Principal’s Corner | North Tahoe School offers education of mind and heart | SierraSun.com

Principal’s Corner | North Tahoe School offers education of mind and heart

Teresa Rensch
Special to the Sun

Teresa Rensch

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — 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 week, we feature Teresa Rensch, principal of North Tahoe School.

North Tahoe School is known for providing "an education of the mind and an education of the heart." Serving grades fifth through eighth, North Tahoe School offers diverse academic and extracurricular programs. In addition, we have dedicated teachers and staff who ensure the academic success and progress of every student, while simultaneously providing a safe and kind environment conducive for learning. We strive to both build a strong academic foundation and support the well-being for all students.

LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

At North Tahoe School we work hard to provide all students, at all levels, with challenging and engaging learning opportunities. We provide differentiated learning, accelerated courses, complex reading and critical thinking in all content areas. During our daily 30-minute block of time, response to learning (RTL), we offer both reteach time and enrichment classes. We are especially proud of our literacy structure implemented in this RTL. The entire school devotes six weeks (two rotations of three weeks each) to teaching targeted and specialized reading and writing, listening and speaking during the daily RTL block of time.

TECHNOLOGY ON THE RISE

The use of technology continues to grow throughout the school. Teachers are able to integrate technology into their classrooms to deepen the students' knowledge in content areas and further the students' technology and research skills. We have over 60 IPads for student use, with an additional set of 30 notebooks on the way this school year, and a very successful 1:1 Technology Program for all eighth graders.

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Thanks to a grant from the Excellence in Education Foundation, individual Chromebooks are checked out to every eighth-grade student to use during the school year. Students travel with their device from class to class and can take their Chromebooks from school to home as well for educational use. The 1:1 program has opened the door for students and teachers to have a larger conversation about "digital citizenship" and what that means to each individual and their school community as a whole. In the next few years the 1:1 program will expand at our school to reach all of our students.

HANDS-ON SCIENCE

We have an engaging, hands-on science curriculum enhanced by our partnership with Sierra Watershed Education Partnership (SWEP). Each grade level participates in field trips that offer real life learning to complement what they're learning in the classroom. This connects the students to their grade level science curriculum and offers a richer experience. Some examples are:

Fifth-grade visit Sagehen for team building activities and to learn about Sierra wildlife and ecosystems.

Sixth-grade students spend a night at Mono Lake. Students learn about the unique ecosystem of the Mono Lake Basin, its fauna and flora and study the environmental history of the area.

Seventh-grade students will plant sugar pine trees, release trout into the Truckee River and spend a day at Northstar's ropes course.

Eighth-grade students will travel to Catalina to study astronomy, marine biology and life science.

SAFE AND SOUND

North Tahoe School offers programs for students to build relationships with staff and other students to build connections, feel safe and feel good in their own skin. We foster a safe, responsible, and respectful school through Second Step. In this program and through advisory class, students learn how to communicate positively and problem solve effectively. They build a sense of shared responsibility. Our safe and responsible school climate set students up to be successful in their academic world.

To continue to support the well-being and happiness of students, we now offer character development and youth empowerment classes. We also offer extracurricular activities. Before school, students can participate in programs such as jazz band, open gym, homework help, math tutoring, art club and drama club. After school, there is a variety of sports, including basketball, cross-country skiing, volleyball, Nordic skiing and track. With parent and community support, we can begin to organize intramural sports for our fifth-grade students.

Building on the success of the academy offered at North Tahoe High, we now offer an Independent Study and Ski Academy to eighth-grade students who need a more flexible schedule.

As you can see, North Tahoe School is the place where you get an education of the heart, and an education of the mind!