Principal’s corner: Building bridges between communities, cultures in Kings Beach | SierraSun.com

Principal’s corner: Building bridges between communities, cultures in Kings Beach

Kyle Mohagen
Special to the Sun
Kyle Mohagen is principal of Kings Beach Elementary School.
Courtesy TTUSD |

“Principal’s Corner” is a regular feature in the Sierra Sun, in which a principal from a Tahoe Truckee Unified School District school shares news and events happening at his or her school, as well as any information that may impact the students, staff or families of that school. This month, we feature Kyle Mohagen, principal of Kings Beach Elementary School.

KINGS BEACH, Calif. — ¡Kings Beach es la mejor escuela! Hay muchas razones para esto, pero la razón más importante es el grupo de personas que apoyan la escuela. Tenemos un equipo increíble de maestras, padres, personal de apoyo y estudiantes. Las personas y la comunidad hacen de Kings Beach la mejor escuela.

One of the most amazing things about Kings Beach Elementary is that all of our students are either bi-literate or on their way to becoming bi-literate.

We are a two-way Spanish immersion school, which means the majority of the instruction in each grade level is delivered in Spanish.

Whether students speak English or Spanish at home, through the instruction at school they become fully literate in both languages.

This style of instruction provides our students with opportunities that would not be available through a traditional English-only education.

Bi-literacy provides many benefits to our students. By processing information in two languages our students are able to increase their intellectual growth and the flexibility of their thinking.

They improve their understanding of their native language and are given the opportunity to communicate and interact with people and cultures they may otherwise never encounter.

With the ability to speak two languages our students have a head start toward college language requirements and have a wider range of job opportunities in their future. Bi-literacy helps our students become 21st century citizens.

Within each classroom our students are given a collaborative learning experience. Since we are a two-way immersion school we use a language buddy system that connects students of different language backgrounds to aid in the learning process.

Students work collaboratively to learn and understand each language from one another as they are learning academic concepts and skills.

These relationships help build bridges between communities and cultures for all of our students and families.

Kings Beach is a community school that thrives due to the incredible support of parents and community members.

Every day we have at least half a dozen parent volunteers on campus. You might see moms working in classrooms, filling green bags, or teaching art.

You might see dads reading with a group of students, helping in the lunchroom, or playing games at recess.

Additionally, our parents guide nature hikes through the local trails and teach students about our amazing environment. Our parents love being a part of the school and sharing their passions with our students.

Students at Kings Beach have opportunities to not only learn about the local environment but also how to protect and preserve its beauty.

Through the generous efforts of multiple community partners solar panels were added to Kings Beach this year.

With the addition of the solar panels our students are able to see a live feed of the energy the panels are creating and learn about the importance of renewable resources.

In addition to solar energy, our students are taught about terracycling and recycling through the Sierra Watershed Educational Partnerships (SWEP).

SWEP sponsors a green team of fourth grade students that help teach our younger students about reducing waste.

Not only does SWEP provide education on waste management they also provide our students with the hands-on experience of Trout in the Classroom.

Trout in the Classroom lets our students raise Lahontan cutthroat trout from eggs and release them into their natural environment in a local creek.

Our vision as a school is to provide the most well rounded educational experience possible for all of our students.

We want our students to receive not only core academic instruction, but opportunities to explore many different aspects of education.

Through Measure A we provide science, PE, music, technology, and counseling services.

Also, the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe is a tremendous partner. The school and the club share the same campus and the club offers after school activities to all of our students.

A major opportunity they provide is their musical productions. These musicals give our students the chance to act and sing in front of sold out audiences.

We also have a very supportive PTO that sponsors an art docent program in which parents go into classrooms to teach art lessons.

Finally, we encourage physical fitness as well as mental fitness, and we have a parent come in every Monday to run each of our classes through Zumba routines. Zumba is a great way to get the week started!

Kings Beach Elementary School is an incredible place in which teachers, aides, secretaries, custodians, parents, and community members all come together to provide the most enriching education possible for all of our students.