Students at Club Heights Elementary had the opportunity recently to welcome a very important guest to their school. Mr. Kent "Rommel" Rominger, former American Astronaut and NASA Chief of the Astronaut Office paid a special visit to the Panthers as a guest speaker.
Mr. Rominger is a decorated former Navy Test Pilot and astronaut who is currently serving as Vice President of Advanced Programs at ATK Launch Systems. Mr. Rominger has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. He was also nominated and inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame. Mr. Rominger flew 5 space shuttle missions between 1995 and 2001, and is currently working with Orbital ATK in developing the largest human-rated solid-fuel rocket built today which will hopefully be used for human missions to Mars in the coming decades.
Students were treated to photos and videos of Mr. Rominger's space missions in addition to a Q & A session where students were able to ask questions related to space and what it takes to become an astronaut. Mr. Rominger spoke to the students about the importance of education, particularly in math and science. He expressed to the students that as important as it is to do well in school, it is equally as important to learn communication skills and to have a sense of teamwork. Showing photos of the flight crews on his space missions, and explained to the children that none of these missions would have been possible without effectively working as a team and respecting one another.
Rick Proffer, Principal at Club Heights expressed his excitement at the opportunity for his students to speak to someone such as Mr. Rominger, who is such a distinguished contributor to the promotion of STEM education. It was an invaluable experience that will hopefully inspire these young minds to consider a career in STEM and/or space exploration. Many thanks to Mr. Kent Rominger for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit with these young people. We thank you for your service!
This month the Weber School District was given the opportunity to recognize Mrs. Shelly Harris and Mr. Brian Fendrick during our monthly school board meeting. Mrs. Harris was nominated for the I Love Teaching Award by Principal Kitty Barney of Bates Elementary, and Mr. Fendrick was nominated for the I Love Teaching Award by Dr. Rod Belnap, principal of Fremont High School.
Mrs. Shelly Harris is a 3rd grade teacher at Bates Elementary. This year she began teaching the English portion of the Chinese Immersion Program. She enthusiastically took on this responsibility, working countless hours to incorporate her entire grade level in making them feel that they are a part of the Chinese Immersion Program. Mrs. Barney states that Mrs. Harris is "a true leader among her peers, parents, and students." Her particular passion is for reading and helping students who are struggling become connected to reading and truly love it. Mrs. Harris is a strong proponent for education, and her efforts have expanded not just to her own community, but on a state level as well. She has worked with the Utah State Office of Education in helping to write SAGE test questions. She taught at the Utah Core Academy for several years. Most importantly, Mrs. Barney reports that Mrs. Harris genuinely loves the children she teaches, and that "her desire to be of service to children, teachers, and to the school community mark her as an outstanding person and educator."
When describing Mr. Brian Fendrick, Fremont High School Principal Rod Belnap states that he has an "enthusiasm that makes students want to keep coming back, to know more, and to work harder… to be their best." And who wouldn't love learning when you have a teacher like Mr. Fendrick who greets each one of his students at the door, likes to teach ON his desk, sings Happy Birthday to every birthday kid, and who participates in the daily "Good Morning" scream ritual. Mr. Fendrick is a very special teacher who was "born to teach." He has a love of literature, writing, and critical thinking and is one of the mostly highly requested teachers at Fremont. He is also the yearbook editor who has received numerous awards for innovative technology. Mr. Fendrick teaches both regular and AP English with equal zeal and expertise. His AP pass rates are among the best in the district. His classes are academically rigorous, but his students rise to the challenge because they know how much he cares for them. Mr. Fendrick's desire to teach the "whole student" extends into student government as an advisor. He is committed to making sure that his students have the full high school experience.
Congratulations to these two deserving award winners. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to recognize your unique gifts and talents. We express our gratitude for your dedication and enthusiasm!
Nurture the Creative Mind (NCM), a local non-profit organization, has partnered with Mr. Chris Davidson's Project Lead the Way/ Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA) students at the Weber Innovation Center to help design the next phase of a community outdoor space on 35th Street and Washington Blvd. in Ogden. This space will have, among other things, a greenhouse, garden space, gazebo and shed. The space is going to be 100% designed by students. Amir Jackson, director of NCM, presented this opportunity to Mr. Chris Davidson's PLTW/ CEA class. His students are now going to develop several design concepts in Revit (a CAD software) and present them to the Ogden City Planner and a group of local architects for review.
This project meets multiple CEA learning standards and objectives, including:
Mr. Davidson said "It gives my students some real investment in this class. This service-learning project is exactly what I envisioned doing with CEA when I first started teaching it. My hope is to try to partner with some sort of non-profit with this type of need each semester. A tall order, but something I want to try. Below is a sketch of the lot that will be developed. The other pictures are from a field trip to the site where we did some surveying and brainstorming about the layout of the space and looked at architectural styles on 25th street."
Amir Jackson said that the non-profit's mission is to: "Empower youth through an active, positive, and proactive investment using the tools of creativity, education and character development."
These students will be taking conceptual designs from other NCM students and using those designs along with theirs to create an actual blueprint. They will then present their designs to the Carbon Architectural Firm for feedback.
We compliment Mr. Davidson on his vision and energy to bring real world applications to his classroom!
Weber School District teachers Kim Murphy and Dale Slade were nominated and selected to attend a workshop for 100 "Superstar" Computer Science teachers from across the nation. The workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). It was held Dec 8th & 9th in Washington D.C. in conjunction with National Computer Science Education Week. The conference included speakers from the staff of the Science Education Adviser to the President of the United States. Code.org founder, Hadi Partovi, also spoke to the teachers in the Eisenhower Administration building in the White House complex.
NSF has funded many activities over the years aimed at reaching all students that may have an interest in Computer Science. NCWIT strives to encourage woman in technology including high school girls pursuing a computer career.
The workshop provided the opportunity to learn about new developments in the Exploring Computer Science and Computer Science Principles courses. Kim and Dale also were able to gain new teaching insights from other Computer Science Teachers in attendance. Dale and Kim presented a "Nifty Lesson" about gravity simulation in the Scratch computer language to the other teachers.
Kim Murphy has taught Computer Science courses at Weber High for 15 years. She has developed several outstanding Computer Science course curricula that many Computer Science Teachers through Utah use in their courses. She is one of the very few Computer Science teachers in Utah that have earned her master's degree in Computer Science.
Dale Slade has taught Computer Science in Weber School District for over 30 years and is currently teaching at Bonneville High. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Computer Science Teachers Association of Utah.
This month the Weber School District was given the opportunity to recognize Mrs. Karen Harsha and Mr. Gerald Bischoff during our monthly school board meeting. Mrs. Harsha was nominated for the Extra Mile Award by Principal Mike Geilmann of West Weber Elementary, and Mr. Bischoff was nominated for the Super Sub Award by Prinicpal Mike Skeen of Pioneer Elementary.
Karen Harsha has worn many hats during her years of service at West Weber Elementary. Working as West Weber's PTA president, Karen was instrumental in getting a new playground installed. She raised thousands of dollars to fund the project, and she and her family volunteered countless hours working to finish the project. Karen was later hired as the media specialist at West Weber. It was in this role that she made a point to get to know each student individually. She took this position prior to our current technology, and Karen spent many nights well past her contracted hours organizing books via non-automated procedures to ensure that she was well prepared to provide her students with a meaningful library experience the next day. Over the years, Karen's roles evolved and progressed to office aide, testing aide, and finally, she was handpicked by the Director of Elementary Education to fill in as a long term substitute for Uintah Elementary's head secretary. Despite the staff and faculty at Uintah wanting her to stay and continue in that capacity, she returned to West Weber to serve in her home community. This has been Karen's first year as the head secretary at West Weber Elementary. Mr. Geilmann describes her as "the epitome of the 'heartbeat' of the school. Virtually everything revolves around her disposition and secretarial skills." Mr. Geilmann wishes to express his sincere gratitude to Mrs. Harsha for taking the head secretary job at West Weber. Without a doubt, her service in this capacity has greatly enriched the West Weber community.
It is not uncommon to hear groans of dismay when students learn that they will be having a substitute teacher in their classes. Not so when they learn that their substitute is Mr. Gerald Bischoff! "Mr. B" has been working as a substitute teacher in the Weber District for over 20 years. He is a good-natured gentleman who employs a caring disposition and gentle teasing to disarm even the most stubborn child. Mrs. Mueller reports that many crying children have been told that he will "take them down to the cooks and make a leg sandwich" and "replace their hurt leg with a bionic one so they can run faster and jump higher." In no time, cries are replaced by giggles. Popular with both staff and students, he has given the "Mr. B" citizenship award at the end of the year to two students in each 6th grade class. Mr. Bischoff has taught in all but four of the schools in the district. He is comfortable walking into any classroom and taking over any situation. Mrs. Mueller states "We love having Gerald as a sub at Pioneer. Gerald is a wonderful substitute. He is a delight to work with and has a true love for the children of Weber School District."
Congratulations to these two deserving award winners. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to recognize your unique gifts and talents. We express our gratitude for your dedication and enthusiasm!
On Saturday, January 24th, three elementary schools in the Weber School District had the opportunity to participate in the regional VEX IQ Challenge. This challenge is sponsored by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, and is a brand-new STEM program for elementary and middle school students. Students from MarLon Hills, Green Acres, and Country View represented their schools in this innovative and fun robotics challenge.
VEX IQ is a robotics platform that brings STEM learning to life for young students and their teachers. Kids as young as 8 years of age are eligible to participate. VEX IQ robots are built from a kit, similar to LEGO. The structural pieces snap together without tools and are powered by a variety of gears, wheels, and other accessories. Each robot is controlled by a "Robot Brain" which is essentially a programmable remote control device.
During the skills challenge, teams work together scoring points in Teamwork Matches by moving scoring cubes into the scoring zone and building high-rises. Teams are randomly paired, each with one robot and two drivers. Drivers take turns driving the robot and hand off the robot controller from one driver to the other mid-match. During the Robot Skills Challenge, one robot and two driver score as many points as possible under driver control during a one-minute match. Finally, during the Programming Skills Challenge, one robot scores as many points as possible autonomously (completing tasks without driver control).
This was the first year that Weber School District participated in the challenge, and all our teams did quite well. Congratulations to the Green Acres 640X team on winning the "Teamwork Champion Award," the "Programming Skills Champion Award," and the "Robot Skills Champion Award." The 640X team has qualified to move on to the Utah State Robotic Championship. Also of note, the Green Acres 640T team was given the "STEM Research Project Award." Congratulations to these up and coming engineers!
Weber School District is excited to announce the opening of a new high school beginning in the fall of 2015. Weber Innovation High School, located at 1007 W. 12th Street in Ogden, will offer students the opportunity to master and accelerate their learning using an innovative combination of digital curriculum and traditional face time courses.
In partnership with Weber State University, Snow College and Ogden Weber Applied Technology College, students will have multiple opportunities to earn early college credit and pursue career certifications.
Online applications and/or more information regarding Weber Innovation High School for incoming 9th, 10, or 11th grade students can be found at http://innovation.wsd.net/index.php/parents/registration-information .
This month the Weber School District had the opportunity to recognize Marybai Huking and Stephanie Holbrook during our monthly school board meeting. Marybai is a student at Fremont whose accomplishments in the face of adversity are nothing short of remarkable. Stephanie Holbrook is a parent volunteer extraordinaire who has kick-started an art program at Valley Elementary which has inspired student creativity and a love of art.
Marybai Huking was nominated for the Excellence in Achievement Award by Dr. Rod Belnap, Principal of Fremont High School. Marybai's scholastic and athletic achievements are impressive. This young woman is a member of the National Honor Society, maintains a 4.0 GPA, earned a score of 30 on the ACT, and is a member of the Olympic Goal Ball team. In addition, she donates countless hours in the service of others with civic and leadership responsibilities including being the yearbook editor. What makes Marybai particularly special is that she has achieved these things in the face of great adversity: Marybai is blind. Despite this, she has not allowed her physical challenges to limit her achievements or her dreams. Dr. Belnap states that "Marybai is a young lady with determination and grit who has the unique ability to identify the good in each of her peers and inspire them to use these abilities". He tells the story of when Marybai arrived to take her AP test, and due to some confusion, the adapted test with extra-large font that they had ordered for her had not arrived. "Instead of becoming disheartened or discouraged, Marybai took the same test that every other student took, even with the severe visual impairment". She went on to score a 5 on the test, the highest possible score. We are honored to recognize Marybai Huking with our Excellence in Achievement Award.
The importance of art education is an undeniable component of a well-rounded curriculum. Creative activities are pertinent building blocks of child development. Mrs. Stephanie Holbrook of Valley Elementary PTO is a parent volunteer who has played a crucial part in strengthening children's art education. "Art Start" is an art-based lesson curriculum delivered by a small force of parent volunteers. Mrs. Holbrook personally created these lesson plans to ensure that the children of Valley Elementary were learning about art history, notable artists, and art styles in addition to musical composers and genres. Each lesson includes a student art project. At the end of the school year, the students' artwork is showcased in a whole-school art show. The students and teachers look forward to this remarkable program and enjoy exploring their creativity through art projects and music. Mrs. Holbrook's involvement is not limited to the Art Start program, however. She also volunteers in the reading program and multiple other PTO programs and efforts at the school. Mrs. Holbrook was nominated by Principal Hales and was chosen to receive the Volunteerism Award for the month of January 2015.
Congratulations to these remarkable women. It is our privilege to recognize their efforts. We express our appreciation and gratitude for their willingness to enrich the lives of students, faculty, staff, and others in the Weber School District community.
It's not every day that an astronaut comes to your school to speak but that's exactly what happened for students at H. Guy Child Elementary thanks to ATK and volunteer Shannon Sebahar who helped coordinate the event.
Kent Rominger, NASA Astronaut and former Navy fighter pilot, came to H. Guy Child to talk with students about the life of an astronaut. Rominger, who has been to space no less than five times, told students about the importance of hard work, math and science, and teamwork while showing them pictures and videos of his time working on the International Space Station.
Students had the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the assembly and they were very interested in what everyday life was like in space. Rominger answered questions about black holes, astronaut ice cream, floating in space, where he went in space, and how time in space works. He also told students about NASA's current project, a new rocket that will be going to Mars. Whispers were heard and energy was felt as he told students, "You all are the perfect age to go on this rocket and go to Mars. "Several students raised their hands and told Rominger they wanted to "...be an astronaut just like him."
Rominger came to the school as part of World Space Week. World Space Week is the largest public space event on Earth. According to the World Space Week website, "More than 1,400 events in 80 countries celebrated the benefits of space and excitement of space [last year]." Other activities H. Guy Child participated in included having students trying to pick things up wearing large gloves to simulate how hard it is to do things in space, Alka-Seltzer rocket launches, and of course, eating astronaut ice cream. Students also signed a banner along with ATK employees that will be sent to the Kennedy Space Center in support of the Orion test launch taking place in December. The launch of the Orion capsule is part of the next generation of space travel and will enable people to travel to places such as asteroids outside of our atmosphere and even Mars, as Rominger talked about.
If you would like more information on World Space Week please visit http://www.worldspaceweek.org/