School district meets many needs of students | SierraSun.com

School district meets many needs of students

Karen Van Epps

Throughout Tahoe Truckee Unified School District we continue to meet the needs of our students. To teach children they must be “teachable.” Do they need glasses? When did they eat last? Are they dressed for the weather? How will they get to school? When basic needs are not met, how can children focus on learning? These are only a few samples of the challenges we face today.At TTUSD we are proud to partner with others and help meet some of these needs. We offer a complete food service program at all campuses in the district that provides healthy meals.In Kings Beach, a family resource center opened where families can connect with one another, interact and find resources for needed services. The goal is to promote health, safety and life-long learning.Another districtwide program, WorkAbility, is housed at Tahoe-Truckee High School. Our learning challenged students are prepared to enter the world of work. Focused on behaviors expected of employers, students are sent in to the work force with employer partnerships, such as Tahoe Forest Hospital.Tahoe Truckee High School students also have a chance to have their day in court. The encouragement of putting learning to practice is apparent when our fourth- and fifth-year foreign language students apply their skills by assisting non-English speaking community members.Much assistance has been provided through community service, student mentoring and work at the elementary sites.Another opportunity to put learning to practice is available through John Echols television production class. The students learn basic advertising, design and sales. They operate the public access channel and produce programs. Watch out, Steven Spiel berg.North Tahoe High School students have poured their passion into the fine and performing arts. The drama and music programs have both been exemplary. The implementation of the block schedule has expanded the drama program allowing students to develop a higher level of skill.Incorporating both fine and performing arts into the curriculum provides opportunity for students to develop self-esteem and increase learning.Sierra High School is the umbrella site for many of our alternative program opportunities. Serving grades 9 through 12, Sierra High School is accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is a California Digital High School. Staff is committed to delivering a quality education through the best instructional practices, providing students with the skills to succeed.This year’s highlighted program, “Student Enterprise Class,” involved students in their community by volunteering time, joining organizations and being of service. The students engaged in service learning projects using multi-media hardware. Students apply skills learned in the classroom to real world application.Additional program offerings are inclusive of independent study, work experience, extended learning sessions, both individualized and intensive instruction, School for Teenage Parents, Tahoe Truckee Community Adult School and Cold Stream Alternative School.Sierra Mountain Middle School has college prep math for grades 6 through 8. Taking student use of drug and alcohol seriously, “Project Alert,” is the model for the program initiated at SMMS. This program stimulates discussion among students and involves parents through homework assignments.North Tahoe Middle School has a focus on character building. Through the work of staff, the students’ curriculum includes diversity and tolerance, etiquette/manners training, environmental awareness and physical fitness as a lifelong pursuit.Truckee Elementary School aligns with the district goal that all students have the opportunity to reach their potential. In support of their English language learners, the school offers primary language support, tutoring in reading and intensive instruction in math, writing and grammar. Additionally, both before- and after-school programs are offered , such as the Boys & Girls Club after-school homework program.Tahoe Lake and Rideout schools are focused on technology. Volunteers have been meeting with the goal of producing an aligned, coordinated and forward-thinking technology plan. Provisions to students will include a new lab, networked classrooms, a three-year equipment and software plan, staff training and community use.At Kings Beach Elementary students have the opportunity to become bilingual and bicultural. The Dual Language Immersion program produces students proficient in two languages and two cultures. Children who are working together, will grow up together and can live harmoniously together.Donner Trail Elementary School offers a magnet program in environmental education. While Donner Trail serves 60 students in a multiage setting, more than 800 additional students benefit from the seasonal programming. Students can visit Donner Trail in the fall or spring, participating in the nature trail with stream and pond study or in the winter survival program, which includes cave building and snowshoeing.Glenshire Elementary School promotes literacy. Students are placed in a small reading group according to their ability. Each day, children spend time reading, being read to and receive direct phonics decoding strategies.This focus results in positive literacy growth for all children.Karen Van Epps is the president of Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board.