Sunday, August 31, 2003

original oratory

OO meeting this Thursday. Absolutely mandatory to come unless you have a serious conflict (inform me beforehand in that case). Everyone needs to bring any research they have, or simply topic ideas. We will brainstorm for writing our speeches, which hopefully will be done in two weeks, leaving us three weeks to prep for the WKU meet.

This meeting is for ALL OOers, even the varsity members. I will post something up in the elevators this week.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Journalism site! GOGOGOGOGO

It's official name: The Signature Globe


Status: Main Index ready to post features in Journalism class tomorrrow! Tweaking of the Individual Entry pages might occur later.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Comment on YMCA lawsuit

This was a comment to a link posted a few days ago about a mom suing the Evansville YMCA:

I'm a junior sig student just so you know who i am. I worked at the Y day camp, and that mom is comepletely wrong at the actions the Y took in her sons injury. They in fact did try to help, and the mother based her lawsuit on the fact that the day camp was understaffed and irresponsible, which is ALSO wrong. It was an accident. That's it. Even her son states that it was, which must tell you something.
Betsy | Homepage | 08.23.03 - 10:58 pm | #

Editorial: Sig's achievement extends beyond its demographics

Someone commented on my post from last night (two posts down):

I would just like to say that the reporting of those statistics is grossly inaccurate. Yes, Signature School has a better average than EVSC. However, Signature School probably had about 1/5 (if not less) the test-takers that EVSC did, due to the small student body. In addition, most Signature School students are enrolled in honors and/or AP classes, which no doubt prepare them better for the tests. If the EVSC honors students were scored comparatively to the Sig students, the results would be more realistic. Note also the minorities and free lunch percentages. Disadvantaged schools are more likely to perform poorly on tests, and Signature School obviously is not a disadvantaged school. Sig vs. Bosse - obviously, Sig will be much better on paper than Bosse. This article is ridiculous. There is no way to accurately compare the results of 50 or so Sig students to hundreds of EVSC students, which nullifies this entire "report".
Anonymous | 08.24.03 - 8:28 am | #

Dear Anonymous,

I am a Sig student, so my analysis of Sig's achievement will be biased. But notice that I did not claim that this article shows that Sig has a superior academic program. I attempted to be as objective as possible in my post. In listing stats from the Courier and Press article, I made sure to include the free lunch and minority statistics, because it does bring up the legitimate question that you bring up: how much of Sig's success is based on the socio-economic standing of its students?

While attending Sig can bias my view, it also lets me have an inside glimpse at the Sig system and compare it to the system I witnessed at Reitz. And my opinion: Sig has higher academic achievement than the EVSC has. This achievement is not based on its students' wealth

Sig has less disadvantaged students...but keep in mind that disadvantaged students from the EVSC often don't take the SAT or other college-entrance exams; the general SAT/ACT/AP taking population of both the EVSC and Sig is middle/upper class. Yes, some disadvantaged students in the EVSC take the SAT...but Sig DOES teach disadvantaged students. And proportionally, I would suspect that the demographics of the standardized test-taking popluations of the EVSC and Sig would be very similar. There are no publically available demographic breakdowns (i.e. what percent of minorities or disadvantaged students actually take the SAT at all?) of the EVSC or Sig's test-taking population, so I may be right, or I may be wrong on that point.

But for a more concrete example, you challenge Sig to release a comparison of its students vs the EVSC's honors students. First, this comparison is not exactly fair as the EVSC's honors students by definition take honors or advanced placement classes...Sig students generally take honors or advanced placement classes but some students take advanced (which is one level below honors) or special education classes. But even in this uneven comparison, Sig has high scores. Before Sig was a full-time charter school, its half-day students took their AP tests at their home schools--the Sig students earned a large amount of the 3s, 4s and 5s that the EVSC received. Last year, in its first year administering AP tests by itself, Sig received great scores. In AP English Language and Composition, Sig students received roughly five 5s and 9 fours...that is for a group of students that numbered around 40. I don't know the EVSC's scores as a whole, but talking to some of my friends at Reitz, 5s were extremely rare in their class. Many bright students I know received 2s and 3s. This comparison of Sig to EVSC honors students gets even more unbalanced when you look at our AP science and math scores. AP Calculus is one of the tougher classes to receive a 5 sister, the Math Team captain at Reitz 3 years ago, and a friend of mine, the Math Team captain 2 years ago at Reitz, both received 3s on the AP Calculus test. Sig's first year scores AP Calc scores (phenomenal by ANY standard):

score# of students

And AP Computer Science scores were even better. I do not know all of the AP Chemistry scores, but there were several 4s and 5s--scores that the EVSC has not received regularly for several years (at Reitz, the AP Chem class was really Chem II, and was not geared to prepare you for the AP test--that may have changed last year with the new chemistry teacher there).

While you only disputed the academic portion of the Courier and Press report, you seem to dislike Sig in general. If that is the case, please look beyond the academics; Sig has an outstanding community service program with an active Key Club, Student Advisory Council, and PTSA. Sig's core classes (such as AP World History and International Awareness) promote a greater understanding for the world around us, which is bound to play a large part in America's future. And Sig's learning environment lets self-motivated students excel in whatever they chose to do (academics, theater, art, speech, music, multimedia) without distracting influences such as sports pep rallies and mandatory reading periods.

Please don't interpret my response to your comment as hostile. I only intend to show you and other readers of SM that Sig is not a school based on its students' wealth. Sig is a school based on the learning environment that it generates. At the same time, Sig is not a replacement for the EVSC. It is not necessarily a model for how the EVSC should be run. The EVSC has to deal with a wider range of issues involving the mundane (such as running a school cafeteria, bus system, or large sports teams) to the explosive (school violence and illegal drugs) that come with running any large school. Sig has been blessed with not having to deal with these issues, and so it can focus on its academics. Perhaps that is why Sig has a record of high achievement.

Thank you for the comment. I hope you and others continue to bring up issues about Sig that need clarification; feel free to post a rebuttal if you feel it necessary.

poetry slam this friday!

The next SLAM! will be at the Wadi Cafe, 7:30 Friday night. Any and all poets are welcome to perform. If you wish to compete, bring at least 3 complete poems. If you don't have that many poems, you can performing during the open mic intermissions.

In other poetry-related news, Phuc posted my poems from the last slam on finally.

Sig School in the news

The Courier and Press printed "Signature School touts scores:"

Signature High School scored higher in ISTEP and SAT scores than schools in the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp. this past school year.

The school also has fewer minorities and a wealthier student body than the other schools, Signature's annual report indicates.


Signature became a charter school last year and this has been its first full year of operations. Charter schools are publicly financed (it received nearly $1 million in state and local property taxes) but are exempt from many of the rules that apply to other public schools.

Here are some stats presented in the rest of the article (in table format, thanks to yours truly):

SAT score1,1701,035
ACT score24.520.7
ISTEP Pass%10064
girl/guy ratio2:11:1
% minorities720
% free/reduced lunch1144
community service7,320 hours?

Saturday, August 23, 2003

interesting Garret Matthews column

Some forward-thinking high schools are changing the drill sergeant approach to PE class that many of us remember from our youth.

These schools provide a workout room that looks much like a health club. Boys and girls can select exercises they enjoy. A stair-stepping machine, maybe. Or the rowing machine. Or the stationary bicycle.

A portion of the room is set aside for weight training. Students can improve their muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness in the same session. I think this is great. We have learned that we can't command our young people to be fit. We need to make it fun.

I just finished reading a newspaper article about a Florida high school that takes personal-choice PE to the next level.

The Internet.

It's called online PE. Students work out several times a week, and report their progress on the Web.

Read the whole column. Internet PE? Give me a break! I'd take PE at the YMCA anyday, even if a mom has sued the Evansville YMCA

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


From Sig's ftp system*:
47 Seniors
56 Juniors
65 Sophomores
74 Freshmen
28 Teachers

Rough estimates:
7 Asians (1 is an exchange student from Japan)
3 Indians ("dots, not feathers")
4 Blacks

btw, go check out the ftp system if you are a sig student. It's pretty fun to just play around with...

save a text blurb in my shared folder!

*edit* Those are indeed the numbers from Sig's ftp system, but it still has folders for Jennifer Gonterman and Matt McConnell who went to Reitz this year...I suspect new students have not been added yet either, though I may be mistaken.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

possible end of this site

A site to post non-Yearbook writings from Journalism class is in the workings...such a site would have interviews, investigative journalism, editorials, and maybe even mp3 broadcast journalism snippets. Should such a site replace SM? Such an official site could only be approved if all material posted were pre-approved by Ms. Gregg. And I trust that Ms. Gregg is not big on censoring journalism, but some things I would just not feel comfortable posting on an "official" site. So any opinions on what I should do? Keep SM? Integrate it with Or just ditch it and post everything on the new site?

Friday, August 15, 2003

list of extracurriculars at Sig

Current and near-future activities:
Boys' Tennis (maybe co-ed intramurals)
Student Advisory Council
Ice Hockey
Web Design Team
Air Hockey Madness (random scheduling...)

Future (late first semester or second semester) activities:
Academic Superbowl
Chemistry Bowl
Science Team
Foreign Language Bowl
Girls' Tennis
Indoor Soccer
Theater Productions

Sorry folks, football might be started next year.

seminar possibilities

I don't want SM to just be a rumor mill, but this is important. Seminar may undergo a radical change, which would involve the following:

1) One's seminar teacher would be his or her third period teacher, since we don't have third period on Mondays anyway. Last year, students were assigned seminar teachers based on grade level and alphabetical order.

2) Portfolios would no longer be required. Previously, composing a portfolio each year in seminar was considered a graduation requirement. The only graduation requirement would be having enough service hours.

We will find out if these rumors have any truth Monday, I guess.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


Number of freshmen: 79

Number of freshmen on speech or debate: ~20

Wow. This year will be a defining year. If the freshmen can stay excited about speech, our team will be huge and have fun times. Of course, if you, freshman or whatever, are interested in joining the team, just talk to Ms. Helfrich (glass room on the fourth floor). The State Class A Championship is a decent possibility, and who wouldn't want to be a part of that?


Ms. Tennyson IS going to help out with a tennis team (it was not just a bad pun off her name)! Her son plays on Memorial's team, and they have a JV team with 21 players. So they are looking for competition. Sounds like fun.

Of course, this is just what I've been told and is unofficial right now.

Monday, August 11, 2003

First day of school

Sunday, August 10, 2003

live long and prosper

From Netscape:

Can't decide on a college major? Choose science, engineering, or medicine. According to research from Ireland's Queens University in Belfast, students who major in these subjects live the longest.

One possible explanation for the correlatio is that careers in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine are paid well, and thus receive better health care.

Except wait, lawyers died the earliest of all the groups. Karma?

picnic is today

The Signature School annual back-to-school picnic is today! It's at Wesselman Park, at the shelter that faces the giant field by the tennis courts. I'm not absolutely sure on the times, but I think it is 1-3. I'm showing up at 12 for some policy debate discussion though.

something smells fishy...

*originally posted on, but reprinted here for wider circulation*

The Washington Post reports Bush hosted a party for his top fundraisers...

The event was open to supporters who had raised at least $50,000 by June 30 toward a commitment of either $100,000, which would make them members of the donor group known as the Pioneers, or $200,000, giving them this year's new distinction of Ranger.

Campaign officials said 350 people, including fundraisers and spouses, were to attend. The officials would not say how many were invited, and would not release a guest list.

Transparency is key in campaign fundraising. Which is why I like Yeah, it is definitely a liberal-biased organization, but at least it gives us the facts.

A Grateful Wall Street Is Bullish on Bush
Only lawyers and law firms have given more to President Bush than the securities and investment industry – which already has donated nearly $2 million in "hard money" contributions. Twelve of the top 20 companies contributing to the campaign are from the finance sector, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Leading the way is Merrill Lynch, whose employees and their immediate families donated $240,675 as of June 30 – a figure that exceeds the amount given by any single company to Bush during the entire 2000 campaign.

I wonder if this has anything to do with Bush pushing through those tax cuts...

Thursday, August 07, 2003

my scheduling experience today at sig

I got my schedule done today. I helped pass out books today, but there weren't really that many people visiting the bookstore today.

My comments on the scheduling: the only major disagreement I have with the scheduling is that AP Physics was placed in the worst possible period (1st). Of the 8 people who wanted to take it, 5 take classes at USI in the morning. AP Physics could be shifted to 7th period, but then everyone besides me needs to take Comparative Politics that period (well, Elliot, because he is a Junior, could take it next year. And George and Samantha, who are not taking classes at USI, could take regular Gov/Econ 5th period.

However, the "3rd period every day Tuesday through Friday" idea isn't as illogical as I initially believed. Most people have their math class that period, and math class can seriously benefit from meeting more often.

And my bookload isn't too much. I don't have my Biochem book yet, but when I get that, I will only have 3 textbooks for Sig. So Mondays will be no prob. Of course, for the people taking AP Art Hx, lugging around that gigantic book may be hazardous. I mean, the book is so large that it has one of those built-in ribbon bookmarks. When a book has a built in bookmark, it must be unnaturally thick.

After I switch out of Sig Singers into Journalism and switch out of Multimedia to PE (don't ask), I will be happy with my schedule.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

U.S. Sending Six to 10 Troops to Liberia

After at least two months of studying ways to help wartorn Liberia, President Bush has decided to send six to 10 American troops to assist West African peacekeepers, defense officials said Wednesday.

Though an additional dozen could be added to the team, no decision has been made to send anything beyond 20 people to the West African nation, three officials said.

full text


The idea for a car wash fundraiser can't go through. I called the Parks Department and fundraising on the park is apparently not allowed. Which yeah, I was wondering if we'd even have space to hold it. So sorry to all of you who were looking forward to getting your cars handwashed cheaply through child/student labor.

And there's meeting tomorrow at 1, I think we'll talk about fundraising and trips and maybe a party ("speech party? such a thing exists?")

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


The current online opinion poll from The Russia Journal Daily is

What should we do to wipe out corruption?

Combat poverty
Teach high moral principles
Introduce capital punishment
Legalize bribery
Abolish money

Perhaps this shows how deeply rooted corruption is in Russia

new bell schedule

So I finally got a mailing from Sig for bookstore hours:

August 6 -- Wednesday - 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
August 7 -- Thursday - 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
August 8 -- Friday - 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Also enclosed in the envelope was a new bell schedule! Last year's schedule developed a marked contrast between the classes that were held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the classes that were held Tuesday and Thursday. Because the Tuesday and Thursday periods were spaced apart (from Thursday to Tuesday is a 4 day break!), and because the periods themselves dragged on (2 hr periods), Tuesday and Thursday classes were regularly more laid back, according to several of the teachers' observations. So that was a problem.

The new schedule fixes that problem:

Monday: 1,2,4,S,L,5,6,7
Tuesday: 1,2,L,3,4
Wednesday: 5,6,L,3,7
Thursday: 1,2,L,3,4
Friday: 5,6,L,3,7

I think L is for lunch and S is for study hall

OK, I can probably guess your first question: "What's up with Monday??!" Good question. 6 fun-filled periods. I barely fit 4 periods' worth of books into my large backpack last year, and it was quite a load to carry. I hope the teachers come up with a system to store our books in the classroom (seems unlikely, with the large number of students coming in), or that the teachers simply teach outside the book on Mondays.

Your second question might be: "Why are we having 3rd period Tuesday through Friday?" I don't know, but this seems to defeat the purpose of block scheduling...on the other hand, I enjoyed the old system of all classes every day (back when I had access to lockers). So we'll see.

What's your opinion on the new schedule?

Monday, August 04, 2003


The Courier and Press had an online discussion on EVSC funding in July that I just came across today. Check it out here (I link to the google cache because the Courier and Press doesn't archive stuff after a month or two). An excerpt:

Do you agree with Mayor Russ Lloyd's decision to not provide city help for the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp.'s extracurricular activities fund?

Choice 1
"Let the EVSC solve the problems they created ! !"
July 30, 2003, 12:18 PM

Choice 3
"why should he care, his son goes to a private catholic school, memorial."
July 29, 2003, 4:30 PM

Choice 2
"Heck no."
July 29, 2003, 10:33 AM

Choice 2
"New Mayor would be the key to alot of fixs!!"
July 26, 2003, 3:47 AM

"Heck no"--I like that answer.

Of course, my view toward the EVSC is mixed--students should have as many opportunities as they need in school. At the same time, the EVSC is very wasteful. The only way to get out of this financial muck is to elected officials to the School Board who are interested in honest reform. That, of course, requires that compentent candidates run for office--so if you want to reform the EVSC, look into running for the School Board!

Sunday, August 03, 2003

President Bush signs the flag

Image courtesy of Yahoo! (and thanks to Pat for showing me this picture):

Subpoint (g) of Section 4 of the Federal Flag Code: "The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature."

Saturday, August 02, 2003

signature school speech and debate meeting

This Wednesday in the Lobby! 1 o'clock. Spread the word, we will be talking about starting up the team this year and recruiting new members.


The Signature School Back-To-School Picnic is August 10th, a week after tomorrow. It's also the last day of summer break. So go out there and enjoy yourself! I don't know exactly what scheduled activities there will be, but if nothing interesting is scheduled we'll have ultimate frisbee or tennis or something.

If you want to make a reservation for Grandy's food at the picnic, try calling sig school. But my personal experience is that the food is overrated. They need to get Milano's catering.

Also, there could be a Speech Team car wash and/or drink stand, so tell your parents to bring cash and a dirty car.

Whoa, is this the truth?

From The Associated Press: Aide: Saddam Did Get Rid of Iraq WMD:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A close aide to Saddam Hussein says the Iraqi dictator did in fact get rid of his weapons of mass destruction but deliberately kept the world guessing about it in an effort to divide the international community and stave off a U.S. invasion.

The strategy, which turned out to be a serious miscalculation, was designed to make the Iraqi dictator look strong in the eyes of the Arab world, while countries such as France and Russia were wary of joining an American-led attack. At the same time, Saddam retained the technical know-how and brain power to restart the programs at any time.

If this is the truth, some questions have to be asked of our intelligence agencies and political administration. How in the world did Saddam manage to trick the world into believe he possessed weapons of mass destruction? Why didn't Saddam just reveal evidence of the destruction of his weapons at the 11th hour to avert a US attack and to show up George W. Bush? Did any other countries know about Saddam's bluff?

If this indeed is the truth, we are faced with either the prospect that Saddam managed to totally fool our intelligence agencies or that our Administration acted decisively when it should have looked further into the Iraqi deceit. Saddam may have been an insane relic of the brinksmanship era that dominated the Cold War and the 90s. But that does not make it OK to go to war with Iraq. We should have known better.

Once again, we still don't know if this aide's story is the truth. We'll find out in a few years or so I suppose.