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Back to the books

Katherine Morris
Photo by Katherine MorrisTruckee Elementary School second-grade teachers Kathy Holmes and Anna Davis share ideas for the 2002-2003 school year.
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When Truckee students dust off their book bags and board the yellow buses next Monday for the start of the 2002-03 school year, many of them will be greeted by new teachers, expanded programs and improved facilities.

For the last two weeks, teachers, administrators and staff have been hard at work prepping for the first bells to ring on June 26.

While teachers organized lesson plans and designed bulletin boards, janitors busily scrubbed and vacuumed.

The mood, although stressful, was one of excitement and optimism.

Here’s a quick glimpse at what each school site has planned for following the year:

Truckee Elementary:

With construction of the new east gymnasium finally complete and installation of a new playing field just weeks away, students at Truckee Elementary School have a lot to look forward to when they head back to school next week.

“We’ve been under construction for so long now, it’s just nice to feel like now that this is over, we’ll really be able to move on,” said Principal Cathy Valle.

The new gym features a climbing wall and a stage, while the long-anticipated new field is made of a special type of artificial turf to withstand the harsh winters and other inclement weather conditions.

“I really need to thank the community, who through various bonds and a lot of hard work, have made all of this possible for our children,” Valle said.

Aside from new recreational facilities, the school has also adopted a new language arts program and continues to focus on literacy for all students.

Glenshire Elementary:

One of the major changes at Glenshire Elementary this year will be the new, extended-day Kindergarten program. Instead of a separate morning and afternoon class, all will attend at the same time.

Improvements will also be made in the school’s science and language arts programs.

According to Principal Kathleen Gauthier, a majority of Glenshire’s teachers attended the special two-week Mountain Region Science and Reading Academy, to learn new, more meaningful ways to teach these subjects.

“We will also have two new teachers as part of our job sharing program,” Gauthier said.

Parents can also look forward to Glenshire’s Back-to-School night on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Other additions include the start of the Sierra Strings orchestra, as well as a school band (for fourth and fifth graders only), which is being sponsored by the school’s PTO.

“As for goals this year, I’d like to closely monitor our students’ achievement and continue to provide the best educational opportunities for all of students and basically just maintain the happy, healthy learning environment that we have,” Gauthier said.

Donner Trail School:

Donner Trail School will boast a full load of roughly 60 students when classes commence on the summit Monday.

According to teacher Judy Johnson-Finney, the school is excited about expanding some of its existing programs such as the winter survival course, which teaches students the ins and outs of wilderness survival and safety in snowy conditions, and various environmental programs.

“We try and do a lot of education outside of the classroom in our surrounding natural environment, for instance, with the river and pond,” Finney said. “We’d also like to develop a partnership with the environmental studies classes at the high school, where the older students come and work with our little ones.”

In addition to more programs, Donner Trail students will get to enjoy a new climbing wall that was installed in the school’s gymnasium.

Finney said the school is also gearing up for its annual Thanksgiving Dinner fundraiser.

Sierra Mountain Middle School:

Principal Don Beno is looking forward to another very successful year at Sierra Mountain Middle School.

There aren’t too many changes or additions except for some new staff and a new school counselor, however, Beno said he is excited that construction on the new middle school facility is underway and he’s looking forward to watching it come along.

“Overall, we just feel great to be back in here and to be starting a new year,” he said.

He wanted to remind parents that class schedules will be posted Friday, Aug. 23 and invited parents to stop by to view their child’s classes and meet teachers who will be on-hand to answer questions.

Tahoe-Truckee High School:

Students at Tahoe-Truckee High School will have access to new vocational programs this year through R.O.P. – architectural drawing and graphic arts and communication.

“Both classes will be taught by Kevin Coleman,” said Principal Michael Finney.

He said the major focus this year will be on state curriculum standards.

“We’re going to continue to work on making improvements in the core academic areas, as well as talk to students about the importance of the state standards,” he said. “We’d also like to improve our test scores.”

Finney said he’s just looking forward to seeing his students again and to having another great year at Truckee High School

“Our enrollment numbers are up this year, which is really good, with about 820 students compared to 780 last year,” Finney said.

Sierra High School:

Service learning projects will once again be a major focus for Sierra High School students. This year, students will have an opportunity to work on a mural for the Truckee Fire Station near the schools on Donner Pass Road.

“We’re also looking to plant a community garden at the school, as well as work with SWEP (Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships) on various environmental projects in and around Truckee,” said Principal Jane Loomis.

As part of the garden, students will grow flowers like lilacs for sale, as well as indigenous plants for habitat restoration projects.

“As for our main focuses this year, we’re really working on school-wide literacy and home literacy,” Loomis said. “This is a huge issue for us.”

Sierra High School will also be offering educational opportunities for re-entry students who wish to complete their high school education or take high school equivalency exams.

Prosser Creek Charter School:

Prosser Creek Charter School students will have a new playground among other additions when they return to school next week. Thanks to hard work of Prosser parents and community members, students will have swings, tether balls, a sandbox, a stage and more.

The school also has the support of a growing parent volunteer committee.

“Before May, we had no such organization, which meant the teachers and administrators had to do all of the work,” said Nancy Handel, Prosser Creek parent and committee member. “Now, we have almost 30 percent of our parents actively involved.”

The school also hopes to expand its AP and Honors Program partnership with the University of California system, as well as offer foreign language courses five days a week.

Ninth and tenth grade students will, for the first time, have access to five-day a week onsite classes, in addition to independent study.

On Sept. 6, there will be a benefit concert for the school’s resource library at the Regional Park, featuring the sounds of Larry Yates and Blues Monsters. Tickets are available at the school or at the gate.

PLEASE BOX AND INCLUDE SOMEWHERE ON B1:

To kickoff the 2002-03 school year and build healthy communities, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District will be co-hosting a special family concert, tonight, Thursday, Aug. 22 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

The event, which features the music and motivational words of Dr. Peter Alsop, guarantees a fun-filled evening for kids, parents and professionals alike.

With hilarious sing-alongs and stories, Alsop will demonstrate how to create safe places for ourselves, our children and each another.

Bring family, friends and picnic to Donner Lake’s West End Pavilion.


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