The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


Metamorphosis starts the new year

A new kind of music arises within Kerr this year, a music spurred by innovations and modifications.  

Ashley Siegrist, first time teacher and new band director, introduces one of the many changes to take place this year. Siegrist was inspired by her eighth grade band director to pursue a career in music, which led to her arrival here at Kerr.

“I have never met a group more dedicated and genuinely smart and thoughtful,” she said.

Senior Naomi M. is pleased to have Siegrist this year.

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“Mrs. Siegrist is really nice! I’m really excited to have her this year,” Naomi said. “She just graduated from college, so she’s young and energetic which always helps get people interested in the band program.”

Under Siegrist’s direction, the band will now be required to complete PAKs, just as they would for any other class.

“The PAKs will teach students about theory in order to help them learn more of music theory, ” Siegrist said.

Students find the new PAKs odd, but surprisingly helpful to the band. Naomi thinks that they will be beneficial to the band as a whole.

“I was a little skeptical about having to do the Music Theory PAKs, but so far they’ve turned out to be really easy,” she said. “I think that the PAKs are a nice way of making sure everyone is on the same level of musical understanding. Understanding theory can make bad musicians good and good musicians, great. I think the band will be able to play more difficult music once everyone has learned the basics of theory.”

By giving her students PAKs, Siegrist is hoping to broaden the field of learning for her students and open doors to many different possibilities and options.

Also, flutes, clarinets, and any other wind instrument excluding saxophone will not be presented in Jazz Band. Instead, Jazz Band will be starting from scratch with classic jazz instrumentation, which includes the trumpet, trombone, and saxophone.

“This gives kids an opportunity to learn another instrument other than the one they play in class,” Siegrist said.

Also beginning this year, English teacher Roger Martin will be assisting Theater director Julie Ryan with Cadre Kerr productions. Martin became interested in theater when he began acting in high school and received a theater scholarship. His love for the art opened a door to work with the theater department.

“I am thoroughly enjoying my new position,” Martin said. “The theater kids are great, and Ms. Ryan is a joy to work with.”

The first play that Martin will co-direct will be Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and although he is the new assistant director, Martin reports that there will hardly be any changes made.

“As far as changes go, there really are none, other than I will be directing some of the plays. This will help to give Ms. Ryan some time to relax.”

Sophomore Jason Q. feels that the change is good.

“Because he’s an English teacher, he knows a lot about the plays,” Jason said.

Also joining the staff is technology specialist Cindi Payne, who will be spending two to three days each week at Kerr and the rest at Alief Learning Center. Principal Greg Freeman said is excited to have Payne on staff and feels that her being here will be beneficial for students and teachers.

“She is a very hard worker and tries to anticipate problems before they occur,” he said.

Students will probably see very few changes in technology service, other than a dry-erase board on the door of the office in the Business Center for those seeking “Payne relief” for technology problems.

“I don’t think she is planning on any changes but will be very accessible to students and staff for support and as a resource,” Freeman said.

Another change comes in the science department. Biology teacher Misty Chen-Godspeed was offered a position at Alief Early College and began teaching Chemistry there this year. However, Chen was not replaced, therefore reducing the number of science teachers.

“We’re busier,” science teacher Clarissa Caro said. “I have over 100 students as compared to 60 last year, and so does Mrs. [Deborah] Valdez. [Also,]I was not doing seminars for bio, but now I am.”

But it isn’t just the teachers that are affected. Students who were in Chen’s advisory were  sent to other teachers’ advisories.

“It definitely made advisory new and interesting,” said science teacher Margaret Bancroft.

 Senior My V. was placed in Bancroft’s advisory after spending three years with Chen.

“I like having Ms. Bancroft, but I’d [still] like to have Dr. Chen,” said My.

Freeman knows that some of the changes this year are tough, but nothing the school can’t handle.

“I think with the staff changes, it gives us the opportunity to explore new and different ways to efficiently and effectively meet the learning needs of students without losing the tradition of excellence Kerr has established,” he said. “Of course the negative effect will be with less staff, there are fewer adults to give the personal touch. That is why we have to find ways to take some of the load off the staff we have in order to give them the time to work with students.”



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