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May 24, 2013

School officials share highlights of 2012/13 school year

Eighth grade students dress up and celebrate their final days at Colonel Smith Middle School at their eighth grade dance. The event took place May 17 inside the Student Union.

Fort Huachuca drivers will need to be a bit more cautious when driving near housing and other populated areas on Fort Huachuca. School’s out for the summer and children are at play!

While students look forward to a few months of freedom from the school grind, here is a look back at some highlights of activities at Fort Huachuca Accommodation Schools this past academic year.

Colonel Johnston Elementary School

This year, students in kindergarten through second grade were introduced to project-based learning methods. This is hands-on learning and helps students to think creatively.

“Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning,” said Ida Pedrego, school guidance counselor.

According to Pedrego and Lisa Graeme, Colonel Johnston Elementary School technology integration specialist, the goal of this style of learning is to develop a well-rounded student who can not only display critical thinking skills but have a basic knowledge of today’s technology. For example, with the guidance of teachers, students are encouraged to create their own movies, music clips and Powerpoint(r) presentations.

Another highlight was the science fair on April 30, which included student projects focusing on science technology, engineering and math. Queen Mine Tours from Bisbee and students from The University of Arizona gave presentations to those attending the event.

Fourth grade student Madison Whitworth plays a Celtic song on the violin during the General Myer Elementary School’s talent show. Students performed in front of the school and parents on Monday.

Pedrego’s advice to students and parents this summer is to keep the learning going. She hopes students will put their newly acquired critical thinking skills to work, and stop and think before they act. She hopes parents will continue to engage in fun learning activities with their children while they are out of school.

General Myer Elementary School

Myer School students had their most successful Accelerated Reading Auction this year. Students read books at their level and took quizzes on what they read. They earned points for their knowledge and later exchanged the points for dollars to be spent on auction items.

According to Connie Johnson, General Myer Elementary School principal, out of approximately 335 students, 300 participated in this year’s program and earned more points than in years past.

“We have been doing [Accelerated Reading Auctions] for about eight years but this year, it’s the biggest auction we’ve ever had, … which means our kids have done a lot of reading and understand what they have read,” Johnson said.

Johnson hopes the students’ reading trend continues over the summer.

Back by popular demand, the annual talent show took place May 20. Students in third through fifth grades put on 25 different acts for their peers and Family members.

Kindergarten students in Colonel Johnston Elementary participate in a farmer’s market, which took place last fall as a learning project to help younger children understand farming and where their food comes from. The youth raised $182 from selling student-prepared items at the event.

Colonel Smith Middle School

Students at the middle school proved themselves to be worthy academic adversaries this year. Eleven students took awards at the Cochise County Youth Engineering & Science Fair held on March 7.

Six students competed in the Future City Competition Arizona Region winning three different awards. Student teams worked with a teacher and volunteer engineer teams to design and build their vision of a future urban world. The competition took place in Phoenix Jan. 26.

“We have amazing students doing amazing work that have been recognized in so many events,” said Colonel Smith Middle School Principal Nancy Nicholson, Ph.D.

In other competitions, eighth-grader Kristen Wiman took second place in the Cochise County Law Day Essay Contest and presented her essay at the Bisbee courthouse on May 1. Seventh-grader Garrett Chambers competed in the Arizona finals of the National Geographic Bee held in Tucson on March 30.

Some school-wide highlights included the diabetes awareness run on April 26 and the new Virtual Reality Club, where students learn 3D animation. Classes also partnered with Water Wise and Energy Smart educators, part of The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, and increased their knowledge about water and energy conservation.




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