With the month of August well underway, it means that the 2014-2015 school year is right around the corner.
While soon-to-be students and their parents are out hunting for bargains on back-to-school supplies, or just trying to fit in one more visit to the beach, Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley teachers and administrators are hard at work preparing to welcome in the new school year.
The following is the first installment of the Press-Banner's two-week Back to School preview. This week, we will highlight the schools located in Scotts Valley. Stay tuned next week for the schools of the San Lorenzo Valley.
Scotts Valley High School
555 Glenwood Drive in Scotts Valley
Led by Principal Valerie Bariteau, the SVHS staff will welcome four new teachers for the upcoming school year: Math teachers Mariya Sullivan and Hannah Stanford; special education instructor Julie Shapland, and physical education teacher Natalie Sokol.
This year, Bariteau said, the focus of the curriculum will continue to focus on implementing Common Core standards — particularly in math, where a Common Core-fueled integrated math program will begin to replace the more traditional math courses.
This year will also see the beginning of a program in which an hour will be scheduled each week for students to study or meet with their teachers to get help on subject in which they may be struggling.
Bariteau said that she expects a slight increase in the student population over the 776 from last year.
The first day of classes is on Wednesday, Aug. 27.
Scotts Valley Middle School
8 Bean Creek Road in Scotts Valley
Principal Mary Lonhart said that she expects approximately 600 sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students to arrive on campus when school opens on Wednesday, Aug. 27 — nearly exactly the same number as last year.
Lonhart will begin the year with an intact staff from last year.
“Surprisingly, I don't have any new teaching staff,” she said, adding that the only new hires were a pair of instructional aides.
Like the other schools in the Scotts Valley Unified School District, Lonhart said, the focus of the campus' curriculum will be to “continue our refinement of the Common Core standards.”
That goal, she said, will be partially achieved with the expanded incorporation of Google Chromebooks into daily classroom assignments.
Vine Hill Elementary School
151 Vine Hill School Road in Scotts Valley
When Vine Hill Elementary School opens its doors on Wednesday, Aug. 27, it will kick off the tenure of the campus' new principal, Julie Ebert.
Although registration is ongoing, Ebert said, she expects a student body in the neighborhood of 520 and 530 students.
In addition to its new principal, Vine Hill will also welcome first-grade teacher Kelly Shulman, librarian Mackenzie Keller, computer lab technician Mellissa Strack, speech therapist Lea Graff, and office clerk Maria Gauthier.
Ebert said that her goal for the upcoming school year is “continuing the excellent programs that Vine Hill provides, including our life lab, our math and science enrichment program, as well as our intervention programs that help provide enrichment and academic support for our students.”
Brook Knoll Elementary School
151 Brook Knoll Drive in Santa Cruz
Principal Shar Ransom said that, between Brook Knoll's preschool and elementary students, an estimated 535 students are expected on Wednesday, Aug. 27.
“Our enrollment is stable,” she said.
This year is a big one for Brook Knoll, Ransom said, as the school will embark on its 50th year, and its first as a California Distinguished School.
Six new teachers will call Brook Knoll home this year, as the school welcomes first-grade teacher Sandi Lewandowski, third-grade teacher Kari Thornley, fourth-grade teacher Danielle Cruz, special education teacher Amy Lauta, district independent study teacher Patricia Dyc-O'Neal, and science enrichment teacher Tammy Arghavani.
Ransom said that, in addition to continuing to implement Common Core standards into the curriculum, class sizes have been reduced to 25 to 1 student-teacher ratio.
This comes in part due to the addition of another first-grade class as well as another third-grade class.
Baymonte Christian School
5000-B Granite Creek Road in Scotts Valley
According to Principal Steve Patterson, nearly 400 students are expected on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at Baymonte's trio of preschools and the K-8 campus.
This year, Baymonte welcomes second-grade teacher Shauntel Palmer, as well as new Preschool Too site director Roberta Handley and Early Childhood Education Center director Teri Esparza.
Patterson said that this year, middle-school age students can look forward to using iPads in the classroom, as well as an elective program for students that want a more challenging experience in science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as humanities.