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.”
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.
Everything from the floor to the roof—except for the pool itself, which was in good shape—was renovated.
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.
By 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.
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.
He was interviewed immediately following his performance.
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 first right past the middle school, where parents once drove, is now for buses only. A gate, which was the old entrance, now blocks access to the parking lot.
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.
Welcome 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.
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.
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.
One 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.