U.S. Navy Capt. Randall Peck, commander of the USS Mesa Verde, and Shiprock High School Marine Corps Jr. ROTC cadet Staff Sgt. Caitlyn Nez, cut the birthday cake together at an Aug. 25, 2016 National Park Service Centennial celebration at Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado.
Two days earlier Capt. Peck—along with two of his officers and five enlisted sailors—visited approximately 84 Shiprock High School Marine Corps Jr. ROTC cadets at the Central Consolidated School District’s Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center in Shiprock, New Mexico, where they watched the ROTC Armed Drill Team Perform.
Back in Colorado, Nez and five other Shiprock High School Marine Corps Jr. ROTC cadets in Blue Dress uniform, along with numerous park rangers, greeted international visitors, as well as tourists from around the country and within the Four Corners, as they arrived to the celebration, held outdoors under a festival tent, at the Mesa Verde National Park Visitor and Research Center located at the park’s entrance.
A Community of Learners Dedicated to Building Lives – that is our new Board-adopted District Vision Statement and that is who you have proven to be!
The New Mexico PARCC results came in and I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of all of you and the good work you have done this year! We pulled together in a challenging year and our efforts to put our students first are reflected in the data results. We all know that a tremendous amount of dedicated commitment goes on, both in and out of the classroom, everyday.
Our State assessments are just one of the measures we are judged by. We know that teachers are the single most important factor in a student’s learning. The measurement will not make or break us but our progress and growth this past year is an indication that you have remained focused on the main thing: Student achievement and learning.
Jalen John—sitting on a chair on the floor of the Shiprock High School Pit—played the classical guitar as though he were center stage at Carnegie Hall.
When the Shiprock High senior began his fourth and final piece more than 1,100 Central Consolidated School District employees—sitting from the floor to the ceiling on the bleachers on one side of the Pit—were completely silent as they listened. Up until that moment they had been quietly taking their seats as he played. It was during the second day of CCSD’s all staff Back-to-School training, held Aug. 11, 2016.
The music—he chose the selections—of Italian composer Ferdinando Carulli, Spanish composer Fernando Sor, German composer Felix Mendelssohn, and Austrian composer Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart flowed off of his fingertips. His eyes stayed focused on the sheets of music before him.
The new Kirtland Central High freshmen class quickly learned they have friends in high places.
These freshly minted Broncos were welcomed by their new junior and senior class mentors Aug. 16, 2016, which was the first day of school.
“When I was a freshman my mentors really helped me out when I was new to high school. It was kind of intimidating,” said senior Destry Palmer, on why he became a mentor. “But they made it pretty easy. I wanted to do the same for the incoming freshmen.”
Those juniors and seniors, who went through an application process to become mentors, will mentor the freshmen in their advisement periods—along with a teacher—twice a week for the entire school year. It is an annual program.
Traveling in and out of Nizhoni Elementary School just got a lot easier.
Nizhoni Elementary kicks off the new 2016-17 school year with a new two-lane paved road—which is a whole new entrance—for parents and visitors. The school also welcomes new Principal Geraldine Herrod and new Assistant Principal Dr. J. Kaibah Begay.
Improving educational achievement and community engagement with parents are among the school’s goals. The new traffic flow creates a safer situation for students and motorists.
The road, completed this summer, is designed to keep cars and school buses on separate roads. In the past school buses and parents would be caught in the same line of traffic before and after school, while some parents picked up their children in the bus lane behind the school.
The District packed a lot of information on school safety and education into its annual two day all staff Back-to-School meeting, held Aug. 10 and 11, 2016 at the Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center and the neighboring Shiprock High School.
“We brought the whole staff together to welcome them to CCSD, or welcome them back, to give some inspirational speakers, to get them excited for a new year, and also do some training on different topics that need to be covered by everybody,” said Don Hornbecker, Coordinator of Elementary Education.
More than 1,100 Central Consolidated School District employees—including teachers, building principals, maintenance workers, technology, Food Service, educational aides, and numerous others—kicked off the new school year with trainings, orientations, and professional learning communities a week ahead of students returning to the classrooms.
There’s an excitement in the air as Shiprock High welcomes John Tohtsoni Jr.,—a 1990 Shiprock High Chieftain graduate—as its new principal.
The school also welcomes new Assistant Principal Jeff Sagor, and new Dean of Students / Athletic Director Dannell Yazzie, a Shiprock High 2000 graduate, to begin the 2016-17 school year.
“We were pretty active youth, working with the community and with the high school,” Tohtsoni said remembering back. “We were one of the first groups that did a lot of lobbying for a (Shiprock) youth center. It never happened when we were youths ourselves, but they did finally build it.”
He added he was in band—including Marching Band at football games—and in JV baseball at Shiprock High.
“I did go to Washington D.C. my junior year for a week-long program where we learned about the operations of government,” Tohtsoni said, adding the trip made such an impression that he spent the summer after graduation back in D.C. working as a doorkeeper for the U.S. Senate.
Eric Cheever is one of two college readiness coordinators at Shiprock High School. He is also a college advisor, and coordinates student visits to college fairs. (Bonnie Lee is a Shiprock High college readiness gifted coordinator. She will be featured in an upcoming article.)
What do you teach at Shiprock High School?
Eric Cheever: I teach College Success in the fall and an on-campus dual credit San Juan College class—LRNS 111—in the spring. The classes are open to juniors and seniors.
We teach LRNS (pronounced learns) 111 on the Shiprock High campus to give our students more opportunity to access higher education programs. It is just a continuation of the first semester. Students who take College Success in the fall take LRNS 111 in the spring and that gives them 3 hours of college credit while they’re still in high school. And then it transfers back as a high school credit—a full 1.0 credit.
A class of Ojo Amarillo Elementary kindergartners stood in front of a towering San Juan Regional Medical Center AirCare helicopter, which had landed on the dirt playground just past the basketball court.
They listened as pilot Mark Pebler, flight paramedic Steven Malarchick, and flight nurse Sandi Greyeyes spoke about their jobs, the helicopter, and the importance of education.
“Reading and writing is the basis of all of your education,” Malarchick said. “If you can’t read the math book, then you can have a hard time doing math. Getting a solid foundation in reading and writing is so important.”
All three college graduates continue their education constantly to maintain their skill levels.
“If they want to get the job of their dreams, they need to study first, graduate, and then get a job so they can be competitive,” Greyeyes said afterward.
When a student finished reading a couple of paragraphs in their science text they would call out another student’s name who would then continue reading—and then that student would call on yet another student to read, and so on.
The pattern, which appeared haphazard like popcorn popping, was actually quite organized and kept everyone alert, involved, and reading.
“I totally believe reading is absolutely key on an everyday basis,” said teacher Audra Allen, who led her class in an outdoor reading session. “I just believe that reading words, whether their spoken or written, are the building blocks for life. Reading needs to be in abundance everywhere.”
The 4th grade Kirtland Elementary students in the K-3 Plus / 4-6 summer school class were gathered in a circle in the grass under a tree on the playground.