Survey Says: We Need Help

Hannon is Stressed — And You Are Too

Recently, I sent out a survey to staff and students asking two questions: on a scale of one to five, how overwhelmed are you on a day-to-day basis, and what do you do to cope with that stress. The results were concerning. Of the 169 who replied, 82.7 percent of those surveyed placed themselves at a three or higher for how overwhelmed they feel.

For the second question, “What do you do to cope with stress?” there were two common answers that really stood out. One was that many people turn to music to help them deal with their stressors and emotions.

Music Helps

This is not a new strategy unique to our school. According to research done by the American Psychological Association, listening to music increases the body’s production of antibodies and reduces stress hormone levels. Students may not understand the science behind it, but they know that music has a powerful effect on how they feel. As a music student, I have firsthand experience with the benefits of music. Playing my instrument is always therapeutic, as it is something I do not have to think about. I can just let my feelings flow through me and come out as something beautiful. When it is not convenient to play an instrument, just popping in my earbuds and listening to my favorite albums and instrumental music helps improve my mood and takes my mind off of things.

On Earbuds

Our current policy prohibits headphones in the classroom and blocks most streaming services on student Chromebooks. Could a change to the headphone policy provide a resource for students who could benefit from the stress-relieving properties of listening to music?

In my opinion, yes. I believe our policy should be updated to make music more accessible to students whenever there is time to do so without the possibility of classroom disruption.

Mindfulness

Other than listening to music, the answer that really stood out was that many students just do not know how to cope with being overwhelmed. They do not have the tools to help them get through tough situations. This is concerning, as students and teachers alike are under rigorous performance standards, and with no way to deal with that stress, it can have negative effects. There is a possible solution to this issue that has already been implemented at Throop.

Kara Schmidt, a community member and founder of SoINBody, began working with elementary students before the pandemic, teaching them mindfulness and yoga skills. She also did a trial run with Carol Fullington’s 2019- 2020 speech classes, coming in twice a week to practice mindfulness and yoga with high school students. I had the opportunity to be in that speech class, and those mindfulness lessons were some of the most helpful things I have learned in my high school career. I think this sort of experience should be available for all students at the high school, seeing as we are more vulnerable to mental strain as a result of our education. The easiest option would be to create a mindfulness club which meets once a week during homeroom or even after school, giving students a chance to take a break and practice something that could be beneficial for them.

Talking about mindfulness can be difficult because there is just not enough common knowledge on the subject for most people to really know much about it and how to practice it. However, if the school implemented new policies and programs which had students’ best interests in mind, and that engaged in mindfulness improvement, we might see our data shift in a more positive direction.

Story by Michael Hannon

Book Worm Takes on Library

This year, English Teacher Book Worm Rachel Miller has taken on another position in the building, part time school librarian. After passing the Indiana CORE Assessment for school library, Miller was certified to fill the spot.

Already, Miller has several goals to accomplish with the library. In addition to teaching freshman English, Miller will spend two periods of her day in the library. Miller has made a few changes to the library so far, most noticeably the appearance in the front window of the library as they walk by.

“You may have noticed the library opening up a bit. The curtains have been removed, and I’m doing some fall cleaning to spruce things up. I’m also creating displays to highlight new books every few weeks. More changes will be coming over the course of the school year, so pay attention and come see what’s going on,” said Miller.

Miller wants to increase overall student and class usage of the library this year. She plans to “re-digitize” the library to create easier access to books for students.

“Getting the titles of our books back online will be a huge improvement. Students will be able to search for books online, scan the books to check them out easily, and it’ll make checking books back in a lot easier as well,” said Miller.

In order to make the library digital, Miller plans to label every book and scan them into the system. With the help of Registrar Sara Parks, she will be able to get the information needed to input all of the students into the system. She is also working on marketing the library by building a website and rebranding it “The Ram Resource Room”.

“The library houses Ms. Manship’s office, the Paoli College and Career Academy student union, study spaces, our book collection, and your friendly neighborhood librarian, as well as working closely with the Essentials Project. The library really is a great place for students to access all kinds of resources,” said Miller.

Miller will be in the library available for questions and requests during first and second period and during homerooms. For more information email millerr@paoli.k12.in.us.

Story by Angie Ceja

Stout Returns to Classroom for Science

Since the start of the school year, PHS has been on the hunt for a new seventh grade science teacher.

With no luck so far, the administration continues to advertise this opening on both the school’s website and with the Indiana Department of Education. In the meantime, Retired Math Teacher Cindy Stout has been covering the role. As luck would have it, Stout is a licensed science teacher, the perfect fill-in until a permanent teacher can be hired.

“Mrs. Stout is an amazing teacher. She has a track record of excellence! Her willingness to fill in until a replacement can be found is truly an asset to Paoli Schools. I am confident that our seventh graders are receiving science instruction equivalent to what a permanent teacher would provide,” said Principal Sherry Wise.

According to Superintendent Greg Walker, at this time there are currently no applications for the position Stout is filling.

For more information on the open position visit the corporation website.

Story by Gracie Walls

Nobel Takes On New AVID Program

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a program which focuses on helping students to become college and career ready during their junior high and high school years. English teacher Tamera Noble has taken on the role of AVID training this summer and officially became the AVID site coordinator and elective teacher this school year.

“AVID is a great program with many benefits for students and teachers. I love teaching the AVID elective and can’t wait to share more strategies with teachers throughout this school year,” said Noble.

During the class, the students get the chance to learn strategic preparations to help further their education as they go throughout school. These include strategies in taking notes and tests, time management, studying, and using WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, Reading to Learn) for exploring college and career options. This year, Noble is hoping to be able to plan extra activities for the students who are in the course so they can get more experience and familiarity with the program, including field trips and guest speakers who share their career experiences.

If you are interested in joining AVID, you may apply at the end of the school year for the 2022-2023 school year. Since AVID is new this year, students who are in AVID currently have been hand selected by their previous teachers.

“AVID targets students in the academic middle who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These are students who are capable of completing a rigorous curriculum but may be falling short of their potential. AVID’s goal is for these students to reach their full potential through the support AVID offers,” said Noble.

If you have any questions or comments about AVID, you can learn more by contacting Noble for more information.

Story by Corrine Magner

Martin Takes on New College Corp Advising Role

One of the many new faces this school year is College Advising Corps Adviser Cody Martin. Partnered through Indiana University and AmeriCorps, Martin took the place of 2020-21 staff member, Mary Lechner. Martin’s job here at PHS is to help seniors find the best path for their lives after high school.

“Whether you want to become a mechanic, a manager at Walmart, a doctor, or anything in between, I’m here to help find your best options for getting where you want to go. The goal of my position is to improve the socioeconomic statuses of communities, starting with upcoming graduates,” said Martin.

Though Martin’s main focus is with seniors, he is eager and willing to meet with any student who has questions about postsecondary options. He also works at Crawford County Schools with the same position and splits his time equally between both schools.

“I am a resource to help find goals for students, find financial aid and scholarships, and navigate the college admissions process (applications, award letters, you name it), whether that be a seventh grader having no idea what college is, or a freshman wondering how to set themselves up for success,” said Martin.

Martin graduated from Wilmington College in Ohio with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. He has a four-year-old daughter named Callie and is newly married as of this past July.

“I love spending my free time disc golfing, cooking, doing trivia, playing cards, doing crosswords and watching sporting events. I plan on beginning to work on my Master’s Degree in the fall, and I hope to have a Ph.D. by the time I am 30,” said Martin. “Some fun facts about me are that I have been published in Athletic Business magazine, I’ve attended two Super Bowls, and I have been to 13 states and five countries.”

Martin is at PHS all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, along with the second and fourth Friday of every month. To schedule a meeting with him, email him at martinc@paoli.k12.in.us.

Story by Gracie Walls.