Ready to learn | NevadaAppeal.com

Ready to learn

Northside Early Learning Center teacher Janelle Pope asks incoming student Amy Fleming, 4, questions during her brief assessment before the preschool officially starts next Monday.
ALY LAWSON / LVN |

Monday morning went off without a hitch according to superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon as Churchill County School District embarked on its 2017-2018 school year.

While for some the overcast skies and cool breeze that morning was a welcome treat, others may have felt the turn in weather an apropos end to summer.

“It is always wonderful to see the smiles of students and teachers on the first day of school,” Sheldon said. “We are happy to welcome everyone back from the summer and look forward to a great school year.”

The Northside Early Learning Center is spending week one doing its intake period, when parents and the soon-to-be preschool students meet with teachers and see the classrooms.

The scheduled visits assess the children’s development and help them as well as their parents become familiar with their teachers and new environments including items to bring, various school processes and to make sure all paperwork is in order — and provide additional time for questions.

New NELC teacher Janelle Pope, who lives in Fallon and used to work in Fernley and who is enjoying the shorter commute, said the preschool is great for simply figuring out “how to be at school,” from socializing skills and being a good person to table manners and heading into school ready to learn.

Sheldon reported at the last board meeting there are 34 new teachers district-wide at this point and several are secondary.

The new Churchill County High School art teacher this year, Jaime Lynn Shafer, is originally from Latrobe, Penn. (the home of Arnold Palmer and Mr. Rogers she noted). After earning a fine arts and ceramics degree, she taught in her hometown school for 13 years before moving to Washington, D.C. for graduate school at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, completing a master’s in book arts.

“It is a very specialized degree in a very unknown art area,” she observed. “Basically, this means that I write content, make my own paper — not all the time, but when I can — letterpress print, think Johannes Gutenberg and movable type, and hand-bind my books. I usually make small, limited edition books, about 10-30 books total.”

Shafer was offered a post-graduate fellowship in book arts at the Black Rock Press with the University of Nevada so she made the move to Reno and also has taught in Washoe County including subjects such as Photoshop, digital photography and other foundations of art. She added she was inspired by her high school art teacher, and hopes she has that same impact on her students.

“I am excited to get to know the students and to hopefully inspire them to pursue and appreciate art,” she said. “Even if they don’t plan to study art beyond what they do in my classroom, I hope that they will leave with an appreciation for the arts. I am excited to, hopefully, start an art club and National Art Honor Society.”

Brenda Boone took the position of CCHS vice principal this year.

“I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve the Fallon community as a member of the CCHS administrative team in the role of vice principal,” she said. “It is exciting to be at CCHS working with high-school students and staff, and support the Greenwave.”

This will be Boone’s first year in administration after 20 years with CCSD. She taught from 1997 to 2012 with her first seven years at the junior high level, the next four at E.C. Best Elementary School, followed by three years at Lahontan. For the last five years, she worked in the district’s Educational Services department as an elementary instructional coach. 

“Mr. Lords has been extremely supportive, and you can tell he genuinely cares for the education, safety and well-being of all CCHS students,” she said of the principal, adding she was thrilled to begin the school year Monday.

Boone also said Back-To-School Night was a success, explaining there was an abundance of freshman along with many upper classmen who, although they’re ending their summer, seemed excited to be at CCHS.

“The new students and parents were not afraid to ask for help finding classrooms, and the older students were awesome offering guidance,” she added.

While staff is settling in and young ones’ eyes are about to be opened to the idea of school, seniors at CCHS were given the opportunity to pay for a parking spot and paint it.

“Today there are a number of students out in the parking lot painting their spots,” said sixth-grade teacher Victoria Purrell, noticing the works of art at the high school Friday. “Amazing art work and just school spirit.”

Another thing the CCSD community may notice is upgraded playground equipment at the preschool and all elementary schools including new groundwork and curbing.

The new maintenance director, Ozzie Henke, explained the upgrades and how they were auctioning off the old equipment. Henke, who was last a Greenwave in 1996, was previously the deputy public works director for the City of Fernley.

“It’s been a dream of mine to live and work in the same town, so no more commute for me,” Henke said happily during the board meeting when he was introduced.

Looks like it’s going to be a school year of less road time for some and hopefully many hours of studying, creating, practicing and thriving for students and staff alike.