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Imagine Dragons Perform at Clark High School as Part of Music Education Grant Presentation Ceremony

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GRAMMY Award-winning rock band and Las Vegas natives Imagine Dragons joined Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival, VH1 Save The Music Foundation and Toyota in presenting three CCSD schools with music education grants in a special ceremony on Sept. 21. Dell H. Robison Middle School, James Cashman Middle School and Ed W. Clark High School received Save The Music grants, which will provide musical instruments to each school. Imagine Dragons performed during the ceremony in support of the initiative. The grant is part of Toyota and Save The Music’s #ToyotaGiving partnership campaign and was achieved through an interactive activation featured at music festivals nationwide.

Principal’s Education Path Comes to a Full Circle

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Now that classes have been in session for a month, Clark County School District teachers have gotten to know all of their students and have settled into their daily routine.

Sunrise Acres Elementary School Principal Margarita Gamboa has vivid memories of her childhood and many of the teachers who helped guide her through the fabulous world of learning. Just like her, being in the presence of students causes many teachers to reflect upon their own education experiences.

“It wasn’t easy,” said Gamboa. “But dreams do come true.”

Because of the impact teachers had on her life, Gamboa decided to become a teacher herself, teaching for eight years before she moved into administration. Once she became an administrator, she set a goal of having all of her teachers and staff do their best to help their students excel and discover what interests and talents they have that will lead to a future career.

“Let’s ensure that students are equipped with the tools to follow their passion,” Gamboa would say to her staff.

Gamboa recalled one particular student who started attending school at Sunrise Acres many years ago. The girl was very nervous about going to school, especially since she did not speak any English.

“Back then, the student was afraid to speak because they might pronounce words incorrectly,” said Gamboa. “Teachers encouraged her by telling the girl to keep trying, not give up and that she could do it.

In scanning the classrooms, Gamboa can relate to the children who are in the same situation as that former student, because that former student she was thinking about was her.

From the scared and nervous student at Sunrise Acres Elementary School, Gamboa was able to learn English, excel in her studies, and then pursue a career in education, where she eventually became principal of the school she attended as a child.

When she speaks to current students and parents who are in a similar situation to that of hers years ago, she reminds them that dreams can become a reality – because she was able to do it and they can too.

“I have to sometimes pinch myself, because I can’t believe I’m the principal of the elementary school I attended as a child,” said Gamboa. “It feels amazing!  I’m honored and it’s all because of dedicated, hard-working teachers.”

Winners Announced in Southern Nevada Math Council Summit

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Advanced Technologies Academy hosted the Nevada Mathematics Summit Sept. 15 and 16, sponsored by the Southern Nevada Math Council. The approximately 400 participants attended a conference and received training in their areas of interest. The following outstanding math teachers were honored at the summit, which was chaired by A-TECH math teacher Mike Patterson:

High School: MiJung Park, Durango High School
Middle School: Christine Corbin, Del Webb Middle School
Elementary School: Becky Molloy, Rhodes Elementary School

 

Newly-Appointed Trustee Ready to Serve Her Community

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On Aug. 17, the Clark County School District (CCSD) Board of Trustees voted to appoint Linda P. Cavazos as the new Trustee of District G to serve the remainder of former Trustee Erin Cranor’s unexpired term, which ends December 2018.

The Board of Trustees publicly interviewed all candidates during the open meeting in which Cavazos explained that her top issues to work on were increasing parent and student engagement, and equalizing representation of all school communities.

Hailing from Arizona, Cavazos comes from a family of educators. She has spent more than 40 years in Southern Nevada working to help the community, with 15 years being a teacher in CCSD, starting at Basic High School. Her children graduated from CCSD schools, and her daughter now teaches at an online charter school.

Cavazos works as a family therapist, citing her professional life as part of her motivation to apply for the vacant seat. As a self-proclaimed activist in the political realm, the non-partisan feel of the trustee seat attracted her even more.

“I want to do more work in the community,” said Cavazos. “I have clients who are young children and adolescents, and I think the trustee position is a great way to combine my counseling and teaching experience into doing more for my community.”

Cavazos stated that she now sees the challenges the district faces as a community member.

On top of the initial two issues she mentioned in her interview, she also wants to familiarize herself with and understand the various needs of schools in District G and to reduce the dropout rate.

“I want to make sure that every student has the best opportunity and access to resources to be the best,” she said. “So, when they move on from our system, they have the tools to go after and achieve their dreams.”

For more information on Trustee Cavazos and District G, visit ccsd.net/trustees.

Foreign Exchange Program Brings the World Closer

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What do Germany, Italy and Spain have in common? More than half of the foreign exchange students in the Clark County School District (CCSD) come from those countries. CCSD presently has 150 foreign exchange students attending 27 high schools throughout the valley. Arbor View High School has the largest number of exchange students, with 16. They are followed closely by Legacy and Shadow Ridge High Schools.

Foreign Exchange Coordinator Mark Schumm said the vast majority of foreign exchange students attending CCSD high schools are sponsored by an organization such as the International Cultural Exchange Service (ICES). ICES is one of 18 different organizations that has placed exchange students in area homes for the current school year.

Most of the exchange students are in Clark County on a J-1 visa, having been approved by the U.S. State Department and the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). There is no limit as to how many foreign exchange students CCSD will accept. However, Schumm said all participating students must be at least 14 and not over 18 by Sept. 30 of any given year.

Schumm cites the advantages of having exchange students in CCSD schools, saying they bring diversity and insight about foreign lands to local students, while also helping the exchange students get an intensive understanding of Nevada and the U.S. This year, CCSD is hosting exchange students from 26 countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, China, Colombia, Denmark, Norway, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Vietnam and Sweden.

“The biggest benefit is having that communication between countries,” explained Schumm. “Some of our students may have preconceived notions and ideas about these other countries. Getting to know these students can dispel myths and create a bond among students from different parts of the world.”

Exchange students are required to take English as well as a U.S. Government or U.S. History course, and they must maintain good attendance and grades of “C” or better.

Lucille Peveler, a mathematics teacher and the Student Council advisor at Basic Academy of International Studies, has been working with foreign exchange students for eight years. All of Basic’s exchange students are in Student Council as part of the school’s Principles of Leadership class.

Peveler presently has nine exchange students in grades 10-12 from Italy, France, Germany, Thailand, Norway, Spain and Denmark. A 20-year CCSD employee, Peveler said her local students “absolutely love getting to know the exchange students and the cultures of where they are from.”

Basic’s exchange students share this enthusiasm. They are especially excited about having music in school, which Peveler said is not common in public schools elsewhere in the world. In Denmark, for example, music as well as athletics are not mixed with school, which is strictly for academics.

Another source of enthusiasm for the exchange students is school-sponsored community service. As explained by Peveler, many of these students do not have the opportunity for those types of experiences in their home countries.

To learn more about foreign exchange programs, visit https://exchanges.state.gov/us.

CCSD Schools to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Starting September 15

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CCSD schools have many activities planned for Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Here are some examples:

Alamo Elementary School students will create a slide presentation or movie that focuses on a noteworthy Hispanic scientist.

Fine Elementary School students will sing songs from various Latino cultures and learn folk dances. In P.E., students will learn how to play games from Mexico, Central America and South America.

Sierra High School students will learn the tango and flamenco dances, and also enjoy a variety of foods ranging from pupusas to empanadas.

First grade students at Tanaka Elementary School will learn Spanish words from their teachers and from Spanish-speaking students.

Katz Elementary School will hold a Hispanic Heritage Family Night on Sept. 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., featuring many activities ranging from necklace-making to Zapotec rug paintings.

The City of Las Vegas also has plans for Hispanic Heritage Month. The East Las Vegas Community Center will host a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, concluding with the Hispanic Heritage Festival Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For details, call (702) 229-1515.