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October 2013

Junior varsity wins first place; varsity takes second in district tennis finals

Submitted by amy.huhtala on Thu, 10/31/2013 - 08:08
Whitney Wilde

The Salem Junior High School (SaJHS) Spartans girls tennis team has had lots of success in their 2013 season. Their district tournament took place on October 15 and 16. Junior varsity won first place on Monday. Liza Adams, Berlyn Briggs, Windsor Moore, and Mackenzie Shepherd were undefeated, earning them the first place slot. Mackenzie Shepherd. Macady Baxter and Aspen Ruiz took second place, and  Aubree McCarthy and Kaitlin Hallows took third place. The varsity girls won second place overall on Tuesday, however doubles partners Whitney Wilde, Katie Stutz, Mallorie Kimber, and Elise Riley won first place. Natalia Oveson took second place and Taylor Tolbert and Abby Hullinger took fourth place.  


SaJHS student places first at district cross country finals

Submitted by amy.huhtala on Thu, 10/31/2013 - 08:03
Spencer VanAusdal

Brodey Hasty, 8th grade, took first in the district cross country meet at the beginning of October. The boys cross country team took second overall. Summer Johnson, 9th grade, placed seventh individually as the girls team placed second overall. 

Our Choir ROCKS!

Submitted by maria.ruiz on Tue, 10/22/2013 - 08:45
Rachel Brooksby and Brad Dayton

Our school choirs performed at the "Fall Pops Concert" on Monday, October 21st. The choirs performed many songs, including Bohemian Rhapsody and Radioactive.  Visit to view their final number.  All 238 students (all 4 choirs combined) were on stage. 


Submitted by maria.ruiz on Tue, 10/22/2013 - 08:23
Lisa Magnusson

VOTE online at
Salem Junior High has 27 art students participating in a poster contest advertising the dangers of radon, a radioactive gas that can be found in homes.  (If you want to vote for one of our students, they are entries: 102, 170, 191, 192, 195, 201, 227, 264, 266, 277, 278, 279, 280, 301, 302, 315, 316, 317, 319, 388, 389, 390, 419, 439, 440, 450, 451.) 

Please VOTE online at for your favorite design.  Winners get cash prizes ($100-$300) and the winning school gets $500!  The voting window closes THIS FRIDAY.  


September students of the month recognized

Submitted by amy.huhtala on Mon, 10/14/2013 - 16:19

Two students from each grade are recognized each month for being outstanding students. Students of the month are nominated by teachers during the last week of every month. Students are recognized with a certificate, a letter sent home with quotes about the student's exceptional behavior and academic progress, a small treat, and a vinyl sticker. Congratulations September Students of the Month! (Back row left to right) Jacob Rolfe, 8; Garrison Barnes, 9; Katherine Clare, 8 (Front row left to right) Finlay Lofthouse,7; Rachel Harb, 9; Nikki Taylor, 7


SaJHS hosts special education extravaganza

Submitted by amy.huhtala on Mon, 10/14/2013 - 14:31
by Hannah Lee & Shina Parrish, Spartan Chronicle Student Editors


Special-Ed Day is a day where multiple schools at a junior high level come together with their special-ed students to have a fun extravaganza. On September 19 from 9:30 to 1:00, the 7th annual Special-Ed Day Extravaganza took place at the Salem Junior High School field and gym. There were many exciting events for the students to participate in. Such as the high jump, softball throw, arts and crafts, and lots more! An awards assembly and dance also took place at the extravaganza. This whole annual event came to be because of Mrs. Parker, special-ed teacher, and Mrs. Lewis, P.E. teacher. They wanted to do a special activity for their students and the idea of Special-Ed Day was ignited from there.

Before the event, 7th grade peer tutors Kiera Davis and Whitney Reid were both equally excited to have a good time with the kids. They all got to be assigned a partner and spend the day with them. “We get to walk around with them and help them participate and make sure they have a good time!” said Whitney. Sam Christensen, 7th grader, loves being a peer tutor and spending time with the amazing kids. 9th grader Maddie Wall believes that the purpose of the event is for the special-ed students to have their own activities to do for fun. She was personally excited to help them throughout the day. Maddie hoped that the kids would remember the great extravaganza.

The Special Ed Extravaganza required peer tutors from around the district to come and help the kids participate in their events. Mrs. Hartvigsen’s girls P.E classes also helped out.  Every participant was assigned a peer tutor or P.E student to help them get to all their activities and have a good time.  P.E students ran booths with different activities and crafts. “The Special Ed Extravaganza is to help disabled kids become more ‘in’ with the world,” said Madison Hansen, 9th grade peer tutor. Alaina Christensen, 9th grader, also included, “The Special Ed Extravaganza is to help the kids become more social and have fun.” Many students claimed they had learned valuable lessons from the experience of helping with the extravaganza, and were amazed at how well they got along with the kids. “They are so sweet, down to earth, and precious,” 9th grade P.E student, Kalli Coburn.

The special-ed students from schools all around Nebo School District participated in fun activities in the Salem Junior High School gym and field such as the high jump, softball throw, target toss, bowling, face painting, making necklaces, eating popcorn, and more. Salem Jr. student Kayson Carter, coming to the extravaganza for the second year, participated and said he greatly enjoyed the high jump and claimed it to be his favorite activity. He would eagerly back up to get a running start then sprint towards the rope, hoping to clear the designated height. Kayson repeated this activity several times before stopping with a big smile on his face. Another special-ed student, Mackensie Wood, from Payson Junior High School, coming to the extravaganza for the third time, said she was excited to participate in all the fun activities the peer tutors and special-ed teachers had prepared for them. Mackensie admitted her favorite part of the day was the dance. Cory Derfler, Salem Jr. student, was excited as well and hoped to do the target toss. He liked the running race the best. Everyone, student and teacher alike had a fun time.




Standards-based grading scale enriches student's education

Submitted by amy.huhtala on Mon, 10/14/2013 - 14:16
By SaJHS Spartan Chronicle Staff Writers


  Salem Junior High School (SaJHS) is on the forefront of education in the Nebo School district by implementing a standards-based grading scale schoolwide this year. According to Suzanne Kimball, SaJHS principal, the grading scale will put more emphasis on what the students know. “Teachers, students, and parents will be able to assess more clearly which concepts the students has mastered and which ones the student needs to work on,” said Kimball. “This is the dream for education.” The year’s first SaJHS Spartan Target Conference will be held November 7 from 3:15 to 8 p.m. where parents and students will be able to meet together and discuss the student’s first term proficiency scores.

  One of the biggest changes with the grading system is that a very high percentage of a student’s grade in each subject is based on their assessment scores. However, students are allowed to retake “I Can” assessments. This allows students to reflect on their performance, relearn material they missed, and improve their knowledge and assessment score. “I think it’s a brilliant system. We are putting the emphasis on what matters-- student learning and proficiency,” said Amy Huhtala, English teacher. “Not only does this grading scale emphasize proficiency, but it motivates teachers to ensure a viable curriculum. It helps focus our teaching to ensure we are teaching exactly what our students need to know,” said Huhtala.

The second part of the grading scale is a 4-point assessment system. Instead of a point value and percentage being assigned to each assessment, teachers will use 1,2,3, or 4 to indicate proficieny level (see graphic at right for explanation).

The new grading system has caused mixed reactions among faculty and students at SaJHS. Mrs. Hales, math teacher said, “I think it’s a new, great system. It’ll give both parents and students a perspective of where the students stand in the classroom.” However, 8th grade student Kenny Cannon feels that it will only help certain students. Ninth grader Mackenzie Henderson claims, “I don’t like it. The percentages for the test really scare me.” Eighth grader Bryce Black states, “With this scale, we have to focus more on our test scores in hopes that we can pass the 8th grade.”“This whole new grading scale is meant to push students to be better.” Mrs. Brooksby, choir teacher.

Kimball states, “One of the most beneficial things about this change is that students will students will be able to look specifically at where they are excelling and pinpoint the areas where they need to learn more. Kimball elaborates, “Some students complain that they are bad at a subject, but now they can actually see exactly which part of that subject they are failing.” Mrs. Halcrow, history teacher and school counselor agrees, “From every angle, it is a benefit for every student. “This grading system will help the students feel better about themselves, learn more, get better grades, and feel more accomplished at the end of the year.”

Students are encouraged to keep track of their scores on assessments by checking SIS and seeking help from teachers during olympic time. Kimball stated that each department should hold a subject-level study hall and a reteaching session each week. Most departments will also provide a test retake classroom during olympic time. Kimball encourages students to be proactive when determining where they should go for olympic time. "Students are in charge of their own learning.  They are capable to seeing where they need help and seeking out and, in some cases, being directed, to the reteaching areas they will need for improvement."

In an effort to help students and parents understand the new grading system, SaJHS held a back-to-school night on September 5. Parents and students were able to meet with teachers and the administration hosted a question and answer session in the cafetorium. “We have developed a brochure to help clarify our procedures and vision along with copied articles for anyone interested in more information,” Kimball explained.



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