Army Ranger Staff Sgt. Quentin Mason, an Ojo Amarillo Elementary School parent and a veteran who served three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, sat with other parents in the bleachers during the school’s annual Veterans Day ceremony, held Nov. 11, 2016, in the gymnasium.
More than 500 students from kindergarten through the fifth grade—the entire school—performed a variety of songs following the posting of the Colors by the Upper Fruitland Veterans Association Color Guard.
The National Anthem was sung by a student in Navajo and English. Students also sang God Bless America, You’re a Grand Old Flag, and Yankee Doodle.
“The beginning when the Flag came in, seeing the Colors, and the kids singing got emotional for me. I’m usually not emotional. I don’t know why,” Mason said. “I always teach my kids about that, being a veteran, to respect it.”
Trees, Gym, and Music Room—Saved from Ruth N. Bond Elementary—Are Now Part of the New Judy Nelson Elementary School
A tree that stood in front of Ruth N. Bond Elementary now stands in front of the new Judy Nelson Elementary School.
The tree never moved—just the schools.
The tree, boxed in by a chain-link fence for protection from being run over by earth movers, survived the demolition of Ruth N. Bond Elementary in the fall of 2015 and the construction of Judy Nelson Elementary in 2016 on its footprint.
The gymnasium and music room were also kept, as well as large mature trees across from the front of the gym and on the playgrounds in the back of the school.
Principal Steve Carlson Reflects on Receiving the National Distinguished Principal for New Mexico Award
Principal Steve Carlson attributes his school’s success to his students and staff.
Judy Nelson Elementary earned an A on the New Mexico Public Education Department’s 2016 School Grade Report Card, while Carlson received a 2016 National Distinguished Principal Award for New Mexico from the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
“It’s an incredibly big honor … but it’s really not about me,” Carlson said about the principal award. “It’s more of an honor that speaks to the entire staff and the people I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years.”
Judy Nelson Elementary School exceeded the statewide benchmark on its 2016 School Report Card for school growth—its improved student performance and its current standing—as well as growth of its highest performing students, and for its opportunity to learn.
The description of a rooster by a Naschitti Elementary student drew laughter from several Navajo Nation Council delegates and audience members when the student, holding a puppet Rooster, said in Navajo, “I am a rooster. I eat corn and I wake up people.”
The Council delegates quietly smiled as they watched Naschitti Elementary students perform Winter Stories in the Dine language. It was Oct. 18, 2016—day two of the Navajo Nation Council’s Fall Session in the Council Chamber in the Navajo Nation capital in Window Rock, Arizona.
“They really enjoy participating. … The kids all know their self-identify, especially their Clans, where they’re coming from, who their relatives are,” said Naschitti Elementary bilingual teacher Alverna Smith.
“They’re proud to be Dine. They feel confident about themselves,” she added.
Ojo Amarillo Elementary School awarded approximately 150 certificates to students in grades 4th, 5th, and 6th for demonstrating proficiency and / or growth on their PARCC assessment scores for math and / or English Language Arts from 2015 to 2016.
The Ojo Amarillo Elementary ceremony, which took placed in a packed gymnasium full of parents, students, and staff, was part of the District’s PARCC Pride Day—held Sept. 23, 2016—for all 15 schools. Some Central Consolidated School District schools celebrated on different days.
“The students are very proud,” Ojo Amarillo Elementary Principal Abena McNeely said about receiving the certificates. They took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as PARCC, last spring.
The Superintendent Academic Excellence Award for Academic Achievement on the PARCC certificates were also presented to the top two students in each grade level district wide.
It was a celebration of education and being life-long learners.
Students from all 15 Central Consolidated School District schools took the stage to showcase their work at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico. They performed Sept. 29 -30, 2016 inside the CCSD tent near the Exhibit Hall, less than 100 yards from the carnival and rodeo grounds.
“Our children made the difference. With the community having the impact of the Gold King Mine spill (from Colorado), we didn’t have all the farmers that we thought. People come here (to the Fair) for that. They come here for the produce, that’s what we’re known for,” said Dr. Colleen W. Bowman, the District’s interim superintendent.
“But we’re growing our children … we’re showing that we are able to grow from our community. And it was all of our schools. We had Kirtland, Ojo Amarillo, Newcomb, Naschitti, and Shiprock band together, and being able to support each other. That was really great.”
Five Central Consolidated School District high school students and a 2016 graduate spent several weeks in the summer of 2016 building and maintaining trails in the Hiawatha National Forest on the U.P.—the upper peninsula of Michigan.
“It was really green, really different, and the fact there was a lake in front of us gave us an opportunity to swim a lot,” Newcomb High School senior Corminda Henry said about being at the Clear Lake Education Center on the U.P., tightly sandwiched between Lake Superior to the north and Lake Michigan to the south.
Eva B. Stokely Elementary School jumped two letter grades to earn a B on the New Mexico Public Education Department’s 2016 School Grade Report Card.
Rounding out the top School Report Card grades within the Central Consolidated School District were Judy Nelson Elementary with an A; and three schools who went from a C in 2015 to a B grade in 2016: Kirtland Elementary, Newcomb Elementary and Kirtland Central High.
“It’s pretty significant in a sense Eva B. Stokely Elementary jumped two grade levels. They went from a D, which was a 41.36, all the way to a B, which was a 68.85. That is just a substantial jump,” said Milo McMinn, the District’s coordinator of Data and Compliance.
“If you look at Eva B. Stokely Elementary grades overall, they showed an extensive growth in proficiency in English Language Arts and in math. In 2016, they almost grew 7 percent, which is fantastic.”
The Shiprock High School Chieftains and Dolores Bears football players honored—in a halftime ceremony—the nation’s law enforcement, veterans, and military service members. The event included a flyover by a San Juan County Sheriff's helicopter.
They also held a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims and their families of the 9/11 terrorist attack.
“This weekend represents the 15th anniversary of 9/11,” Chieftain head football coach Eric Stovall said to the spectators. “The Twin Towers were attacked by a terrorist group. … It didn’t defeat us. It may have damaged us. It made us stronger. We came together as a country and we won the war on terrorism ladies and gentlemen.”
Both teams placed their helmets on the sidelines to begin the halftime Chieftain-Dolores Veteran/Law Enforcement Ceremony held Sept. 9, 2016 in the Shiprock HIgh School Chieftains stadium.
Shiprock High students, community members, and Northern Navajo Medical Center outpatient therapy patients are back at the District’s Shiprock pool this fall following a $1.3 million renovation that kept the pool closed much of last spring and through most of the summer.
“Twenty-five years I’m not used to not having a pool. So I’m real excited about getting it back open and everybody in the community is too,” said Jerry Paulson, the Shiprock Natatorium’s manager since it opened in 1991. “I was there when the pool opened. I was there when it was under construction.”
The pool now sports a new rental party room for birthday parties and other family celebrations, which opens to a new landscaped patio with covered picnic tables and trees. The pool, which holds 153,000 gallons of water, is 25 yards long with six lanes and a diving area.