor Troncin says, “This school year, I have had to think outside of the box when it comes to assessments. Instead of doing multiple choice or true/false questions, I have started using more open ended questions, which challenge students to not only answer questions, but to explain their reasoning.” Troncin is also looking at the concept of an assessment more creatively. “I have moved more towards projects that can be completed virtually,” she says. 

While open-ended questions make it more difficult for students to cheat, there is a major drawback: it takes extra time for teachers to grade long-answer questions. 

Another tactic being used is scrambled questions and answers. Some teachers are also limiting the time students have to complete tests. Finally, open-book and open-note tests have become more common — even for traditional, in person classes. 

As for fairness, it might seem like online students have advantages over traditional students because they are not monitored as easily. Also, as science teacher Eric Robinson points out, taking tests at home allows for “opportunities that aren’t available in your more traditional classroom” such as a more comfortable environment. However, Robinson has noticed one thing in particular that works against online students: motivation. Robinson says, “It’s made students not as concerned about test-taking. It doesn’t feel as concrete to them.” In short, when it comes to testing online, Robinson says “there is more opportunity, but there is also less desire.”

The reasons students are inclined to cheat are often ambiguous. Perhaps it is done out of a simple necessity to move onto the next level in life. Perhaps it is done to achieve a perfect score or avoid failure. Sometimes students just don’t feel up to the task. Even if academic dishonesty cannot be prevented entirely, Jeff High teachers are taking steps to minimize cheating and level the playing field for all students.

Story by Amber Walker

Welcoming Another Creative Mind:Mr. Ridings

After teaching at Parkview Middle School, Corey Ridings adds a new element to Jeffersonville High School’s art program.

Transitioning from a comfort zone can be a challenge, especially if it was for a long period of time. For Corey Ridings, former art teacher at Parkview Middle School, coming to Jeff High this year has been a new but good adjustment. After teaching at Parkview for 18 years, he decided to take the opportunity for a new change. As Mr. Ridings has said, “ So far, so good.” Boosting creativity around Jeff High might just be what we need.

Art teacher Corey Ridings
Hyphen Staff Photo


Mr. Ridings had always wanted to coach Varsity basketball. He had played basketball growing up, and it was always something he planned to do. To be a coach of any sport you have to have a teaching license. This is what led him to art. He enjoyed coaching, but he wasn’t committed like he should have been. “Gradually, about halfway through my teaching career … I started to be more passionate about art and in the process less about coaching.” At this point he knew that his initial future plan had changed direction.


His transition from teaching middle school students and then coming to Jeff High had been somewhat of an easy one. His reasons were, “I wanted to see what it was like to work with kids at a higher level,” says Ridings. “I needed a change,” he added.


He also enjoys working with students who have varying degrees of passion about art. “In middle school you’ve got a lot of kids that get art no matter what, and you still get that here a little bit. You have students who fall under the category of them getting art, and then you have the students who have no art background, and have to figure out a way to connect with them.”


He also works with students who are more experienced. “When you get into painting and drawing in upper level classes, you generally are going to get students who are passionate about art.” There is a constant flow of creativity. The colors draw people in, and captivate them. When there is time put into something, and there is passion, it can create something of meaning. “I try to teach them things so that if they see me in 20 years, something I said meant something to them.”


Regardless of what level students are at, Ridings says his priority is “quality over quantity.” . He explains, “My philosophy on teaching, especially with art, is it’s not just about getting something done, turning it in and getting a grade. It’s about mastering what the content is we are working on.” This gives the students the opportunity to work on something until that skill is mastered. This takes time and dedication, especially if it’s something you enjoy. You aren’t tested on your ability to do something, it’s more of the progression of your work and if there is improvement.


Ridings also looks for opportunities to boost creativity. In the past, he used meditation at the beginning of class to open the students’ minds and really boost that creative side of the brain. He hasn’t really seen an opening where that is needed for his high school students, so he’s not quite sure if he’ll bring that back. With the pandemic going on, he has focused more on how to communicate with students online and the way that each student approaches their art. All different, but all beautifully put together.

Story by Anna Hardin

To Be Canceled, or Not To Be Canceled

The argument over political correctness on social media has reached its highest point yet.

Dateline January 8, 2021: The outgoing President of the United States of America, Donald John Trump, is officially banned from his Twitter account…after being accused of inciting the insurrection which occurred at the Capitol just days earlier…where and when, thousands marched on the Capitol in objection to the certification of the electoral college. Politico among other news organizations termed it as a “coup attempt.” And of course, following the insurrection, Trump wasn’t just banned from Twitter. He was also banned from virtually every other major social media platform: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Reddit, YouTube and even Pinterest.


If the sitting President of the United States can be essentially shut off from social media, it demonstrates something creepily true: You can have 80 million followers, you can be leader of the free world, and EVEN YOU aren’t exempt from a full social media ban. The ban on Donald Trump is much larger than him as an individual alone. It touches on one of the most heated issues of our times: political correctness.

After social media accounts were restricted in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia wore a “Censored” mask while speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. Hyphen Staff Photo
After social media accounts were restricted in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia wore a “Censored” mask while speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. Hyphen Staff Photo


The definition of political correctness, according to Oxford, is “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” And here comes the catch: While Donald Trump has been “politically incorrect” quite a few times, he’s often been left off the hook, but this time his words didn’t fit the definition of “political correctness.” His words incited “an insurrection,” according to these big tech giants. The controversy the bans bring is pretty explicit in terms of opening the debate for the new question: how far should political correctness go? So here, we’re going to take a look at the history of political correctness, the pro and con arguments supporting it and opposing it (respectively), and why this could have huge ripple effects on the ways you might use social media.


When the term “political correctness” came into common usage in the 1970s (when it was mentioned in a novel), it was really a term of ridicule relating to taboo subjects. The history of political correctness is really summed up by an article written by Richard Bernstein for the New York Times more than 30 years ago. In the article, Bernstein stated, “across the country the term p.c., as it is commonly abbreviated, is being heard more and more in debates over what should be taught at the universities.” In the same article, Bernstein explained, “The term `politically correct,’ with its suggestion of Stalinist orthodoxy, is spoken more with irony and disapproval than with reverence.”


At that time, if you were politically correct, it meant you were careful not to offend anyone or adopt opinions that may be dismal to other individuals. Colleges were termed as politically correct by conservatives. They accused colleges of “brainwashing” and “subjecting” their general opinions on students, leaving no room for open-minded and objective opinions. Of course, some (or many) of these opinions were in one way or another, offensive.


Today is a much different case. With the introduction of social media, people who didn’t like being “politically correct” gained an entire world wide web to surf upon. From here, it got bigger and bigger. Now anyone could be a conservative talk show host, you could share your opinion with all of your delight. You could now create profiles with different names and some profile pictures of deceased politicians and hawks, engaging in banter of all sorts.


These opinions aren’t just hidden in the dark outer reaches of the internet. They’re everywhere. I discovered this myself when using discord for coding. In various chats, individuals would be discussing why the holocaust was justified. I experimented, heading to disboard.org, (the place to get advertised discord server links), and I ended up finding multiple discord servers of a Nazi background. It got worse. I even found a white supremacist discord server, riddled with memes supporting the KKK, and mentions of streaming “Birth of a Nation,” a 1915 silent-film which portrays the KKK as heroes. And guess what? The non-white population is termed as “an attack on society” and the remnant evil which remains. This is outrageously racist. Of course, the server was deleted not long after for promoting the alt-right conspiracy theory known as “QAnon.” But that’s just discord, a friendly app which lets you create servers for multiple topics and variations. Close it down in one place and it pops up in another, like an internet version of whack-a-mole.


In thousands of forums all the way to the corners of the internet, the alt-right lives. But what I’m mentioning only scratches the surface.


There’s no place for this in today’s society. These opinions are racially charged and one of the highest levels of harassment. People and companies who stand up against such opinions shouldn’t be chided for being “politically correct.” They should be lauded for their efforts. They should be commended for showing respect for other human beings. They should be held up as the voice of reason rather than the voice of hate.

By Yousaf Quereshi

Masks: More to the Story

Students see pros and cons of wearing a face covering every day.

Whether it’s due to legal requirements or personal preference, wearing a mask is commonplace since the start of COVID-19. According to the CDC website, COVID-19 is spread through water droplets that are released when people breathe, sneeze, cough, or talk. Masks can prevent this by blocking water droplets from reaching other people by trapping them on the inside of a person’s mask. However, not everyone is wearing a mask. According to a survey posted on http://www.webmd.com only 93% of U.S. adults wear a mask when unable to social distance. This leaves 7% of US adults not wearing masks.

At Jeff High,everyone is required to wear a mask when they’re not able to social distance. For the most part, students are adhering to the rules well — even when wearing a mask makes things difficult.

Senior Milo Shireman makes a fashion statement when
wearing a mask at school. Photo by Paige Moore


Victoria “Jade” Worrall, a junior at Jeffersonville High school says, “It’s really hard to do things because I can’t breathe.” Also, Worrall says, “It fogs up my glasses and I can’t see without taking them off… I have to take off my glasses whenever I go shopping.” According to a New York Times article, fogging occurs because hot air gets trapped inside and escapes through the top of the mask. One solution is sealing the top of your mask with medical tape or athletic tape, which can prevent air from your breath getting through and fogging your glasses. They also recommend molding the top of your masks to fit your face properly.


Others say wearing a mask has caused breakouts — a problem dubbed “mascne” or “maskne” in the media. The problem is so commonplace that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has published a list called “9 Ways to Prevent Face Mask Skin Problems.” Senior Michael Broadhead says, “I deal with it, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.” Senior Harmony Wayman says “I just wash the crap out of my face to prevent it.” Regular cleaning is at the top of the AAD’s tips for preventing mask acne. The organization also recommends choosing a mask that fits well, so you’re less likely to touch your face, and has a “soft, natural, and breathable fabric, such as cotton, on the inside layer that rests against your skin.” The AAD adds that you should “Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon on the layer that rests against your skin. These are more likely to irritate your skin and cause breakouts.”


On the other hand, masks aren’t always problematic. Many people have used them to further their style and outside appearance. “You can get cute masks and they look really nice on you.” Worrall said. That’s a bright spot — and a spot that has nothing to do with the dreaded mascne.

By Lily Hughes

New x Two: Jeff High Basketball Rebounds With New Boys and Girls Basketball Coaches

Coach Melissa Voyles – Girls Basketball

Coach Melissa (Missy) Voyles took the head coaching job at Jeff High because it presented a great opportunity and a great challenge. Prior to coaching at Jeff, Voyles had coached at North Harrison. However, she wanted the chance to coach at a division 4A (the high school sports division for the largest schools) school like Jeff. She also saw the girls basketball team as a program with potential. “It’s always a program that could really be dominant,” she says.

Despite her optimism, there was a clear challenge for the Red Devils this year: injuries. Voyles said this season they had five ACL tears, one broken wrist, and two concussions. “I have never seen this many injuries,” she says. Despite these challenges she has been pleased with the level of dedication her players have shown, saying, “They play hard every day. I can’t fault them for that.” With this dedication has come improvement, according to Voyles.


Going into the season in a tough conference, and after losing a lot of senior talent last year, Voyles says, “I knew it would be a big struggle win-or-loss wise.” However, she credits her team’s leadership and hard work with their success this year, specifically, she credited Neveah Bates (junior), Baily Gibson (senior), Ajia Estes (senior), Tatum McFarland (sophomore), and Sofia Reese (sophomore) with creating a contagious positive atmosphere on the team.


For the postseason, the goal was simple for Voyles. “I want to compete with Bedford.” On Feb. 5, 2021, Jeffersonville fell to Bedford North Lawrence 62-36 in the Sectional Semi-final. Despite their season coming to an end, the Devils were able to keep the game within 10 points with the fourth-ranked Stars, until the fourth quarter.

Coach Andrew Grantz – Boys Basketball

Coach Andrew Grantz says he took the boys basketball job at Jeff High for many reasons, including “the history, the tradition, and the fan support here at Jeff.” Grantz also wanted to return to coaching in Indiana, and with the talent at Jeff High, he was excited at the opportunity to build the program.


For Grantz, the biggest difference between this job and his past coaching gigs is the community. “You know, Providence was a great place to be,” he says, “but you know with a private school, you’re pulling from all different directions.” He feels that the closeness in the Jeff High community really sets the program apart, and unlike Fort Myers, Florida (where he was for a past coaching job), basketball is a bigger deal here in Indiana.


For Grantz, his pride in his team was on display after the first semester when he learned the team had a GPA of 3.4 (highest in program history according to Grantz). For him this accomplishment was important as a coach because “they’re setting themselves up for life after basketball,” he says.


Leading up to the season, with all the confusion about COVID-19, he says the goal was simple: “Let’s just play games.” He also felt that despite the loss of a talented senior class last year, the team would be strong.


Despite his optimism, he does feel one of the major challenges was Jeff’s lack of a consistent feeder program. “Whenever I was younger there was the JYBL (Jeff Youth Basketball League), and if you look at the run Jeff had in the ’90s, that happened right after JYBL started,” Grantz says. He hopes to be able to tackle this problem, which he believes will really help the program as it has before.

Looking toward the end of the season, his goal for his team is simple: “We want to reach our full potential… if we do that or come close to that we have a chance to make a run in the postseason.” Over the season, he says the team has “had flashes of it.” But to reach his goal it’s about “putting it all together at once.”

By Max Fisher

Jeff High Theatre Brings “9 to 5” to the Stage This Weekend

The Jeffersonville High School theatre department is putting on a production of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”, directed by Jeff High alumni Sarah Holland. Performances are March 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and on March 14 at 2:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the JHS auditorium.

“9 to 5” explores the experience of women in the workplace, and it includes plenty of quirky characters. Judy (portrayed by Hannah Dickens) is freshly divorced and working in an office for the first time in her life, finding it difficult in a new environment. Doralee (Jasmine Fondrisi) is judged by her colleagues for how she looks and endures hardship over the things she enjoys. And Violet (Joryn Burns) is a strong woman who is trying to move outside of her comfort zone and take control of not only what she needs, but what she wants. “9 to 5” tells the story of 3 women, in very different situations, not only standing up to their sexist and hypocritical boss Mr. Hart (Benjamin Broady) but also a system that is rigged against them. 

The original production of “9 to 5” takes place in the 1970’s, but by adding modern clothing and a more recent set, Holland renews this show by setting it in 2021. Holland points out that this change was to ask how we as a society can be better. “It’s amazing how when I sat down with all the girls in the cast, going around the room, talking about our experiences with sexual harassment. Every single person had their own story to share. That was both disheartening and it was great to speak about it and to have tough conversations. Because with a show like this, I’m not being subtle, I’m very firmly saying ‘this is an issue that we need to work on’ and I’m questioning the audience.” She expresses how lucky she feels to have this cast, and she feels relieved that the students have such great chemistry on stage.

Holland expressed the love she has for this cast. Although it was a challenge to pull it together in such a challenging time, she is pleasantly surprised with the result. “I know tickets are limited, but it’s gonna be streamed. Make sure you see 9 to 5, it’s truly something special.”

Cast and crew members have worked for weeks to prepare for this spring’s musical, “9 to 5”. Photo by Paige Moore.

Story by Emily Proctor

The Pandemic and Mental Health

Let’s be honest: COVID-19 is hard on everyone, but it’s particularly hard on teenagers. It has affected every aspect of our lives. School is different, sports are different, work is different, friendships are different. The list goes on and on. As Pediatrician Rebekah Fenton said in a recent Washington Post column, “The teens of the pandemic are living through a significant and prolonged stress that most adults have never known.”

Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising that teens are struggling with mental health issues. As a result, other aspects of health are suffering. Dr. Fenton says that some of her teen patients “have gained or lost significant weight, in search of comfort or control. Some who had manageable levels of anxiety before the pandemic have worsening symptoms. Isolation precipitates depression or suicidal ideation. More than younger children, adolescents notice and are affected by their parents’ emotions, including financial pressure.”

You should take care of your mental health as much as you take care of your physical health. Mental health illnesses affect the ability to handle daily activities. This means that those who are having a harder time may experience panic attacks, start having a harder time focusing, start sleeping more, start having a hard time completing assignments which make cause in grades plummeting, start having trouble getting out of bed or taking showers and even more obstacles.


Studies around the world are already showing how teenagers’ mental health is suffering during COVID-19, but we wanted to know how it is affecting you, our readers.

The Hyphen sent out a survey to a group of students that have chosen to remain anonymous. When asked how their mental health was before COVID-19, 80% said they were happy or in a good state of mind. Since the pandemic started, 60% of respondents said that their mental health has dropped or they are having a harder time. One student said, ”Corona has affected my mental health by allowing me to have more extra time on my phone, which leads to being on social media, or anything relevant to that, which leads to comparing myself to others way too much. It has also caused me to overthink and worry about things I should not be.”

This is a rough time for all of us. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please reach out. This is not something you should have to go through alone. Below are hotlines if you are not comfortable talking with a
parent or counselor.

By Rachel Lowe

Wrestlers Balance the Risks and Rewards of Competing during COVID

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the way we live our lives in many ways, one major thing it has affected is athletes and their sports. Some sports are not as affected as others such as cross country, where they can still run the same trails while being socially distant.

Other sports that are close contact such as wrestling have had to change their routines significantly to keep at their success. Junior Wrestler Dillon Mouser says their entire practice schedule has been altered compared to last year. “Last year, we used to be able to just switch partners. Now we have pods of 4 people , and we can’t drill, lift, or practice with anyone outside of our pods. Typically we practice with only one person in our pod until it’s time to wrestle each other for a live match.”


Mouser says they also had to split up into separate rooms. “Stations 1 and 2 are mat 1 , and 2 are in the same room but divided by a curtain. Station 3 is the weight room. Station 4 is mat 3 , which we moved upstairs. Sixteen people on one mat, and obviously we wear our masks everywhere except for when we are on the mat, and every time we switch stations we sanitize.”

Wrestling team members gather around a teammate to offer support before at match at the December 5 meet. Photo by Paige Moore

Practice routines aren’t just the only thing COVID-19 has affected. Varsity wrestler Evan Clayton decided to switch to online school to lessen his risk of exposure during wrestling season. “Online school makes it harder to get work done because you aren’t in the classroom learning first hand and you lack the motivation you would normally have in class,” Clayton says. “But it wasn’t a hard decision knowing I can maintain my grades and not risk missing out on a big part of the season,” he adds.


Over Christmas break, Clayton got quarantined, and not getting quarantined leading into sectionals was a big part of his decision. “I live fairly far from most of my family, but when I got quarantined over Christmas I was upset because I couldn’t go see my grandma, and that was pretty hard for me.” Clayton intends to stay in online school until he can finish up his season and the school quarter to learn the material easier and prepare for his AP tests.


The decision to participate in a team sport has affected some wrestlers at home also. Some athletes’ relatives have health problems that would put them at risk if they contracted COVID-19.


Even before COVID-19, being an athlete required making tough trade-offs. For athletes this year, the stakes seem more significant and the choices more complicated — but the drive to compete has not gone away

By Cameron Allen

Matt Barker’s goal: a “great experience” for athletes, fans and visitors

Athletics are a big part of student life at Jeff High, which means there has to be an athletics director to keep sports running smoothly. Recently someone new has come to the position, Matt Barker. Having prior experience in the GCCS corporation and plenty of familiarity in the athletic department, Barker is ready for any challenge that comes his way. “I’m enjoying it, it’s a lot of work,” he says, “I’m really just trying to do the right thing.”

Athletics Director Matt Barker
Hyphen Staff Photo

Barker has had a passion for coaching for most of his life, starting with his first coaching gig for a girls powder puff team as a junior in high school. He ended up coaching and teaching PE at Parkview Middle School, and after that Barker and his family moved to northern Indiana. He pursued his education and now has a bachelors from Valparaiso, a teaching license from Manchester, a masters in secondary education from IU Southeast and a masters in administration from Grand Canyon University. Having no plan to move, Barker was looking into an administrative position at a nearby elementary school when he got a call from an old friend from Parkview, Pam Hall (now Principal at Jeff High). Knowing the love he had
for coaching, she offered him a job as the Athletics Director. “I’ve always respected Pam. She was a really great leader. So I said let’s do an interview and I’ll let you know. I interviewed for it, I honestly, being a coach for 20 years, seeing the hours of work athletics directors put in, figured I didn’t want to do that. But I interviewed and everything was kind of what I wanted to hear, so I accepted the position.”

Jeff High can be a very intimidating place, but Barker feels right
at home. He explains that although things can be quite hectic, the people around him are truly helpful. “I’ve found in the couple months I’ve been in this job, the athletics director world is very open to helping people out.” When he first arrived during late October, Barker was informed that there was a little bit of financial strain in the athletics department. Naturally, he got right to work on this issue and a couple others, such as transportation. Barker makes sure to note that he puts emphasis on communication between coaches and student athletes. With the spring season quickly approaching, there is plenty more work to be done.

Working as an athletics director in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is complicated at best. Barker expresses his dejection about the crack down on fans allowed at games. “It sounds weird, you only have 500 people, but it would have been much easier to let 4000 people in.” He elaborates on the importance of proper mask protocol and social distancing.


Current events aren’t all Barker is focusing on, though. He is also making plans for the future. He believes that an important part of bringing up a good athletics program is a comfortable atmosphere and well-kept equipment. “My goal is to make sure that when people come to Jeffersonville — whether you’re an official, an opposing player, opposing coach, a fan — that you come here and you have a great experience.” This summer he wants to clean up the basketball lobby before the next season starts, and in the more distant future he hopes there will be turf on all of Jeff High’s fields and a new weight room. Barker isn’t only concerned with
the aesthetics of our facilities; another concern of his is our hospitality. “When you get an email about how welcoming you were as a school, that’s a great feeling.”


Barker conveys that success isn’t all in the wins and losses. He values sportsmanship and the overall experience for student athletes. He feels the most important part of his new position is getting students ready
for the world outside high school. Looking to give athletes team working and communication skills for future opportunities, he hopes that sports can be a well-needed escape for high schoolers.

By Emily Proctor

Photo Gallery: It’s The Look of The Century

Vintage, Cottagecore, aesthetics galore! All throughout Jeff High, there are plenty of students who have their own unique sense of style. Some of these students agreed to an interview to talk with us about how it all comes together.

Captions by November Shawler and Chloey Trinkle
All photos submitted


When someone chooses their sense of style, it may come from a multitude of different sources. It could come from a certain era of fashion in the past, a certain celebrity who wears certain styles of clothing, experimenting with old items of clothing and revamping them into something new, or even just seeing something from a store and developing your own style based on that. Whatever it may be, everyone has their own taste and it comes down to preference. In the end, it’s all about expressing yourself.

Jeffersonville High School Leaders Considering Whether to Stick With Block Schedule Next School Year

At the beginning of this school year, Jeffersonville High School implemented a block schedule as part of the school’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. According to Principal Pam Hall, “When we went to [block schedule] shortly before school started, the main reason was contact tracing and limiting exposures. The other was to limit movement.”


Now, as Jeff High starts to plan ahead for life after COVID-19, the question arises: stay on a block schedule next school year or go back to “normal”?


Hall says the process of making that decision is underway, but it could take a while to make sure all perspectives are considered. Step one was sending a survey to faculty and staff. This occurred in early January. Of those who completed the survey, 55 percent said they prefer the block schedule and 45 percent said they prefer seven periods a day.

Staff survey provided by Jeffersonville High School


Next, Jeff High’s administrators met with leaders from] other high schools in the district. Those schools had also conducted surveys about whether to keep the block schedule.


The next step in the process is to meet with the building leadership team at Jeff High (a group of people who
represents different departments and interests) to discuss the pros and cons of each option. The survey data is just one part of the puzzle. They must also consider the potential impact on student scheduling, lunch times, teachers’ planning time and more.


Whether Jeff High stays on block schedule or reverts to seven periods, Hall says the longer classes have been
beneficial during this challenging year, and not just for contact tracing purposes. “We learned we need to slow down and make sure students have the skills to be successful.”

Story By The Hyphen Staff

Jeff High Senior Jasmine Fondrisi Sings Her Way to the Finals

Jasmine Fondrisi performs the national anthem before the 3A Girls Basketball State Finals.
Photo Credit: News and Tribune

Eight years ago, on the advice of her friends, 4th grader Jasmine Fondrisi asked to sing the national anthem before a Utica Elementary School basketball game. The scene on that day in the elementary gymnasium was much different than the scene on Feb. 27, 2021, as Fondrisi stood, center stage, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis singing the national anthem prior to the Class 3A Girls Basketball State Finals.

“Ever since I was little I loved singing, and I loved performing,” she says. That love was showcased in her participation in cheerleading, theater, and music all throughout middle school. But despite her talent, many at Jeff High didn’t necessarily know Fondrisi for her voice prior to this year. As an active student, she is just about everywhere: the IMPACT slides warning about avoiding dangerous situations, the auditorium preparing to perform, the football sideline cheering on the team or in the studio as a broadcaster for WJHI (Jeff’s radio and TV station).

Yet this year she was given a new opportunity to represent Jeff High, by singing the national anthem before basketball games. Fondrisi says she got the opportunity simply by asking. As she was sitting in the stands watching her sister play, she recalls relaying to her grandma that she wished she could sing the national anthem. “The worst they could say is no,” her grandma remarked. So she asked the athletic office for the opportunity to sing the anthem prior to tip-off. When they said yes, Fondrisi was once again ready to do what she loved. 

After that, it became a routine — and as she continued to perform, the compliments didn’t stop. One of those compliments came from the referees at the boys New Albany game, along with an offer to sing the national anthem at the state finals this year. After they exchanged information, and the IHSAA approved, the stage was set.

This performance was different than the usual at Jeff High. Rather than warming up in her car, she warmed up in the bathroom, and instead of easily maneuvering through a gym she had been to all her life, she admits she got lost in Bankers Life. Fondrisi summed up the experience in one word – “surreal.” She began as she had so many times before, and as she finished with “home of the brave,” her performance was met with cheers and applause.

For Fondrisi, singing the national anthem means a lot, whether in fourth grade or high school. “I feel proud because I get to represent myself, and I get to represent the school,” she says.