VPN Policy Explained

Within the last six months there has been a noticeable increase of VPN usage within the student body in the Littleton Public School District. As a result, the school is more strictly enforcing the policy in place. Upon discovery of a student using a VPN,  the district technology office will freeze Google accounts and shut off access to get on the network.

VPN stands for a Virtual Private Network. It  enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks. It is a technology that makes an encrypted “tunnel” in an existing network and connects a device (computer/phone) to an outside server.

“Students use it to bypass the filter in place. Think of it as keys to open doors. We give students certain keys to open doors but students using VPN essentially have a master key,” says Jo Andrews Technology Support Technician.

Schools block and filter websites for many reasons. Not only are they protecting the students, but they are also required by law.

“Public schools are bound by law to establish content filters between students and the World Wide Web.  So students using VPN are putting school districts at risk of being out of compliance with The Children’s Internet Protection Act,” says Mike Porter Director of Technology.

Many students use VPN in order to access social media and other resources.

“I use VPN to access helpful websites that the school has blocked, and also to go on my social media when I have off hours,” says Cindiley Vargas ’19.

If there is ever a blocked resource that you believe is useful,  talk to administration and avoid going through the hassle of getting blocked from the network.

“Let us know.  There are billions of websites out there; if something is categorized incorrectly, and is good for students and teachers, we’d like to see that you get access to it,” says Mike Porter.

VPN Collage

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Juuling Punishment Continues

Since the release of vape pens to the market, they have become increasingly popular, particularly in high schools, and Heritage is no exception. Administration has since been exploring ways to fix the problem in order to keep students safe from the harmful effects of vaping.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so students don’t know what it’s actually doing to their body, or how much nicotine they’re actually inhaling, because they’re hearing different things,” says Assistant Principal, Mr. Brock Becker.

Like many other risky topics in high school, information behind vaping has become more than warped by students. Many students assume that because there’s no smoke, Juuls and other products are harmless to the body, but as Becker explains, this is far from the truth. Heritage administration has been trying to combat the misinformation by spreading awareness on the harmful effects of vaping. Case and point, they’ve put up posters outside the bathrooms with statistics on the matter.

“We’re starting to add it to our health curriculum. We’ve had some nights where parents have been invited to learn more about vaping,” says Becker.

While providing more information is one solution, punishment is another. Rules and punishments surrounding nicotine usage can be found in the Student Code of Conduct. Currently, based on district policy, the punishment is a mandatory one day suspension. With that said, Officer Evans explains that punishments can go further based on the situation.

“There can be legal ramifications. Typically a ticket and the person will have to appear in court,” states Police Officer Johnie Evans.

Many students find the punishments too harsh, but the majority of teachers think otherwise. Although only a handful of students are caught using nicotine products on the average week, countless more students continue to vape in the bathrooms, the parking lots, and even occasionally in the classroom, lighting up- or rather powering up- right under teachers’ noses and so the battle continues.

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Freshmen experience new orientation format

   School has started and the freshmen have arrived, this year there is a change to the start of school. The freshmen had an entire day to themselves, this way they could to see the school.

   “It gave the freshmen a chance to get a tour around the school,” says Ms. Brittmarie Solis, LINK advisor.

It gave freshmen a chance to see the school without the student body around. It seems that the student body would have preferred their orientation to be similar .

“I wish our orientation was like what they did this year,” says Kyra Hause ’21.

The extra day was effective for the freshmen to navigate the school before the craze of the next day.

“It was better getting to know the school on my own than just trying to learn with everyone else there,” says Kate Musgrove ’22.

“I think that LINK helped freshmen navigate the school,” says Elise Mutz ’19.

 

Freshmen enjoying their first day of high school. Meeting their LINK leaders and hopefully potential friends.

Freshmen enjoyed their first day of high school. They met their LINK leaders and potentially new friends.

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Cantwell, Peach sponsor EF trip to Europe

By Maddie Hause

While the trip is not sponsored by LPS, the trip is an educational opportunity and gives students a chance to expand their knowledge of the world. They will be introduced to the fine cuisine of northern Italy and experience the beautiful spanish coast, while they traverse across the cultural landscape of Europe.

The group will have the special opportunity to go hiking in the Swiss Alps, as well as visit the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, the unfinished Cathedral that towers over Spain. There will be a walking tour through Nice, Italy, and a visit to the Cinque Terre in France. The sights will be endless and many of the students expect to cherish the trip long after their wonderful experience in Europe.

Lauren Clouse ‘18, didn’t have to consider long before applying for the trip.

“It’s a big commitment, but I really want to have the experience,” shares Clouse, referring to the large financial and time commitment.

The supervisors, Ms. Peach and Mrs. Cantwell, are seasoned travelers and will continue to brave new obstacles and absorb unique cultures on the trip. Ms. Peach has successfully brought students to Europe twice before through EF educational tours, in 2014 and 2016, and is confident in the enrichment and positive impact of the journey.

Though Mrs. Cantwell has not had as much travel experience as Ms. Peach, she is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the many cultures of the world.

“I want to see as much as I can!” Cantwell remarks vivaciously. “I’ll be taking part of the group on a bike tour through Spain, which is one of the best ways to explore the cities.”

Europe Trip Pic

Cantwell and Clouse look forward to experiencing Italy, Spain, Switzerland and France on their trip this summer.

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Longtime coach, staff member leaves Heritage

Mr. Scott Hormann is a staff member who has served this school in various ways for the past 10 years. Recently, Hormann decided that he would be leaving his position as a member of the security team at the conclusion of the 2017-2018 school year.

“I have my own business, Colorado Khaos, which is something that I have been doing for 10 years. I also started a broadcasting show that covers high school sports games all over the state. Working on both of these things has been very difficult in addition to my job here at Heritage, and so I have decided to commit to those full time. The decision to leave has been difficult, as I love the administration, teachers and kids here. It has been a huge part of my life, and getting to watch kids come in as freshmen with no identity and then leave as strong young men and women has been one of the best things to be a part of. I have made so many incredible relationships with students here, and leaving that will definitely be difficult to do,” says Hormann.

Trevor Young ’18 is a student who has formed a good relationship with Hormann during his time here, both as a student, and as an athlete under Hormann’s position as a baseball coach.

“Coach Hormann has been someone who I have always loved seeing at school, and with him being my coach, I really had an opportunity to build a relationship with him. I think that he has always really connected with a lot of students, and it is really unfortunate that future students won’t get to know him like so many of my classmates and I did,” says Young.

Hormann’s business has grown tremendously since he started it, and now that he is also adding a broadcasting show to his schedule, he is very busy outside of Heritage walls. His show will be on the Colorado Sports Prep AT&T Network for anyone hoping to hear live coverages of high school games.

Hormann works at the front desk during the school day. This was one of his many duties as a security guard for the school.

Hormann works at the front desk during the school day. This was one of his many duties as a security guard for the school.

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Symphonic Band Goes to State

The symphonic band, headed by Mr. Cuthrell has earned enormous success in the 2017/2018 season. On Monday, April 16, they performed at the state competition. After an outstanding performance, they received an “excellence” rating.

   Prior to the state competition Mr. Cuthrell reflected on the band’s successful season and his thoughts heading into the competition.

“ While this is a very exciting step for our program, we work diligently to stay humble and realize that we are still building to bring our program to the level of where I think Heritage could someday reach in regards to numbers and quality….They have already won in my mind and I couldn’t be more proud”.
Only 30 bands in the entire state of Colorado are able to qualify for the state competition, so while it is a huge honor, junior Ellie Fajer says that it is a reflection of the hard work that has been put in.

“I spend a lot of early mornings and late nights practicing trumpet, so I feel like this has really been worth it”, says Fajer “19.

While the bands do not earn specific placements amongst the other bands, they do receive ratings based on their performance. The symphonic band soared above anyone’s expectations by qualifying for state and then receiving an “excellence” rating.

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Promoting mental health

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs displays the importance of needs to one's own well being. The psychologists at Heritage strive to meet help students meet these needs in order to succeed.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs displays the importance of needs to one’s own well being. The psychologists at Heritage strive to meet help students meet these needs in order to succeed.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that before someone can achieve their full potential they must have not only their basic needs met, but also they need to be socially and mentally well. The Heritage community has a large network of people available to not only meet the needs of students but help them succeed academically as well as mentally and socially.

Heritage High School currently has two psychologists, Ms. Karis Fruge and Ms. Carla Cde Baca, as well as past psychologist and current Assistant Principal Nicole Amidon. Fruge is in the building part time with her main focus in special education. Cde Baca works in general education as well as special education.

Just like counselors, the school psychologists are here to help, but they have different roles in the school.

“Psychologists are tasked with working in special education to do cognitive assessments, social emotional assessment and Individual Education Programs (IEP). They provide services to students with social/emotional needs. Counselors provide general counseling services, not typically to students with IEPs. Psychologists also have different training to handle things like danger and threat assessments. Counselors are typically more involved in the college planning as well as academic planning and preparation,” says Amidon.

Counselors and psychologists are similar in that they both promote mental health school wide, not just in their offices. For example, Ms. Cde Baca helps with No Place for Hate.

“What I really like about No Place for Hate is they’re coming together to be able to figure out what the student body can do to enhance the culture of kids and being accepted, which I think is important to the well-being of the school,” says Cde Baca.

 

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Counselors impact the future

As the last days of school approach most students have made sure to visit the counseling office at least once. But what most students don’t know is that counselors do a lot more than just fix schedules. Counselors are also available for college/career preparation, recommendation letters and even just a conversation for any struggles that students might be facing.

“There are three domains in which we focus on student growth and development : personal/social, academic and career. So please, please, know that your counselor is here to help. Students just have to make an appointment to meet with us, if nothing else just for us to get to know students in person,” say Counselor Ms. Maureen Stewart.

Throughout the year counselors deal with a variety of different challenges. From making sure schedules work at the beginning of the year to writing recommendation letters for soon-to-be college students, there is never a time when counselors are not busy.

“No day is like the other; every day is unique and new. Often there are things that I have to get done but I don’t know what is going to come across my plate ever single day,” says Counselor Ms. Laronda Lawson.

When it comes to building relationships at Heritage High School, one that many students have is with their counselors. Each counselor has about 400 students, so it’s important to keep a good connection. When students open up to their counselors it allows them to get to know a supportive adult who can help them with whatever the students need.

“I love my job. Every day my goal is to work with students in whatever capacity they need me to be there for them. One of the greatest things that happens over the course of the four years that I get to know the students is when they learn how to work through their struggles. Those pieces are the things that help me connect with the students and write the best letters of recommendations,” says Ms. Lawson.

Counselors are a resource to help with the needs of students, and they are always available throughout the day.

Couseling Picture Done JPEG

Counselor Ms. Stewart and Jake Schope ’19 converse as Schope fills out the AP test registration.

 

 

 

 

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Student art brings color to the hallways

Especially attentive students may have noticed a bit more color when walking throughout the hallways on the first floor of Heritage as of late. This is a result of the geometric mural installation painted by students with the aid of Mr. Wade Billeisen, an art teacher at Heritage. The concept for the art came from the mind of former student Michael Brooks, who thought of the installation as a community project to help students make connections with one another and to their school.

“It started a few years ago. Myself and Michael Brooks had the idea to [do it], because the hallways are drab and don’t have a lot of color, so we wanted to figure out something that we could engage our student population with,” says Billeisen.

Hallway art pic

The first floor hallway by the art department is bursting with color. The newly added mural creates a vibrant atmosphere in an otherwise bleak setting.

“Anybody that wanted to could paint on the wall, and we had about 110 to 120 artists that worked on it. Students were able to work on off periods, if they wanted to. It was a kind of school collaboration to get people connected to the school,” he adds.

The mural on the first floor is nearly complete, but there may be more to come, according to Billeisen. Other departments may want to brighten up a bit, and Billeisen is happy to help.

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Post Grad Supports Students

With the end of each year, the prospect of college or life after high school looms over the heads of each Heritage student. Post Grad is a tool to utilize when faced with these issues. With Ms. Joni Lieb as the coordinator of Post Grad, the process provides many resources to students.

“For resources we use the program Naviance, which can send letters of recommendation to colleges or offer career surveys which can help you decide a career path so it’s not just limited to college. If you’re taking the college path, we have college representatives that come in, and we have SAT books and ACT books to help out,” says Lieb.

Post Grad also plays a huge role in helping with the admissions process.

“You can sit down and fill out your application and fill out your common app. We send transcripts and help with letters of recommendation,” states Lieb.

Post Grad also encourages students to think about college throughout their high school career.

Sometime during the spring of sophomore year, students are acquainted with Post Grad. Then, during junior year, things take off with planning for college and making lists of college visits as well as prospective colleges. By senior year, Post Grad would have provided the tools to prepare students for applying to college.

“Post Grad helped me find out what I needed to finish my college application. Mrs. Lieb sends out messages about upcoming events for college visits and scholarships,” says Benny Spiegel-Chen ’18.

Alternative schools have also been playing a larger and larger role in the Post Grad process. This would include trade schools and what they have to offer. Due to the rising cost of tuition for college, trade schools have become more and more relevant.

Post Grad also has around 37 volunteers who come in to help students and make the college application process more streamlined. The volunteers help guide students through Naviance and the college application process.

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Mrs. Joni Lieb and Benny Spiegel-Chen ’18 discuss future college plans in Post Grad. Lieb and the many volunteers help students for the future.

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