All grade levels see new programs at Humboldt
Offerings include JROTC, art, language and literacy
At nearly every grade level in the Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD) students are encountering new and exciting programs from early language and literacy for preschoolers to art experiences for all elementary schools and a Junior ROTC program at the high school.
“On Aug. 5, we will welcome 5,700 students through our doors,” said HUSD Superintendent Dan Streeter, adding that an expansion of the elementary fine arts curriculum also includes elementary orchestra.
BRIGHT FUTURES PRESCHOOL
The district’s preschool, Bright Futures, will offer a new program, Teaching Early Language and Literacy, or TELL, in a partnership with Arizona State University. This curriculum is used in districts in Maricopa County, but until recently, it was unavailable for districts in Yavapai County or the northern regions of the state, said Stephanie Rowe, Bright Futures coordinator.
“ASU applied for a grant two years ago for us to be a partner to pilot the TELL curriculum,” Rowe said.
ASU was awarded the grant, which paid for equipment to conduct long-distance training opportunities through video tracking. Teachers received two days of training in April and May last school year. During the upcoming year, the video equipment will record them teaching, and an ASU coach will review the video with the teacher to make sure the curriculum is being used correctly.
The program includes activities to build vocabulary, letter recognition and sounds, making it all fun with music, Rowe said.
“Because this is a pilot program under the grant, the books, the training, the whole curriculum with everything comes free. It will be awesome,” Rowe said.
Bright Futures has five classrooms; a recent contract with Head Start has resulted in two Head Start classrooms on campus with 18 students in each. A second outdoor space with a science and water theme is part of a new “outdoor classroom.”
Enrollment usually begins with 75 to 80 students ages 3 to 5. With the year-round screening process for disabilities, enrollment grows throughout the year. The 2018-19 school year ended with 135 students, Rowe said. Students with special needs attend free; enrollment for typically developed students is fee-based.
Bright Futures will have an Open House from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 8, at its campus on the north side of the Humboldt Unified School District east campus, 6411 N. Robert Road, Prescott Valley.
ART IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
After three years of combing through art activity lesson plans, researching Arizona art standards for kindergarten through eighth grade and ordering materials for projects, all HUSD elementary schools now offer art as one of their specials — computer/library, music and PE are the others.
Diane Lerette, Instructional Specialist at MVES and member of the Strategic Arts Committee, said members developed the arts curriculum with its comprehensive lesson plans, and made them available on an internal website so that any teacher at any grade level, kindergarten through eighth grade, can teach in-depth art projects.
The committee members presented the program at the HUSD Governing Board meeting in May, describing how they traveled during school breaks to several other school districts to see how their visual arts programs worked. Then each teacher tackled a grade level to find and write up lesson plans complete with project description, materials list, objectives and instructions.
Board member Rich Adler said he was speechless.
“It was a vision for me 15 years ago. We owe it to our kids to do this,” he said.
Board President Ryan Gray doesn’t consider himself artistic, “but looking at that website, I feel like I could step in and do that.”
JROTC AT BRADSHAW
The Army Junior ROTC program got the go-ahead from the district governing board in April, and so far 35 students have enrolled, said Bradshaw Mountain High School (BMHS) Principal Kort Miner.
Lt. Col. Dave Elder will lead the program, open to students in all four grade levels at the high school.
Elder said the program is more than an entryway to military service, that students learn other skills as well. “It’s all about opening doors and options.”
In addition to leadership skills, students will learn basic government curriculum, how to set and reach goals, balance a checkbook, nutrition and a lifelong love of physical fitness, Elder said. “It’s about leadership and making opportunities. It can really help a person grow or find themselves.”
Adler said at the April meeting that some of his preconceived notions were dispelled.
“This does not preclude college, but for students with no interest in college, it can provide another pathway,” he said.