TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — EDITOR’S NOTE: “Principal’s Corner” is a regular feature in the Sierra Sun, in which a principal from a Tahoe Truckee Unified School District school shares news and events happening at his or her school, as well as any information that may impact the students, staff or families of that school. This week, we feature Teresa Rensch, principal of North Tahoe School.
What’s happening at North Tahoe School? We have more teachers and lower class sizes this year. You will see more electronic devices in the hands of students, and a greater use of technology in our classrooms. We offer a skier/independent academy to accommodate our athletes’ training schedules. Our performing arts electives remain and our fine arts elective has returned, just to mention a few highlights.
We complement the focuses of foreign language and science from both of our feeder elementary schools — Kings Beach Elementary and Tahoe Lake Elementary. NTS has Two Way Immersion (TWI) programs for fifth to eighth-grade students, with Spanish as an exploratory class during our daily 30-minute RTL (Response to Learning) block of time.
We also have a very rich hands-on science curriculum and a strong partnership with Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP).
Each grade level has a field trip to complement what students learn in class with their particular science curriculum, providing hands-on, real-life learning outside the class walls.
For example, seventh-grade students planted Sugar Pine trees to support Tahoe forests and sixth-grade students spend a night at Mono Lake as a culminating science trip, where they learn about the unique ecosystem of the Mono Lake Basin, its fauna and flora, and the environmental history of the basin.
North Tahoe continues to foster a safe and respectful environment with the homeroom and advisory classrooms.
Fifth through eighth-grade students have a weekly advisory class fostering this sense of shared responsibility. The weekly advisory classes allow for students to connect with an adult and with their classmates. The students learn how to communicate positively and problem solve effectively.
For continued support of the well-being and happiness of students, we now offer character development and youth empowerment classes as part of our before school clubs. We also offer jazz band, open gym, homework help, math tutoring, art club, and drama club before school from 7:30-8:15 a.m. for all fifth to eighth-grade students.
To better meet the needs of individual students, NTS offers a daily 30-minute block of RTL time. The RTI blocks are geared to each student, whether it’s additional academic support students need in the way of math or language arts instruction, or if they elect to explore enrichment options through leadership, yearbook, art, robotics, current events, literacy enrichment, Spanish, or environmental studies. NTS’s art elective is also available along with our continued music/band and computer technology electives.
North Tahoe also offers enticing before school programs: a seventh and eighth-grade homework help (with some peer tutors), math tutoring (for fifth and sixth grades) and our fifth to eigth-grade Odyssey of the Mind (for Gifted and Talented Education — GATE students).
The use of technology continues to grow at NTS. We have more than 60 iPads and more than 30 Del PCs.
We also allow students to bring their own device to use only for educational purposes. Our eighth-grade students are part of our district- wide 1:1 prototype. Thanks to Excellence in Education, each eighth-grade student received their own Chromebook to use in their classes and eventually for homework use as well.
The added electronic devices allow for teachers to gradually integrate more technology into their classrooms to deepen the students’ knowledge in certain content areas and to further the students’ technology skills.
Thanks to Measure A, our North Tahoe students are able to frequent our large state-of-the-art library. Our credentialed library media specialist stocks more than 16,000 titles of high interest books, covering a wide array of genres. Our students have access to print titles, ebooks, and audiobooks in contemporary young adult fiction and non-fiction.
Parents and the community are welcome to join me at the school for coffee and conversation on the first Friday of every month at 7:30 a.m. North Tahoe School is a place where you get an education of the mind and an education of the heart.