Commentary: The latest in school news at Camp Verde Unified School District

Dennis Goodwin

Dennis Goodwin

The overall enrollment of Camp Verde Unified School District is 1,624 as compared 1,607 one year ago.

Current enrollment vs. same time last year: Elementary 706 vs.724: Middle School 385 vs. 342; Camp Verde High School 474 vs. 434: Accommodations School 27 vs. 30: South Verde High School 32 vs. 70.

School News

The counselors at CVHS met with the students who took the PSAT this past fall on Monday to go over their scores and to explain what exactly those scores mean for the students. The students are looking forward to having someone break down their test results with and for them.

A group of CVHS math students will be traveling to Prescott for the Yavapai County Math Competition on Thursday, Jan. 26. CVHS will be going head to head with 10-12 other Yavapai County High Schools. We have nine students who will be competing more than five levels (Level 1- Algebra, Level 2- Algebra 2/Geometry, etc …) including two returning students who finished third in their respective levels last year.

Our seniors are feverishly working to complete their senior exit projects in Mrs. Sperry’s room.

Camp Verde Middle School held its Quarter 2 Awards Assembly on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Nearly 100 students earned honor roll. Of those, 36 made the Principal’s List.

Parent/teacher conferences will be held at the end of that week, starting on Thursday, Feb. 9 from 4-7 p.m. and continuing Friday morning Feb. 10, from 8-noon. The Book Fair will also be held during the week of Feb. 6-10.

In the Classrooms


Before Christmas, Coach Steve Stone and our seventh- and eighth-grade girls basketball team adopted a small family (a father and three small girls) through the town of Camp Verde again this year.

Mrs. Gillman’s sixth-grade Language Arts finished their Figurative Language books with onomatopoeias, idioms and alliterations. They also played a game called Speed Writing where they have one minute to write as much as they can on a topic. Then they count up the words to see how many they have written. Their challenge is to beat their score when they played a second and even third time (using different subjects each time).

This week, Mr. Tankesley’s seventh-grade Science students identified the relationship between time on earth and the geologic time scale. The content included sequence of events in the Grand Canyon, carbon dating and fossils.

Mrs. Abbie Monroe has had an excellent first couple of weeks back from maternity leave. The eighth-grade math students learned all about Pythagorean Theorem and were busy drawing diagrams to go with word problems. The Algebra 1 class has been working really hard on solving systems of equations using substitution and elimination.

This week in Mrs. Tankesley’s eighth-grade Language Arts classes, the students finished up the book, Night, by Elie Wiesel, and took their Quarter 2 Galileo benchmark. The students appeared to be focused and on task.

Mr. Colbert’s Title I Math sixth-graders reviewed dividing decimals into whole numbers or decimals. The seventh-graders analyzed the differences between a line graph and double line graph and how to accurately pull data from these graphs. They learned that some questions are pretty open ended and can have many correct answers. The eighth-graders reviewed multiplying and dividing negative numbers and writing mathematical expressions.

Mr. Wilson’s seventh-grade Social Studies began the study of the Battle of Gettysburg and are watching the movie. Their projects were also due this week and they will begin making their presentations in the next few days. His seventh- and eighth-grade Tech students are using Legos and Fischertechnicks to build different machines.

Mrs. Koeppe’s eighth-grade science students made creatures with the flip of a coin. Genetic characteristics were determined by the combination of dominant (heads up) and recessive (tails up) genes (pennies).

Sixth-Grade Teen Leadership students have been reviewing the Social Contract this week. They have looked at each word on the social contract and what the definitions of those words are. The students then created posters for each word to hang around the school to share their social contracts with the rest of CVMS.

On Jan. 25, Mr. Shanks and Mr. Howe are taking four Teen Leadership students to Phoenix to speak at a Capturing Kids Hearts conference. The students will be treated to lunch before going to speak.

Winter sports are wrapping up at the Middle School. Wrestling finishes next weekend with its tournament in Tucson. The seventh-grade girls basketball team has its tournament in Clarkdale, while Camp Verde Middle School is hosting the boys tournament next Friday and Saturday.

Before Christmas, Coach Steve Stone and our seventh- and eighth-grade girls basketball team adopted a small family (a father and three small girls) through the town of Camp Verde again this year. We collected donations and held a free-throw shooting competition to raise money through sponsorships. In all, our team of 11 girls raised over $1,400.

We went to Walmart and spent an evening shopping for our adopted family. The girls did an amazing job picking through items of clothing, toys, games, shoes etc. We bought the father a gift and used what was left over to buy a Bashas’ grocery gift card.

We got to spend quality time together enhancing our community and giving to a needy family. These girls were so thoughtful and heartfelt in their choices. There were employees and a variety of moms and grandmas who were there shopping and noticed what we were doing, asked us about it, and really expressed to us what an awesome job we were doing. The kids really got into it

We spread Christmas spirit and cheer, and Camp Verde enthusiasm all over that town. Coach Stone expressed that he is so lucky to work with such an energetic and truly wonderful group of student athletes.

Elementary Students Get Back into Learning

Elementary school students jumped right back into lessons after Christmas break with many engaging activities that encouraged exploration in music, creative writing, and art. Mrs. Rodriguez’s first grade class wrote an essay titled ‘If I lived in a Snow Globe’.

In Ms. Van Denburgh’s class, students created winter art using tissue paper and glue. Meanwhile, in Mrs. Murlless’s music class, students studied southern spirituals and sang them while incorporating beanie babies and scarves. Mrs. Elsea’s fifth-graders did a round of start testing and also worked on persuasive essays. Mrs. Elsea also noted how much better her student are able to concentrate (and behave) after taking a 15-minute recess break. Finally, over in Mrs. Ayers’ room, students worked on New Year’s writing projects.

Award Assemblies

First semester awards assemblies for elementary students were held on Thursday, Jan. 12 in the Philip England Center for the Performing Arts. Awards were given for students in first through fifth grades for excellence in reading, writing, math, spelling, citizenship, and perfect attendance. Fourth- and fifth-graders also received honor roll awards if they earned only As and Bs on their report cards. Several students had straight As.

Totem Pole Design


Mrs. Wattenbarger’s fifth graders recently completed an integrated lesson on totem poles. The project focused on three main academic elements: social studies, English language arts, and research skills.

Mrs. Wattenbarger’s fifth graders recently completed an integrated lesson on totem poles. The project focused on three main academic elements: social studies, English language arts, and research skills.

The students studied totem poles — a part of the culture of many indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest that represent stories and important events in the history of the tribe.

Students were required to research totem poles, their meaning, and the symbolism incorporated into them, as well as the peoples who created them. They then were tasked with designing their own totem pole that represented them.

Afterwards, they wrote an essay describing their designs and what the symbols on their totem pole symbolized.

STEM in Mrs. Padilla’s Classroom

Mrs. Padilla has embraced the idea that STEM learning doesn’t need to be complicated, time consuming, or boring. She has set up her class so that each Thursday afternoon, students spend approximately 45 minutes in free play time. The reality is that her students aren’t really playing so much as they are problem solving.

The students are grouped and given one of four different types of building materials with which they must solve a problem.

Students are presented with different challenges each week. They may be asked to build a bridge that could span a river, build a fort that would make it through a snowy winter, or create a monster that could walk on two legs. Sometimes student are given free rein to create their own design, then they take turns sharing their creation with the class.

This of course, meets a large array of standards including the English language arts speaking and listening components of the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.


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