It is great to be a Wolf
The 2011-12 school year has been a truly great year for Altimira Middle School and the Wolf Pack. Since the start of school last August, we have added geometry to our academic course list and drama to our electives program; a record number of students are on the honor roll and promoting.
Additionally, we had more than a 60 percent drop in discipline incidents and the campus
has never looked more beautiful.
Next year, Altimira will continue to focus on the academic rigor of our course offerings. In order to reach our growing number of accelerated students, we will be adding more advanced courses. Altimira currently offers advanced courses in English language arts, algebra, geometry and science. For next year, our advanced ccience program will have a new look and focus. Altimira science teacher Dutch Van Herwynen, has created a combined seventh- and eighth-grade, projects-based advanced science course. The class will be a challenging, projects-based science class focused on developing critical thinking skills and teamwork, while emphasizing peer collaboration and multimedia presentation skills. The culminating project of each unit will be a mini-exploratorium project, wherein students will design and build an interactive device that can be used to demonstrate a scientific principle or concept.
Altimira is also adding Spanish as an academic elective. Starting next year, seventh graders will be able to take a two-year Spanish course: Spanish 1A in seventh grade and Spanish 1B in eighth grade. This course will satisfy the requirement for Spanish 1 at Sonoma Valley High School and allow freshman from Altimira to start in Spanish 2. The addition of Spanish at Altimira has generated a huge amount of buzz from our students, parents and the community. To no one’s surprise, the class is filling up quickly but there are still a few seats available.
Spanish is just the latest addition to our ever growing electives program:
• Horticulture: Thanks to a generous “fertilization” from the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, the Altimira horticulture class is responsible for “growing” this program. Students in the class are responsible for all aspects of planting, propagating, harvesting, marketing and selling what they produce. They have instituted a weekly organic vegetable subscription service and a fresh cut flower service.
• Drama: Drama students are actively learning all aspects of staging a full drama production. The drama class prepared their second full production of the school year, a musical titled “The Big Bad Musical,” that ran May 22, 23 and 24 in Altimira’s multipurpose room.
• Art: Students in our art class have the chance to let their creative side shine. The students are able to use a variety of mediums – watercolors, paints, clay and mixed media – to create 2D and 3D artwork that helps to beautify our campus.
• Band: The young musicians in our band program hone their musical abilities in this performance-based class. Music theory, history and live shows help to make this a well-rounded program.
• Technology: Is the next Steve Jobs sitting in Altimira’s computer lab right now? With the program and teachers that we have, there is a good chance! Students who select technology as an elective, work in our state of the art computer lab and learn the latest computer programs and applications. The programs and apps they learn transcend the elective and can be put to use in other subject areas.
When you include leadership, yearbook and AVID as part of the electives program, it is no surprise that students are both learning and having fun at Altimira. With a combination of rigorous academics, a vibrant electives program and more school spirit than most other schools could hope for, there is no doubt that 2012-13 will be the year of Altimira and the Wolves!
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William Deeths is principal of Altimira Middle School.