CCSD news: Groundhogs, dogs and pep rallies

Crystal Cabral’s class at Lahontan Elementary School watch Punxsutawney Phil give his live prediction.

Crystal Cabral’s class at Lahontan Elementary School watch Punxsutawney Phil give his live prediction.
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CCHS Student Council surprised students with an impromptu pep rally in the quad last Friday.

“This idea came from one of our counselors, Jim Dahl, who asked if we were having an assembly on Friday. Since we just had one a week or so ago to honor our athletes and Honor Roll students, Principal Mr. Tim Spencer wanted us to come up with another fun idea,” said student council adviser Terri Pearson.

Student Body President Brody Allyn and Senior Class officer Hannah Benjamin decided to help out with an old-fashioned, in-the-quad, pep rally. Navy Junior ROTC Instructor Chief Keith Bryska offered up his sound system, and just before lunch, the students were dismissed to the quad where Allen and Benjamin were in the bed of a truck, ready to pump up the students. Allen encouraged all the students who gathered around to go support the CCHS athletes at the wrestling tournament at the Rafter 3C and the CCHS basketball games in the gym.

The students responded to a few cheers, got some fresh air, and then headed to lunch.

“It was spontaneous and something different that we hope the students enjoyed,” Pearson said.



Zoey Brown had her students work in groups where each group received a different question. They had to work through it together using their notes and then teach it to the class.

“I really wanted to do this exercise with my class because it is reinforcing to them that if they can teach it, then they truly know it. It helps them build their confidence in their knowledge and make them realize they really are learning and retaining information,” Brown said.

The first group of students taught the entire class how to solve for slope and y-intercept only using two coordinate points, then write it out in the slope-intercept form equation. “I am so proud of them, they did such an awesome job,” Brown added.


Jerrilynn Nall's and Kristina McFadden's classes enjoyed a presentation by Jaime Schroeder and her two therapy dogs, Fozzy Bear and Ernie. Schroeder retired last year as the city of Reno Parks and Recreation director.

Her service dog Ernie is deaf and has been her retirement project, but in total, she has three therapy dogs: Ernie, Gus Wilson, and Fozzy Bear. Guss Wilson did not come to visit, but Schroeder plans to bring him to visit the students in a few months.

Nall and McFadden wanted to bring Schroeder in to help their classes meet general targets touched on throughout the year such as self-management, relationship skills, and focusing on calming and self-regulation skills. It also worked hand in hand with their social studies unit on careers/jobs because Schroeder explained to the classes how she got into the dog therapy field and what it takes for the dog and handler to get certified.

“It was a wonderful presentation for our students. We want to thank Jamie for taking the time to come in and visit them. I am not sure anything can quite beat getting doggy kisses while learning,” Nall said.


School counselor Janell Seuss takes classes each week for guidance lessons. She works with students on making good choices, team building, relationship building, and working on ECB’s 4 B's: Be kind, Be safe, Be responsible, and Be respectful.

“This work is essential to me, and I base all my lessons on ASCA Counselor Standards, the Casel 5, life skills, and our district Profile of a Learner,” Seuss said.

Last week, she worked with students in Monica Mayfield’s class by having them participate in an activity where they had to focus on teamwork.

“Throughout our lives, especially in our future, when we are at a job, we will need to get along with others, collaborate on ideas, be respectful, and work together to accomplish a goal. I felt like this would help students work towards how to be successful and happy people,” Seuss said.

The activity was a mission in which teams of students that Seuss paired together worked to get three containers across a molten lava river. They had a rope and a piece of material, and they could use a sweatshirt or a shoe if they wanted, but nothing could touch the river.

“It was really great to see them work together and communicate as a team to figure out how they were going to transport one container at a time. It’s a very fun activity, and it accomplished my goal of teaching them about the importance of teamwork. I love my job and love these lessons and time with my students,” Seuss said.


Students in Crystal Cabral’s class learned about the groundhog whistle (their habit of making high-pitched whistling sounds), interviewed each other to collect data, and then created a class prediction graph on whether Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow.

Nine students and Cabal predicted that the groundhog would see his shadow. The other ten students predicted he would not see his shadow and would have an early spring.

“It is so much fun to see the excitement on their faces when they walked in asking if the groundhog saw his shadow so they knew if their predictions were correct and could elevate our class data,” Cabral said.

As a class, they watched Phil give his live prediction. When he did not see his shadow, some of them let out big sighs, and some cheered with joy. This year we should be welcoming an early spring.


February is Black History Month, and Octavia Merritt’s class is gearing up and excited for what they will learn about a few great African Americans in history.

“I feel strongly about teaching about Black History Month at the pre-k level because it teaches the students about different cultures and allows them to see Black History Month figures who built and contributed to the advancement of American society and history,” Merritt said.

Students have already discussed the great music created by Michael Jackson, and have learned about Ruby Bridges, the first African American to be allowed to integrate into school.

“I talked to my students about how amazing Ruby was at being able to handle how some of the people did not like her or what she was doing, but she did not let it stop her,” Merritt said.

This month, students will learn about Maya Angelou, Former President Obama, and many other African American figures.

“The month has just started, and they have already learned so much. When they learned about Michael Jackson, I played the ABC 123 song, and the students danced and even followed some of his verbiage when he described dance moves. I am so excited to immerse my students in so much history and look forward to teaching them about even more African American figures during Black History Month,” Merritt said.


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