Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Recently we’ve posted a couple of blogs about an extraordinary new initiative led by our 5th grade students called “Change for Change.” Now the project is catching the eye of some local magazines.

In this month’s Zip Code 89052 magazine, Middle School Principal Chris Bezsylko talks about how a year-long study about poverty ended with a surprising twist — students went in front of a “shark tank” of judges to pitch fundraising ideas to help local charities.  Below is a snippet from the story. You can read the entire article by clicking here. (more…)


This week, we kicked-off the Change for Change Project with Wednesday’s Change Fair.  Our students had the opportunity to share their projects with members of our school community and members of our local business community. Thanks to all who came by to experience the amazing student work, and for those that missed it here are some highlights: (more…)

The Change for Change Project


 As part of our Touchpoints progam, our fifth graders explore issues of poverty through many lenses. Throughout the year, students visited with guest speakers, exchanged research and opinions with peers at our sister schools, and participated in a variety of community-service projects such as the Holiday Canned Goods Drive. Their final project, the Change for Change Project, challenges our students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to a real-life issue. (more…)

Last week artist Scott Cohen visited with students in grades 4-8 to speak to the students about art, goal setting, and the Las Vegas LifeCube Project. The Life Cube Project is an interactive community art installation created by Scott. (more…)

Mark your calendar for our annual Camp Fair on March 2. Camps from all around the southwest will be here on campus, and you can even win a gift certificate for a free session in Lake Tahoe!

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Thanksgiving is a festive time of year for friends and family to get together and reminisce on everything for which they are thankful for. Such a meaningful tradition can be difficult for small children to understand, and even older children sometimes forget the real reason we come together during this time of year. It’s much more than a few days off from school, a five day weekend, a feast of savory food and an abundance of pies. Thanksgiving is one of the only holidays children can learn about sharing, community, gratitude and compassion for others.

Here are some great ideas to help get you and your children in the Thanksgiving spirit and learn more about the history and meaning of the holiday:

Make a Thankful Tree—In recent years, creating a Thankful Tree at home has become a very popular idea. The best thing about it? You can make it any way you want! You can collect branches and arranged them in a pot, and even make a winter tree out of brown mailing paper and tape it to the wall. You can print out colored leaves or have the kids make their own using colored cardstock or construction paper. Need some ideas? Just search for “Thankful Trees” on Pinterest for inspiration!

Sail the Mayflower—Who knew there were so many different ways to build a ship? Dig through your recycling bin, if you have one, and ask your kids to create their own mini version of the Mayflower. Your family can study more about the real story behind this famous ship at The ships and thankful trees are great center piece ideas for the dinner table.

Cook the Big Family Meal Together—Food is the best part of the holiday! Take the time to cook with your kids and show them how to prepare the meal. It’s a great bonding experience and even more of a learning opportunity.

Make a Family Heirloom—It’s easy, creative, and an instant heirloom to be treasured forever. You could make a Thanksgiving tablecloth or runner and have everyone sign and date it each year, create a picture frame or special center piece. Use your imagination!

Volunteer – One of the best ways for children to truly experience the holiday season is to give back by volunteering. Visit a shelter and serve meals, help with a food or clothing drive, cook up a special dish and deliver it to a fire or police station or visit patients in the hospital or retirement homes. Volunteering helps children see all they have to be grateful for and also gives those less fortunate things to be thankful for.



The Significance of Nevada Day

October 31st, 2013

In 1863, the Nevada Territory began to push for statehood without authorization from Congress. Statehood was originally rejected in 1863 because the taxation of mines was too unfavorable to voters in the first draft of the constitution. A year 10.31.13_children_museumlater,

Congress rushed to make Nevada a state. In 1864, the nation was in the middle of the civil war and three major candidates were in the running for president. The fear that no party would receive majority of electoral votes was overwhelming and Congress found it necessary to admit another Republican state to the nation. A second draft of the constitution was written and approved by voters Sept. 7, 1964. The constitution was sent to Washington D.C., (the longest, most expensive telegraph ever sent up to that time) where President Lincoln declared Nevada a state on Oct. 31, 1864, making it the 36th state in the Union.

Until 2000, Nevada Day was always celebrated on Oct. 31. Nevada State Legislature passed a law that beginning in 2000, Nevada Day is to be celebrated the last Friday of the month in hopes that a three day weekend and not being associated with Halloween would draw more attention to Nevada’s history. This year, Nevada Day was observed on Oct. 25, followed by large celebrations and the annual Nevada Day parade at the state capitol, Carson City.

Besides sagebrush, big horn sheep and our battle born flag, what makes our silver state so interesting?

  • Nevada was the first state to ratify the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave African-American men the right to vote.
  • By the end of 1882, the Comstock Lode had produced more than $300 million in gold and silver. To this day, Nevada supplies three-quarters of all gold mined in the United States.
  • Area 51 was established by the CIA in 1955.
  • Nevada’s Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park contains the largest known Ichthyosaurus fossils ranging from 2 feet to 50 feet. The extinct reptiles swam in the ocean that would eventually become Nevada, 225 million years ago.
  • In Death Valley, the kangaroo rat lives its entire life without drinking a drop of water.
  • Nevada takes its name from a Spanish word meaning snow-clad.
  • The Hoover Dam contains enough concrete to pave a two-lane road from San Francisco to New York.


September 26 marks the birth date of a famous historical figure known for his generosity, conservation habits and the significance he credited to apples – John Chapman, more commonly known as Johnny Appleseed.


For over 50 years, Johnny traveled through Pennsylvania, the Ohio valley, and Indiana planting apple seeds, grafting trees and tending to his apple farms to help make the wilderness a suitable home for the advancing pioneers. His apples were used for food, juice, cider and as a means of trade. Legends portray Johnny Appleseed as a wanderer who plants seeds and sings songs. But in truth, he was a knowledgeable businessman who bought and sold land and used his nursery skills to cultivate thousands of productive apple farms.

Throughout history apples have had a bad reputation. Apples were the forbidden fruit in The Garden of Eden, the golden apple of discord played a large part in the start of the Trojan War, the wicked witch in Snow White presents the princess with a poisoned apple and in Latin apple means evil. Johnny Appleseed was one of the first men to help turn around the symbolic meaning of the apple. Thanks to him, the apple is an American icon for wholesome, nourishment, prosperity and American pride.

Johnny Appleseed was viewed as “eccentric” by most of the settlers in his days. He was a vegetarian, who chose to go barefoot, did not use a horse to get around and made friends with the Native Americans. Although most people found him to be an odd man, he was welcomed by all for his humanitarian efforts.  His appreciation for nature, kindness to animals and open attitude toward Indians, although an eye opener for most, never-the-less made him an example to Americans everywhere.

September 26 not only marks the birthdate of Johnny but also serves as a reminder of the significance of apples. Celebrate this day with a delicious, sweet, nourishing apple and remember Johnny Appleseed for all his efforts during the 1700-1800s in bringing light to horticulture and humanitarianism.



Helping out in one’s community builds a sense of pride and increases character. Community service increases moral fiber, makes communities better and opens up a world of new experiences for students. It’s something we instill in our students every day, making them more engaged global citizens. But in the summer DSC_0086months and without school, often the importance of community service goes away, lost among a sea of video games, vacations and massive amounts of sleep.

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean the importance of community service goes away. Volunteering at a young age sets life-long paths for students, and there are many great opportunities for community service for kids, even during the summer.

Kids can look into volunteer opportunities with organizations that are close to them. Are your children into pets? Take a look for a rescue shelter in the area that may need some help feeding animals. Or do your children like cooking? Or making things with their hands? There are places where they can go to do these things, from youth-centers to home building projects. And no matter how big or little your children are, organizations like these will be sure to find a great place for them to help!

If your children aren’t sure where to start, maybe there’s an organization that you know of or already volunteer for. Give them a call and see if your kids can join.

Of course there are other ways your kids can help in their community without even going far from home. Many kids will spend their summer mowing lawns, washing their neighbors’ cars or even setting up a lemonade stand to beat the hot summer heat. You can get your kids excited about helping their community by talking to them about how making donations to their favorite charities can make a huge difference in many lives.

However you and your kids decide to help, participating in their community will show kids how everything they do is all part of the bigger picture. Start thinking of some fun ways your kids can get involved and keep the spirit alive, even when they’re not in school!

Keep enjoying your summer!



Independence Day

July 3rd, 2013

We probably all know about the significance of the 4th of July.  It’s the day that our Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  Nowadays, we celebrate with BBQs and going to the lake, enjoying time with our families and friends.   Of courseflag-fireworks fireworks and parades are a big part of the celebrations.

The first celebration of the 4th of July occurred in 1777 when thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once in the morning and once again in the evening in Bristol, Rhode Island.  Philadelphia celebrated the first modern American 4th of July that we all would find familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, speeches, prayers, music, parades and fireworks.  Ships were decked with red, white and blue.

In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration and it wasn’t until 1791 that we can find the first recorded use of the name “Independence Day.”  In 1820, the first 4th of July celebration was held in Eastport, Maine which remains the largest celebration in the state.

Fast forward to 2013, we are celebrating 237 years as a nation. Continuing the same traditions that Philadelphia first created to celebrate the 4th, with speeches, prayers, music, parades, and most important of all fireworks. Let’s take the time to appreciate the sacrifices our forefathers made, which enjoying the freedoms we are afforded.

Enjoy your summer!