Originally Published: August 22, 2016 5:55 a.m.
The 2016-17 school year is upon us and we are off to a tremendous start! These past few weeks have allowed us to welcome back our staff and students, celebrate their past successes, and set the tone for the future.
This time of year always brings with it renewed hope and optimism. As we come off of an award winning year, our campuses are welcoming back our students and preparing for yet another banner year.
Last year, we added the Golden Bell Award to our list of state and national awards, had several category winners in the Yavapai County Education Foundation’s Teacher of the Year banquet, established a partnership with Arizona State University and the Barrett Summer Scholars Program, and saw Bradshaw Mountain High School recognized on the U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of best high schools and Newsweek’s list of High Schools Beating the Odds.
So where do we go in the 2016-17 school year? Our outstanding staff and students are now looking to build off of the momentum from the past school year.
One of the exciting things taking place this school year is the implementation of free, full-day kindergarten. Between our Bright Futures Preschool and previous half-day kindergartens with a full-day tuition option, we have always built a strong foundation for learning within our community.
Enrollment has increased significantly in our kindergarten programs this year bringing with it the addition of three new kindergarten classrooms across the district. The move to a free, full-day program will now ensure that our early foundations opportunities are not based on ability to pay, but based on the needs of our students within our educational community.
Last year, Coyote Springs Elementary School participated in problem-based, writing performance task through their involvement with EdLeader21. EdLeader21 is a national network of school and district leaders focused on integrating the 4Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity) into education. Fifth-graders were given multiple documents related to a real-world community issue and asked to prepare a policy recommendation based on the information. Their writing was then assessed by teachers from across the country. More importantly, our teachers were able to assess student work from around the country and collaborate with teachers from high performing districts from states like Colorado, California, Virginia, New York, and Illinois. This year, we will be expanding this performance task into more of our elementary schools and adding one to our middle schools.
Last year, 588 students at Bradshaw Mountain High School took an AP course; this is an enrollment increase of roughly 455 percent since the 2008-2009 school year.
This year, Bradshaw Mountain High School will be welcoming their third class of AP Academy students. In addition to the numerous students enrolled in an AP course, more than 150 students are currently enrolled in the AP Academy; a school-within-a-school cohort of students assigned a rigorous course of study. AP Academy students have access to an assigned faculty mentor throughout their program, take AP exams at no cost, and must complete a community service project upon graduation. The success of the academy model has already produced outstanding results.
As we look ahead to the 2016-17 school year, the Humboldt Unified School District looks to build off of our past successes. Our focus will continue to be providing a comprehensive, world-class education for all students. We feel that as your neighborhood school, it is our responsibility to transform the educational experiences for your children to meet the needs of the 21st century.
— Dan Streeter
Humboldt Unified School District