By Peter Day
Prompted by school bells ringing every few minutes, Lucerne Valley Middle High School parents visited all seven of their students’ classes during Wednesday’s Back to School Night.
Principal Nate Lambdin, who also serves as a school district assistant superintendent, greeted families in the gymnasium. He introduced the staff, welcomed school board member Chelsea LaGrange, who has several students in the district, and invited students to take a pair of Skechers shoes and socks that were donated by the manufacturer.
“Your student isn’t just a number, they’re a name, a person and a very important part of our community,” Lambdin said.
Yearbook advisor/volleyball coach Kelli Papiernik said that the school yearbook was being pre-sold for $35 apiece. She also invited families to purchase a Mustang blanket.
Before sending the families on their journeys, the principal explained, “This is a little bit of a snapshot of a day in a life of of your students’ time here at Lucerne Valley Middle High School.”
During the brief classroom visits, teacher presentations were succinct and upbeat.
“I’m preparing them for college now,” said teacher/coach Brandon Barkley, who serves as the school’s athletic director. “I want them to do well and succeed.”
Comparing classroom studies to sports, he told the families, “You practice and practice and practice.”
While Barkley teaches college preparatory math, classroom neighbor Guillermo Betancourt is helping younger students begin their mathematic journeys with Math 1 and Math 2. Betancourt, who coaches cross country and track and has begun a school chess club, showed a three-minute video entitled, “212 The Extra Degree.”
“I’m excited to be their teacher,” Betancourt said. “I want to give them strength. I want to give them confidence.”
On the other side of the campus middle school World History teacher Cynthia McDonough was explaining how students are graded. She explained that in the course of learning about the world, students would study various religions and how they helped shape history. McDonough talked about how the school is an AVID campus that teaches students how to take “Focus Notes,” which if done properly can lead to an impressive 90% information retention rate.
“Kids are being taught to think,” McDonough said. “History should be fun.”
At the end of the 2018-19 school year, school counselor Rebecca Rubio presented the 2019-20 school calendar. The main change, she said, was moving from six periods to a 7-period day. Rubio cited several reasons for the increased class schedule: It broadens credit opportunities especially for AVID and A-G participants, increases CTE pathway completion, and helps on the career and college portion of the district’s CA dashboard.
The Mustang football team will host Noli Indian this Friday at 6 p.m. Athletic Director Brandon Barkley invited students to wear black T-shirts for a “Blackout Night” event.
Peter Day currently is a social media advisor for the Lucerne Valley Unified School District.