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Roll Call!

The attendance crackdown

By Bailey Mustard

Ashland High School is cracking down on attendance and is fully enforcing the existing attendance policy. The district has decided that there will now only be only six valid excuses for missing class: illness, health care appointments, a death in the family, court appearances, religious holidays/ instruction and a school-sponsored absence. If a student’s parent or guardian does not confirm with the attendance office that they were absent for one of these reasons, then the absence will be marked unexcused, or pre-arranged unexcused. If you have more than one unexcused absence or three unexcused tardies, you will receive detention. If after the first three notices for detention you still don’t attend, then you will be suspended. The Oregon law also requires a school to drop students after ten consecutive days of non-attendance, regardless of whether or not it was due to illness. Students absent for more than ten consecutive days must then re-enroll with their parent or guardian at the school office. 

This increased enforcement of the attendance policy is a result of both Oregon’s and Ashland High School’s efforts to address the problem of chronic absenteeism. According to the Oregon Department for Education, chronic absenteeism is linked to low reading performance, discipline issues, dropping out of school and low graduation rates. Ashland High School wants to see its students succeed in school, and that means actually going. So it’s time to grab a book and hit the classroom. 

 

Terrible Twos

Why AHS added two minutes to every class

By Lexie Taylor

This year’s new bell schedule has everyone scratching their heads. Why did the administration add two minutes to each class? While some might believe it is administration just trying to keep us on our toes, in reality, there is a new law behind it. The Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) requires that 80 percent of all enrolled students at Ashland High School have to attend at least 990 hours of class time annually. With the old schedule in place, we would not have met that class-time requirement and would only achieve it by having the 10th and 11th graders take a full schedule of classes, meaning all eight periods. Administration and Principal Erika Bare believe “it would not be in the students’ best interests” to have that change in schedule. With those extra minutes, it makes room for a more relaxed 7 period schedule. Of course, as long as seniors are on their way to meeting graduation requirements, they still have their flexible 4 to 7 period classes. So even though it means two more minutes waiting by the doors for the bell to ring, or extra time for your teachers to talk about their personal lives, at least we are not required to take another class on top of the junior’s busy AP class schedule and the sophomores get to keep their TA or out period so they get a break in their long day. 

 

Ninth Graders Team up for Success

Grizz Academy undergoes changes

By Ayla Foust

Autumn 2018 has brought forth many changes to improve the student body’s experience at Ashland High School, one of these includes the introduction of 9th grade teams, student blocks that will have the same Grizz Academy, Humanities, and Wellness teachers to help build a sense of community and familiarity. Additionally, changes have been made to provide 9th graders with the resources needed to succeed. Jesse Stonewood has been teaching 9th grade Grizz Academy since it was first introduced in 2016. When describing the class, Stonewood explains that “the purpose is to provide personal, academic and social support for each student during the first year of high school.” This school year brought in 300 incoming 9th graders who are required to take Grizz Academy. With such a large number 9th graders, it can be difficult for teachers to pay attention to each individual’s academic needs. To address this, Keri Phipps has taken on the role of 9th grade guidance counselor which provides extra support for the class of 2022. 

The 9th grade teams are being introduced in an effort to help 9th graders adapt and achieve success in high school. The structure is built on four separate teams and comprised of four different Grizz Academy teachers. These teachers meet once a week to discuss how the class is functioning and problem solve if necessary. In addition, Fresh Start counselors are included and act as mentors to these classes. Peer mentors can be a very positive influence and offer a lot of advice and support to new high school students. Each team includes the same group of students in Grizz Academy, Humanities and Wellness which helps build a sense of community and familiarity. To help increase chances of a successful 9th grade year, a portion of each Grizz Academy is dedicated to academic support time. During this time, students are accountable for working on assignments from other classes and checking grades in order to stay caught up. Checking in and evaluating how each student is doing is a main focus of this class. Students are also each accountable to create a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP), which is developed to help set a specific goal. Creating an individualized goal for each student makes it more realistically achievable considering each student has varying performance levels and strengths. The PLP also acts as a guide and progress report for student led conferences. 

Another motivation when establishing the teams was to “focus on the importance of young high school students” says Stonewood. How a student performs 9th grade year often affects the rest of their high school career. The intention of these 9th grade teams is to help them access tools, develop strategies and apply them throughout their high school career. Different learning styles require individual techniques and students deserve the opportunity to perform at the capacity they are capable of. The 9th grade teams go a step in a very positive direction for our education system, starting right here at Ashland High School. 

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Inside AHS