The new year signals the end of one semester and the beginning of another. For five of our students it signals the end of their academic careers at BVHS. I want to congratulate our mid-year graduates: Kelly Carroll, Peter Coates, Jenna Johnson, Cody Miller, and Jonathan Schriever. I invite you to join them as they celebrate their graduation on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:00pm in the Performing Arts Center.
I would like to commend the students and staff for their generosity during the holiday season. Their gifts of time, talent, and treasure brightened the holiday season for many people in our area. Some of our foreign language students, under the direction of Mrs. Swanson, Mrs. Nathan, and Mrs. Waysman, sang Christmas carols at The Banquet on Tuesday, December 16. The fourth-annual student-led clothing drive saw numerous contributions to the Children’s Inn. The Angel Tree under the direction of Ms. Ketelsen brought gifts to over 100 children in our communities. The Critter Christmas project under the direction of Mr. Thorson and Mrs. Miller saw our students help to meet some of the needs of the Humane Society.
Congratulations to Deb Rothenberger on the selection of the school newspaper, The Brandon Valley Echo, as a National Scholastic Press Association Hall of Fame student newspaper. This award is given in recognition of overall excellence and consistent award of the All-American Honor by the NSPA. Well done to Mrs. Rothenberger and her journalism students from this year and previous years. Congratulations to Ms. Dufrain and her Oral Interp students on their successes at the State Oral Interp Festival in Sturgis this past month. The students garnered numerous superior awards in a variety of categories. I encourage you to look through the newsletter to read about the many successes that our students have had during the first months of the school year. We have students who qualified at the state level of various FFA programs. BVHS is represented by numerous athletes on All-State and All-Conference teams. These are just a few examples of the excellence achieved by our students and teachers both in and out of the classroom.
Semester tests will be given on Thursday, January 8 and Friday, January 9. For the first time we will have an open campus during semester test days and students may leave the building during their study halls or lunch period. Lunch will be served on both days and the servery will be open to the students with breakfast foods throughout the morning. We will be opening the Commons from 7:00pm-10:00pm on Wednesday, January 7 and Thursday, January 8 for students that are looking
for a place to study. I once again urge parents of college-bound students that are exempt from semester tests to have your child take at least one test in a core area (English, math, science, or social studies) to better help them prepare for college semester tests. These tests only count if they work to the advantage of your child. Our graduates tell us that not taking any semester tests in the two years prior to college has been a problem for them as they attempt to take college tests.
Friday, December 5 was the Winter Formal at BVHS. The event was a big success with almost 450 young people in attendance. The proceeds from the dance went to the Junior-Senior Parent Organization to help raise funds for the after-prom and after-graduation festivities. There are many people to thank for the success of the Winter Formal: the students for coming out and supporting the event; The Junior-Senior Parent Organization committee members, Mr. Thorson, Mr. Marso, and Mr. Merlyn Bosch, for decorating the commons; and to the Advanced Placement Art students for sharing their artistic talents and painting winter scenes on the windows in the commons.
The registration process for next year will begin at the end of this month and carry on into February. Orientation for the Class of 2008 (this year’s eighth graders) will be Tuesday, January 20, at 7:30pm in the Performing Arts Center. We encourage parents to attend and to bring your child with you. The event should last about one hour. We are adding a registration night for parents of sophomores, juniors, and seniors on Monday, February 2 at 6:30pm in the high school commons. The principals and counselors will be available to answer questions for those parents seeking help in the course selection process. Taking the right courses can make all of the difference when it comes to a student being prepared for the next step after high school. The following recommendations come from the South Dakota Board of Regents to students that are considering college as an option:
1. Take the right courses in middle school and high school.
· Algebra is the gateway. School districts should provide and students should take Algebra I in the 8th grade and at least three years of mathematics in high school that includes Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus.
· High school graduation requirements are not equivalent to college admissions requirements. High school graduation requirements are minimum expectations to earn a high school diploma. Preparation for success in college requires additional and more rigorous academic courses.
· More rigorous courses in high school traditionally result in higher ACT scores and higher GPAs in the freshmen year of college. 2002 South Dakota high school graduates taking all general education courses had an ACT average of 24.0 compared to 18.7 for those students who were required to take a remedial course in math or English. This trend has held for the past ten years. The 2002 graduates not in need of remedial courses had a 2.95 GPA compared to the 2.29 GPA of 2002 graduates that had to take a remedial course in either math or English.
2. Make cost effective decisions.
· Remedial courses cost more. The tuition for a college general education course costs $181. A remedial course costs $397.
· Remedial courses extend the amount of time it takes to earn a degree because they do not count towards a degree.
· High School Advanced Placement courses save money. A high school advanced placement course can provide a student with college general education credit for a test fee of $77 saving the student $104 in tuition.
If you have any questions about registration, please feel free to call your child’s counselors or talk to one of the principals. If you have concerns about any other issue contact one of the principals or members of the Parent Advisory Board.
9th Grade: Tom Eitreim
10th Grade: Maria Bender
11th Grade: Julia Lappe
12th Grade: Brian Brua
Since the first was so awesome, we are making a second! A laureate is someone honored or awarded a prize for great achievements, especially in the arts. Last year, Brandon Valley High School collected student work and created the first annual Lynx Laureate literary magazine. That Lynx Laureate won the 2002-2003 “All State Literary Publication” award! Now is the time for students to begin selecting or creating new works to submit for the 2004 Lynx Laureate. Any of the following styles of art or literature are welcome: poems, fables, short stories, black and white photographs, paintings, charcoal drawings, and pictures of sculptures. Selected entries will be bound together and sold to parents and students.
The Lynx Laureate is a wonderful venue not only for our students to show off their work, but also for parents to have a collection of their student’s creativity! Please encourage your student to submit art or literature. All entries are due January 23, 2004 to Ms. Trygstad in print form or through email.
The Physics classes have entered a national rocket contest. The contest is a centennial celebration of the Wright brothers’ first flight. The challenge placed forward to the students is to build a two-stage rocket that will carry a payload of two raw eggs to a height of 1250 feet. (Closer to 1250 ft. scores higher.) The eggs must return to the earth undamaged. Five hundred teams throughout the nation have registered for the competition. The top 100 teams qualify for finals competition in Northern Virginia on May 15, 2004. The teams will be competing for $59,000 worth of prize money. Suggestions or questions can be directed to Dean Pierson at 582-3211.
Mid-year commencement exercises will be held Wednesday, January 7th at 7:00 pm in the Performing Arts Center. We invite everyone to join us at this ceremony for our five mid-year graduates.
Semester tests are January 8th and 9th. The following schedule will be followed:
Thursday, January 8th
Friday, January 9th
The elementaries and middle school will run regular scheduled days, so buses will run their normal time. High school students who don’t have transportation may wait and ride the bus.
PLEASE SEE THE ATTACHED “MOST ASKED QUESTIONS” SHEET.
This fall the Brandon Valley Echo received several awards. The 2002-03 Echo editors and staff earned an All-State Award from the South Dakota High School Press Association. The judge critiqued four issues. They also earned the highest awards in two national competitions in which six Echo issues were critiqued. From the Quill and Scroll, the Echo earned the George H. Gallup Award. It also earned an All-American rating from the National Scholastic Press Association. Because this was the tenth consecutive All-American rating, the Echo is now in the NSPA Hall of Fame. These students also contributed to the production of the Brandon Area History book by typing the accounts and designing most of the ads.
The 2003-04 Echo editors and staff earned second place in the First Edition Contest at the High School Press Convention in October. Their fourth issue was published Dec. 19.
The Brandon Valley Athletic Hall of Fame is seeking nominations for the Hall of Fame. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to recognize persons who have positively contributed to the success of Brandon, Valley Springs, or Brandon Valley athletics as a supporter or participant. Any person who has not been directly involved with Brandon Valley athletics for the last seven years is eligible for nomination. Nominations for 2004 are due by January 16, 2004. If you are interested in nominating someone, you may obtain a nomination form from:
Randy Marso, Activities Director
582-2886 or 582-3211
The Girls Basketball games, postponed from Tuesday, December 9th, will be played on Thursday, January 15, 2004. Game times are 4:00pm for Freshmen A and JV games, 5:45pm for Freshmen B and Sophmore games, and 7:30pm for the Varsity game.
If you are not sure if you ordered this year’s Lynxonian, or if you are not sure it is paid for yet, you can see Mrs. Swanson in Room 111, or call 1-866-282-1516 to check on your account. Just give Jostens Direct Solutions, the ordering company, the name of your school and the student’s name. The salesperson can update you on your yearbook order. If the student wants their name on it, it needs to be paid for by April 15, 2004. Thanks for your patronage.
With the “cold and flu” season upon us we feel it is necessary to inform you that we have confirmed cases of Influenza A in the school district. The influenza virus is NOT the same as the “stomach flu”. The influenza virus is highly contagious and is spread by droplets in the air. This airborne transmission makes it impossible for students contained in classrooms to avoid exposure; however, good hand washing can be helpful with reducing illness transmission.
Influenza A is characterized by the following symptoms: headache, body aches, high fever (usually above 101 degrees), and a dry cough that may progress to a productive cough. Your child will be acutely ill for about 3-5 days. A secondary infection such as strep throat or pneumonia may develop as well.
Treatment measures include rest, plenty of fluids, and measures to control fever. Please keep your child home from school until the fever is absent for 24 hours and your child is rested and feels well enough to come back to school. Influenza is a significant illness and should be treated as such. Early detection may allow your physician to treat other family members to reduce symptoms and duration of the illness.
On January 6th at 6:00-7:30 p.m. there will be a financial aid information night at Brandon Valley High School in the Performing Arts Center. The meeting is for seniors and their parents and will cover information on filling out the FAFSA form and the different types of financial aid.
Credits- As second semester approaches, the chance to take a required class for graduation diminishes. Therefore, it is important that seniors double check their transcripts to make sure that they have every class necessary for graduation. Even though I will be checking all 189 transcripts, there is the slight possibility that something could be missed. I will be distributing transcripts to seniors immediately after grades have been entered for first semester, so that seniors can double-check them. Please check and see that you have/will have completed the following requirements of 2004 graduates:
4.0 credits English, .5 speech, 1.0 computer, 2.0 math, 2.0 science-including physical science and biology, 1.0 American History, 1.0 Geography, 1.0 Social studies electives, .5 American Government, .5 fine arts, .5 physical education, .5 career education, + 7.5 additional electives for a total of 22 credits.
Seniors need to get their college applications completed if they have not already done so. During January you will also want to begin the financial aid process. This includes scholarships applications and filling out the FAFSA form for other forms of financial aid such as student loans. You might want to attend the financial aid information night at Brandon Valley High School in the PAC on January 6th at 6:00 p.m. to assist you with this process.
Scholarships – Scholarships that have come across the counselor’s desk are listed on a table in the back of each issue of the Highlights. If you are interested in getting an application for one or more scholarships, please highlight which ones and give the table to the counselor. Please note that many have applications available online.
Recommendations – If you need to have the counselor complete a recommendation, please allow two weeks for it to be completed.
Results of the PLAN test have arrived and will be distributed to those students who took the test. Parents may want to review the results with their student using the interpretation guide that will be provided along with the score report.
One of the most popular fund raising programs that the BV Band Parents have run over the years is their annual frozen food sale. This year the sale will run from January 20th through February 2nd, with members from all three concert bands participating. Orders will be taken for over 25 different products ranging from pizzas to fish and soup to chicken! Once again the most popular item is sure to be cinnamon rolls. If you’ve purchased any of the frozen food items in the past you know what wonderful quality they are and how much your family enjoys them.
Proceeds from the program help fund summer band camp scholarships, purchase equipment for the marching band, and to pay for transportation on the band trips. If you haven’t been contacted and would like to order some delicious food, please call the high school band room at 582-2392 by Monday, February 2, 2004.
Brandon Valley students will soon be registering for 2004/05 courses. This is a quick pitch to remind students and parents of the importance of course selection. While a great deal has been made of our outstanding academic scores from last year, these scores should not be interpreted to mean that simply completing the BVHS graduation requirements prepares a student for college. Postsecondary education will be one of the greatest investments a student will ever make, and it is clear that high school coursework plays a significant role in ensuring success in later education.
For students planning to continue with postsecondary education, a significant amount of research indicates that such students should not “coast” their junior and/or senior years in high school. Last year the National Center for Education Statistics conducted a study on student success in postsecondary education. Not surprisingly, they found a number of factor influencing whether a student would be successful in college, including: race, socioeconomic background, whether the student was the first in the family to attend college, and academic rigor of the student’s high school courses. Out of all of these factors, the number one predictor of college success was the academic rigor of secondary education (defined as taking courses beyond state graduation requirements). Not only was high school coursework the top predictor, research indicated that a rigorous high school education could overcome other factor that put students at risk of failure.
At BVHS, students have numerous choices for challenging courses as either juniors or seniors. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are designed to be college courses (curriculum set by the College Board) taught in high schools. While AP courses have a deserved reputation as being difficult, such work will be expected of our students when they attend college. At the end of the year, students have an option of taking a test to earn college credit. Even if a student chooses not to take the AP test, college-bound students gain a great deal from the courses by working with college-level texts, taking challenging tests and following a college curriculum. AP courses should be viewed primarily as a chance to prepare for college. Of course, many non-AP courses are also rigorous and challenge our students to excel academically.
If college is in a student’s future, the benefits of early release, late arrival, multiple study halls and easy courses are questionable. While course selection is the choice of each student once graduation requirements are satisfied, keep in mind that the choice likely will have a significant influence on success beyond the high school years.
Early Childhood Developmental Screening dates/times have been set for Brandon Valley School District. This is for children birth to age five (this is not kindergarten screening). The free screening will take place at Brandon Elementary, 501 Holly Blvd., 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 29, 2004, and if needed, Tuesday, January 27, 2004. To schedule a screening appointment, please call Brandon Valley Special Services’ Office at 582-3446.