Commentary: Annual testing, teen leadership at Camp Verde schools

Models of the moons of the solar system hang from the top of Mr. Malloy’s classroom. (Photo courtesy of Camp Verde Unified School District)

Models of the moons of the solar system hang from the top of Mr. Malloy’s classroom. (Photo courtesy of Camp Verde Unified School District)

A friendly reminder that our TAG performance of Once Upon A Mattress with be Friday, April 7, and Saturday April 8 in the MUC.

All performances start at 7 p.m. Student tickets are $5, adults are $8.

Many of our high school students took AP tests this past Saturday in the library. We are hopeful they did well so that they can get college credit for their hard work.

Test results

Our ACT testing results came back faster than expected. Out of 115 students, 27 scored higher than the national average of 20. We had three students score a 28, an exceptional score considering the highest you can score is a 36.

I’m most proud of the fact that many of those 115 students have signed up to take the ACT again this school year. It’s nice to see students thinking about colleges and universities when they thought there was no chance of them attending before.

AzMerit testing for the high school will begin on Monday, April 17 and run through May 4.

No Friday school on April 7 and 14 due to teacher in-service and Good Friday.

Eighth Graders at Camp Verde Middle School took the AIMS Science test this week. Students worked hard and did their best. Next week, they will be taking the PSAT 8/9 for the first time in our district.

Seventh grade Social Studies continues its study of the late Industrial Revolution and the dangerous working conditions by learning about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911. The death of 146 mostly young girls exposed the dangerous working conditions that factory workers endured.

The study will conclude with a documentary of the fire and subsequent reactions.

Changing stations

Seventh and eighth grade Tech lab students are changing stations and learning more about using PowerPoint, Apple works, Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw. They are also working with Fischertechnix, Knex, Legos and Flight Simulator.

In seventh grade Science students are learning about the phases of the moon, its origin and the composition of the sun.

Sixth grade Science students are still learning about the different systems of the body. They just finished reading, labeling, and coloring diagrams of the heart, circulatory system, and respiratory system. To get a better understanding of these systems, they watched the 1957 movie “Hemo the Magnificent.” 

Even though the movie is 60 years old this year, it still has some very good information that is easy to understand at the sixth grade level. Some of the information is outdated, with all of the new medical studies, but much of it is still relevant. 

The students enjoyed it and got some good information. They will now be going on to the brain and nervous system beginning next week and then on to the digestive system. Mr. Pelfrey hopes to complete the body systems in the next couple of weeks and then the students get to be junior meteorologists.

Prodigy

Sixth Grade Language Arts is finishing off the month of March with informative writing and reading comprehension activities. They are excited to jump into April because they will be starting the book, Hatchet.

In Mr. Hansen’s sixth grade Math, students continued working on geometry and will touch on some statistics before the AZ Merit test coming up on April 10.  To help students review and prepare, Mr. Hansen has prepared an AZ Merit aligned review plan on an online game called Prodigy. 

Each student has an account where they create a character, travel through various online worlds, where they meet and challenge other players worldwide. They can accumulate pets to help them and move up levels as they meet each challenge. Students are encouraged to practice as much, and wherever they can before testing!

Teen leadership

Impression Management was the main term this week in sixth grade Teen Leadership. Classes discussed how to control how people see us and what masks we put up/on around certain people, to hide who we really are or how we are feeling. Students then designed actual masks that represent the masks we hide behind in real life. 

Title I math students practiced changing percents to decimals to fractions, along with practicing decimal operations.

The eighth graders continued their recent focus on geometry by working with triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons and circles. 

The sixth and seventh grade students learned how to convert metric units to and from customary units, as well as convert temperature from Celsius to and from Fahrenheit. 

Camp Verde Middle School’s annual Track meet is this coming Thursday, April 6, starting at 9 a.m. at the high school. From 12-14 schools from the valley and Prescott area will be participating. 

Soccer is doing well with the girls’ record being 3-1 and the boys’ at 2-2.  The baseball team is 5-1 while the softball team is 6-3.  Everyone has games this week.

State Testing Arrives at Elementary School

This week has been all about AzMERIT and AIMS testing at the elementary school. Our third and fourth grade students were greeted with words of encouragement when they arrived at school to help start the process out on a positive note:

Our third graders began with a writing test on Monday, and finished up on Tuesday and Wednesday with reading and math assessment — two sessions each day. Thursday, they took time to let off some steam at Butler Park and finished the day off with a movie in the classroom. They definitely earned the break!

Fourth grade started testing on Wednesday with the paper-and-pencil AIMS science test, then moved to the computer-based AzMERIT writing test on Thursday. They will continue with Reading and Math on Monday next week, finishing up on Tuesday afternoon.

No glitches

The testing went incredibly smoothly, given that there were a large number of things that could have gone wrong. Thanks to Dr. Douvikas, Rebecca McIlvaine, Gary Lagoy, the teachers, and the students, all went well with this very complicated process.

There were no major glitches with computers, mainly due to the pre-planning and work done by our technology department.

To keep the network humming, we spread out our classes throughout the campus, making sure to not overload any one connection point.

Students and teachers did a fantastic job navigating the AzMERIT website — not an easy task. In all, the week was a success. Now only two more weeks to go.

In Speech, Katie McAndrew, one of two speech-language pathology assistants, plays Hedbanz with a non-verbal student using an Augmentative/Alternative Communication device. This student is practicing asking questions in full sentences to make deductions.

AAC

There are multiple forms of AAC which can be used for students who are non-verbal or students who are difficult to understand that can use a device to clarify their verbal messages. The speech-department is experienced at introducing AAC to small children and modifying existing programs to fit a student’s growing communication needs.

It is important that each system be personalized to the individual student’s skills and academic needs. There is no such thing as a one solution system/device that fits every child’s strengths and needs.

In Elementary School, the third graders completed AZMerit testing this week. The fourth grade students began testing Wednesday and Thursday. The special education staff have been busy following accommodations for testing and trying to service students when possible. Everyone is doing an outstanding job this week with testing, service times and meetings.

Transition meetings

In Middle School, eighth grade transition meetings are completed. The team held their last one, Wednesday evening.  Tammey Carter wants to thank the high school sped staff for all their support in the meetings. 

The information they shared was so helpful to the students and parents.  I also am very proud of the students who attended their meetings, shared future plans, and self-advocated for courses and academic needs.

In the Gifted Program, the first and second graders have been playing “Cool Math Games” in gifted class. They are building conceptual knowledge of place value, multiples, division, and fractions. The third and fourth graders are busy with their AZMerit testing while the fifth graders are devouring the book, The Giver.

Gifted testing has continued through this week.

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