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Denebola » Dayun Keum http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Camera count rises from 10-12 to 50-60 http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/camera-count-rises-from-10-12-to-50-60/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/camera-count-rises-from-10-12-to-50-60/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 10:30:45 +0000 Dayun Keum http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4941 In an effort to improve security and prevent theft at South, the administration plans to install 50 to 60 security cameras around the building in January. According to school policy, both North and South are permitted to use security cameras in public places.
The Newton School Committee, which presides over policy-making and budget approval, authorized this policy last spring.
This “gave the green light to go ahead, Principal Joel Stembridge said.
A company is currently helping the school system develop a Request for Proposal (RFP), to be issued in December, at several hundred thousand dollars.
The company has been at the two high school several times to help the administration find locations to install the cameras, as well as to decide how many feet of conduit and what equipment will be necessary.
The initial cost of the security system will be for the computer that runs it, at $50,000 to $60,000. Thereafter, school system will have to pay for each camera individually, as well as its installation – about $2,000 per camera.
According to Stembridge, the school system is able to fund this security system through the city, which gets grants from the state to be used solely for safety improvement infrastructure.
“It’s not money that could be used for personnel¦ the money we’re getting is more like security money, he said. “This grant couldn’t be used to pay a teacher’s salary or hire another police officer for a year.
The exact number of cameras that will be installed has not yet been determined. Currently, anywhere between 50 and 60 cameras could be installed, rather than the 10 to 12 that the school initially proposed, depending on the grants from the city.
In June, the committee made a number of amendments to the policy in response to requests from the two high school principals. Among the changes made was the number of days that a recording would be kept prior to deletion. Under the updated policy, the computer system will keep the past 14 days of recordings, and write over any recordings after this time period.
The committee also clarified that only the principals and other administrators, such as the housemasters and vice principal, would be able to view the tapes, and that the schools would share the tapes with the Newton Police if a crime was committed in the building.
“I respect the recommendation of the high school principals, who tell us that security cameras help reduce theft and vandalism which are serious problems at our high schools, Newton School Committee Chairperson Claire Sokoloff said.
She does, however, have concerns about the potential privacy infringement of installing cameras in the schools. “I am a big believer in individual liberties, and feel we must be very careful and thoughtful about how we use surveillance cameras, she said. “While I voted in favor of amending the policy to allow for cameras at South, I believe we have to be extremely careful about how we use them, and we need to monitor the implementation of the policy to ensure that it is being carried out in a way that protects students’ liberties.
Other administrators share this concern as well, and are taking measures to ensure awareness about and familiarity with the security cameras. According to Stembridge, the school will hold informational campaigns, give out information in advisories, and send a letter home to parents before the installation to ensure that both students and parents are informed.
“There will not be signs indicating where the cameras are located, but students will get to know what the cameras look like, Stembridge said.
English teacher Joe Scozzaro feels relatively comfortable with having cameras installed in the school.
“If you trust those who are charged with monitoring the videos than you should feel comfortable in the heightened sense of security, he said. “However, [the cameras] could make people act even more irresponsibly, thinking that the cameras are there to protect the stuff that they leave unattended. I hope that the cameras reduce the amount of vandalism¦ and deter people from pulling the fire alarms.
Junior Adam Macalister agrees, though he is less comfortable about the idea of security cameras in school. “ “The presence of cameras could feel a little invasive, like someone is always watching you, he said. “[However], I think the security cameras could help reduce potentially harmful and detrimental incidents which have previously gone unsolved.

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Band ensembles offered paid shows outside of school http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/band-ensembles-offered-paid-shows-outside-of-school/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/band-ensembles-offered-paid-shows-outside-of-school/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 11:07:02 +0000 Dayun Keum http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4763 Over the past few years, the symphonic band at South has received numerous requests from the community to perform at special events. Previously, there was no official system in place to determine which members would get to play. This year, however, band director Lisa Linde plans to create small “on-call ensembles that will be available to play whenever a group is requested to perform.

Within the next month, she will hold auditions for band members and select around two ensembles to be on call. Linde, who received at least ten requests for student performances last year from places such as the Atrium and Chestnut Hill Malls, always tries to accommodate these requests.

“Students will gain a number of benefits: the experience of walking into a new situation and dealing with new people is a valuable opportunity to be able to interact professionally with adults outside of South. Students will learn about their responsibilities throughout these experiences, Linde said. “South will also benefit from being an organization that reaches out to the public, and the people making the request will benefit by having access to live music that is excellent quality but will not charge what a professional adult musicians might charge.

By participating in these special performances outside of school, the band members gain not only musical experience, but also monetary compensation. According to Linde, the exposure that students receive as a group may also earn them paying jobs in the future, something that has often happened in the past. They will also have the opportunity to promote their ensemble.

For senior and band member Melanie Rucinski, however, sharing her love of music is more important than the paycheck.

 “[Getting paid] is nice for us, but I would still do it if I didn’t get paid, she said. “I feel better about doing it without payment because feeling like I’m sharing something with the community just for the sake of sharing it is really nice¦ we’re not doing this to get paid; we’re doing it to play music.

In any case, students who participate in band are excited about the opportunity the on-call ensembles will afford them.

“Chamber groups are a great way to involve myself in music ­­outside of school, sophomore and band member Elena Byun said. “Working in a smaller group requires different skills, and I know that developing them will help make me a better musician¦ I’m really looking forward to seeing and hearing what me and other classmates’ chamber groups will have put together [next month].
“I’m of the firm belief that playing chamber music is the best way to improve as a player, both solo and orchestral, Rucinski said. “It’s a good experience to go out and play for people, and I don’t think we get that a lot.

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New bits and bytes for South computers http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/new-bits-and-bytes-for-south-computers/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/new-bits-and-bytes-for-south-computers/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 09:01:11 +0000 Dayun Keum http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4803 In an effort to foster 21st century skills and ensure that students have access to adequate technology resources, the Information Technology (IT) Department worked on a significant technology upgrade over the summer.
This upgrade resulted, in part, from a greater discussion about equity between North and South, given the wide range of resources that North will enjoy because of new construction funding. In particular, administrators noted that North received a number of new technology-related resources, including desktop and laptop computers, interactive whiteboards, and other instructional resources.
As a result, the School Committee voted to fund approximately $200,000 to upgrade South’s aging technology resources, which were installed nearly a decade ago during the school’s renovation. These funds are surplus from the FY10 budget.
A discussion about South’s technology needs and priorities began last spring, when the school’s Technology Committee examined the existing technology at South. Out of this discussion came a list of priorities for getting South up-to-date, including replacing old computer labs and introducing new equipment like document cameras.
With the increasing use of digital tools in South teachers’ curricula, it was clear to the Technology Committee that the old computers – which frequently froze and broke down – and obsolete software was not conducive to fostering students’ 21st century skills.
Before school started, the IT Department installed all new hardware and software in the Cutler Lab, Arts Lab, and one of the library’s laptop carts. These improvements will allow each set of computers to be utilized in a way not possible with the previous technology.
The Cutler Lab is now used as a main component of computer science and statistics classes.
“The new Cutler lab has allowed me to have a computer science class in a lab instead of using an old set of laptops on a cart, calculus and computer science teacher Margery Waldron said. “Last year students were very frustrated by the slowness of the laptops and lack of internet access¦ and [were] frequently losing all their work when the laptop batteries died.  This year, students can securely save their work using their Active Directory accounts.
Music, photo, and theatre classes now use the Arts Lab, previously known as the Music Lab. This lab, in addition to having new computers, also received updated USB piano keyboards and a variety of specialty software for writing and recording music, digital photo editing, and theatre production design.
“Now I spend very little time fixing computer problems and a whole lot of time teaching students. Our software has many more sounds and [is] overall easier for students to learn and to [easily] make really authentic sounding music, said music teacher Ben Youngman. “I think the students are having a better experience and I know that I am having a better experience.
The new library laptop cart came as a huge relief to the librarians, who recognized that students were at a clear disadvantage using the old laptops that were in the two library classrooms. When students came with their classes to do research, slow and malfunctioning computers made it difficult to access online resources and create final projects.
 “The new laptops are 50 times faster and allow me not to deal with other students messing up the computers used collectively by all students and faculty, senior David Itkin said. “They allow me to make the most out of my library experience.
Instructional Technology Specialist Brian Hammel believes that these laptop carts are “useful and convenient, allowing students to use technology without leaving the classroom.
Over the next month, new computers will also be installed in the Goldrick Lab, the second library laptop cart, and the History department laptop cart. The Goldrick Lab and History cart will feature special software that complements the U.S. and world history curriculums.
In addition to upgrading computer labs and carts, a number of document cameras were purchased for math and science classrooms, and will be installed shortly. These cameras, which are modern versions of the overhead projectors used to project images and text, are capable of zooming in very close without deteriorating image quality. They can also be connected to a computer for further scanning and saving options.
Hammel noted that, with these cameras, teachers will be able to “take pictures [of course material]¦and put the pictures up on their websites.
In addition to the purchase and installation of new equipment, the IT Department has also introduced a new computer access system, allowing students to log in with their own “Active Directory usernames and passwords on all new computers.
Students now cannot change or delete other students’ work. Also, students are able to securely save their documents from one computer and then access them on any other computer in the building using “StudentHome. This eliminates the need to save files on a flash drive or in e-mails.
“I think the new [login and saving system] is¦easy to follow, junior Masha Uglova said. “[It] is a very efficient way to do schoolwork without having to worry about losing it on a computer that anyone has access to.

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Crossfire club attracts massive crowds http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/crossfire-club-attracts-massive-crowds-2/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/crossfire-club-attracts-massive-crowds-2/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:14:13 +0000 Dayun Keum http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4487 One of the South’s largest clubs, the Crossfire club, ends its first year successfully as its senior coordinators move on to college. The club, which meets Thursday J-Blocks in Gym B, plays dodge ball with fifty or more students every week.

The number of participants from week to week varies, but that has no effect on the club. Even with students walking in to play mid-game, no matter how many students are in the gym, the game goes on.

Crossfire was first created by now president of the Crossfire club and senior Jake Palmer towards the end of first quarter.

“One day in November I turned to my friend and told him it would be really fun if we could play dodge ball at school, Palmer said. “[At first], I approached the Athletic Director, intending to ask if some friends and I could play dodge ball at Gym B.

But then, Palmer recognized the opportunity to make dodge ball a regular event, open to every student since so many students were interested in playing.

Creating the Crossfire club was not easy, however. Athletic Director Scott Perrin told Palmer that in order to play dodge ball during J-Block, they required a faculty advisor.

Math teacher Andrew Kelly was chosen to be the faculty advisor but due to his coaching after school, Palmer had to ask different teachers to supervise his club on a weekly basis.

Another technicality that had to be addressed was the fact that dodge ball is no longer allowed in public school curricula.

“When I originally approached Mr. Perrin and Mr. Stembridge about making the club, I called it Crossfire Club, to avoid the conflict surrounding playing dodge ball at school, Palmer said. “Since then, no one has challenged us so we call it dodge ball now.

As the leader of the club, Palmer organizes the games by bringing dodge balls every week. Once the game begins, however, his leadership becomes nominal and he takes on the role of just another player. The game gets competitive but everyone remains friendly and respectful.

Junior Tony Wang explained that he was encouraged to join the club by several of his friends.“Because of large number of students playing the game, there are some people who do not always follow the rules, but [nevertheless], the games always run well and smoothly, Wang said. “The transitions between games are quick and very little time is wasted during each game.

Palmer, graduating from South this year, plans to pass on his role of organizing next year’s Crossfire club to junior Alex Gershanov.
At the end of its inaugural year, Palmer is satisfied with the results of the club.

“I think it was a great success largely because so many kids showed up every week, spanning so many social groups at South. The club is open to anyone and will be a great time for everyone, Palmer said.

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Senate investigates picnic table option http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/senate-investigates-picnic-table-option/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/senate-investigates-picnic-table-option/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 07:46:04 +0000 Dayun Keum http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3824 students with alternative environments for lunch, the South Senate is investigating the option of buying several outdoor tables. Originally proposed by Principal Joel Stembridge in response to his earlier no eating in the hallways policy, the Senate hopes that the outdoor table alternative will satisfy students who are uncomfortable with eating in the cafeteria.

“Many students are resentful over the new policy which was implemented this year, banning students from eating in the hallways, Senate President and senior Ben Chelmow said.

Ever since students vocalized their discontent over the policy at the beginning of the school year, the Senate has searched for ways to repeal or change it. Recently, the Senate formed the Cafeteria Alternatives Committee (CAC) to investigate and research possible options for lunch environments.

“We found out that the policy itself really could not be changed, so we had to think of alternative solutions, junior Caroline Rosa, a member of the CAC, said.

The CAC and Stembridge came up with the solution of buying several outdoor tables and placing them in areas such as the courtyard or the enclosed area outside of the cafeteria.

“It will be a good place for people to get together and eat outside when the weather gets nicer, Rosa said.

The Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) agreed to support the plan and awarded the CAC with a $1000 grant for the purchase of the tables several weeks ago. The PTSO grant came with a stipulation, however, that ensured that the tables were made of a durable and vandalism-proof material such as metal or cement. These requirements led to complications.

“Cement or metal tables are actually more expensive than we expected, Rosa said. “We would only be able to buy one [table] with the $1000 grant.

Rosa added, however, that a few hundred dollars of grant money would remain after the first purchase, and that Stembridge agreed to cover the remaining cost of the second table.

The Senate is currently coming up with ways to raise more money to purchase multiple picnic tables so that more than just a few students can use them during lunch and free blocks.

The CAC is planning on surveying several advisories this week to get an idea of what locations for the tables are most popular with students.

“We really want students to share their input with us, whether it’s in person or online. I want to emphasize that they can play a major role in the decision making process on this issue and all others in the future, Senate member and junior David Altman said.

Many students are excited for the opportunity to have an adequate place to sit outside.

“[The outdoor tables] would be helpful because the cafeteria is always so crowded, junior Kyla Kouadio said. “It will benefit everyone, but only as long as the there are trashcans as well.

The CAC will issue a report to Stembridge on the table’s design specifications, costs, proposed locations, and information on additional trash receptacles to be placed in the area within the coming weeks. The Senate hopes to have the picnic tables installed soon after.

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Winter Prom jump starts the semester http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/winter-prom-jump-starts-the-semester/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/winter-prom-jump-starts-the-semester/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2010 07:59:06 +0000 Dayun Keum http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3687 To raise money for the Junior Semi-Formal, the Senior Prom, and the Haiti relief efforts, the junior and senior Class Officers privately organized the Winter Prom on January 30 at the Hyde Center. The event raised $450 for Haiti and $2200, which will be divided evenly and donated to each class.

“Winter Prom is continuing the tradition started last year by some of the previous senior Class Officers, senior Class President Chenzhe Cao said. “We thought it was a great idea to include smaller events this year, and Winter Prom would be a great event for all of the seniors.

The officers expected the event to have a large turn out. Because the Hyde Center has a maximum capacity of 250 people, the officers originally stated that only the first 250 people would be admitted entrance. On the Winter Prom Facebook event, over 300 people were confirmed as “attending.

Though tickets were generally $12, students who attended the Invisible Children’s Benefit Concert the night before were charged $10.

Newton North students were also welcome at the event. Though mostly juniors and seniors attended, some freshman and sophomores showed up as well.

“We heard from last year’s event that although there was a lot of hype, only 150 students had come to Winter Prom, Cao said. “We wanted the Hyde Center to be packed with students.

As with most school events, the Class Officers expressed great concern over safety at Winter Prom. Although there were no breathalyzer tests, 10 to 15 chaperones and two police officers made sure attendees were under control.

“As long as we are able to entertain and create a lively and enjoyable atmosphere, then I think that we’ve accomplished our goal, Cao said.

Winter Prom also provided North and South students the opportunity to make donations to Haiti, which was recently struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed an estimated 150,000 people. Both the junior and senior classes matched every dollar donated.

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