The tragedy of the latest school shooting in Florida has rocked the nation. Once again, America’s attention is focused on school safety. Student safety is our district’s top priority. KFCS has long had many practices in place to reduce the risk of student harm. This includes locking all but the front entry door at all schools during the school day, asking visitors to check into the office and wear visitor badges, requiring staff to wear employee badges, having cameras at all our locations to monitor inside and outside of the schools, having regularly scheduled trainings and drills at all schools, partnering with the Klamath Police department for a dedicated SRO officer, hiring a safety director, ensuring close supervision of students, and providing mental and behavioral health supports to students.
Bond funds also are being used to update school cameras at all sites, develop key card reader door lock systems at all sites, and other security features. The newly remodeled KU campus will have state-of-the art security systems and a secured office-only access entryway for all visitors. This entry requires all visitors to go through the office and sign in with a secretary before being allowed into the rest of the school. KU also will have secure connected links between all buildings, so that students will not go outside to move from one side of the campus to the other. This allows all outside doors to be locked and secured during the day except for the aforementioned front entry.
Our district wants you to know that we take school security very seriously and are doing all we can to keep students safe every day. Thank you for your support and confidence in our schools.
KFCS Superintendent, Paul Hillyer
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Do you remember being a freshman in high school? For many it is a daunting time. New building, new schedules, more responsibilities, more freedom, unfamiliar faces: These are just a few of the challenges that can make the first year of high school confusing. KU has added a number of supports for incoming students over the last few years that have helped ease this tension. These include more guidance staff support and a high school success class for all freshmen to help them navigate their high school transition and set future goals and plans. Now KU has gone a step further and reached down into Ponderosa while the students are still 8th graders to help pave the way for the high school transition.
This is done in a number of ways including getting information about KU to the students during advisement time, lunches and after school through teams and clubs visiting to share information. It is also done through written material given to students and parents. KU counseling staff visit Ponderosa to get to know eighth graders, set their 9th grade schedule and establish relationships with them. New this year are student leaders at KU serving as peer mentors for Ponderosa students under the direction of Associated Student Business teacher, Marvin Dykstra.
These mentors are visiting Ponderosa 8th graders during second semester and helping them learn about what to expect at the high school. They will also be available to answer questions and ease their concerns about the high school environment. These mentors will also meet with Pondo 8th graders at KU this spring to show them around and help them get comfortable with the new campus. These interactions will not only give information. They also will help develop positive relationships with KU student leaders.
These high school leaders will also serve as mentors to the 8th graders next year when they become 9th graders at KU. They will guide them throughout that first year. This will help the first-year students overcome the inevitable challenges they will face. The anticipated outcome of this work is that next year’s freshmen class will hit the ground running and have a strong high school start. Thus, next year’s 9th graders will be supported to earn good grades and the credits they need to be on track to graduate four years later.
This focus on 9th grade success has really paid dividends at KU where 85% of the 9th graders last year were on track to graduate with six or more earned credits at the end of their freshman year. It is hoped that adding these peer mentors will lead to an even higher percentage of students who succeed their first year, so that the KU 87% graduation rate will soar into the 90’s in the very near future.
This careful work and planning by KU makes it a great high school for students who are seeking a positive and successful high school career.
Klamath Falls City Schools, in partnership with local businesses, is creating paid internship opportunities in the community for Klamath Union High School students. This past summer, four students served as interns, two at the Herald & New and two at BasinLife.com
Internships worked for approximately 8 weeks in June and July. In that time the program introduced the students to a wide range of real-life professional experiences in the world of media. In addition to earning a salary for their work, students also earned three (3) college credits through partnership with Klamath Community College.
Hailey Anderson and Cooper Roberts, seniors at KUHS, both served as interns at the Herald and News. Supervised by Gerry O’Brien, General Manager and Editor, Anderson and Roberts helped cover a wide variety of stories affecting and representing our community, from the close of Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens to the celebrations of Relay for Life.
“I love being able to work with the Herald and News this summer, “Roberts said. “My work was varied and I felt I was part of a team, not just an intern.”
As interns, students built upon skills learned in the KU/KCC Dual Credit Courses in Media Design, taught at KU by Dan Stearns. “The opportunity I had to work with the Herald and News is important to me because I feel like I was able to further my skills as a videographer and photojournalist,” remarked Anderson.
The internship program receives funding through the Klamath Falls City Schools and a grant through CCLC (21st Century Community Learning Centers). Plans are underway to continue and expand opportunities for paid summer internships around the community. The goal is to give high school students a leg up in the work force and introduce them to possible career choices while in high school.
The internships were also made possible by a grant from the Pacific Power Foundation and the Cow Creek Indian Foundation.
Winter sports are in full swing and KU swim is just off a huge showing at the conference championships. The boy’s team took first place with a big win. This is the first time since 2002 that anyone has beaten out Phoenix for first place KU won by almost 30 points. The girls also had a great showing by placing second just behind Henley. Our swim team practices at Ell Redkey outdoor pool in rain, snow and sunshine. Those are some tough athletes. Way to go KU swimmers.
The 4th and 5th grade basketball tournament was just completed on Pel court with teams from Mills, Pelican, Conger and Roosevelt. Conger team one beat Mills in the consolation round to take third, and Conger team two beat Roosevelt in the championship round to take first. KU basketball players and coaches ran the tournament, which took place on Pel court. Player and coaches acted as mentors, supporters and officials during the tournament.
4th and 5th grade girls basketball will begin the first week of February and the KU girls basketball players will help during the season as mentors and officials’ at the games.
Spring sports are just around the corner. Rob Coffman head track coach is looking forward to a successful season with some strong finishes at the district meet. Some standouts to look for are Kayleigh Haupt, Mikeyla Najar, Nicolette Coffman, Paul Jennings and Darius Holmes.
New head baseball coach John Mick is looking forward to taking charge with the baseball team. They plan a trip to Arizona over spring break to watch some pro baseball spring training and compete in a couple of high school tournaments while there.
Lawrence Charkins is preparing for his second season as the girls softball coach. They are looking forward to many home games at Conger field where they have spent many hours putting a new look to the field. They will again field a young team mostly composed of sophomores and freshmen.