From the principal’s office | Tahoe Lake Elementary – science point of (lake)view
March 30, 2012
TAHOE CITY, Calif. – Thanks to our students, teachers, and families, we’re having a great year at Tahoe Lake School! In addition to a rigorous, standards-based education, we are continuing to grow two schoolwide initiatives that we are extremely excited about, and that we feel are having a great impact on our students’ learning. We are particularly excited to welcome fourth grade back to Tahoe Lake, and are so pleased that we get to keep our current third grade students for one more year as they stay with us for fourth grade. Tahoe Lake is a hands-on science school. Every grade level team has joined forces to provide a dynamic, hands-on, standards based science curriculum for all students. Our focus is on making science relevant across the curriculum using Lake Tahoe’s natural environment, and to help our students to become highly skilled problem solvers as they grow. We believe that a solid foundation in the sciences will poise our students for great future accomplishments, and the ability to be successful in a rapidly changing world. Students need to experience to learn, so we have a heavy emphasis on hands-on science and experiential learning. Students participate in many experiential learning opportunities ranging from visiting Taylor Creek to study the Kokanee Salmon, to visiting Tahoe Tree Company and bringing back native plants to plant in our garden, to creating moon and lightscapes, to Stargazing Night with a high power telescope and expert guidance from the Astrology Department at UNR. Additionally, thanks to PTO funds, all third grade students participated in “Get in the Act Science Theater,” one hour per week of standards-based science theater that culminated in class productions on March 26. Also on March 26 we had a day-long science expo with Sierra Watershed Educational Partnerships (SWEP). The Science Expo was followed by a family science night on March 27 where children and parents had the opportunity to engage in many science activities, including a study of the human brain with the Reno Brain Institute. We have many family fun and science events like this throughout the year, and we’ll be concluding the school year with end of the year science extravaganza, Discovery Day. Thanks to a grant funded by Excellence in Education, Tahoe Lake is able to bring a team of educators from the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley to work with our teaching staff this summer to deepen and extend our science focus. As Principal, I have also been invited to join a small group of educators in connection with the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley and WestED Laboratory to work on a collaborative project focused on Science Leadership Academies for K-5 education.Another schoolwide initiative is the offering daily English Language Development and daily conversational Spanish. As you may be aware, all students who are English Learners in the TTUSD participate in 30 minutes of daily English Language Development (ELD). During this time, our English Proficient students receive daily conversational Spanish instruction. Through another grant funded by Excellence in Education, we purchased a Spanish curriculum, Sube, which focuses on the development of conversational Spanish using art, music, and games. It has been a wonderful addition to our school, and we hope that by developing our students’ Spanish skills it will open up future opportunities for them to access high level Spanish offerings as they move to the upper grades, as well as facilitate social interaction for all students in both languages.We are so thankful to our community’s support of Measure A through which our Physical Education, technology, music, library, and counseling programs are funded. In P.E., students learn “Peaceful Playground,” basic athletic skills, and team sports, as well as participate in fun events like the Tahoe Lake Olympics and snowshoe croquet. All classes also cross country ski on the Tahoe City Golf Course. 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 a wonderful space to foster a love of reading, and our library collection is current and always growing. Whenever a student requests a new book, it always appears. We are also fortunate in TTUSD to have elementary counselors to support our students’ social-emotional needs.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.Come visit us! We’d love to share our school (and our lake view) with you!Stephanie Foucek is principal at Tahoe Lake Elementary School.