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Senator Square: Mondays at Carson High offer homeroom support

By Phil Brady

By Ananda Campbell and Bridget Gordon-Johnson

(Editor’s Note: Campbell is a CHS Library Media Specialist and Carson City School District Library Coordinator and Gordon is a counselor at CHS)

Mondays at Carson High School are much different than the anathema we have grown to know. The transition to the hybrid schedule allowed us to shift Mondays to an easing in of the academic week, to focus on holistic instruction, and to provide individualized support.



For students, Mondays begin at 7:45 with remote attendance in a rotating scheduled Homeroom class. CHS Social and Emotional Learning committee provides weekly lessons based on the Habits of Mind at habitsofmindinstitue.org which focus on skills and attributes for success in life. Not only is having information important, but so is knowing how to act on it, and, how to behave when an answer is not known.

We are lucky the CCSD and the State of Nevada shifted to put a focus on SEL strategies for students. Research shows students who gain these critical skills are not only more resilient when adversity strikes, but they also perform better academically. SEL strategies teach students how to reframe difficult experiences, how to manage interpersonal tasks, and how to navigate the often overwhelming situations they find themselves in daily.



When students learn to organize their time, for example, they are able to self-regulate and structure their school work, which ultimately allows them to thrive even during remote learning. Students who lack SEL skills struggle to find solutions to even minimal barriers; when schools support SEL growth through structured lessons and experiences, students thrive. Ultimately, a generation of youth with these skills benefit society moving forward.

After a 15-minute homeroom lesson, students are free to visit any teacher during their Zoom office hours for individualized instruction and support. Office Hours run from 8-9:15 a.m. for every teacher at CHS. Students spend the remainder of the day completing work assigned in Google Classrooms. Staff and teachers are in trainings and professional meetings to prepare for the weekly asynchronous learning which requires lesson planning for both in-person and virtual students. Mondays are full of activities and have become a positive and productive start to the week.

Visit senatorsnow.org under the ‘Resources’ tab to take a peek at homeroom lessons. While there, check out the incredible resources available to the ‘Senators Community’; the ‘Carson Senators’ link is the ‘CHS Open House’ with new student ‘Big Blue Welcome’ and ‘Student Resources’ such as mental health and community support. Visitors will also find student tech support and quick links. CHS challenges and supports students to achieve their greatest potential for future success. Monday homeroom provides a solid foundation toward this mission. In the attached photo, CHS freshman Riley Pulver said, “I like Mondays because I can get one-on-one help with my teachers.”

FCA AND OTHER GROUPS ON AND OFF CAMPUS DONATE GIFTS TO STUDENTS

The holidays are here, the semester at CHS is almost over, and Christmas vacation, also known as winter break, began Dec. 19. Like Santa’s sleigh, this semester has flown by, but it is not over yet. Many different organizations, on and off campus, are purchasing gifts and donating those gifts to over 400 students in the Carson City School District.

One of the clubs on campus, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, jumped in to all the holiday cheer by traveling to local area businesses, purchasing gifts at their own club’s expense, and wrapping those gifts in time to deliver them by Dec. 17 and 18 to the many individuals at CHS. When all is said and done, most will probably keep trying to beat the clock; however, if that is the case then spend all that energy helping others this holiday season, but do not forget to stop once-in-a-while and smell the chestnuts roasting.

Also, to give back to the community, Eagle Valley Middle School’s art teacher had students decorate Christmas cards for the residents at Eagle Valley Children’s Home. The following businesses provided gifts to the over 400 students and their families within CCSD: Carson Tahoe Labor and Delivery, Lone Mountain Family Dentistry, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Eagle Valley Children’s Home, Benson’s Feed and Tack, Carson City Hyundai, Dr. Weed and the Carson Tahoe Hospital Medical Staff, CASA of Carson City, Gena Plumer and Family, Carson City Orthodontics, Click Bond, Inc., Denny’s Restaurant, Carson City Democrats, CHS ROTC, The Deacons of Silver Hills Community Church, Carson City School District Staff, Teachers, school nurses, Truancy Officer, Administration, School Social Workers, retired coach, and Carson City families and community members.

For information about this annual event, email coordinator and school social worker Alejandra Ayala at aayala@carson.k12.nv.us, or call her at 283-1834.

NJROTC PROGRAM ADOPTS FOUR FAMILIES FOR ANGEL TREE PROGRAM

CHS NJROTC Senator Battalion adopted four families through the Angel Tree Program. Over the course of three weeks, 180 cadets raised $3,444 for 14 children ranging from 1 to 17-years-old.

According to Battalion Commander Cadet Cash Farnworth, “The Battalions original goal was to collect $200 per child; we had planned on adopting eight children; however, as donations began coming in, we saw the opportunity to add an additional six children.” Cadets’ determination and compassion of helping others, allowed each of the 14 angels to have a spending budget of $246. Every child had a “List for Santa” in which the cadets used to purchase gifts as well as other winter necessities.

Cadets spent an entire afternoon shopping, followed by the huge task of wrapping each gift the following day. Despite the hardships this community has faced, the Battalion pulled through to help families have a merry Christmas. In my four years of being in this program, the most satisfying moment is being able to help provide for these families and to see the pride in students’ faces throughout these past weeks. Observing students’ level of participation, and the genuine consideration for others, makes it easy to say I am proud to be a part of this Battalion.

Cadet Anthony LeBlanc, a first-year cadet, said, “Knowing I contributed in helping others who are not as fortunate as me warms my heart; it is a good feeling to know my efforts helped families have a good Christmas this year.”

For Cadet Alejandra Gurrola a significantly involved fourth year cadet and this year’s Alpha Company Executive Officer, said, “I do this because I want to help others, and I know this may seem like something everyone says, but it feels good knowing that I could make such a big impact in someone’s life, that I am the reason someone smiled.” That is the reason she joined NJROTC in the first place; she wanted to become a good role model and someone people could count on. NJROTC has been one of the most important things to her. Over these past four years it gave her a new perspective on what it means to be there and help others. Being able to feel the results is one of the stimuluses’ of keeping her involved. LCDR Dan Meyer told each class of how impressed and proud the instructors were with this year’s efforts.

He noted this year’s Battalion had less cadets and a smaller time period to collect donations from cadets, and yet they collected more than any in the recent past. So with all that considered, this year’s efforts were beyond impressive ~ Contributed by NJROTC Cadet Brianna Duckworth.

WINNERS OF CHS UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER AND MASK COMPETITION

Teachers came to school Dec. 14 ready for the competition and join in by wearing a HO-HO-Horrible Holiday Sweater and Mask. Voting for the contest took place during the Zoom faculty meeting. Teachers made sure they were Zoom camera ready. The categories and winners were Ugliest Homemade Sweater, with CHS Leadership and Physical Education teacher Ann Britt winning first place, the ugliest store-bought sweater, with CHS Spanish teacher J.P. Albert winning first place, the ugliest mask with CHS secretary Cathy Atchian winning first place, and teacher Nicole Fagundes winning “nicest” staff member for having won the naughty and nice list game. Prizes were generously donated by these community partners: Shoe Tree, Bully’s, Dutch Bros, Bodines, and Kona Chiropractic. CHS staff and administrators are supremely grateful to businesses and the community for its unfailing support.

JAZZ BAND PLAYS CHRISTMAS MUSIC TO START THE SCHOOL DAY

The CHS Jazz Band, led by CHS and Capital City Band Director Nick Jacques, served up some live holiday music at 7:10 a.m. for this month’s installment of Jazz in Senator Square. Students in Senator Square, along with many teachers and administrators, came out of their quiet spaces to enjoy the show. According to Jacques “This weekend, we will also air the entire band program’s winter concert through an exciting new partnership with National Grassroots Broadcasting Network Carson City; go to ngbncarsoncity.tv in order to see a Home for The Holidays Christmas concert by the CHS Band at 5 p.m.” Jacques leaves everyone with an amazing thought all teachers should have when thinking about their positions of calling when he said, “Some people can only dream of meeting their favorite musicians…I teach mine.”

STUDENT INDEPENDENTLY INITATES SENIOR PROJECT REPLACEMENT

CHS Senior Abby Golik, after being told Senior Projects, a graduation requirement, were temporarily canceled, decided she wanted to do a Senior Project anyway, said “I just wanted to say thank you for being a teacher, coach, mentor, or principal of mine over the years, or someone who has supported me; I know it may seem a little strange to hear this, but I missed out on doing a Senior Project and talked with my sister Hannah about how I might still be able to give back to my community my senior year.” Abby and her sister Hannah brainstormed, talked with some community members like Jim Peckham, Executive Director of Friends in Service Helping, FISH, and Joyce Buckingham of Ron Woods Center and decided to do a community drive to help the less fortunate in the community. Peckham said “Between 250-300 homeless persons in our community could use socks and gloves this time of year with annual temperatures reaching their lowest of lows” and Buckingham said “Diapers are always in demand for children and families in our community who are in the foster care program, specifically sizes 4 to 6.” So Abby decided these two organizations will receive the donations. With this information, Abby said, “I put together this drive to rally the community for donations, and I am reaching out to all of my former teachers, coaches, etc. to see if they would be interested in making a donation.” Abby placed a donation box in the CHS Attendance Office, and it will be there until Jan. 8. Items may be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Prefer to give a cash donation? Abby will then use the money to purchase socks, gloves, and diapers herself. Make checks out to Abby Golik, put them in her mom’s mailbox, Angila Golik, or Venmo her @Abby-Golik. Abby then said, “I will send an update email at the conclusion of this event to share with you how many items were donated; thank you so much for all the years of guidance, support, and teaching you have provided me at CHS. For information about this event, please email her at abbygolik11@gmail.com.

FUTURE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS HOSA DAY AT BUFFALO WILD WINGS

Future Health Professional (HOSA) students will be hosting a fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings, 3815 S. Carson St., Dec. 21 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Please let the server know, on both dine-in and take-out orders, this is to support HOSA students at CHS, and 10% of the proceeds will go toward the benefit of HOSA. All money raised will help send HOSA students to State and National Competitions. Keep on the lookout as there will be more HOSA fundraisers around Carson City. HOSA students are not only busy learning at CHS, they also volunteer their time around Carson City at places like Health and Human Services Drive Through Flu Pod at the DMV. In school and out of school, HOSA students excel.

STUDENT OF THE WEEK

Congratulations to Allison Gill, a senior, on being nominated as the CHS Student of the Week. Her nominating teacher, CHS Language Arts Department’s Alyssa Smith-Akerley, said “I want to nominate her because she really is a light in mine, and, I assume, her other teachers’ lives.” Smith-Akerley also added, “Allison can sometimes be the slacker kid, which, as a teacher, can be really frustrating, but she also is at the same time the student who holds herself to incredibly high standards.”

Allison takes all honors courses, is a yearbook editor, and manages to work 35 hours per week at Starbucks. “She will absolutely hate that I am saying nice things about her, so I would like to add at the end that she is the worst, just to counteract everything I said if she ever reads this” added Smith-Akerley. Congratulations to Allison Gill on being nominated Student of the Week; she is a senior who stands out.

Phil Brady is an English teacher at CHS.