Commentary: Christmas spirit, silly animal stories at Camp Verde schools

It’s very satisfying to reduce a board-full of work into a short simple answer.  You can see the melancholy joy expressed in bittersweet punny humor! “The weight of math is overbearing” sign describes his effort to keep up. (Photo courtesy Camp Verde Unified School District)

It’s very satisfying to reduce a board-full of work into a short simple answer.  You can see the melancholy joy expressed in bittersweet punny humor! “The weight of math is overbearing” sign describes his effort to keep up. (Photo courtesy Camp Verde Unified School District)

The overall enrollment of Camp Verde Unified School District is 1547 as compared 1617 one year ago.

Current enrollment vs. same time last year: Elementary 654 vs.689: Middle School 355 vs. 380; Camp Verde High School 476 vs. 478: Accommodations School 30 vs. 31: South Verde High School 32 vs. 39.

Free and reduced numbers

Camp Verde Unified School District: Free 858; Reduced 102. Current numbers at Elementary, free 418; reduced 43: Middle School free 207; reduced 29; High School free 195; reduced 28.

Accommodations School free 20; reduced 1: South Verde High School free 18; reduced 1.

The percentages for each school: Elementary – 70.49%; Middle School – 66.48%; Camp Verde High School 46.85%; Accommodation School 70.0%. South Verde High School 59.38%. Camp Verde School District percentage of Free/Reduced – 62.06%.

Congratulations to our December Kiwanis student of the month, Aaron Soto! 

The Elks foundation Vocational and Special Needs Scholarships are now in the guidance office and due by Jan. 10.

South Verde

What would math class be if we just took an answer from a calculator at face value?  One trig student is faced with the task of finding the exact answer (no rounding allowed) for the tangent of fifteen degrees.  The method uses the Angle sum and difference identities formulae to find exact answers for less common angles, like those not on the Unit Circle.

Cos15* is found using a combination of Cos30 and Cos45. Next, Sin15 is found using a combination of Cos15 (which we just found) and Cos30.  Lastly, Tan15 is just a combination of Sin15 and Cos15.


Yavapai College visited our campus on Tuesday. They spoke to students about registering for the spring semester. Student interests include graphic design, EMT, art, computer programming and automotive repair. Sometime before the end of December, these students will take a placement assessment on the Verde campus.


Mat Force is scheduled to come out this month and talk to our students about drug use. Mrs. Zawel organized this visit as it compliments her health class during 6th hour.


Enrollment is up at South Verde. We now have 33 students with more projected to attend after Christmas break. This is up from 17 at the beginning of the year. Our goal before the end of the year is to have at least 40-45 students attending South Verde.

Christmas spirit

Jill Rayburn’s daughter Jayden, and Lori Warren’s daughter, Reagen, helped the Middle School office get in the Christmas spirit.

The Middle School basketball teams are off to a great start. Both boys teams are undefeated, the 7th & 8th grade girls are 2 & 1, with the 5th & 6th grade girls learning a bunch and having fun. The cheerleaders are doing an excellent job of cheering the teams on.

The Camp Verde Middle School wrestling team hosted The Camp Verde Middle School duals last Thursday. Five wrestlers were crowned champions and three placed. All Camp Verde wrestlers wrestled well.

A special congratulations to 73-lb champion Racer Uhler, 78-lb champion Brody Townsend, 83-lb champion Tristen Black, 88-lb champion Ethan Zepeda, 111-lb 3rd place Angel Zavalza, 118-lb 2nd place Cole McReynolds, 180-lb 2nd place Anthony Fox and Heavyweight champion Alan Abril.

Brody Townsend was voted outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

Get the gist

Mr. Lewy’s class is currently reading the story The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

Using a Lucy Caulkins-based approach, students are learning how to identify the gist of the story by answering six questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

Once they’ve answered these questions, they summarize their reading using only twenty words in their writing journals.

Brief stops between pages of the story allow the students time to discuss their impressions, questions, and predictions. This creates a very interactive and engaged form of learning that the students love.

Mr. Lewy asked our reading specialist, Dr. Douvikas, to sit in the class and help guide the process.

Silly animal stories

Mrs. Lowman’s 2nd graders explored a “what if” problem by imagining what would happen if an animal went some place they normally wouldn’t go.

The stories are a part of the Being a Writer program and show the fantastic imaginations our students have.

After reading Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, students started with silly animal sentences like:

Kangaroos don’t jump on trampolines.

Bats don’t play baseball.

Penguins don’t paint their toenails.

This activity gave students a starting point for their silly animal stories as they explored the “what ifs” of each situation.

At a point in the activity, Mrs. Lowman asking some of the following questions to prompt students to think about their writing: Where did you get this idea? What do you like about writing so far this year? How do you feel about your writing? How do you feel when you are asked to read your writing to the class?

Much of the program is built on modeling, sharing, and reflecting—all important aspects of writing. Below is a sample story from this activity.

Systems of the Human Body

Mrs. Grubbs class has completed the study of various systems of the human body, complete with illustrated posters.

Students began by studying the skeletal system. From there, they moved on to a system or organ of their choice, and created an informational poster that they presented to their fellow students.

Some posters focused on the heart, while others looked at the function of kidneys.

Other students chose the muscular system for their report.

All reports were beautifully illustrated and are now hanging in the 5th grade hallway for other students to see.

Bullying Prevention Program

Yavapai County Community Health Service came to talk to all of our 2nd graders about bullying prevention.

They went over what bullying is and what kind things we can do to prevent it. Students got into groups to discuss what bullies do, and how to be good friends.

Each group wrote the qualities that make a good friend on a piece of paper. They then took turns explaining their ideas to the class before putting in into the “kindness soup” chart on the board. The trainers also had the kids make a kindness jar that holds kind words in it to remind the students how to treat each other.

In our preschool, Mrs. Mazur’s students learned about the letter Q. They practiced this letter by making Quiches. Looks like they enjoy the letter Q!!

In the Elementary School, Mrs. Weir’s students completed their “All About Me’ books so they could take them home as a Thanksgiving gift for the family. These books were developed after weeks of writing, editing, and illustrating.

The students were very proud of their accomplishments.


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