Friday, February 25, 2011

DFHS Students Excel at Mathematics Competition

By: Erin Rivers, Math Teacher
       Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Assistant Principal for Instruction

On Saturday, Feb. 5th, eight Dutch Fork High School students participated in the University of South Carolina Math Competition. Students from 25 schools across the state participated in order to expand their conceptual mastery of mathematics.

Out of all of the students who participated in the competition, Zachry Wang had the 14th highest score on the written exam, and Jessica Wang had the 8th highest score.

Congratulations to these students for their continued commitment to academic excellence.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Turn Lane

Dutch Fork High School is having a new turn lane installed in the front car drive.  This turn lane will allow cars leaving the school to turn right onto Old Tamah Road without being stopped by cars wanting to turn left.  We are hoping to see improved traffic flow during our heavy traffic times in the morning and afternoon.  The foreman on the job has projected the completion date to be the week of March 7, 2011 if not sooner. This project is being funded by money previously budgeted and approved through our capital projects program that allows us to maintain and improve our buildings and grounds. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Talented Musicians Will Perform at Dutch Fork HS

By: Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Assistant Principal for Instruction

It is an incredible experience when a school can connect instructional content with the arts so students can see the fullness of the academic program. To be honest, through many programs, this is a common place for Dutch Fork High. What makes this a rare occasion is that this performance will feature two of the premier young musicians in America. On Friday February 28, 2011, Violinist Daniel Davis and Saxophonist Devone Gary will be performing for our students.

These two young artists - Daniel D, urban violinist, and Devone Gary, saxophonist, will inspire and encourage our students during a morning performance that will hopefully lead them to explore and work hard on their own talents.

Violinist Daniel D is a 2009 Apollo Theater Winner, Spotlight Performer on B.E.T.'s 106 & Park, and has performed for President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King and the late Michael Jackson.

Saxophonist Devone Gary is accomplished in both alto and soprano sax. His musical performances include mainstream and contemporary jazz, R&B, pop, soul, hip-hop, and inspirational.

Daniel Davis

Daniel is a twenty-two year old entertainer that discovered the violin at 12 years-old. Now a seasoned musician, Daniel has performed for President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, and the late, legendary "king of pop", Michael Jackson. Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Daniel graduated from that city's esteemed School of the Arts in 2007. Daniel also studied at New York's Julliard School of Music, while still in high school.

In 2009, Daniel was sought out to open for Jamie Fox and Kanye West on B.E.T's 106 & Park. He was later asked to do a spotlight performance for 106 & Park, and won first place at the World Famous Apollo Theater that same night. He has produced several CD's and books. Daniel's faith lies at the core of his music. Despite his success, Daniel remains a humble young man. He is the first to tell you that the pure joy of playing music far surpasses the prestige and recognition. "Every opportunity to play offers new enlightenment and a chance to learn. I love performing and playing - period."

Devone Gary

Saxophonist Devone Gary has developed his skills over the past 20 years to become a true professional. Originally from Charleston, SC, he gained interest in music as a member of the Oakbrook Middle School Band at age 14. Accomplished in both Alto and Soprano Sax, his repertoire covers an expansive range from mainstream and Contemporary Jazz to R&B, Pop, Soul, Hip-Hop, and Inspirational.

His first solo, "Amazing Grace" was when he first realized that his talent would place a leading role in his life. His artistic flair and passion is expressed and appreciated by those who have experienced his performance. More notably, his talent has availed opportunities to share the same stage with world-renowned artists such as Ben Tankard, Chris Bethel, and Phil Driscoll, to name a few.

Both Daniel and Devone are featured in the New Band, Urban Instrumentalist. We are indeed honored and excited that these two incredible musicians have carved out a little time out of their busy schedules to show our students how to maxmize their talents to reach their full potential. The performance is part of our African American History month series. The performance starts at 8:30am and 10:00am in the Dutch Fork High School auditorium. Admission is free.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

English Department Travels to Barnes & Noble to Build Classroom Libraries

What would make English teachers happier than a department meeting held in a bookstore where they learned about new books then got to go shopping?

Not much! According to English Department Chair Carol Jackson, it’s the most popular meeting of the year.  Jackson explained that teachers were given the opportunity to solicit requests of popular titles from their students. Most teachers came to the meeting with their lists of requested titles, then they added to the list based on information presented by Barnes & Noble Young Adult Literature Specialist Mel Spreene.

English teacher Debbie Gascon has a room full of books, but new titles and books always motivate students to read. “This experience is a great way to use student fee money.  The materials are going directly into the hands of our students and they are another example of funds enriching our classroom literary efforts,” she said.

Newcomer to the English Department, Sara Biltz, agreed. “One of the best experiences I've ever had in my many years of teaching!”

Books should be arriving in classrooms by early March, and most will be in students’ hands by the end of that first day.

“Reading has been proven to be a key factor in student achievement,” Jackson explained. “The more we can promote reading – through our Silent Sustained Reading period or through simply encouraging students to find something of interest to them – the more students will increase achievement across the board. Students who say they don’t like to read have probably just not found a book on a subject they like. It’s our job to help them make that discovery.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interim Pick Up Night!

By: Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Assistant Principal for Instruction

Dutch Fork High School will receive parents and students on Wednesday February 23, 2011 from 5:00-7:00 p.m., for our second interim pick-up night for 2010-2011. This is another opportunity for parents to speak face-to-face with teachers to learn of their child's academic progress in all courses.  Student schedules will be available in the main foyer in front of the auditorium. We are encouraging all parents to attend and speak to all teachers. For those parents who are unable to attend, interims will be distributed during 3A "English" classes on Thursday February 24th. Parents can also check progress through the powerschool parent portal.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Acclaimed Journalist Visits Dutch Fork High!

By: Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Assistant Principal for Instruction

On Thursday February 17, 2011, Mr. Rick Henry, the Sports Director for WIS TV in Columbia, SC will be visiting Dutch Fork High. Mr. Henry will address students during the first two blocks of the day in the senior cafeteria. Mr. Henry will be sharing his wealth of knowledge as it relates to journalism, career opportunities in this field, and experiences he has enjoyed over the past decade.

Rick first joined WIS in 1988 as an anchor/reporter. He became Sports Director in 1996.  Rick became the first African-American to serve as Sports Director for a South Carolina Television station.

Rick is an award winning journalist. He was named 1999 Sportscaster of the year by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. In 2005 his Sportscast was selected as the best in South Carolina by the Associated Press. Rick has also received two prestigious Emmy awards. In 1998, Rick was named to the University Of South Carolina College Of Journalism's "Diamond Circle", joining a national group of esteemed individuals chosen for outstanding contributions to their field.

We are indeed honored to host Mr. Henry and look forward to the awesome experience that he will provide for our students. All student's and faculty are encouraged to attend Mr. Henry's sessions.

Friday, February 11, 2011

DFHS Evacuated Today, Everything Back To Normal

By: Gregg Morton, Principal

Dutch Fork High School was evacuated today around 12:00 noon due to a strong smell of gasoline on our first floor.  The Richland County Fire Department immediatly responded, investigated the situation, and located the problem. As soon as the situation was isolated, steps were taken to prepare the building for the safe return of our students.  At no time was there a gas leak.  The smell was triggered by a cleaning solvent being used by a contractor repairing a pipe. As always, we will take all necessary preacutions to ensure the safety and well being of all students and staff.

Teacher and Support Staff Persons of the Year Named!

By: Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S, Assistant Principal for Instruction

We love when professionals who work with children get the recognition they deserve. In public education, we need to do more to celebrate the accomplishments of our teachers and recognize them for their achievements in and out of the classroom. To be honest with you, Dutch Fork High School is filled with many great educators who really care about children. Each year, the staff selects two employees for the annual Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Person of the Year awards. These individuals exemplify scholarly pursuit, effective relationships with students, a committment to educational progress, and a desire to ensure that all students are college and career ready. We are proud to announce this year's receipents. They are as follows:

DFHS Teacher of the Year
Ronald McGinty, Social Studies Teacher

Support Staff Person of the Year
Debra Higginbotham

Congratulations to these deserving educators!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

8 Things You Must Know to Maximize Your SAT and ACT Scores

by pathwaypr on February 4, 2011

Campanile in HDR
Creative Commons License photo credit: John-Morgan

While many colleges across the country are now becoming test-optional for entrance, nearly 1.6 million high school students took the SAT and the ACT in 2010. According to Akil Bello, a college and graduate test preparation expert and owner of Bell Curves, LLC , (,   with proper planning and practice students can greatly maximize their SAT and ACT scores.  Bello recommends students:

Plan ahead. Take your first SAT or ACT test no later than May of your junior year in high school. “I recommend that juniors take their first official test in either March or April. I like March for the SAT and April for the ACT because they are far from the AP tests and other year end pressures,” said Bello. “College counselors and parents need to work together to make sure juniors don’t finish the year without taking a test. Without a baseline score it is going to be difficult to create a target college list.”

Don’t guess. Take both the SAT and ACT practice tests late in sophomore year to help determine which test to focus on. Students can get official practice tests from the testing companies themselves. SAT practices tests are available at and ACT practice tests are available at . In order to figure out which test a student did better at compare both scores at

Also, make sure to take the practice test in as realistic a setting as possible – without distractions and any multi- tasking. Start at the beginning of the practice test and work your way through without any interruptions. Compare your baseline practice results against the ACT or SAT results for incoming freshman at the colleges you are interested in attending.

Don’t take either test more than 3 times. Bello recommends that students make sure they carefully study and prepare for the test but take them no more than three times. The CollegeBoard reports that most students take the SAT twice. Bello reported in 2010 40% of students who took the SAT took it twice and 41% took it three times.

Make a study preparation plan and stick to it. According to Bello, the amount of time needed to prepare effectively depends heavily on each student. “The further a student is from their goal the more time that is needed. Test preparation is not magic. The SAT and the ACT require baseline knowledge that covers 3 to 5 years.”

Ideally, Bello recommends that high school juniors, who are planning on taking the March or April test, make a preparation plan in December and start studying for the test in January. Instead of studying for a targeted number of hours each week, Bello said students should construct their study preparation plan by setting weekly goals.

“The preparation plan is based on how you prepare. If you choose a course or work with a tutor the schedule is done for you. If not, and you are studying alone, you need to learn the topic and or question type on Monday. On Wednesday you need to practice what you have learned and on Saturday you need to take a timed section. And then repeat the following week.”

Get outside help if possible. “If you can’t afford a tutor, look into free or cheap options in your area for test preparation or look into applying for a discounted program at one of the big test preparation companies. If money is still an issue, invest in good SAT or ACT preparation books and make sure to take the tests,” said Bello.  “Also check out school teachers, churches and other community based organizations that might offer classes or tutoring.”

Check out online resources and applications. There are a multitude of online test preparation programs –both paid and free- but Bello warns students and parents to be cautious, “before using a free online site, you should look at real SAT and ACT questions and compare them to the site. If you can tell a difference, don’t use the site.”

Bello likes the idea of the SAT applications and other mobile and computer based aids that are now available but “remember the test is still paper based.” Bello recommends the following web sites for test preparation:

Don’t forget book resources. The two test preparation books Bello recommends are the “Real ACT Prep Guide” and “The Official SAT Study Guide”.

Stay Calm. One of the best things students can do for themselves is to learn their optimal pacing. You don’t need to answer all your questions to get a great score. And finally, try to stay calm. For almost all colleges, the score you received on either the SAT or ACT is just one piece of the information they assess when looking at you as a future freshman.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Asset Test

By: Jessica Capps, Guidance Counselor

The Asset test will be given Tuesday, February 15th in Dutch Fork High School auditorium from 8:30-12:00.  Students need to sign up in Guidance.  Also, students must apply online and pay the $35.00 application fee by Friday, Feb. 11th. We are encouraging all interested students to sign up for this assessment.
 ® program is a series of short placement tests developed by ACT that lets you and
What is the Asset?

your school work together to help you succeed in your educational program. ASSET helps you
identify your strengths as well as the knowledge and skills you will need in order to succeed in specific
subject areas. ASSET also helps your school use this information to guide you toward classes that
strengthen and build logically upon your current knowledge and skills.

How Does ASSET Work?

ASSET has three tests of basic skills in writing, reading, and numerical reasoning, plus more
advanced tests in algebra and geometry. The ASSET program also offers the Educational Planning
Form, which supplements your ASSET test scores by providing your institution with information about your educational needs and goals.

How Are ASSET Scores Used?
ASSET is not used like a traditional test battery. There is generally no “passing score.” Rather,
ASSET scores indicate areas in which you are strong and areas in which you may need help. Thus,
ASSET can identify problems in major subject areas
giving you the opportunity to prepare more effectively for needed courses.
before they disrupt your educational progress,

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dutch Fork Student Creates Hot Selling Android App!

By Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Assistant Principal for Instruction

Do you need a calculator to help you with those formidable Physics problems? Well, a Dutch Fork High School Student has an app for that! We’ve heard that phrase over and over again on those entertaining, yet engaging advertisements seen on televisions and youtube world wide. That crave has now come to Dutch Fork High!

Through a rigorous, problem -based curriculum at Dutch Fork High School, one student has decided to take the difficult step and brave the new world of application development that has been popularized by the likes of Apple® and Google®. “Through the inquiry-based research process, students at Dutch Fork High School are encouraged to be creative in their thought processes, analytical in the discovery methods, and innovative in the problem resolution phase. This is the only way that we will create the next wave of scientists and engineers that will compete globally in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related careers."

Tyler Vincent (a senior computer science student at Dutch Fork High) has developed an application that will help students enrolled in Physics classes conquer those complex problems. He began with the questions; is it possible to design, develop and implement an Android app that would prove useful to both physics teachers and students? And if so, what would be the function of such an application?  In order to find the answers to these questions, the first and most obvious step would be to research previous examples of physics applications.

Keeping those points in mind and following his research of similar product designs, Tyler developed an application entitled the “Physics Formula Calculator.” This application allows the user to maneuver through 71 physics formulas, as well as trigonometric functions and the Pythagorean Theorem for dealing with components in physics. Tyler states “Whereas the usefulness of a reference app is lost after the material is memorized, a calculator will always be needed when completing physics problems.” This app is intended to be used for those calculations, with the goal of making homework quicker for a learning student and the process of grading papers more accurate for teachers.

Teachers and students interested in this app can find it on the Android Market or  on any Android Phone by searching Physics Formula Calculator by Vincent Programming. Both LITE and full versions are available.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Renowned Gullah Historial Visits Dutch Fork High!

By: Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Assistant Principal for Instruction

This week will begin African American History Month. February is a recognized, nationwide celebration that provides the opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the significant roles that African-Americans have contributed in the shaping of our great country. Dutch Fork High School will begin it's celebration with a renowned Gullah historian. Mr. Donald Sweeper will be here on Friday February 5, 2011 from 8:30-11:30 to bring alive the Gullah Culture from a personal perspective.

Mr. Sweeper does performances of famous African Americans to enhance the knowledge of students and adults.  His reenactments of Congressman Robert Smalls (1839-1915) and Dr. Ernest Everett Just (1883-1941) have received notable critical acclaim.  He has done performances at major events such as the National Black Arts Festival (Auburn Ave Research Library) Atlanta, Georgia, the National Marine Educators Conferences Portland Maine, Monterey California, Gatlinburg Tennessee, and Savannah Georgia.  He does yearly performances at the Richland County Public Library usually during February (African American History Month).