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Showing posts from December, 2015

Inside L-S: Schoology > Moodle > Edline; a history of the LMS at L-S

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Schoology. Perhaps the bane of many students’ (and teachers’) existence tired of a revolving door of learning management systems (LMS) -- online portals through which teachers can post links, provide dropboxes for assignment submission, collaborate with students, etc. -- the District has utilized over the last several years, it seems that District has found the horse it will continue to back for years to come.

The original LMS employed district-wide was Moodle, which was an open-source software that was free to the District, but lacked troubleshooting support, and thus was challenging. Although some teachers still maintain Moodle pages, this will be the last year that will be permitted.

Two years ago, Edline was implemented district-wide, which coincided with the new district website. Perhaps the most maligned LMS, even Mr. Bill Griscom, technology director at L-S, concedes that Edline was not the best choice.

“Edline was a struggle,” he says.

The root of that struggle was that Edline’s …

Redskins knock Eagles from playoff contention; Eagles fire Chip Kelly

For most, the NFL season is dwindling to a close, but for 12 lucky teams, it’s beginning to heat up. On Saturday, December 26, the Philadelphia Eagles, a local favorite, took on their long-time rivals, the Washington Redskins (disclaimer: the favorite team of this writer) in an intense battle for a spot in the playoffs. The NFC East, the division to which both teams belong, was having a rough season, as evidenced by the pathetic records of all four teams. Going into Week 16, Washington was sitting atop the division at 7-7, with Philadelphia not far behind at 6-8. The New York Giants shared the 6-8 record of the Eagles, and the Dallas Cowboys, who had been without their star quarterback since week 3, were at the back of the pack with a 4-10 record. Needless to say, whichever team ended up winning the division would do so by a small margin.

The stakes were somewhat complicated. If the Redskins claimed victory in the long-anticipated matchup, they would automatically be in the playoffs, n…

Vote for the 2015 LSNews Stories of the Year

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It's been a busy and productive year for LSNews.org. We had over 92,000 page views for approximately 300 different articles since going online in May. Of those 300 articles, six gained over a 1,000 individual page views with three of those blasting past 2,000. We will share the results of our internal analytics later but for now we want hear what you think were the most important articles from our community this year. Take our survey below. 

Quiz bowl team falls to Red Lion on WGAL's Brain Busters

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Although recorded back in October, the Lampeter-Strasburg quiz bowl team's episode of Brain Busters aired today on WGAL at 12:30 PM. The team -- consisting of freshman Logan Emmert, sophomore Mark Wittemann, and seniors Kevin Reed and Ben Pontz, and coached by Mrs. Pam Kochel -- fell to Red Lion, 445-295.

A match that was deadlocked early tipped towards Red Lion during the one-on-one rounds, and never came back for L-S. However, when Kevin Reed correctly answered a "Bonus Brain Buster" question regarding litmus tests, the entire team won a free carton of Turkey Hill ice cream. Overall, although disappointed to lose, the team enjoyed participating.

"It was a good experience to have," says Emmert. "We'll need some new people to step up next year."

Editor's Note: In the interest of full disclosure, the author of this article is the captain of the quiz bowl team. As stated in our official memorandum of journalistic guidelines, every effort is made …

Editorial: Finding Christmas cheer

It is Christmas day! And after months of preparation starting right after Halloween, many of you may be sitting down saying...well, I haven’t roasted any chestnuts. Frankly, I’ve been avoiding eggnog. I really have no idea what yule is. I don’t know if they have Rankin and Bass claymation on Netflix.
So what’s it all about?
Well, you’re probably going to experiencing what it is today, and over the next few days. Admittedly, that three months of build up can be draining. It’s a continual fight between wanting to carol in the halls and not getting yelled at that you have to get back to work. You've probably been worried whether or not your family and friends will like the gifts you got them. And for many of us, we still have work to do over our winter break.
But relax. It still is Christmas, and a gift is a gift. Believe me, friends and family are just happy to see you, especially any college and high school kids who are never home by virtue of location or after school activities. And …

Pioneer Sports This Week: A Roundup (December 21-23 -- Christmas Week)

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It was an exciting -- albeit short -- week for sports in Pioneer Country. It's time to start treating the boys basketball team like they are the favorites to win the section, which after their big win over ELCO, they almost certainly are, but they're not the only team finding early season success. Here's an abbreviated roundup of Pioneer Sports This Week -- Christmas Edition -- in case you missed it.
Monday, December 21 Boys Basketball: Defeated ELCO 62-42 (see Benjamin Pontz's feature article and interview with Mr. Achille)
Girls Basketball: Defeated ELCO 48-41 (see Benjamin Pontz's article)
Tuesday, December 22 Wrestling: Lost to Conestoga Valley 54-18 (see Maggie Johnson's article) Wednesday, December 23Boys Basketball: Defeated Northern Lebanon 71-43 (see Benjamin Pontz's article) Girls Basketball: Lost to Lebanon Catholic 44-35 (see LNP box score) A Note from Fall Sports Star quarterback Collin "Bear" Shank was named to the AAA First Team All-Sta…

Pioneers dodge trap game, defeat Northern Lebanon before Christmas

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It had all the makings of a classic "trap game" for the surging Pioneers: they knocked off ELCO earlier in the week to take sole possession of first place of Section Three ... and the only thing standing between them and the idyllic Christmas cheer to accent a much-needed break was Northern Lebanon, who fought Cocalico until late in the fourth quarter earlier in the week, and was gunning for an upset. But the Pioneers would not be trapped.
L-S, donning their home whites against the fluorescent yellow of Northern Lebanon, jumped out to an early lead, and held a 20-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter, and continued their success in the second quarter, leading 38-19 at intermission.

The 10-minute break did little to stem the Pioneers rolling tide of success. They orchestrated a potent offensive attack, the key to which was fluid, unselfish passing that led to open looks and good shots for a bevy of players -- six different Pioneers scored in the third quarter alone, and…

Column: I was Luke Skywalker. Why Star Wars is so important to your parents.

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On Monday when I asked how many of my freshmen students had seen the new Star Wars movie I was surprised to find only a few hands go up. From the box office receipts, I assumed everyone on the planet had gone…twice.

When I shared this observation with my wife she said, “They are too young. You have to be a child of the ‘80s.”
Do you know what? She was right.

Star Wars does not resonate with the same cultural intensity for most of my students as it does me and many of their parents. For that reason, I want to share the impact Star Wars has had on my own life. For my students this might help shed some light on why your parents have been so crazy over the new film.

First, seeing Star Wars (specifically The Empire Strikes Back) is of significant importance to me. It was the first movie I ever saw. In addition, seeing that film with my father is one of the few memories I have of him as he died when I was young.
Taking my son, Benson, last Friday became important. He’s almost the same age …

Young wrestling team falls to CV

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With only a handful of upperclassmen on the roster, there are bound to be growing pains for the Pioneer wrestlers, and that was evident tonight against local rival Conestoga Valley.

The match officially began at 7:00 PM when Cameron King faced Trent Martin. King recorded a quick tackle, but Martin fought back and pinned King in a minute and 30 seconds to give the Buckskins an early lead.

Later, Keith Littler scored the Pioneers' first points of the evening, fighting his Buckskin opponent to a draw, but earning the points after putting him in a headlock.

Conestoga Valley earned another four points when Johnny Franklin fell short after fighting through a long match.

Continuing the back and forth, Jake Kelly -- perhaps the Pioneers' best wrestler -- continued his season of success, notching a pin in just 54 seconds.

After that, the Pioneers' success faded. Owen Hess struggled through his bout, falling victim to a pin.

"It is hard to watch and feel, especially getting pin…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a spoiler-free review

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It is unsurprising that Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two’s record for preview showing ticket sales. The part-science fiction, part-fantasy, part-western phenomenon has held the galaxy enthralled since the premiere of the original Star Wars in 1977, which starred Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Fans were delighted when creator George Lucas followed his groundbreaking masterwork with two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). 

The saga continued later on with three prequels, The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005). A number of fans were highly disappointed by the prequel trilogy, and many were apprehensive that The Force Awakens, brainchild of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and acclaimed director J. J. Abrams, would similarly discredit the success of t…

Our Hot Mess: Nemo needs help (part two)

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Now is finally the update we have all been waiting for! To recap part one from three weeks ago, the oceans are the Earth’s heart and lungs, vital to survival. Especially we as humans are utterly dependent on the welfare of our oceans for physical and environmental health. All of this is interesting, I know, but why exactly do we need to be talking about the state of the big ponds? Well they’re in trouble. And I don’t say this to sound dramatic nor overreactive. I’m simply trying to put things into perspective by providing accurate, informed statements in hopes that you find it as alarming as I do and care enough to want to help.


There are eight primary threats to the well-being of our oceans today: climate change, aquaculture, oil and gas, pollution, shipping, inadequate protection, tourism and development, and overfishing.

Climate change is really hurting the oceans on a chemical level, bleaching the coral reefs and acidifying all of the waters. When the waters are too warm and there i…

From underdogs to favorites: Basketball team embraces change in role

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ELCO was the favorite to win Section Three in what has been billed as the most competitive section in the Lancaster-Lebanon boys basketball league. Before the season, Manheim Central coach Chris Sherwood called the section “absolutely loaded”. 

Although they may not have been the favorites to start the season, the Pioneers almost certainly are the team to beat now, coming off a narrow victory over Central and a shellacking of ELCO that coach John Achille called a “dominating performance”.

“It was a big week,” Mr. Achille says.

The team is particularly proud of its win against ELCO.

“We beat the supposed best team in the league by 20,” says senior Jake Groff, going on to acknowledge, “Every team is going to try extra hard to beat us now.” Thus far, it has been a team effort from the Pioneers’ triumvirate of senior starters -- Matt Achille, who leads the team by averaging just under 15 points per game, Connor Brown, who has emerged as a viable threat on both sides of the ball, and Luke Beers…

Inside L-S: Content filtering at L-S "very liberal" compared to other school districts

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To extrapolate a great quote: with great technological power comes great technological responsibility. To that end, many schools have restrictive content filtering policies that limit what students are able to view on the internet. L-S, however, takes a different approach.

“We trust students,” declares Griscom quite matter-of-factly. 

Over the past several years, the District’s philosophy on content filtering has changed, and ultimately, Griscom says that L-S has come out very “liberal” on the spectrum of school content filtering. There are three reasons the District may block something:

To protect students from something inappropriate To protect the District from liability or harm (e.g., directions for how to hack something) To receive federal reimbursement from the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
Essentially, the federal government enacted CIPA in 2000 to try to limit minors’ access to obscene content on the internet. When schools filter content at a certain level, they receive …

Overshadowed by showdown in Lebanon, girls take care of business too

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Two undefeated teams met in Myerstown tonight for a boys basketball game (the boys won, staying undefeated), but on the Pioneers' home hardwood, two young, rebuilding teams met for an intriguing matchup to help define the middle tier of section three of the Lancaster-Lebanon girls basketball league.

Down five at halftime, the Lady Pioneers battled back with a stellar third quarter in which they scored 18 points, primarily from Nevin Hoenninger, who led all scorers with 23 total points, and Emma Gochnauer, who made three three-point shots during the game.

The Lady Pioneers solidified their lead in the fourth quarter, bolstered by strong defense headlined by stalwart Hannah Adams and good free throw shooting, including after a technical foul on ELCO.

"It was amazing watching the team make a comeback and win," says sophomore junior varsity player Sarah Gawne.

Rachel Shortes and Laura Horner added five points apiece as the Lady Pioneers won 48-41, advancing to 4-3 (3-2 in se…

Former superintendent presents on influential Lancastrians

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On December 21, Dr. Robert Frick, a local historian and the former superintendent of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, presented to Mr. Adam Titter's local history classes on three notable Lancastrians from the Revolutionary War timeframe: Joseph Simon, Edward Hand, and George Ross.

It was Dr. Frick's first presentation to Mr. Titter's classes, and came together via email rather quickly over the past two weeks, says Titter.

"Two years ago he had emailed me that he was doing presentations," Titter explains. "It was neat to have him in."

Students agreed.

"I enjoyed it," says Derek Seiders, a senior in one of Mr. Titter's classes.

Dr. Frick, who retired as Lampeter-Strasburg's superintendent after a 44-year career at L-S in 2011, gives presentations on some 58 famous Lancastrians, predominantly at retirement homes and libraries. He also serves as the reader for the L-S Quiz Bowl team's matches, and sponsors several annual schola…

Pioneer Sports This Week: A Roundup (December 14-18)

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Winter sports are all kicking on all cylinders these days, with each team beginning to find itself. We offer this recap of the past week in Pioneer Country, in case you missed it.

Monday, December 14 Boys Basketball: Defeated Annville-Cleona 45-29 (see PennLive box score)
Girls Basketball: Defeated Annville-Cleona 58-50 (see Caleb Gawne's article)
Tuesday, December 15 Wrestling: Lost to Garden Spot 34-29 (see PennLive box score) Wednesday, December 16Boys Swimming: Lost to Warwick 116-49 (see PennLive box score) Girls Swimming: Lost to Warwick 116-51 (see PennLive box score) Boys Basketball: Defeated Lebanon Catholic 82-40 (see Kevin Reed's article and Lauren Mast's photos) Girls Basketball: Lost to Lebanon Catholic 58-42 (see PennLive box score) Thursday, December 17Boys Swimming: Lost to Penn Manor 113-56 (see PennLive box score)
Girls Swimming: Lost to Penn Manor 113-54 (see PennLive box score) Friday, December 18Bowling: Lost to Cocalico 5-2 (see Caleb Gawne's article) Boy…

Concert Review: Holiday concert shares all that is right with the world

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Most people do not really get into the Christmas spirit until the radio stations start pumping out their holiday music, but why sit in the car and listen to static when you can experience it live? Lampeter-Strasburg invites members of the community every year to their student holiday concert, an event that packs the PAC. Even people who do not know performers still come down to experience the wonderful music that these high school students create, and this Thursday was no exception, when the groups gathered to share the fruits of their work since the beginning of the year.
The high school band, orchestra, chorus, and madrigals groups practice with intense fervor for the big night. It is a tradition at L-S, and many students in the musical clubs celebrate Christmas, so the songs resonate with them on a personal level, giving more meaning to their work. And honestly, the emotion can be felt in the music.
A hush falls over the enormous crowd as chorus members, dressed in blue and white fl…