Principal’s Corner: Modern movement at Tahoe Lake Elementary |

Principal’s Corner: Modern movement at Tahoe Lake Elementary

Stephanie Foucek

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — I could share thousands of examples that show how special our school is and what a great place it is for all children to learn and grow, but I thought it would be more interesting to hear some of the reasons our students love Tahoe Lake.

Here are just a few of the responses our students shared: science, cross-country skiing on the golf course; everyone is kind, and every teacher is great; fun activities; field trips because you get to learn new things outside of school; there are so many kids to play with; the teachers because they are all kind, understanding, and funny; PE because you get to exercise and learn new sports; recess because I get to play with all my friends; the computer lab because we learn how to use new technology; the library because Mrs. Verutti always has my favorite books; my CLASSROOM because I love my teacher; the playground; the sliding hill; the teachers because they are so nice; the whole school because it is AWESOME.

And there also was this gem that makes a principal’s day, “The last day of school is my least favorite because it means you do not get to see your teachers and friends over the summer. I love Tahoe Lake!”

At Tahoe Lake Elementary we know that happy kids learn, so we aim to support the whole child through engaging, hands-on learning, and we use science as our overarching lens to develop critical thinking, confidence, and academic skills.

Every grade level provides dynamic, hands-on science instruction focused on making science concepts relevant using Lake Tahoe’s natural environment, and to lay a solid foundation for our students to become highly skilled problem solvers and critical thinkers as they grow.

Being in Tahoe means that outdoor learning opportunities are plentiful, and we take our learning outside to take advantage of our environment. Just stepping out the classroom door our students can observe, measure, and predict in connection with scientific concepts (and take in an amazing lake view).

Through our science focus, students have many “in the field” learning opportunities. They raise and release Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, plant native plants in our garden, and design bikes to develop Geometry skills.

All students have a wide range of unique learning opportunities including creating moon and lightscapes, hatching chickens and engineering coops to house them and participating in the ‘Get in the Act’ Science Theater. This year, our first- through fourth-grade students are also learning all about water and will end the year with a water-focused service learning project.

You may have seen our California Distinguished Schools flag proudly displayed on campus. The California Distinguished Schools program honors California’s most exemplary and inspiring public schools, and Tahoe Lake is thrilled to be among the honorees.

Tahoe Lake was named a 2014 California Distinguished School based on our continuing growth in student achievement for all students and our signature practices in science and targeted instruction.

We are extremely grateful for our community’s support of Measure A through which our PE, Technology, Music, Library, Arts for the Schools, Counseling, and Special Friends programs are funded.

In PE, students learn Peaceful Playground, basic athletic skills, and team sports, as well as participate in such fun events as the Tahoe Lake Olympics and Jump Rope for Heart. All classes also cross-country ski at the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park when conditions permit.

Our technology classes are integrated with the curriculum and extend student learning with a special focus on literacy development through technology. In music, our students learn voice, instrument, and cultural awareness, and perform in two school-wide shows per year.

Our cozy library is in the historic core of our school and offers a wonderful space to foster a love of reading. Our library collection is current and always growing; whenever a student requests a new book, it always appears. Also, in our historic core is the ‘Lil’ Aud,’ which is home to some of the best class plays you ever will see!

Tahoe Lake is so grateful for our dedicated and supportive community of families who volunteer in the classroom, on field trips, in the library, on the playground, and with PTO and Site Council. We have many family events such as Family Reading Night, Family Science Night, Family Movie Night, Kermes, the Talent Show, Spring Musical and Family Picnic, and our end of the year celebration, Discovery Day.

We would like to extend a big thank-you to our community for the recent passing of Measure E. We look forward to the modernization of our school building while preserving our historic core so that Tahoe Lake will continue to foster the growth of outstanding students in the heart of Tahoe City.

Stephanie Foucek is principal of Tahoe Lake Elementary School within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Visit for more.

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