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PARCC at Mesa 80 by insert by 72By Dr. Colleen W. Bowman, Interim Superintendent
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.

Guitar Player Audience 40 by 40 by 72

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.

KCHS Senior 80 by 80 by 72The 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.

Nizhoni Elementary 80 by insertTraveling 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.

Back to School Teachers J1 80 by 80

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.

John Tohtsoni JrThere’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 80B by 72Eric 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.

Air Care J72 by 80Welcome to the future.

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.

KES Reading 80 by 72 KESPopcorn anyone?

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.

Coding 80 j by 72

There’s no low crawling in the mud under barbed wire here. But the pace of this website developer boot camp can be just as challenging.

Nine Shiprock High School students attended an eight-week full stack website development course over the summer—taught by Cultivating Coders, an Albuquerque-based company—in the school’s library.

“We’re actually going a lot faster than we should be, but it’s actually easy. It’s like learning another language,” junior Amber Henderson said in a June 28, 2016 interview about the six computer programs being taught. “This benefits us. Who would not want to hire someone who knows (website) code and works with the computer? It’s like a profession we will have.”

The course—free to the students—included receiving a free laptop and coding software to use. The students can continue to use their laptops throughout high school and college, and into their careers. They met eight hours a day, five days a week, over the months of June and July 2016.

Nurse Career Prep 80 by 72aOne first notices her command voice—not loud, but authoritative, quick, steady, informative, and decisive. And her eyes—she has a habit of maintaining strong eye contact when she speaks.

Ann Marie McCarthy, who brings more than 35 years of nursing experience to her job as the Career Prep High School nurse in Shiprock, New Mexico, helps ensure the students receive an array of healthcare services from within and outside of the District.

She received the Marlene McDowell Distinguished Service Award from the New Mexico School Nurse’s Association at its annual conference held this year at San Juan College in Farmington. It was presented during their June 15, 2016 luncheon.

“The award recognizes a school nurse whose contributions promote the health of school children,” McCarthy said, holding the plaque, which read Honors Your Support, Dedication, and Enthusiasm for School Nursing.

Judy Nelson Retires w05272016Four generations of students believed her because she believed in them.

Secretary Judy Nelson has a commanding presence with her smile, confidence, and maturity that gave the message—no matter the problem, everything would be OK.

Judy Nelson retired June 6, 2016 as secretary of Grace B. Wilson Elementary School (renamed Judy Nelson Elementary) in Kirtland, after reaching 50 years in that position in the same school.

“I have lots of projects at home,” Nelson said in a May 27, 2016 interview about her retirement plans. “I need to spend some time with my husband Joseph (of 60 years). I’ve been up here for lots of hours, for lots of years. Mostly I like flowers and working out in the yard.”

But leaving the school was a challenge.

NHS Grad 80 by 72Newcomb High School held its 2016 Graduation May 19 in the Skyhawks’ gymnasium. Thirty-nine students—witnessed by approximately 1,500 family, friends, and community members—received their diplomas.

The valedictorian was Josiah Cleveland. The salutatorian was Heather Lee.

The processional was performed by the Newcomb High School Band under the direction of band teacher Tom Irwin. The presentation of the Colors was by the Newcomb Veterans Organization. The National Anthem was sung by Amber Happy.

The keynote speaker was Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez. The master of ceremony was Megan Gray, and the welcome address was given by Sonshyin Lee.

The certification of graduates was presented to the Central Consolidated School District School Board by Newcomb High School Principal Tamara Allison.

SHS 1966 Grad 2016 GradShiprock High School Class of 1966 alumni were among the guests who witnessed the school’s Class of 2016 graduation ceremony, held May 20, 2016 in the Pit gymnasium.

The Class of 2016 marked the school’s 50th year of graduates. The Class of 1966, who sat on the Pit floor behind the graduates, stood up and waved as they were recognized by Chasitty Todacheenie. Alumni from other years, who were in the audience, also stood up as they were recognized.

One-hundred-and-sixteen students received their diplomas, surrounded by more than 3,000 family members, friends, and community members. Their teachers and staff sat on the Pit floor directly behind the graduates.

The valedictorian was Yves Saint Dumayas. The salutatorian was Alyssa Sturgill.

KCHS Grad 80 b by 72Several thousand family members, friends, and community members filled the Bronco stadium for Kirtland Central High’s May 21, 2016 graduation.

One-hundred-and-seventy-one graduates proceeded onto the field for the Saturday morning commencement, as the KCHS Band, under the direction of teacher Deanna Stevens, played. The KCHS Army Jr. ROTC, under the direction of instructor Chief Warrant Officer Pedro Larribas, posted the Colors.

The National Anthem was sung by Kyla Jones and Allie Haws. The Invocation was given by Fredricka Davis. The introduction of platform guests was given by Megan Silversmith. The welcome was given by Orquidea Reyes, Camisha Ramone, and Patricia Camacho.

The Valedictorian was Sara Fuller. The Salutatorian was Kayce Culler.