CAS Rings in New Year with MLK Day Learning and 100 Days of School Celebration

Martin Luther King dayJanuary 2015 brought many new learning opportunities to CAS schools.  Many classes did special lessons for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and celebrated 100 days of school in unique ways.  Students in Cheryl Engol’s third grade class watched a YouTube video called My Friend Martin along with students in Romilly Gardner’s third grade class. Students in Engol’s class then discussed civil rights and also wrote an essay about what they would ask King if he were alive today. Engol’s students will also be reading a story about Ruby Bridges and comparing and contrasting what it was like for King to be fighting for rights versus what it was like for Bridges to be trying to act on those rights.
Students in Gardner’s class listened to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, colored a picture of King and included a quote from the speech on their picture. Students also talked about general facts about King, such as that there had been a previous assassination attempt on him and that his mother was also murdered. Students will also be talking about Rosa Parks. They will be listening to Outkast’s song “Rosa Parks,” sometimes also known as “Back of the Bus,” and trying to analyze the meaning of the song. CAS Martin Luther King Day
Stacy Bernardo’s first graders colored silhouettes of King and wrote their dreams on pieces of paper. Each dream started with the words “I have a dream” and continued from there. Some dreams were “that no one will be angry,” “there will be no more wars,” “that everyone will smile” and “everyone can change the world.”

Many teachers also scheduled activities around the 100th Day of School. Jarad Young, Dean of Students, had his physical education students celebrate the 100th Day of School by taking a physical education challenge. Students were paired up with a partner and then took turns completing 10 different exercises, 10 times each. Some of the exercises included jumping jacks, hurtles and mountain climbers. Both students were supposed to cheer on their partners.

CAS, Center for academic success, 100 day celebrationStudents in Sarah Kelley’s Kindergarten class celebrated being 100 days older, brighter, taller, friendlier and smarter by writing a sentence that started “I could eat 100” and then allowed them to fill in the blank. Some students thought they could eat 100 brownies, skittles, bowls of cereal or apples. The students then drew a picture to accompany their sentence.

Students in both Diana Ramirez and Rosie Delgado’s fourth grade classes read a poem about the 100th day, set to the tune of Yankee Doodle. They also wrote a composition about what they would do if they had $100. The students also drew a picture of a $100 bill, substituting a picture of themselves for the picture of Benjamin Franklin. In addition, students calculated how many times different denominations would fit into $100, such as pennies and dollars.

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CAS Celebrates Christmas and Winter Holidays with Polar Parties, 4th Grade Play, & Christmas Around the World

CAS, Center for Academic Success, Polar Party, Christmas

“Magic” indoor snow provides messy fun at the Polar Party.

The Center for Academic Success celebrated the Christmas season with plenty of fun surrounding the holiday in addition to high-quality learning activities. Students in the k-4 elementary held a Polar Party blowout in which students decorated sugar cookies, played pin the ornament on the tree (similar to pin the tail on the donkey), and molded indoor snowmen from “magic” Arizona snow [see photo left].

CAS, Polar Party, Center for Academic Success

Kinder students enjoy Donut Dangle game.

Students also raced to eat sugared donuts off a string and worked with art teacher Ms. Marshall to create reindeer clothespin ornaments. At the culmination, students selected three different reindeer snack mixes to take along to view the classic cartoon — The Grinch.

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Santa and elves review the “nice” list in 4th grade musical.

Fourth grade classes also performed a winter musical in which Santa decided that kids no longer found him “hip.” Santa then decides to transform into “The Clause” as he proclaims the entire north pole to change into a 1950’s-style workshop. Dual Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and elves set the fun stage for this drama as Santa learns that children still love their holiday traditions. In addition to memorizing all their lines, fourth graders also sang and danced to classic Christmas carols such as “Jingle Bells,” and “Here Comes Santa Clause” in addition to 1950’s classics like “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Rock Around the Clock.”

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Fourth Grade cast poses before their performance.

Many thanks to both the fourth grade class and Music Teacher Ms. Dokken who made this ambitious musical possible.

CAS also involved family and world-heritage traditions in its holiday celebrations with many classrooms decorating gingerbread houses, researching Christmas around the world, and explaining family food and gift traditions. Classes learned the stories of Father Christmas, Saint Nicolas, and the story of The Magi which have transformed over the years into holiday gift-giving. Although not every CAS family celebrates Christmas, those with differing traditions were able to explain holidays like Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, and Kwanza to their classmates. Several students who do not observe holidays also shared their family traditions and beliefs for this time of year.

Whatever your family traditions, CAS offers you and yours a very Merry Christmas and time of joy this holiday season as we reflect on the year. CAS will observe a half-day with a 12:00 release on Friday, December 19th and will be closed for the holidays for two weeks. Classes will resume on Monday, January 5th, 2015.

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CAS Celebrates Fall with Learning and Fun

harvest festWith the changing of the seasons and holidays approaching, the Center for Academic Success has no shortage of special learning opportunities and fall celebrations. Our first graders in both classes studied the change of seasons and its impact on foliage and native plants. Later, classes had a video chat with a first grade class in Dallas, Texas to compare and contrast the seasons in different climates. Students were excited to meet new friends and explore differing holiday traditions across the country.

Additionally, fourth graders finalized their presentations of Native American tribes, their cultures, and their histories in an oral presentation and dwelling diorama. The classes honored the Native American contributions to our United States democracy while learning about historical native constitutions and inter-tribal contracts. Students even studied and sampled indigenous foods. thanksgiving turkey

Students have also decorated the hallway commemorating the things for which they are thankful this year. Middle school teacher, Ms. Tacey, organized a turkey with thankful feathers to give students and staff an opportunity to reflect on items in their lives for which they are thankful. Also, the entire k-8 staff had a huge Harvest Festival celebration in After CARE in which students had faces painted, played games, stuffed scarecrows (see picture above) and created thankful murals.

Please note, CAS will be closed Thursday, November 27th and Friday, November 28th in recognition of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Please enjoy your time with your families and travel safely. Classes will resume Monday, December 1st.

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CAS Schools Closed in Observance of Veterans Day, Tuesday Nov. 11th

vet day 2014The Center for Academic Success will be closed Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 in observance of Veterans Day. This important holiday honors our many military families who have bravely sacrificed for our country. Thank you to our many CAS veterans and to all who serve! Please note, school is in session Monday, November 10th.

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Environment Science Class Conducts Water Quality Study

SAM_0939CAS believes that hands-on, active learning is often the best learning and CAS’s science classes are no exception. Environmental science classes at CAS High School provide a rich, interactive field of study. Recently, our high school environmental science students visited the San Pedro River Valley as part of a longitudinal water quality study.

Participants used computers, PH readers, and organic particulate spectrometers to evaluate water quality. SAM_0933Later, students will also journey to Parker Canyon Lake to conduct similar research. Students will then correlate data and revisit both bodies of water monthly analyzing data trends.

For more information about CAS Environmental Science classes contact Mr. Oh!, science department head.

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CAS Key Club Raises $416 for Kiwanis and Project Eliminate

ELIMINATE_LOGO_2ColorThe CAS High School Key Club held a car wash at Buffalo Wild Wings today, October 10th, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They washed between 15-20 cars and raised $416. The money will go to pay membership dues and also to the Eliminate Project. The Eliminate Project seeks to eradicate neonatal tetanus by helping women in third world countries get tetanus shots. It only takes $1.80 for a woman to receive a shot and all of her subsequent children are protected. Key Club is also participating in Trick or Treat for UNICEF, which goes toward the Eliminate Project. For more information about Kiwanis and the Eliminate Project, please visit their site here.

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1st and 2nd Grade Fall Music Fest Draws Big Praise

Led by Ms. Dokken, 1st and 2nd graders perform for a full crowd.

Led by Ms. Dokken, 1st and 2nd graders perform for a full crowd.

1st and 2nd grade students watch Ms. Dokken intently as they sing.

1st and 2nd grade students watch Ms. Dokken intently as they sing.

Oct 7th 2014 — Ms. Meyer’s and Ms. Austin’s 1st and 2nd grade classes performed in CAS’s first-ever musical production garnering applause and appreciation from over 100 parents and family friends. The singers — led by CAS music teacher Ms. Rosemarie Dokken — shared eleven songs most of which had an autumnal theme while others centered on family, friends, and positive attitudes.

Dokken, who organized the entire event, stated that she wanted to create a fun atmosphere in which students could showcase their hard work and achievements in music class. She certainly achieved her goal as songs like “Autumnal Equinox,” “There Once Was a Witch,” and “Have you Seen the Ghost of John” all featured musical skills like rhythm and movement while maintaining the fun theme. Students even scarred the audience with a surprise “boo!” at the end of “I’m a little Ghost.”

Students scare audience with their surprise "boo!"

Students scare audience with their surprise “boo!”

Additionally, songs like “School is Back in Session,” “You’re My Bud,” and “We Love our Grandparents” all showcased a positive message about school, friends, and family. Ms. Dokken even called for all grandparents attending to stand so they could be honored preceding the song about their special relationship with the students.

Parents and family responded with praise stating on surveys following the show that they “love the music program!” and “Can’t believe how much she [Ms. Dokken] could accomplish in such a short period of time.”

CAS also provided refreshments following the show and held a raffle for an elaborately-carved pumpkin (carved by high school student Alyssa Stoddard).  The music program is a new addition to CAS schools this year and, along with the art program, provides students a creative outlet for their passions in addition to a well-rounded education.

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CAS STEM Education Receives Outstanding Financial Support from Partners

SFAZCAS High School and Middle School continues their strong STEM focuses with new programs and ongoing partnerships for the 2015 school year including a $20,000 technology enhancement by Arizona’s 21st Century CCLC and over $35,000 from the Science Foundation Arizona.

The CAS Engineering Lab — which houses its very popular engineering curriculum — was generously provided in Memory of Joyce Marley Corrigan, with Funding from The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation and Science Foundation Arizona. pltw_logo_final Continuing partnerships have enabled CAS’s success in engineering, technology, and robotics. CAS’s engineering program led by Mr. Oh! is a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Curriculum which is among the nation’s top high school engineering programs.  In 2015, CAS begins its second year with PLTW with both introductory and advanced engineering classes.

Additionally, Arizona 21st Century Enhancement Funds will support After CARE elective clubs such as Robotics, Introduction to Cooking, Gardening, and Environmental Sciences. Funds will purchase both consumable and durable goods such as solar ovens, robotics kits and tools, and garden fencing.

Cyber PatriotsFinally, CAS is excited to launch a new program in IT/Cyber Security beginning in the 2014-15 school year. Eligible students participating in this track will qualify for hands-on IT training, certifications, paid IT internships, and an associates degree in Cyber Security through Cochise Community College all at no cost to the student. CAS’s partnership with the US Air Force Cyber Patriot program will further instill citizenship and honor as students learn these highly-marketable skills.  To read more about the Science Foundation Arizona, Project Lead the Way, or Cyber Patriots, follow the links here: Science Foundation Arizona, Project Lead the Way, Cyber Patriots.

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CAS Remembers 9/11 with Flag Ceremony

100_1671The Center for Academic Success held a short flagpole memorial ceremony in honor of the American tragedy of September 11th. Middle and high school students with staff met Dean of Students Jarad Young at the CAS flag pole for a few words on the importance of honoring the fallen and remembering the anniversary each year of the attacks.

Students and staff had a somber raising of the flag to half-mast in silence followed by a salute and pledge. On this day, and all days, CAS is proud to serve our families who work to protect our freedoms in the armed forces and employ so many veterans on our staff. 100_1674Students will continue to remember the day at CAS with moments of silence and readings about the 9/11 events which took 3,000 American lives 13 years ago.

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CAS September Blood Drive Has Potential to Save 135 Lives

red crossNow that the school year is in full swing, CAS students are participating in a variety of enriching activities; the semiannual CAS blood drive which took place September 9th was a prime example of service learning to benefit the greater community. CAS had a total of 45 units donated which represent 135 potential saved lives through blood transfusions.

Four times a year, CAS partners with the American Red Cross to offer a community blood drive for staff, students, and Sierra Vista residents who are all invited to donate to this worthwhile cause. Additionally, high school students earn volunteer hours by helping to set up and supervise the blood drive while learning about the life-saving medical technology. Students and community members age sixteen or older are eligible to donate though they will be required to answer routine medical questions and present a photo ID. Minors (under age 18) also must have a signed parental consent form in order to donate. Thanks to the high school volunteers and our blood drive coordinator, Wendy Koop, for making this event such a success. Another big thank  you to all our our donors without whom none of this would be possible. Be sure to check for photos of the event coming soon to our Facebook page at

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