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Nicole Alcantara

Message from CCSD Regarding Fingerprinting of Volunteers

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A new state law is now in effect requiring adults who volunteer at our schools or during school activities to be fingerprinted.

Senate Bill 287 requires all volunteers with unsupervised OR regular contact with students to be fingerprinted. Regular contact is defined as volunteering at least four times a month.

For those volunteers who have unsupervised contact with students or who regularly volunteer, an application process has been put into place district-wide.

This process includes completing the online application at ccsd.net/protectourkids, processing payment to complete a background check including fingerprinting, acknowledgment as being a mandatory child abuse reporter, and being issued a CCSD volunteer badge.

We understand that some parents and volunteers may have concerns with this process. You can express your opinion at ccsd.net/protectourkids. CCSD is implementing this process in order to comply with the new state law.

We encourage parents to continue to be engaged in their child’s education.

If you have any additional questions, contact your child’s school directly. We thank you for your patience and cooperation.

Boulder City High School’s Marching Band and Color Guard Excel at Super Show Competition

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According to the Boulder City Review, “Boulder City High School’s marching band and color guard came home with a handful of first-place awards after competing in the Western Band Association’s UNLV Super Show at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday (Nov. 4).” BCHS competed against Bonanza, Mojave, Virgin Valley and Bishop Gorman High Schools, and will take part in additional competitions Nov. 4 and 11.

Teacher Celebrates 42 Years of Educating Special Needs Students at Helen J. Stewart

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After 42 years of teaching at Helen J. Stewart School, Ritha Burroughs remains as enthused about her job as the day she started.

Stewart is a special school that focuses on a functional curriculum for students with special needs. Its students range in age from six to 22.

Burroughs, a Detroit native who joined the teaching staff in 1976, takes great delight in her students’ accomplishments, whether big or small. “I teach students how to tie their shoes, recognize their names, act appropriately in public and many more things. We cover it all,” explained Burroughs. “The other day, one of my students successfully used a broom and dustpan, and it made my day.”

A nationally board certified teacher, Burroughs presently works with middle school students but has taught students of all ages at Stewart. “I feel I’m making a difference, helping the students become more independent and making the parents’ lives easier. Our mission is to prepare these students for life.”

Burroughs and her colleagues are helping to shape behaviors and skills. The best thing, said Burroughs, is helping students accomplish something and gain self-confidence. “I’m always trying to come up with new ways of addressing their needs and helping them reach their goals.”

Burroughs’ love of teaching extends beyond the walls of her school. She also works with adults, teaching them English and how to read. “Many of my adult students are from other countries. Helping them is very rewarding.”

Principal Dr. Patti Schultz has nothing but praise for Burroughs. “She is an exceptional teacher who works closely with transition agencies, offers district-wide training on functional curriculum and works closely with families to help them access wraparound services. We are proud to have her on our staff.”

So, how does someone stay at the same school for 42 years? “This school provides me with everything I need to teach students and also assist their parents. I’m so happy here, which is why I have stayed all these years.”

Nonetheless, everything comes to an end, and Burroughs expects to retire at the end of this school year. “I say that every year, but it’s probably going to happen this time.” She plans to spend her retirement doing a lot of traveling. Burroughs has already been to such far-off places as Cuba, the Gobi Desert and the Amazon River.

Regardless of where her future travels take her, Stewart School will always have a special place in Burrough’s heart. “I love my job and feel blessed to be here.”

Betsy Rhodes Elementary School Teacher Brings the Farm to the City

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Las Vegas is known for many things, but it’s fair to say that farming is not one of them. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped Betsy Rhodes Elementary School pre-K teacher Lori Hansen from helping students get a hands-on education about farming.

Hansen is coordinator for the school’s Roadrunners 4-H Club, which partners with the school but accepts members from throughout CCSD. The club was established in 2001 and currently has about 25 active members from several CCSD schools.

A highlight of the club is its market animal project, in which students raise pigs, chickens, goats and sheep, culminating with the sale of the livestock at the Clark County Fair and Rodeo, held every April in Logandale.

As explained by Hansen, “The students care for their animals, from feeding to grooming and everything in between. They feed their animals every morning and every afternoon.” Most of the proceeds from the sale of the animals at the fair go toward the students’ college funds.

A 24-year CCSD veteran, Hansen spends up to 10 hours a week volunteering for the Roadrunners Club, which has other projects in addition to market animals. “The students also show rabbits, chickens and goats at the fair, and these animals are usually their pets. We also have outdoor cooking, sports shooting, archery, baking and cake decorating. And we’re starting a photography project.”

Most of the students taking part in the market animals project had no previous experience with livestock. “This is a huge responsibility for these students,” explained Hansen. “They make a commitment to their animals and I’m very proud of their hard work and determination.” She added that many of the Roadrunners are leaning toward careers in agriculture or veterinary science.

Moapa Valley High School Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

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Moapa Valley High School’s recent Homecoming celebrated the school’s 100th anniversary. As reported by the Moapa Valley Progress, “Homecoming 2017 celebrated all things MVHS and included a parade, an assembly, a dance, a football game, and even a birthday cake for the entire community.” The school’s first graduating class — the Class of 1917 — consisted of only two students. MVHS now has an enrollment of 524 students.

Monaco Middle School Embraces Robotics

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Cutting-edge technology is alive and well at Mario C. and JoAnne Monaco Middle School, which has joined with other Clark County School District (CCSD) schools in embracing the teaching of robotics to its students.

Robotics started as an after-school club last year, but became a class this year. Teachers Jennifer Clapp and Rocar Gallo say their 22 robotics students are excited to learn how to build and program robots, and have obtained assistance from other CCSD schools including Sunrise Mountain and Cheyenne High Schools.

Clapp’s son, Travis, a substitute teacher for CCSD and a mechanical engineering student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, also has helped out.

Using parts and technology from the LEGO Corporation, the EV3 MINDSTORMS robots are able to move in various directions and angles, pick up items and complete numerous other tasks.

Additionally, the class is not just about building robots. As explained by Clapp, “It’s also about teamwork, cooperation, problem solving and professionalism.” The class is available to all students in grades six through eight at the school.

The tremendous interest in robots nationwide has not been lost on Monaco’s robotics students. Rocar and Clapp often talk about the excellent job opportunities that await students who pursue robotics as a career.

So far this school year, the students have been preparing for the First LEGO League Robotics Competition to be held in December. The theme of the competition will be Hydro Dynamics, which means robots will have to carry out tasks related to the conservation of water. According to Clapp, “Each team will use their robots to transport, use, or dispose of water.”

Rocar enjoys seeing her students get excited about working together to solve problems. “They are learning about coding, engineering and much more, but they are also having fun.”

As explained by Principal Lisa Medina, “The robotics class promotes our continuing effort to provide rigorous STEAM-related learning opportunities for our students to promote active student engagement, team building, and collaboration for 21st century skills.”

Medina added, “Many of our students will be zoned for Sunrise Mountain High School where they have a robotics program. Since our students have experience with the robotics curriculum, they will easily transition to the next level of robotics concepts.”

CCSD Holds Training Event for School Organizational Team Members

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As the role of the School Organizational Teams (SOT) evolves, the Clark County School District (CCSD) continues to provide support for those who are serving their respective school community in this important position.

School Organizational Teams are made up of teachers, support staff, parents, students and community members who meet monthly in an advisory role to assist principals on where to focus resources and priorities for their individual school community.

Last week, more than 150 SOT members participated in a districtwide training event that focused on providing important information that will help them in their duties.

The key areas of information they received included:

• An overview of the law (AB469) and the roles and responsibilities of SOTs.
• The opportunity to network and share best practices with other SOT members from around the district.
• Question and Answer time with district leaders during breakout sessions.
• The opportunity to speak with and obtain materials from representatives from 25 CCSD departments and community groups.

School Associate Superintendent Grant Hanevold was one of those who led a breakout session and he shared his impressions.

“Many principals were there along with other members of their SOT,” said Hanevold. “The breakout sessions were designed to meet the specific needs and questions of each membership group. It was a great way for members of teams from different schools to network and share successful practices.”

Employees who are not involved with their SOT, but who would like to learn more about the role and the processes, can visit reorg.ccsd.net/sots for additional information.

CCSD Celebrates Record High Graduation Rate for the Class of 2017

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CCSD’s preliminary graduation rate for the Class of 2017 is a record high 82.71 percent, according to data compiled by the Nevada Department of Education. “Our students, staff, parents and community have worked incredibly hard for this graduation rate increase over the course of many years,” said Board of School Trustees President Deanna L. Wright. Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said, “We set a goal to obtain a graduation rate of 82 percent by 2018-19, I couldn’t be more proud that we reached our target, and did so one year earlier than projected.” Along with the graduation rate increase, the number of graduates also has risen. The Class of 2017 was CCSD’s largest ever, with 20,030 graduates.