I start this week’s article with a confession. I love elementary school libraries. A great school library serves as the figurative, and occasionally, the literal center of the school. Many of the highlights of my career have happened in school libraries, from staff celebrations to parent committee meetings; from sharing my favorite book with students to listening as they share theirs. The elementary school library, in my mind, is the family room of the school. So, with this obvious bias, allow me to explain why Morgan Elementary’s library is an essential part of our system.
Friday, Nov. 16, the Morgan High School track was a sea of crimson energy as the second grade lined up for the second annual Turkey Trot. The eager children wore red as they wrapped up Red Ribbon Week. The little gentlemen stood aside while little ladies took the first lap. A classic ribbon flag was held across the starting line and at the signal the girls took off at an amazing pace. The girls raced each other the ¼ mile around the track. They showed great spirit and sportsmanship from the first runners across the finish line to the last of the class who steadfastly walked to the end. Cheers were given for all the racers for completing the race.
Morgan County School officials promised constituents they would look into a dual immersion language program at area elementary schools. As part of that promise, the community councils at both Morgan and Mountain Green elementary schools have written a survey to measure interest in the area.
Low participation in past years, along with parent opposition to future administrations of the survey, spelled doom for the Student Health and Risk Prevention survey in the Morgan County School District for 2013.
NRCS participated in the annual Environmental Immersion Day sponsored by the Fairchild Challenge, Thanksgiving Point and USU Extension. An estimated 330 high school students from 10 schools gathered at Thanksgiving Point Gardens on Oct. 3 to gain some hands-on experience in various science disciplines dealing with the environment. The Fairchild Challenge began in 2002 to foster interest in the environment by encouraging students to appreciate and value the beauty of nature, develop critical-thinking skills, and to understand the need for biodiversity and conservation.
Members of the Morgan FFA Chapter in Utah were one of 39 teams participating in the National FFA Agricultural Sales Career Development Event (CDE). The event was held in conjunction with the 85th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. The team, led by advisor Megan Haslam, was awarded a silver emblem. Members also competed for individual awards with 150 other participants. Denton Cannon received a bronze emblem, Luke Larsen received a silver emblem, Megan Stapley received a Silver emblem, and Katie Spens received a bronze emblem.
As I contemplate my six children and 12 grandchildren, I wonder at times what would happen if my wife and I were thrust into the role of raising one or more of our grandchildren. In a perfect world, parents raise their children in their own homes and grandparents have the privilege and joy of spoiling their grandchildren—and then sending them back home to their parents. Well, it’s not a perfect world that we live in, and more and more grandparents find themselves in the position of part-time, temporary, full-time, or permanent primary caregivers and/or guardians for their grandchildren.
Learning. This term can mean so many things, but in the Morgan FFA we strive to learn all we can in every possible way. Over the course of the last several weeks, FFA teams have been practicing all across Northern Utah to compete at the renowned Snow College Competition. Competitions here focus on real life agriculture with areas of study such as agronomy, dairy cattle, horses, range, floriculture, soils and more. Your very own students here at Morgan High School have been learning more and more about each of these individual subjects through the Morgan FFA all in the end goal of competing at Snow College. “The FFA trip to Snow College was a worthwhile experience. The participating team members participated in a challenging and educational experience. Additionally, we were able to meet new people and have a good time,” says Daxton Rowser, Morgan FFA member, when asked about the competition. Also, the Morgan FFA chapter would like to thank every person who has ever coached one of our teams; you’re guiding hands have taught us a great amount.
On occasion we find inspiration from unexpected sources. I did when I listened to 150 third grade children powerfully express themselves through a remarkable musical journey. The songs employed meaningful lyrics with messages intended to build confidence, provide strength, help people achieve their potential, dream big, and to stay optimistic during difficult times. The lessons are simple, but universal.
Last Wednesday night the MHS Volleyball team sponsored its 3rd annual Pink Night. MHS & Skyline came together to play for cancer research. Both teams wore pink jerseys and even the officials wore pink. This year was extra special because the volleyball team recently lost one of its own to cancer, Sherie Wright. Sherie and her family were honored before the game and all proceeds of over $2900 will be donated in her name to cancer research.
In the hustle and chaos of our daily lives, it is easy to have tunnel vision and focus either on everyday tasks or on the little negative things that can sometimes overwhelm our days. So in this issue, I’d like to focus more on a couple of really positive activities that have happened recently at Morgan High School: our “Anti-bullying” and “Think Pink” events. First, I must admit that young people continue to amaze me in their generosity and willingness to stand for their convictions.
Friends and family of Morgan Elementary students fell into fun at the fall festival. The rain didn’t keep the crowds away from the party set up in the school’s gym, cafeteria and hallway. Over 300 children and adults attended the fall festival making it a huge success.
On September 7, the entire seventh grade took a trip to Mormon Flats. This year these students will have the opportunity to study about the impact that this trail had on travelers heading west to California. Groups such as the Donner-Reed party and the Pony Express travelled up and over big mountain. Students will also study about the Mormon trek west and the struggle the pioneers had crossing the plains and scaling big mountain.
The day was started when Linda Smith, a local historian, came and shared the stories of many people who traveled the trail the students hiked that day. She did a wonderful job as she dressed in pioneer clothing, while sharing interesting stories.
After hearing the stories of those that traveled on the trail, students loaded the buses en route to Mormon Flats. The seventh graders picked up the pioneer trail in Henefer and traveled along SR 66. The students did not have to hike up the hill; they took the easier route and hiked down the trail. This five mile hike took the students around two hours to complete; students gained an appreciation for what some of those early settlers went through. When they reached the bottom the buses were parked and waiting with the lunches. Students sat and ate their lunches surrounded by the beautiful mountains we enjoy in our valley. The students were also able to participate in games like leg-wrestling and stick pull. There was also an advisory tug-of-war challenge which the students really enjoyed.
When the students returned to the school they finished the day by watching a video “A Trail of Hope.” This film relates experiences of those that traveled along the same trail the students just hiked. It was wonderful and the students were well behaved and appreciative of having the chance to see and learn about Mormon Flats.
Oct. 17, 2012, was an exciting day for the fourth grade students at Morgan Elementary School. Students had just put the final touches on their published drafts after completing a unit on “Writing a Personal Narrative.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, nearly 2,000 students and faculty members from Morgan High, Morgan Middle and Morgan Elementary schools participated in a full evacuation drill. This drill led them roughly a half mile from the school grounds to Wilkinson Construction.
The Morgan County School Board is considering administering the Student Health and Risk Prevention survey to students in select grades in February or March of 2013. In years past, some parents have objected to the content of the survey and claimed the schools did not properly follow through on the “opt in” parent permission procedure.
In 5th grade, the students at Mountain Green Elementary School learn about American history. Near the beginning of their studies are early explorers. Students were put into pairs and chose an explorer to research about. They needed to find out the basic birth/death date, birthplace and what country the explorer sailed for. They also had to find why their explorer started their voyage, what they discovered, what they are most famous for and other interesting information about that explorers life. The students had four days to research information from websites, short readings and the encyclopedia. Students then used the information they gathered to create a poster and present their explorer to the class. The class took notes on each explorer. This information will later be used to write an informative essay on “Why People Explore.” Students discovered many interesting things such as Christopher Columbus was not actually the first European to land on the Americas, how America got its name, how the lack of vitamin C caused the dreaded scurvy, how some explorers mysteriously disappeared, and how some men even spent months searching for cities of gold or a fountain of youth. This was a very fun learning activity for the students.
Now that school has been in session for a few weeks, it’s a great time to take a few minutes and review with your children some safety guidelines about going to and from school. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that approximately 36 percent of attempted non-family abductions happened when a child was going to or from school, or a school-related activity. With this fact in mind here are a few tips for parents that will help our school children with a safer journey.
Morgan Elementary School , Middle School, and Morgan High School will be having an evacuation drill at 9:45 a.m. Oct. 10, in preparation for a chemical spill or events such as a dam break. Superintendent Ken Adams, staff from the district, the schools and Morgan County Sherriff’s office will be along the route to maintain order for approximately 1,600 students. They will be leaving the schools and meeting above Wilkinson’s Construction on 1st South. Please treat this area as a school zone to help us make this a seamless evacuation.
On Friday, the students from Mountain Green Elementary School participated in the fourth annual Walk-a-Thon. Each year, the PTSO sponsors this event in an effort to raise funds to help pay for school activities and field trips, school equipment, teacher needs, emergency back packs, library books, and many other things that would not be possible to have if it were not for the funds raised from this event.
Ten art students from Morgan Middle School have been selected to send their artwork to Japan for the International Children’s Art Exhibition. Students enrolled in Art II classes at the middle school were invited to participate. Each student created an original work of art following this year’s theme “Vehicle.” Works were made from a variety of media: pencil, charcoal, watercolor, pastels, chalk, and colored pencil. A panel of judges made up of administration and faculty then selected 10 pieces to represent the school at the exhibition.
One of my assigned tasks at Morgan High School is the supervision and coordination of all the activities offered by our school. A major lesson I have come to learn as the assiastant principal/athletic administrator is the effect our fans have on the school climate during competition season. In this article I will explain some of the do’s on don’ts of watching high school athletics. Our fans have a great influence on our school community and our student athletes, but in some cases fans have caused turmoil and strife among our teams. When negative actions occur, it takes away the fun and excitement for those who are deeply invested.
Teachers and administrators across the district are working together in enhancing student learning in all schools. Small groups of educators are meeting each Wednesday, focusing their attention on best practices and remediation strategies for students under their care.
The Morgan Education Foundation continues to raise funds to support student learning within the Morgan District. Recently, the group sponsored their annual golf tournament at Round Valley and netted $3,400 in revenues. This event is only one of many organized by the group each year.
OnTimeBus helps parents and students keep track of regular bus rides to and from school, as well as extracurricular rides that take place throughout the day. With little effort, children can track where the bus is and how soon it will be at their stop. This can decrease morning tension and help ensure the children make it on time to their bus stop with minimal waiting. This means different things to different people.
I want to start off by saying how excited we are at Morgan Middle School for the start of a new school year. It is great to see our students and staff in the halls smiling, renewing old and making new acquaintances. We are happy that school has started and are eager to teach the children of our community.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was approved by the federal government and is now law. Morgan School District, and many other districts in the state, participate in the national school lunch program and are required to comply with the new standards and guidelines set by the government. The new lunch menus are now aligned with this law. We will be offering more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fewer desserts. Students participating in the school lunch program must choose at least one fruit or vegetable, plus two other food items. They may also choose to take all of the food items offered which would include both the fruit and vegetable. This change will help ensure that students will have on their tray a healthy, balanced meal everyday that meets federal government guidelines.
When Anna Phelps takes her turn to drive a carpool of kids to Morgan Middle School, she is hearing a common complaint: the students just don’t like school lunch anymore and are starting to pack their lunches. Even on pizza day.
The students of Morgan Elementary have just stepped into the 2012-2013 school year and their teachers have their classes up and running. On Tuesday, Aug. 28, parents sat in miniature chairs at miniature desks to listen to big plans for the upcoming year.
As we begin a new year at Morgan High School, I am excited to renew many of the relationships I have with our wonderful students. As staff members of Morgan High School and Morgan School District, we are always looking for ways to improve our school system and continue to provide the students of this great valley a top quality education.
Sometimes there are misconceptions about PTSO. Courtney Gualco, the new MES PTSO president, wants everyone to know what PTSO is all about. “We’re a support to the parents, teachers and students of our school,” Gualco explained. “We try and help make school a pleasant experience. Any parent can participate in PTSO and there are many ways to help.”
Jade Pittel, a colleague and teacher at Alta Elementary School in Jackson, Wyoming, recently shared her insight as both an educator and parent with regards to the nightly homework struggle. It is with her permission that I share her wit and wisdom on the subject.
Morgan Elementary School is looking forward to another great school year. We have some great new additions to our faculty this year. We would like to welcome Mrs. Waller, who has been a lifelong resident of Morgan. She will be teaching fifth grade. We are also excited to have Miss Booker join our elementary family. She previously taught in the Ogden School District. She will be teaching fourth grade this year.
It is exciting to start our fifth year at Mountain Green elementary school. As you can tell from all of the new homes being built, our school is growing. This year at Mountain Green Elementary, we will be having our teacher professional training days on the same day of the week as the rest of the district. Therefore, early out day will be on Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. We will be starting each day at 8:30 a.m., which is five minutes earlier this year. The normal time for school ending has not changed, ending time is at 3:20 p.m.
Morgan Middle School is excited about this new school year. We have lots of fun things planned. The sixth grade will have their back to school night on Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m. to get things started. Aug. 23 will be the first day of school and will be a full day of school. Our PTSO is sponsoring a Back to School Bash fund raiser on Aug. 24 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the middle school. The Bash costs $10 to attend and there will be activities and megatoys. Those who attend should plan on getting wet. There will also be drinks and food for an additional cost. For more information on the bash, contact PTSO President Shalece Sanders 801-876-3458.
With the commencement of the 2012-13 school year a rudimentary form of Professional Learning Communities will be implemented in all schools within the district. Presently, Morgan Elementary School, Mountain Green Elementary School, and Morgan Middle School employ basic models of PLCs. Morgan High School has had periodic departmental planning sessions, but nothing continuous or direction focused.
The Morgan School District is not alone in these struggling economic times. Districts throughout the state and nation face challenging dilemmas as the fight to balance continually shrinking operating budgets continues.
Every year local youth look forward to an appearance from one of our very own Utah Jazz players. This year, local Jr. Jazz participants will meet Jazz forward, #3, DeMarre Carroll. Carroll was born July 27, 1986, is 6’8” and just finished his third year in the NBA and his first year with the Jazz.
The following is a compilation of Campus Connections I submitted to The Morgan County News in late April and early May. Slight changes have been made based on recent board actions and budget updates since that time. It is rather lengthy, but I would encourage you to read it in its entirety.