Principal’s Corner: Large offerings, small environment at North Tahoe High
“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 Joanna Mitchell, principal of North Tahoe High School.
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Did you know that right here in Tahoe City we have an award-winning high school that offers local students course offerings competitive with some of the largest high schools in the state?
We also have a critically acclaimed band program, a full spectrum of varsity level sports, endless opportunities for clubs and personalized learning plans with flexible scheduling.
North Tahoe High School is an amazing, comprehensive high school with all that and more.
Serving 325 students, NTHS functions as a small, intimate learning community in which the staff knows the students personally and supports each of them in their personal and academic growth.
In the midst of this warm, supportive environment, we provide amazingly comprehensive and challenging course offerings that are more characteristic of schools with student populations in the thousands.
We offer 12 Advanced Placement courses, including English Language, English Literature, Spanish Literature, US History, Government, Microeconomics, Psychology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics 1, and Calculus AB.
Electives include four different band classes, art, photography, ceramics, three levels of culinary arts and engineering, and theater tech. Our academic success was recognized last year with California’s Title 1 Academic Achievement Award.
Additionally, in order to prepare students for the demands of the 21st century workplace, Excellence in Education and the school district have provided each of our students a school-issued Chromebook! Academically, North Tahoe truly has large school offerings in a small school environment.
Extracurricular opportunities abound at NTHS. More than half of our students play at least one school sport, and it is not uncommon for students to participate in a sport every season.
Almost a third of our students are involved in the band program, and many students are actively involved in student leadership.
Students have the opportunity to create just about any club they are interested in forming. Long-lasting clubs include Interact (a community service club), Latinos Making a Difference, Youth in Action, and CSF (California Scholarship Federation).
Recently founded clubs include newspaper, Toastmasters, Be the Change, peer counselors, and drama.
One of the truly unique features of NTHS is our flexible scheduling through the Ski and Independent Study Academy.
Through partnerships with Cold Stream Alternative School and Sierra College, teachers, and counselors; our students are able to attend traditional classes part of the day and take independent study or college classes outside of the school day to free up their schedules and pursue other interests and activities.
Students use this program to train and travel for national level competition in skiing, dancing, biking, and even car racing! Others simply take advantage of the support system for long-term or frequent independent study.
One of the supports we have in place for this program is an on-site Independent Study Coordinator, Laura DesLauriers. Laura provides students with independent study support and coordination, monitoring of coursework and progress, study hall opportunities to complete work while on campus, and facilitation of communication with teachers, students and parents.
We provide all students with multiple layers of support in achieving their goals, including on-site academic, career and personal counseling, after-school tutoring, and Saturday school.
We have a Wellness Center that provides students with a comfortable lounge area to congregate, a staff member to talk to about issues of concern, and a Be the Change student group that promotes student wellbeing and kindness campaigns throughout the year.
Students developed the core values of respect, responsibility, teamwork and fun that are the foundation for all that we do at North Tahoe.
I am proud to be the principal of NTHS. In my 18-year career in education, 12 of these years have been at North Tahoe High. I was an English teacher, then Assistant Principal, and for the past four years I have served as Principal.
My experience prior to coming to North Tahoe including working at six different secondary schools, and I had the pleasure of visiting many educational institutions.
Throughout this time, I never visited a school that had the unique combination of opportunities, supportive environment, and academic challenge that North Tahoe High School has.
We have amazing students, staff members, parents and community partners, and there is truly no other place that I would rather be every day.
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