The Criterion The Student News Site of Joseph A. Craig High School Fri, 13 Nov 2020 21:48:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 BREAKING NEWS: Craig to pivot online starting Nov. 17 Fri, 13 Nov 2020 21:48:56 +0000 Craig High School will pivot to online instruction for the second time in the 2020-21 school year.

“We have been tracking the number of students and staff on quarantine, and we have reached a threshold to require a pivot online,” said principal Dr. Bjoin.

Marshall Middle School is also pivoting to online instruction.

Monday, November 16, will be a day off for students. For teachers, it will be a day to prepare for the pivot to online instruction.

Starting on Tuesday, November 17, all students will report to online classes.

Students will attend online classes every day. The cohort model will not apply to the online learning platform.

Class times will be different from what they were during the September pivot.

Hour 1 will start at 8:30, and classes will run for 30 minutes, with five minutes in between classes.

After 5th hour at 11:20, students will break for lunch. Craig will continue providing free drive-thru lunches.

Sixth through 8th hour will run from 12:05-1:45.

From 2:00 until 3:45, students will be able to meet with teachers for extra help. Some teachers may require students to convene in small groups.

Craig’s academic schedule is not the only consequence of online instruction. Athletics will be delayed also.

At the school board meeting on Thursday, November 12, the commissioners voted in favor of staring winter sports.

However, due to the online pivot, athletics are on hold until students return to in-person learning.

The anticipated return will be November 30.

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The Presidential Election in the Eyes of the Student Body Fri, 13 Nov 2020 20:17:43 +0000 Regardless of your political affiliation, there is no debate that this year’s presidential election will make history. It was arguably the most polarized election in American history, and there has been criticism towards mail-in and absentee ballots. 

Elections for lower levels of government have also made historic strides this year with the first transgender woman beig elected to the senate, and the first non-binary Muslim being elected to the House of Representatives. 

While most students here at Craig are unable to vote, political activity and affiliation has become more common among this generation. To help capture the voices of students that were unable to vote, the Criterion Staff interviewed students at random to get their thoughts on the election. 

Based on the randomized sample of students that were interviewed, the student body is generally democrat-leaning. The interviews indicate that a large majority of students are supporters of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

Where the sample of students primarily differ is on their motives for supporting Joe Biden. Some are supporters because they agree with his policies, and others are supporters because of a firm Anti-Trump stance. 

A prime example of this comes from Bridget Reilley, a freshman. 

“I would vote for Biden because personally I believe that Trump is xenophobic, Islamiphobic, homophobic, and a racist person who has shown us in 4 years that he can’t accomplish the job that he signed up to do.”

This narrative was common among the students interviewed. 

An anonymous source was very firm in this stance. “I am very against Trump and support Biden. I think Trump is a very sore loser.” 

Another student, Makennzie Mausser, went so far as to call president Trump, “very childish.” She thinks,  “The entire ‘you’ll have to remove me by force’ and demanding recounts and trying to sue the states because Biden is winning is completely ridiculous. He needs to chill out and gain some pride.”

This entails another major conversation starter surrounding the election: recounts. 

The President has demanded a recount in several states, some of which being Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. While most of his lawsuits have been turned down, there is a possibility of a recount in Wisconsin and Georgia is in the process of recounting their votes by hand. 

An anonymous student, as do many others, feels very strongly about the recount. 

“I think it is a big waste of money to do the recount because a recount hasn’t flipped the state elector in over 15 years- and it has cost 3.5 million dollars to perform a recount… There are a bunch of claims of other voter fraud that have been called out as false, so it just goes out to show that the Democratic party is more correct.”

Jamison Caley, a senior, agrees that mail-in ballots should be counted and are not an indicator of voter fraud. He says, “I think it would be pretty hard for him to cheat… They are mail in ballots, not fake ballots.”

Bridget Reilley also makes a clear point:  “Just like Biden, Trump deserves to have his votes counted because that’s a part of democracy… The rumor of missing votes is a problem because it interferes with the democracy that we set up.”

The major issue at hand with the allegations of voter fraud and recounts is the false information circulating on the internet. It can be difficult to decipher between the facts and falsities from those with a political agenda. 

That being said, some students here at Craig are in favor of doing recounts. 

An anonymous source says, “Honestly, if there are actually ballots being found in the trash, then I think that they should perform a recount.”

There are still many questions surrounding the outcome of this election, which can only be answered with time. Until that point, the student body, and the country, has said their piece.


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New Referendum Positively Affecting Craig High Tue, 10 Nov 2020 20:22:47 +0000 On November 3rd, a new referendum was passed. The new referendum in terms of the school district families works to be promising towards positive change. Right away, new maintenance will be performed on many school buildings throughout the Janesville school district and money will be saved to limit the loss of teachers.

As well as many other schools in Janesville, Craig High has an old building with outdated facilities. Maintenance might also include new windows or roofing as well as replacing boilers.

However, the most notable construction change may be a new, secure entrance to Craig. The referendum will not only work on the schools needs but also address urgent facility needs.

However, this referendum is decided on by many voters. The official name is the District Operational Needs Referendum. 

“If approved by voters, the impact of the facilities referendum would be a $5 increase in school-related taxes for every $100,000 in assessed value, beginning with tax bills in December of 2021,” said Mr. Phillips, Assistant Principal at Craig High School.

The second thing is that the operation of the district, as stated in the name of the referendum, still struggles with the current revenue limit of the district. This is a state-imposed limit, which has continuously decreased.

Why this is a problem is that the amount of money allowed has decreased faster than our ability to calculate costs and savings in case of small enrollment sizes.

The referendum hopes to fight to keep all teachers employed to help student learning with a better student-teacher ratio. If teachers were to leave, class sizes would increase.



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The Secondary Virus Fri, 06 Nov 2020 20:31:45 +0000 Stop in your tracks! A storm is upon us, one in the form of a virus. News of the Corona Virus has spread to the edges of the earth. However, this is not the virus I am talking about.

Is there a specific name for this secondary virus? The worst part is that many stop realizing they have this new virus soon after they catch it. 

What could this secondary virus be that it has spread to more people than the COVID 19 has? This psychological pandemic’s main side effects are lethargy and lack of communication or motivation.

The main cause of the secondary virus is a lack of activity, such as fun events, clubs, sports, and gatherings with other people. Unlike the Coronavirus, this pandemic springs up in most who are at home for longer periods of time.

As a person who experienced all of the symptoms, I want to help anyone who has fallen sick from the secondary virus. I was once a lethargic zombie but had to wake up eventually to keep up with school.

Before school began, many summer events like camps, sports, or reunions were canceled. Emails persistently rolled in about precautions, cancelations, and words of care.

However, the wonderful technology of video calling allows us to still talk to others outside our families. Despite this, the most engaging conversations you could have don’t regard much besides COVID 19, which everyone has heard about already.

Symptoms start appearing once people start staying at home. With events canceled, there is no reason why one cannot constantly sleep in.

Perhaps some experienced the same feeling over Christmas break where they stayed at home. With the freedom from school work, they took advantage of sleeping in or relaxing before realizing the break was already almost over.

The difference between a simple break and the pandemic is that we don’t have a deadline when this break will end. Not only that, but there is nothing jolly about staying quarantined rather than sharing a laugh with friends and family.

The days of sleeping in started to pile up for me because there started to be no reason to get up. I became reluctant to leave my room because I knew the farthest I could go that day was probably my front porch before going back inside.

When school started, I saw my friends that I missed all summer, but we lacked hugs or packing around the same lunch table.

Classrooms were more spread apart which helped avoid direct conversations as well as group work. Almost all tactile activities in core classes had been altered in some way.

Going back to school almost felt like a challenge because I had recently grown into a shell with limited human interaction during quarantine. Suddenly, I didn’t know how to reply to someone or struggled with eye contact that was missing over calls and text.

Students that thrive from tactile learning started to struggle with online school. Students who must communicate with teachers found it harder to understand information through a screen. Before and after school sessions were limited which also built up the same issue of less time to work with a teacher.

Coming to school has less meaning when there are no clubs or sports that help students show their individuality. Everyone began blending into the crowd of lethargic zombies entering and leaving the school on a strict schedule.

Especially with different cohorts, many have been split from the people they normally talk to. Their friends might as well go to a different school or graduate early.


The secondary virus seemed to have side effects as people found their new reality. Some people choose to not live in the new reality and perhaps see friends in an unsafe fashion. 

No matter where you stand on the virus and its effects, there always seems to be someone who opposes your thoughts. My friend group was not only separated by a distance of 6 feet and a mask, but also by our choices and beliefs.

With not much news other than the biggest pandemic of our lifetimes, news about political or global problems skyrocketed such as the Black Lives Matter movement or the presidential election.

I saw a change of light in my friends as they built away from each other with their views rather than helping each other understand a different side of things.

A lack of interaction at school or in public led to long periods of silence between people. I still wonder if people I haven’t seen since this whole fiasco began are doing okay.

Not only did I social distance, but my communication skills and energy ‘socially distanced’ from my brain.

The idea of time became lost when our ‘school’ is working at home. Your gym class becomes jogging with your dog in the mornings while your core classes might be a stream of videos that you lay on the couch watching.

All of these are common problems, but there is plenty of time to problem solve left open to us. I highly suggest writing a letter, whether that be digitally or through the mail, to a friend you haven’t communicated with. Tell them what you have been up to or ask them how they have been.

Imagine you receive a letter from a friend who let you know they were thinking about you. This helps connect you to the outside world. Even shooting someone a quick text asking if they are alright can brighten someone’s day.

Make a habit. This goes for the corona life or how life was previously. Forming habits and routines helps you to be more motivated to continue an activity.

Why this is particularly important during corona is because we perhaps had a normal school study plan or normal exercise plan before the pandemic that perhaps involved going somewhere else/ was specific to how your school schedule worked.

The pandemic may have stopped your normal life cycle, but time itself didn’t stop ticking, and neither does the time before your midterm exams. Homework and learning schedules may have been altered, but are still shaped to cover the same material you would in a normal setting.

Due to this, some perceive that we get less homework because we have days away from school that serve as time to work on things. In reality, these days can be spent watching lectures or doing activities you would be doing in class. Many still have assignments to do at 4:00 PM and later.

Others perceive that there is much more homework piled on us. Honestly, this could be true for some. Teachers offer activities and assignments to students outside of class to do on the off days without actually being able to always tell if an activity has been finished. 

This is where the student comes in. Always try to take advantage of the private comments section on google classroom to let your teacher know if you struggled or need more time on a topic. Perhaps other students feel the same way.

For your friendships, keep in mind what bonded you with someone before the controversial pandemic began. Don’t focus on your differences in opinions for a moment and imagine yourself in a ‘normal’ world. 

However, I don’t discourage you from talking about what you are passionate about. It is important to show our individuality with our limited exposure to others.

When we don’t get to express ourselves through our outfits we wear hanging out with friends or by extracurricular activities, our words and choices become more powerful. Use this power carefully.

Times change and changes change people over time. Perhaps when the pandemic dies down (which feels like it will not for ages), we might be used to our new normal and have trouble going back to our old ‘normal’ without masks, which will feel strangely new.


Although this secondary virus is nowhere as medically dangerous as the Corona virus is, it is no less important. Just because someone doesn’t have COVID 19 does not mean they are not suffering by the hands of COVID 19.

Some might feel like they are drowning in work while others feel that they don’t have enough to do.

For students, take advantage of the size of your smaller classes as an opportunity to get more one on one time with the teacher. For teachers, know there is a whole staff of teachers that might have some tips and tricks for teaching during the pandemic.

Students aren’t the only ones who suffer. Sure, summer is a magical time where kids get to do whatever they want outside of school, but just because school ended early last year does not mean that summer was elongated. You could argue that there was no summer at all.

Growing up does not make unique opportunities like events or days out any less fun. I know that especially my mom was deprived of much joy when she couldn’t always go work out with her friends or help out at our church.

For those who find themselves lacking activities or motivation, try starting a new hobby. I tried picking up sewing which gave me a task to accomplish.

Personally, something like sewing gave me a feeling of success when I was able to finish one project to the next. Activities like this can boost your confidence to keep active.

My main takeaways are to stay in contact with people safely, form a routine, avoid negative or irrelevant conversation that could lead to disagreement, try a new hobby, take advantage of unique opportunities,  and accept change and challenges during this pandemic.

If you have any stories about a case of the secondary virus, I would love to hear it!

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Another Covid disruption: Homecoming delayed, but Pom and Cheer hold virtual spirit nights Wed, 04 Nov 2020 20:40:04 +0000 With the new developments on how this school year is changing due to covid, it is no surprise to anyone that Homecoming and Prom have been postponed. 

Assistant Principal Monte Phillips said, “We talked about doing some of the dress-up days for Homecoming Week and ordering class shirts.”

With the discussion still up in the air about Homecoming and prom, Phillips does not know when the dress-up days will be or when they will start selling class shirts. 

“Our current Distance Learning platform has caused us to hit a pause on these plans,” he said. 

Despite the changes and the hard developments from last year continuing into this year, the Cheerleaders and Poms have started having Virtual Spirit Nights.

Poms coach Ahlia Dupree said, “I’d have to say Homecoming was tough and the spirit night was tough as well.” 

Virtual Spirit Nights are videos of Cheerleaders and Poms performing with recorded messages from teachers, coaches and administrators.

“Since we couldn’t practice together we had to get creative” added Dupree. “Poms coach is the one who coordinates it and puts it all together,” said  Cheer coach ReJeanne Lehron. “This fall we wanted to offer some kind of fun spirit activity to keep the student body and staff engaged in Cougar spirit at Craig High School” added Rejeanne. 

See a video here.

Phillips also said that if and when Homecoming and Prom take place, anyone will be invited to attend, meaning full-time Craig, full-time Arise, and hybrid students. 

“All of those students are eligible to attend anything we have if and when we are able,” he added. 

While no one knows what Homecoming or Prom will look this year, the administrators want students to know that they are trying to make it possible.

“We are doing our best to get things back to normal,” said Phillips.



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Craig shows fall festival and Halloween spirit Thu, 29 Oct 2020 20:39:24 +0000 This Halloween, everyone is wearing a mask, but a few students and the Art Department went above and beyond.

All of us at the Criterion with our Craig community a safe and healthy Halloween!


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World Traveller and Avid Adventurer Lands in English Department Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:27:17 +0000 As Craig’s students spend more time on online classes than in real life (or it seems), they may have missed a new face among Craig’s staff.

She is an adventurous soul who has traveled across the world and back. 

Her name is Amy Lewison, and she joins Craig’s English department.

From the small town of Oak Creek near Milwaukee, Ms. Lewison received her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University with a double major in English and women’s/gender studies.

She always has been some sort of educator, whether it was giving violin lessons or tutoring college athletes. 

This led her to an interest in teaching. She received her master’s degree in English education at UW-Madison. 

From there, she traveled the world.

For two years, she taught English in Etchujima, Japan. 

She recalls that the school was heated with kerosene lamps.

“Now and then we would turn the heaters off and open the windows open so that no one would get kerosine poisoning,” she said. “Students would be cold, then warm, then cold again, so one teacher came up with a way to keep everyone warm.”

But they found a way to have fun. “Many of the first through ninth graders that I taught were singing ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ while huddled in a shivering group,” she recalled.

During her time in Japan, Ms. Lewison grew in her conversational Japanese along with her English.

Her new journey has taken her to Craig. She teaches English 12, English 11, and Freshman Seminar. 

Her inspiration for going into teaching was her Aunt Brenda. 

“She encouraged me to attempt new possibilities,” she says. “I don’t think I would be where I was today without trying new things.”

Along with a passion for English and for learning, Ms. Lewison tries to be open-minded. “I try as hard as I can to be kind to people and try to understand their situation,” she says.

She confessed to feeling upset when a student doesn’t have an assignment done. 

“But then I email them to ask about their predicament to better understand where they are coming from,” she says.

Ms. Lewison has always valued education and the academic environment. 

Her favorite part of her job is helping students write. “When I help students write, I love helping them realize they are good at writing,” she says.

At Craig, she loves the community of connection among the teachers. She takes note of the many students that put effort into her assignments even if they might be nervous or confused.

She encourages her students to “try new things and take risks because it will help you understand new people.”

She also suggests that students use an assignment notebook to help keep track of homework throughout the day.

Always willing to try new things, Ms. Lewison is thinking about coaching forensics or debate, but not until her second year. 

“The circumstances of COVID 19 mixed with being a new teacher at Craig is a little overwhelming,” she says.

To deal with pandemic and first-year teaching stress, Ms. Lewison ventures outdoors. She counts camping, going on walks, and biking as three of her favorite activities.

“Ever since I was in middle school, I loved listening to music on my iPod while going on walks,” she says. “Even now, no matter how overworked I am, I go on walks even during late hours.”

Ms. Lewison takes advantage of Madison’s bike trails like the Bike City Trail or the Cannonball Loop.

Despite her travels half a world away, this avid adventurer isn’t done. She hopes to travel to fascinating places in Asia such as Russia or Vietnam. 

“When I lived in Japan, I was told about the beautiful places to kayak in Vietnam,” she says.

When she isn’t dreaming of her next adventure abroad, she enjoys more down-to-earth pleasures like a cup of coffee, “something,” she says, “I just can’t live without!”

“I spend too much on it, but it is totally worth it,” she said. 

Her favorite? Columbian medium roast.

Her favorite books include The Awakening by Kate Chopin and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a graphic novel about a young girl’s life in Iran.

Coraline is one of Ms. Lewison’s favorite movies. “I watch it every fall,” she says.

Another interesting fact about Ms. Lewison is that she owns a three dimensional printed tooth. 

“The future is now!” she says.

And for Ms. Lewison, that future is about establishing herself at Craig. 

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Cougar Comics 5 Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:09:48 +0000
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Yays and Nays of COVID 19 Mon, 26 Oct 2020 19:12:04 +0000 Nay to no hugging my friends

Nay to my canceled trips and summer

Nay to social media bugging down on us,

Nay to arguments about masks.

Nay to feelings of being alone

Nay to hidden smiles behind masks

Nay to forgetting how to communicate

 Nay to lost periods of our life.

Nay to worry of our health

Nay to the worry of our future

Nay for covid tests after covid tests,

Nay for those who test positive.

Nay for no hair cuts or manicures

Nay for postponed sports seasons in school or on TV

Nay for the world fighting instead of working together

Nay for everyone on earth.

Nay to separated classrooms

Nay to watered down classes and field trips,

However, Yay for the time to think and revise

And Yay for not going through this alone.

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Craig and Parker High School Switch to a Cohort System Wed, 21 Oct 2020 19:01:52 +0000 Starting on October 7, 2020 Craig and Parker High School will be switching to a cohort model due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With this new system students will be split up into either cohort A or cohort B and will attend school every other day.

This new system will make it possible to maintain a physical distance so that school can remain face to face. 

Many teachers will be using a flipped classroom model. Meaning that the remote education day students will work independently watching videos and doing homework independently. Then on the in person days they will get direct support and help from teachers.

The in person days the schedule will follow the 8-period bell schedule with two lunches. Students who are eligible can still eat off campus. 

Milton High School has been using a similar system since the beginning of the year. The only major difference is that Milton has cohorts organized by last name and Craig’s cohorts are generated by an infinite campus to keep even amounts of students in the classrooms.

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