Seniors test the waters with early dismissal

By Claudia Fetzner, photo editor 

Since the first week of October, seniors have been given the opportunity to leave thirty minutes early every Wednesday. Whether students use this extra half hour to nap, catch up on homework, or grab a bite to eat, seniors are benefitting from their early dismissal. Senior soccer player Brenna Repko said: “It’s great, I am able to go home and get some work done before practice.”

The process for leaving is made easy by Mr. Chris Greco, science teacher and senior class adviser, who stands at the office doors and quickly checks out the eager seniors. The checklist, created by Assistant Principal Kylene Koper, is updated weekly to include those who meet the requirements (see below). Seniors must meet these expectations every week in order to be released.

Seniors who attend the Crawford County Career and Technical Center have been given the opportunity to arrive thirty minutes late on Wednesdays to compensate for missing afternoon releases. “It’s something different,” said senior Charlie Johnson. “It’s definitely better than being here at 8 a.m.”

In order to be eligible for release, seniors must:  

  • have no attendance issues (all excuses are turned in with no illegal or unexcused absences)
  • have zero discipline issues
  • have no zeros in classes and have passing grades in every class
  • not be needed for the Intervention/Extension period
  • must have a signed parent form to give permission to leave on record in the office

Saegertown students attend 4-H Leadership Conference

by Sydney Kightlinger, editor in chief

Four Saegertown students attended the Pennsylvania 4-H State Leadership Conference from Jan. 27-29. Seniors Rachel Barner and Melanie McClearn, junior Patrick Dunn, and freshman Kimmy Reisinger spent three days at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conferencing Center in State College working on leadership characteristics and principals with 4H members from around the state.

Students participated in a variety of workshops designed to improve communication techniques, team building, decision making, and goal setting. Dunn, who is President of Crawford County Council and his 4H club Champion Drive, attended the public speaking, make a good impression, executive decision, confidence, parliamentary procedure, and effective writing workshops.

“The one that benefited me the most was public speaking because I gained a lot from it. I learned how to get an audience’s attention and to think quickly. I plan on using some of it in my yearly demonstration,” said Dunn.

During McClearn’s workshops, she worked with kids to help them design a robot to help guide the elderly. “I learned a lot about team building. My goal is really to get the younger members to work better and speak about their ideas when I return,” said McClearn.

First year Crawford County Council member Resigner attended the effective writing workshop where she wrote numerous reports that resemble her 4H reports. “I will have to write for the rest of my life, and this will benefit my club.”

“It is important to help young men and women become better leaders. I look forward to coming back to teach and lead my club,” said Barner, who is the president of Pathfinders 4H Club and also member of the Crawford County Council. Barner added, “The confidence workshop taught me to become a better leader. You have to have confidence in yourself in order to give confidence to others. It is a lead by example sort of thing.”

Keystone Retakes sweep Saegertown

By Kassie Boyd, staff writer

The Keystone Exams are designed in order to assess students’ skills in algebra, biology, and literature. The PA Department of Education created the exams in 2011 to measure student performance, and make sure the standards set by the state are being met. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in 2016, 68.2 percent of student passed the algebra I keystones, 78.6 percent passed the literature, and 65.8 percent passed the biology.

Students who didn’t pass their exams the last time they took them participated in the retakes last week, one of two opportunities available each year. There are ways around the tests, however, if you find yourself unable to get an overall proficient. You can complete either a series of project-based assessments, or if you meet all local requirements, and have approval from your district superintendent.

“It’s a very fair test,” said biology teacher Mrs. Nicole Keller, “You have to know your stuff, but I don’t think it’s too hard. I don’t think it’s too easy.”

Math teacher Mrs. Debbie Houck said, “I think it’s [the algebra]  a little harder.” She shared  that the test has a lot of algebra II in it, even though it’s for algebra I.

“I don’t think they should be mandatory,” said Mrs. Keller. “There’s honestly just some students who aren’t good at taking tests, and they may never pass.” Critics of making the tests mandatory argue that a few high-stakes tests shouldn’t determine whether or not a student can graduate. 

The entire idea behind the Keystone tests is to make sure Pennsylvania is producing students ready to enter college and the workforce.