Principal’s corner: Striving for excellence at Alder Creek Middle School | SierraSun.com

Principal’s corner: Striving for excellence at Alder Creek Middle School

Hien Larson
Special to the Sun

Hien Larson was named principal at ACMS this school year, after being with TTUSD the past 15 years.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — This is the time of year we all reflect on things we are thankful for. We are grateful for the kind people in our lives who love and support us so that our students believe, achieve and succeed. I am personally thankful for my family, my friends, and the fine folks (staff, students, and families) here at Alder Creek Middle School. I want to especially thank all of our students for making the atmosphere of the school a great place.

Alder Creek Middle School is one of two middle school programs in TTUSD and serves the Truckee area's sixth- through eighth-graders at our beautiful campus in northeast Truckee. The ACMS staff is committed to our district's vision of providing challenging and engaging learning opportunities in order for our students to thrive in college, career and life.

We are committed to meeting the needs of all students, from those most in need of assistance to the highest achievers. Along with high academic rigor, ACMS also offers our scholars opportunities to participate in leadership, clubs and sports.

We are committed to innovation, creative thinking and academic excellence. Our students are engaged in learning and our teachers use a wide variety of instructional methods that infuse technology.

Thanks to Excellence in Education, all eighth-graders received their own Chromebooks in October. Students have individual email accounts and digital citizenship is stressed throughout the curriculum. The Chromebooks are supporting collaboration and critical thinking in the classroom and at home.

Our seventh-graders recently had the opportunity to spend a day at Granlibakken's Tree Top Adventure team building and developing community with each other. Students were able to build trust and begin to understand how the brain responds to fear and challenges.

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The team building skills students practiced during the field trip support the group oriented tasks that seventh grade students are learning to use in the classroom. When faced with a challenge or problem, students are now better able to strategize together to find a solution.

The sixth-graders recently returned from four days of outdoor education at Shady Creek. Students experienced everything from birding to surviving in the wilderness. In addition, the Accelerated Learner program is in action; providing differentiated opportunities for accelerated learners and GATE students.

We also offer various opportunities that recognize and address the diverse needs of students, including Robotics, Coding and Socratic seminars; Tech Trek! science and math camp for girls; Renaissance; Odyssey of the Mind; art; foreign language; and more. We want students to have a voice in their learning and continue to be motivated to do as well as they possibly can.

As James Comers says, "no significant learning can occur without significant relationships." We are committed to creating a learning environment that instills a sense of belonging to all students so they feel safe, valued and respected as both individuals and contributing members of the school community.

Our student council promotes activities to keep all students involved, including Spirit Week, School Olympics and dances. The staff at ACMS understands the power of connections with students.

To address character education, Second Step is in full swing in our advisory classes. The program goals are to decrease aggression, violence, bullying and substance abuse and to increase social, emotional, and school success. We are hearing the language of empathy and compassion throughout the school from students to teachers to parents.

This is a great time of year with enthusiasm at a very high level. We will continue to build on the momentum that has been created. Together we create a learning environment that strives toward excellence and always puts the needs of our students first.

With your voice and support, Alder Creek Middle School will continue to be an awesome place to learn.

Editor’s Note

“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 Hien Larson, principal of Alder Creek Middle School.