Tag Archives: Forrest Bird Charter School

Yahoo in Cahoots Story By: Iris Grayson

yahoo-1-1Yahoo is an internet site known for answering those stupid questions we have, sending e-mails, and informing us on the news, but lately they’ve been telling U.S Intelligence a lot far beyond their privacy policy. Yahoo claims to “Yahoo takes your privacy seriously.” (-Yahoo Privacy Center), but according to Yahoo workers Yahoo has been scouring hundreds of thousands of emails looking for information, for the U.S intelligence. What they are searching for is terrorist information. Sources say it was probably sent through a privet e-mail. Though Yahoo might not be the only one asked to search through privet information. The NSA states that if Yahoo was asked to search it is likely that other internet sites were asked as well. As more tech companies become more skilled at encrypting data it is likely they will receive more such requests.

Even though we don’t know the specific program used we do know that Yahoo’s tracking tool is similar to the tool used to the one used to look for spam, malware, and child pornography. However it is different than Upstream in the fact that it looks through message headers, message content, and message to and from. The government targeted the specific accounts of foreigners.`

“This is a troubling vision of the future where there might be massive government surveillance done with computers,” Opsahl states “The government may well say they were only targeting a string of characters used by a foreigner, but it just so happened that hundreds of millions of innocent people also had their emails examined too.”

Information such as Identifaction, social security numbers, date of birth, and location if

They are not the only company to have done this. Apple has done a similar thing when they wrote a program to break into an encrypted IPhone involved in the San Bernardino massacre. The FBI dropped the case after the phone revealed the help of a third party. According Sam Biddle, the Interpret, the other internet “giants” (Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple) denied involvement in the “hacking”.

Not only has Yahoo violated their privacy policy, but they have violated the right to privacy stated in the Fourth Amendment.

yahoo2-1-1Yahoo has also sent a scan out through e-mail that detects a certain signature that was supposedly used in terrorist messaging.

“The company probably wants to say more, but are gagged by the very same company the accepted the request from.” Opsahl states.

Not long ago Yahoo resisted government demands. The Sunnyvale Company intentionally challenged the program in a battle dating back to 2007, despite being fined 250,000 dollars a day.

Though Yahoo was under different management. Melissa Mayer, a past Google executive for the past four years, was the one who denied such requests.

Yahoo currently has plans to sell the company to Verizon. Verizon currently has no comment on the matter.

Though the question must be asked: Yahoo was asked to do such things in the past, why have they said yes to this specific request?

Standardized: The testing industry’s cutthroat profit margin… By Mack Jastle

As the shuffle of test booklets and the scratching of #2 pencils echoes through the halls, one thing is made clear.  It’s testing season.  that means  students all across the country will be taking standardized tests that will directly affect their lives moving forward.  Well, at least the companies paid to create these tests care about the students….right?

It’s not quite that simple.  The testing industry is literally a billion-dollar industry, raking in total profits of close to two billion dollars annually.  Millions of dollars are spent every year lobbying federal and state officials to support policies that enforce standardized testing.  In some cases, these officials are even hired by these companies.

You may be wondering which companies are being mentioned here.  This brings us to the four titans of the testing industry, these being McGraw-Hill, ETS, Houghton Mifflin, and Pearson Education.  These are the kinds of names that you see on most tests and, coincidentally, the textbooks to study for them.  These four control the bulk of the lucrative testing industry, and thus control a large amount of the American educational system.

Lucrative…..The testing industry’s profits total in the billions annually, and that number only rises as more students enter the system. Photo-by: Politico
Lucrative… The testing industry’s profits total in the billions annually, and that number only rises as more students enter the system. Photo-by: Politico

In addition to cornering the testing market, they also make a fortune providing textbooks for college and K-12 students to study from.  And, as anyone who has ever had to foot the bill for one of those books knows, they are very expensive.  Those expensive books make those four companies a lot of money, in addition to the profit they make from the tests themselves.

Today, our education is more of a testocracy than ever.  The average American student has to take a total of 112 mandated standardized tests before graduation.  By contrast, most countries currently outperforming the US in education test their students three times during their K-12 education.

Seems a little suspicious, right?  Those statistics mean that even though American students take thirty-seven times more standardized the tests than the leading nations, we are still far behind.  This brings up a good point; why have so many standardized tests if they aren’t improving our nation’s intelligence?

To answer that question, we’re going to have to dig deeper, and ask a lot more questions.  (Counter-intuitive, I know).

How did standardized tests become so deeply embedded in our education?  What caused this dependence on standardized testing that we currently have now?  The answers to these questions lie hidden in the history of Standardized Tests’ Past, we must first look at America’s history of educational reform.

Educational reform was seriously batted around near the end of the twentieth century, when worldwide surveys concluded that America was falling far behind in its’ educational standards.

The response from legislators and policymakers was decisive.

Standardized testing was pushed as the be-all end all to improve our standings in the world.  While testing was pushed forward, it wasn’t until 2001 that the testing industry really began to pick up steam, when President Bush unveiled the No Child Left Behind Act.

The NCLB massively increased the number of standardized tests taken by American schoolchildren, and severely penalized schools that either failed to give these tests or consistently scored poorly on them.

Ever since, American students have learned to fear the testing season.  But for the testing companies themselves, testing season is met with considerably more excitement.

Is it healthy to have our intelligence benchmark measured entirely by standardized testing?  Is it worth it for us to spend this much money and put our faith into testing?

Standard…..Standardized tests have become the primary method for state and national measure of academic achievement. Photo-by: morecaucusnyc.org
Standard… Standardized tests have become the primary method for state and national measure of academic achievement. Photo-by: morecaucusnyc.org

The answer is murky at best.  While standardized testing does give us statistics to base improvements on, it can lead to teachers teaching to the test, and to students with less resources being unfairly prejudiced against.  The educational value of the questions is also dubious…are these questions really helping our children improve, or just conditioning them to agree with the testmakers?  Evaluating a student’s intelligence based on how they did on one particular day is fundamentally flawed, and we have to figure out a better way.

We have to seriously evaluate just how much we want to go into standardized testing, and whether or not we want continue funneling money to these companies.

America has a decision to make.  Despite all of this increased testing, we are still far down on the education totem pole.  We must decide whether or not our current level of standardized testing is needed, or if we should cut back.

America, get your No. 2 pencils out, because you’re being put to the test.

Preventing the Holiday Blues… Story by Miranda Paddack

Creative ways to hang-out with Friends... Martin Chilcott sets up his gaming system at school on the 1st day of Christmas Break. Kubuntu was the place to be to enjoy gaming, conversation, and coffee. Photo by Mr. Webber
Creative ways to hang-out with Friends… Martin Chilcott sets up his gaming system at school on the 1st day of Christmas Break. Kubuntu was the place to be to enjoy gaming, conversation, and coffee. Photo by Mr. Webber

The lack of sunshine and motivation, winter break tends to be a very difficult time for people, especially people with depression or other mental disorders.  How do you combat these holiday blues? Better yet, how do you improve motivation during this break?

A winter break bucket list is a great way to beat the blues. Have a minimum of six activities; some could be going up to Schweitzer, window-shopping downtown, bowling at Huckleberry Lanes, or a coffee break with friends at Cones & Coffee or Evan’s Brothers Coffee. I know what you are thinking, “I don’t have time for that stuff.” Wrong, all of those attending the Forrest Bird Charter Schools have roughly three weeks, plenty of time to finish your winter bucket list. To those with depression, having an hour of fun can be the difference between self-destruction and an almost great day.

Cancellation is a huge probability, people struggling tend to wake up the morning of the event with no motivation and cancel their plans. Try to get to sleep before midnight, and set an alarm. This will enable you to get a decent amount of sleep, and have you awake in time to get ready for your day out. Never cancel plans with friends, impossible, I know; however, canceling plans so you can do something else, or nothing at all. Creating this bucket list for winter break is important, see how many you can check off. Don’t have one, or can’t think of anything? Call a friend and create one together. Have a great break!

Support Tubby… Story by Alistair King

We all know of the wandering cat called Rusty; how sweet and loving he is, as well as his fondness for petting. Recently a decision has been made by the Administration to disallow Rusty to be in the school because of the allergy problems he could cause. Needless to say students have disliked this rule and are wishing that he be allowed inside. These are the reasons why he should be allowed in:

The animal shelter students are more dangerous to people’s health.

Keep up with me on this: Students that are petting the animals at the shelter tend to get hair on their clothes. This hair can easily fall off within the normal activities of a person. While a cat’s hair is more or less attached to their bodies and especially in winter is less prone to shedding.

Animals are medically proven to be therapeutic

Animal assisted therapy is big these days; there is nothing like being stuck in the hospital and having a great dog or cat come comfort you

Animals are great… These animals can have a great effect on students and patients. Photo Found at americanhumane.org
Animals are great… These animals can have a great effect on students and
patients. Photo Found at americanhumane.org

in your time of stress. It has been medically proven that “Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems.”

The Animals love it

Its just that simple, pets love all the attention that they get from students. This is also a good thing for people who have parents working all the time and the animal is stuck in whatever area the owners designate as the holding zone. While being at school animals have the opportunity to socialize with other people and pets, get exercise in moving around, and be petted to their hearts content.

There’s medicine for pet allergies.

Antihistamines or allergy medication is available over the counter and by prescription in most places. These take the form of: Allegra, Claritin, Benadryl, and Zyrtec. There is also other methods of relieving allergies in the form of nasal sprays such as Flonase or Nasonex, which are also available over the counter and for prescription.

One more tip…

Just keep your distance. This is the easiest way to stop getting an allergy from cats such as Rusty. Don’t go up to animals and hug and pet them, just stay away and admire their beauty (or non-beauty).

Keep this all in mind when trying to convince Administration to keep our loving Tubby inside the school. Now onto the Cons of an animal in school.

Sorry Tubby, but You are Out… Story by Sherman Peabody

Should he stay in? Rusty playing in the field – Photo by Alistair King
Should he stay in? Rusty playing in the field – Photo by Alistair King

Recently, the issue of school pets has come up for the people in this school because of our beloved feline visitor Rusty, better known as Tubby the Cat. Our school has decided, after much consideration, to keep Tubby out of the school due to health concerns. Though I love Tubby being around and the effect he has on students who are not allergic to him, I support the administration’s decision to keep Tubby out. Some of the reasons I do support it are the allergens that are introduced to the school and the laws regarding commercial kitchens and pets.

One in seven people from the ages 6 – 19 are allergic to cats. As our school has students right in this range, we need to be sure that we protect them from this inhibiting allergy. Students who are allergic to cats often cannot work efficiently when around cats as their eyes often start to itch and water up, a condition that is distracting for many students. One student states that her allergies can range from a simple rash to swollen throat and eyes, depending on the amount of contact she has with the allergens. She says that she had these symptoms for a continuous week and a half during the time Tubby was in the building.

When Mary was asked about the reasoning behind the decision to keep Rusty out, she explained that allergic reactions do not just occur when you touch a cat. When a cat sleeps on a jacket, or is held by a person, lots of hair is dropped. When a person wearing a jacket or shirt hugs someone who is allergic to cats, the allergens are often times passed along to that person, giving them an allergic reaction. Mary told a story of her sister being sent to the hospital after wearing a neck brace that a cat had laid on. She has witnessed Rusty laying on a bunch of student’s jackets, and though she loves to have him in the school, realized that he had to stay out.

Unfortunately, it is also against Idaho code to have most kinds of pets in commercial kitchens, including our beloved Tubby. Section 6-501.115 states “except as specified in ¶¶ (B) and (C) of this section, live animals may not be allowed on the PREMISES of a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT.” (link to the food code) Paragraphs B and C allow for fish in fish tanks and animals that are in service, such as a patrol dog or a service dog. Paragraph C covers fishing bait, and even that has to be stored in a way that would not come into contact with kitchen utensils. Because our kitchen is in a modern style without doors separating the cooking space from the area Rusty roams is a potential problem. Tubby has full access to the food preparation area and can easily contaminate the space.

One argument that could rise is the issue of the animal shelter students. They bring in more cat hair attached to their clothes than Tubby drops on any given day. And I agree, he doesn’t drop as much hair as the animals leave on the animal shelter students. But the only way to react to those hairs left on the shelter students would be to come into direct contact with their clothes. Tubby on the other hand goes where he want when he wants, often laying on peoples jackets and rubbing up against them on the low-hanging hangers. This leaves his hair all over the school, not just on the shelter student’s clothes. Plus, according to livescience.com, “it’s not cat fur that causes those itchy, watery eyes. Most people with cat allergies react to a protein found on cat skin called Fel d 1.” So by walking around dropping dead skin cells everywhere, Rusty is spreading this protein and causing people with allergies to react more than usual.

Battle of the Paddles… By Alistair King

Why Pong? Why not! For the last couple of trimesters at the Forrest Bird Charter School there have been several rugged tables of entertainment. These have been a Table Tennis or “Ping Pong” and a Foosball table. Many people have been enjoying these benefits and

Masterful Make-Up… The Ping Pong table features the latest in ugly faces.
Masterful Make-Up… The Foosball table features the latest in ugly faces.

keep playing day after day.

Recently, the Charter schools PTECH program has moved out the building and left an empty area. This has now been filled with the new Rec Room! The tables are now sitting comfortably along with a few other activities for everyone’s enjoyment. This has been a big boost for morale. Even the students have declared competitions among themselves.

For the Foosball table there has been the self-proclaimed “Top Three.” These are the local students Becky Brennaman, Coleman Vaughn, and Orion Syth. Why they only chose three has been a mystery to everyone seeing as there are four slots on a foosball table. But these are not necessarily the only great players. Many other people play during the mornings, at lunch, and after school. These players have nearly the same amount of skill but don’t care about the title of the top three.

While there has been no mention of the best among the ping pong table, there is still a definite knowledge of who knows the game. Ryan Zimmerle is seen around the Ping Pong table quite a bit with Damian Fitzpatrick, Carson Newton, and several other players.

How did we get these tables and these privileges? Teacher Chris Goodwin brought in the foosball table last year and is glad to see its getting some use. This year when students came into the school they were surprised by the new Ping Pong table. This was brought in as a present for the High Schools administrator Mary Jensen. She was in a generous mood and decided to give it to the students of the charter school.

Now we get to the Rec Room. For several years student council has been pushing for a room dedicated to the students. One teacher has been pushing rather for the teacher’s area to be moved out of the uncommon and into a better location for events. This was changed when they realized they were the only one and decided to allow the area for the students. The battle is now over… The students won when the teachers got sick of the loud noises and distractions that the tables caused in the middle of the school and were looking for an area to remove that. This was perfect when PTECH moved to Mountain West Bank.

Welcome to the Yard… after a long battle students now have their own Rec room.

This area is a little blocked off and the teachers are running a prolonged experiment to see if the students are trustworthy enough to have their own Rec Room. Only time will tell if the room will stay; for all the students out there… Don’t mess this up big time.

You can help keep the Rec Room alive and well by following the times that are allowed. These are before school 7:30-8:00, during lunch 11:35, after school: 3:10-3:30, and any other non-regular allowed times. (ie. Game Club, extended lunches, ect.) Also please respect the equipment and the times allowed to be in there or it will ruin the fun for everyone else.

The School News is Back?…Story by Catherine Jay

Getting our news... Mr. Webber is helping us find topics for our third batch of stories. Photo-by Catherine Jay
Getting our news… Mr. Webber is helping us find topics for our third batch of stories. Photo-by Catherine Jay

Rising from the flames, the Bird Eye News is finally back in business! Our school’s newspaper is something that has been known to ‘die’ it gets dropped from the classes offered because of the enrollment being too low and Mr. Webber’s need to offer more history electives. But now it’s taking a different turn. The end result is for the class to hopefully manage itself like a club. Being able to run the website, handle updates, and keeping up with all the news. Will we be able to handle it? That’s what this trimester will decide.

The Bird Eye News is the high school newspaper that was started in 2013 by Mark Webber and the journalism class at the time. This actually wasn’t the first time he had started a school paper. In 2011 there was a high school and middle school paper that didn’t do too well. It was far more expensive due to the fact that they printed out a physical paper. So in order to make it better, they changed it from the expensive paper publications to be strictly an online newspaper. Good choice. Thus, the birth of the Bird Eye News. This was created because Mr. Webber wanted the students of FBCHS to have a voice to report the news by keeping others informed about events happening around the student body and the community of Sandpoint.

Hard at work… Orion Syth is hard at work trying to make our website interesting and new.
Hard at work… Orion Syth is hard at work trying to make our website interesting and new. Photo-by Colleen Kindred

However, the Bird Eye News hasn’t always gone smoothly. No, in fact it’s met many bumps in the road. The high school paper went dormant as well which showed that it may not have been successful. However that’s not the case. Mr. Webber soon explained in the interview why the paper went dormant once again. “The Bird Eyes News died, or should I say went dormant, because of a need for me as a teacher to offer more history electives to meet the eight history credit requirements the school has for graduation. I am hoping that this year I could continue with the great staff I have into another trimester. If that doesn’t happen, I am hoping the staff will keep the online news site alive as a club”

Being required to teach core classes resulted in the paper becoming dormant a couple times before it was brought back this year. Having a main goal in mind, Mr. Webber and his class are striving to maintain the journalism class and keep the news alive. However, there are still some concerns that Mr. Webber holds for the future of this class. “My main concerns when starting the paper again was would I find motivated students who would see the freedom of the press as an important right to exercise and really commit to the class and the continual need to publish new stories.” The future of the paper will hopefully turn into a club if the class’ enrollment doesn’t increase.

The future of the Bird Eye News rests on the shoulders of the student body. Will we be able to keep it running for as long as we can? Will it become dormant once this trimester ends? Well, that’s the hard part about this class. Nobody knows, but if we try our hardest to keep the journalism class active and the Bird Eye News going, then maybe we can discover new and interesting things. So, in your spare time, why not read some of our articles. Perhaps after reading one, you might consider joining journalism as well.

Yearbook most likely to come back to life! … Story by Lauren Stidham

This year Annika Hinds and Alison White are bringing back the school yearbook.

Yearbook is an art and a science... Alison White works on her physics project in science class, but during her personal time, she and her friend Annika Hinds are creating the school's yearbook. Photo-by Lauren Stidham
Yearbook is an art and a science… Alison White works on her physics project in science class, but during her personal time, she and her friend Annika Hinds are creating the school’s yearbook. Photo-by Lauren Stidham

They want to bring it back because they miss being able to sit down with friends and look back at the highlights of the school year. Students would have no way to take memories into their hands and reflect upon them after the year is over. The school has no other records of the year’s highlights outside of the yearbook. The yearbook is also important to them because it will help grow their artistic skills.

White and Hinds are setting up a yearbook committee. They want two or three students that are willing to help them make this happen. They are recruiting people via email applications and are accepting applications September 29th through October 2nd. This new committee will be put to work designing the book, taking pictures, marketing, and writing summaries on events.

But it isn’t just Hinds and White that are bringing the yearbook back to life! They will need us students to take part in the “most likely to…” vote. “We need communication from students to make this happen.” White says when asked what the challenges of making the yearbook will be. The reason why yearbooks have died in the past is because lack of effective marketing and student response. The way we can help keep it alive as a student body this year is by actually purchasing it. A yearbook can be beautifully designed and filled with great memories, but still die because nobody buys it. “In past years, the yearbook has failed due to lack of motivation from the students.” Hinds explains.

So, will the yearbook come back to life? It sounds like that is really up to you and I.


See previous issue from 2013: The Yearbook is on Life Support! Keep Trying or Pull the Plug?: Story by Phoebe Tietjen-Archie

Rusty: Our Informal School Mascot? … Story By Alistair King

Who is this mysterious cat? Is he just another stray or a cat with a story to tell?

Yearning for some Purring… Rusty the Cat is seen in the High School being petted. Photo-by Darth Syth
Yearning for some Purring… Rusty the Cat is seen in the High School being petted. Photo-by Alistair King

Rusty the cat was seen walking into both of the Forrest Bird Charter schools. Often distracting whatever class he happens to wander into. While this has mainly been over in the Middle School gym who keeps their door open, he has also evaded the difficult security of the loose high school window screens.

But where did this overt friendly cat come from? An interview with the cat’s owner’s granddaughter, a student at Forrest Bird Charter Middle School, sheds some light on this subject. Sunshine Osborne says that Rusty is seven years old and that her grandparents got him from “some lady” quite a few years ago.

According to Ms. Osborne Rusty is “very annoying” and really just wants attention. This desire for attention is quite obvious, and it is encouraged by the students at both the High School and Middle School. One student Emily Invernon said “I pretended that I needed to use the bathroom so I could pet the kitty.” This is definitely a distraction but a good one at that.

Many complaints and petitions have come out from among the student body wanting to allow Rusty to be free to walk around the school as he sees fit, but the idea has been disregarded due to the students allergic to cats. A few students have even gone as far to research the laws about cats in school to attempt to find a loophole. An Idea from Michael Bigley would be an area where students can go when they need a break to pet the cat when he is in this specific area free from the rest of the school. That is of course if he decides to show up.

What are his regular activities? This reporter followed and talked with Rusty for near to an hour. At first, Rusty was cautious about having someone come up to him and start taking pictures but was soon excited by the prospect of meeting a new person. “I always missed it when people wouldn’t take the time to have a nice conversation,” Rusty stated, “It can really brighten my day.” He really just wanders around the schools now that he has a relative in the school so close. “The petting isn’t all that bad either.”

Fun in the Sun… Rusty relaxes after hunting a pest in the underbrush. Photo-by Darth Syth
Fun in the Sun… Rusty relaxes after hunting a pest in the underbrush. Photo-by Alistair King

His regular activities consist of wandering around the Middle School once it opens up, attempting to get into the elusive High School. He also clears the school grounds of any rodents or pests that happen to be there. After his morning activities are done he will go and pester the retirement home’s dogs and then head back in to the neighborhood to get his well deserved rest.

Could this great cat be our new informal mascot? It’s honestly up to the student council to decide whether they want to believe that or not. While the administrative might not be so inclined the students can still believe and accept it.

Student Council Winnings… Story by Miranda Paddack

A Unified Front.. President Ellie Mearns and Sophomore Rep. Carissa Lonzisero friends on council
A Unified Front… President Ellie Mearns and Sophomore Rep. Carissa Lonzisero friends on council.  Photo-by Sherman Peabody

The student council votes we tallied and presented during lunch September 25th. Their first official meeting took place September 29th. For those who missed this exciting event Jack Meier is now the Director of Social Media, Andrew Van Winkle as Secretary, Deryk Harlan as Treasurer, Orion Syth as Vice President, and our one and only Eleanore Mearns as our brave new President. These are not the only members of the student council, our representatives are very important too. They attend meetings and are the voice for each year; Drew Meier and Kai Jacobs as freshmen reps, Carissa Lonizisero and Matthew Deacan for the sophomores, Martin Chilcott and RJ Rogers for the juniors, and Amanda Berntsen for the seniors.

Oddly enough, the representatives were more willing than the “actual” student council members to answer questions about the first council meeting. All reported that they made progress, as well as getting to know one another. “The first student council meeting was productive because we all talked as a team and everyone listened to each other. We talked about everything on our agenda in one meeting and our agenda helped the group stay focused,” Stated by Carissa Lonizisero.

When asked if they believe this year’s Student Council will make a good team, all gave similar answers. “Yes, because we all were born to have an impact that no matter how small the role we can still,” Kai Jacobs boldly stated.

“I’m positive that this group is going to be a good team. Already we are working together making decisions and getting great ideas,” said by Eleanore Mearns.

“That’s a question that will be answered in the near future. I know a few people on the student council, but there are some people I don’t know. I’m interested to know if the student council will work together as a team just as much as the rest of the student body,” Stated by Amanda Berntsen.

With barely a whisper on the fate of the fall dance, the student body is left to wonder. However, the word is that an announcement regarding this event should take place Wednesday, October 7th. This school is filled with students raving about the 1985 move “Back to the Future.” Why? Well, this year is when Marty McFly and Dr. Emmet Brown travel too, October 21st, 2015, the year of hover boards. Students have been speculating that the dance could be “Back to the Future” themed. Will this dance be themed, or will there be a special event commemorating this event?