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Class of 2002 orientation at DHS

by Merrie Leininger

Thursday was a big day for the Class of 2002.

Sophomore orientation brought together, for the first time, the first class responsible for passing Douglas County School District’s graduation competencies. Sophomore orientation was hosted by the school’s leadership class and student council and included games, a performance by the dance team and an explanation from Principal Bev Jeans about what will be expected from the class.

In an interview with The Record-Courier, Jeans said the staff will be focusing heavily on that class and making sure students are prepared for the stricter graduation requirements.

“We have to make sure the sophomores are meeting the learning objectives because this is the class that will be held accountable for the graduation requirements, as well as the 23 credits and state proficiency test,” Jeans said.

Jeans said she believes the teachers are prepared for the new challenges.

“They have spent the past two years piloting and refining. It is all in place within the departments,” she said.

Jeans said the science teachers in all the secondary schools worked together to create a new class that would combine the basics of earth, physical, life and biological sciences for those students who don’t plan on taking the college-preparation classes such as chemistry and physics.

n Helping students. One of the big helps for teachers and students preparing for the graduation requirements this year will be the redesign of a computer lab in the library.

A committee of DHS teachers researched software programs that allow students to work on remedial work or even work ahead, and they selected a program called Plato.

The Smallwood Foundation gave the school a $42,600 grant for the software and the school district bought 28 new computers and created individual computer work stations that also make it easier for teachers to view each student’s screen.

Total cost of the redesign and all the computers was $45,000, according to Rick Kester, district director of business services. Jeans gave a lot of credit to Suzy Stockdale, a representative for the Smallwood Foundation, for getting the funding for the software.

Jeans said the school will get the computers and software in by Sept. 8 and the staff will be trained to use them.

Teachers will be able to use their preferred software for their classes and students will also be able to access the Internet and use the computers for word processing, she said.

n Safe school, better students. The school, as most schools in the country, will be highly sensitive to bullying or violence on campus. Jeans said she is very proud that one of the school’s goals for last year, peer court, is now up and running.

That group hopes they will have more of an effect on their fellow students when it comes down to stopping fights and bullying.

“One of our major goals this year is school safety,”Jeans said. “Students can’t learn if they don’t feel safe physically and psychologically.”

n Goals achieved. Jeans said she thinks schools safety has been improved in the last year in another area: traffic.

Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies came to the school and spoke with the students in small groups in order to express the importance of being more careful, especially while pulling out of the school onto Highway 88.

“I thought, compared to last year, there were fewer problems. Teen-agers still speed, but I thought it was better,” she said.