What’s new at school this year

Classes begin Wedneday for Lincoln students
By: Patty McAlpin Lincoln News Messenger Correspondent
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New faces, interactive learning techniques and technology will greet students beginning the 2011-2012 school year this coming Wednesday. “The big news this year is half the schools have new principals,” said Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott Leaman. Five of the district’s 11 schools have new principals. Three administrators took advantage of an early retirement incentive program, which resulted in a projected savings of approximately $779,325 or more to the district for the 2011-2012 school year, according to Leaman. Jeremy Lyche, who was the Twelve Bridges Elementary School principal, moved to San Diego. He was replaced by Daniela Thompson. Michael Doherty, who was the Glen Edwards Middle School principal, is now the Phoenix High School principal. Replacing Doherty at Glen Edwards is Shelly Hoover. Jay Berns is the principal of Lincoln High School. And the principal of Creekside Oaks Elementary is Scott Pickett. Leaman said school offices are open and students can still register for the upcoming school year. Typically, office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., he said. Estimated student enrollment this year is 6,500. Last year’s enrollment was 6,425 students, according to district statistics. “We are looking forward to a wonderful year,” Leaman said. So are incoming students. “Happy and excited” is how sister and brother Emily and Nikita Pakhomov said they feel about the new school year starting. The Pakhomov family recently moved from Antelope to Lincoln. Irena Pakhomov and her children spent time at Twelve Bridges Library on Aug. 11 looking for books, specifically one on moths for Emily. Each child had a shopping cart full of books. Emily will be in third grade. Brother Nikita will be a first-grader. The children will attend Creekside Oaks Elementary School. “We were bored staying at home and came to the library,” Irena Pakhomov said. “They want to learn.” Tanner and Tiffany Stevens visited the library the same day with family. The brother and sister said they are looking forward to seeing friends they met last year when they moved to Lincoln from Florida. “I just want to see my friends again,” said Tanner, 11, who is going into fifth grade at Twelve Bridges Elementary School. Sister Tiffany, 9, said she wants to see her best friend. She will be in third grade at the school. “The first day, I got a best friend and I met another the next day,” Tiffany said of meeting friends Anna and Alaina in second grade. “I’m looking forward to seeing them. I miss them so much.” Mother Dina Stevens said of the school, “We love it there. It’s an excellent school.” Teachers are excited about what the new school year will bring. Twelve Bridges Middle School teacher Traci Campbell is looking forward to “bringing history alive” for her eighth-grade history students. She will be teaching approximately 120 students in four classes. Campbell, who is in her sixth year of teaching and has taught at Twelve Bridges Middle since the school opened, also has a leadership class and is the activities director. “I’m making my Civil War unit interactive,” Campbell said. “For roll call, students will be split into north and south. They will be given identities and learn ranking. This year, I will take them outside and show them how to march. I want them to experience what soldiers went through.” Campbell’s students will also learn personal finance. They will be given identities, start with a minimum wage, and go all the way through to retirement. Students will fill out job and loan applications as part of the learning experience. “By the end of the eighth grade, I want students to have the basis of how economics and history relate together,” she said. High school students also will be introduced to new learning opportunities this school year. The district is implementing a program developed by Project Lead the Way, an education curriculum provider, designed to develop leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Starting this year, a four-year series of four to six classes emphasizing engineering will be offered to students. The first class introduces the engineering design process. In this course, students work in teams using sketching to communicate ideas, learn geometry used in parametric modeling assembly and motion constraints and explore the production and modeling of products, according to a Project Lead the Way course description. Teachers Scott Seacrist and Jeff Gillming attended two weeks of training this summer at California State University at San Jose and California State University at San Diego in preparation. “We are also exploring a pathway for health-care programs,” said the district’s Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services Mary Boyle. “We want to prepare students for a four-year degree or a post- graduate program or two-year program. This will open a lot of levels of opportunities for students after they graduate.” Boyle said another innovative program the district is developing for the high school this year is online learning for AP courses not otherwise available and online learning for credit recovery. “This does not in any way compete with or replace current Lincoln High School courses,” she said. “The intent is to augment what we currently offer so that we can more fully meet the interests and needs of our high school students.”