Mural Commemorates State Football Championship

Submitted by Denair High School

Not that anyone living in Denair is ever likely to forget, but there now is a vivid reminder on a busy downtown corner of the community’s state championship football team.

Last week, four players from that team worked with Denair High art teacher John Stavrianoudakis and Denair alum Hector Obando to design and paint a mural on the side of a former gas station at the corner of Main Street and Sante Fe Avenue.

A purple Coyote mascot’s head is bracketed by the words “2018 State Champions.” It is visible to anyone driving near the busy intersection.

It is just the latest way to commemorate Denair’s amazing rise in football last fall. The Coyotes (12-1) – whose only loss to Ripon Christian cost them the Southern League title – crushed everyone in their way once the Division VII playoffs began.

Their historic streak culminated with a 42-14 victory over Santee of Los Angeles for the state title.

It was at that game – played before a partisan, purple-clad crowd at Jack Lytton Stadium – that the idea of memorializing the spectacular feat came to Denair businessman and Coyote booster Bob Holloway.

“We were still in the stands when I started talking to the superintendent,” Holloway said. “They had to jump through some hoops to make it happen, but they did and here we are. It was a helluva accomplishment. Little old Denair won a state championship.”  Continue reading “Mural Commemorates State Football Championship” »

Denair Elementary Charter Academy Continues to Shine; Kindergarten Applications Can Be Picked Up Jan. 22

Submitted by Denair Elementary Charter Academy:

Denair Elementary Charter Academy is a great place for students to start or continue their education.

The school features traditional as well as dual language immersion instructional tracks for kindergarten through fifth-graders, plus a transitional kindergarten program.

Youngsters are exposed early on to the importance of attending college, there is a wide range of fun and important electives and afterschool activities, and emphasis is placed on being safe, responsible, respectful and kind.

All this occurs on a pretty and well-maintained campus under the direction of an experienced staff passionate about educating students.

Word of DECA’s success continues to spread, with more than a third of its 558 students coming from outside the Denair Unified School District boundaries.

With kindergarten registration just four weeks away, a new crop of parents and students are poised to discover what so many others already know – DECA is the place to be for a quality elementary education in Stanislaus County.

Parents of children who will turn 5 by Sept. 1 of this year may begin picking up kindergarten application packets Jan. 22 at the DECA office. For the first time this year, they may also download forms off the DECA website http://dusd.k12.ca.us/deca.

Feb. 12 is the first day applications can be returned. Parents should be sure to include up-to-date immunization records, a birth certificate from the county the child was born in and proof of residency (a utility bill, for instance).

Parents intending to enroll their child in the popular dual language immersion program also must attend an orientation session. Dates will be announced soon. Continue reading “Denair Elementary Charter Academy Continues to Shine; Kindergarten Applications Can Be Picked Up Jan. 22” »

New Middle School Math Program Engaging Students, Denair Trustees are Told

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

A new middle school math curriculum that has shown promising results during a pilot period this year moved one step closer to formal adoption at Thursday night’s meeting of the Denair Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Known as enVisionmath 2.0 Common Core, the program is a comprehensive mathematics curriculum for grades 6–8. It uses problem-solving, interactive experiences and visual learning to engage students. Personalized math practice, built-in interventions, and customizable content deepen understanding and improve achievement.

Denair Middle School math teachers David Rodriguez and Anthony Narsi have been using the program since last fall. They told trustees they believe it will help to improve students’ math skills and, ultimately, their performance on state tests, which has been a concern in the district.

Superintendent Terry Metzger said the middle school program is consistent with what was introduced last year at Denair High School. She said it is a hybrid of written materials as well as online programs and videos students access via Chromebooks at school or their own computers at home.

“It asks kids to apply math skills they’re learning to real-life situations,” she said. “It’s very engaging. The teachers say students are asking for more math.”

The cost of the program is $26,000 for a six-year license, plus hard-copy materials that must be purchased each year. Before trustees take a final vote in February, parents and community members can stop by the middle school campus and view the program, Metzger said.

It also will be discussed at Monday night’s DMS Site Council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

In middle school, sixth-graders are focused on expressions and equations, seventh-graders on ratios and proportions, and eighth-graders on pre-algebra, Metzger said.

“The math these students are learning is pretty complex,” she said. “Many middle school parents cannot help their children with middle school math.”

In other action Thursday night, trustees:

  • Approved two changes to the 2019-20 school calendar. Schools will be out of session the entire Thanksgiving week, recognizing that attendance has been consistently low on the two days of class that week. Students will make up those days before Christmas and after Easter. A staff development day previously held in February was moved to the first day after the winter holiday break, one day before students return to class.
  • Approved overnight field trips for up to 12 Denair High School FFA students to a regional competition at UC Davis on March 1-2 and the state finals at Cal Poly San Luis, Obispo on May 2-4.
  • Scheduled the Local Control Accountability Plan meetings for Jan. 17 at the district office. These meetings are a chance for parents and community members to weigh in on school priorities and offer feedback to district officials before next year’s budget is created. A meeting for Spanish speakers will begin at 4:45 p.m., followed by dinner at 5:30, and an English and Spanish meeting at 5:45 p.m.

Accepted an independent audit report 2017-18 that showed the district to be in compliance in all areas.

11 Prospective Community Mentors Sign Up to Work with Denair Students; Second Meeting Tuesday

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

The first of two informational meetings for community volunteers willing to serve as mentors for students in the Denair Unified School District drew 11 people at lunchtime Thursday.

All filled out applications and soon will undergo background checks conducted by Sierra Vista Child & Family Services officials. The district is working with Sierra Vista to start the program as soon as February.

A second meeting for potential mentors is set for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., also at the district office. It will be another chance for people to ask Sierra Vista representatives about the program.

Sierra Vista a nonprofit based in Modesto that operates a similar system with the 30,000-student Modesto City Schools District.

Superintendent Terry Metzger said her goal is to identify community volunteers willing to meet one-on-one for an hour each week with a student.

The meetings will be held during school hours on the child’s campus. Students from all grade levels and mentors will be matched based on teacher referrals and Sierra Vista’s expertise. Mentors can request students in a particular age range as well as indicate a preference for working with a boy or girl.

“Once we know how many mentors we have, we’ll start making matches,” said Metzger, who was excited about Thursday’s turnout.

The partnership is an extension of a larger mental health pilot program that began last fall, also in collaboration with Sierra Vista. A full-time mental health clinician is stationed at Denair Middle School to work with students and their families from all DUSD campuses.

The program is funded by the Legacy Health Endowment, whose mission is to provide financial and technical support to improve the health of people living in Stanislaus and Merced counties. The nonprofit was created in 2014 as part of Tenet Healthcare’s acquisition of Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock.

One of Legacy Health’s grants funds a program directed by Sierra Vista that focuses on the mental health of people living in southeastern Stanislaus County. Research by Sierra Vista shows that some children and teens in the area can be adversely affected by their socioeconomic status or rural living conditions.

Potential Community Mentors Encouraged to Attend Either of Two Upcoming Meetings at Denair Unified Office

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Two informational meetings are scheduled this week and next for community volunteers willing to serve as mentors for students in the Denair Unified School District.

They will be a chance for those interested to learn more about the soon-to-begin mentoring program from by Sierra Vista Child & Family Services officials. Sierra Vista a nonprofit based in Modesto that operates a similar system with the 30,000-student Modesto City Schools District.

The meetings will be held at the DUSD administration office. They are scheduled for:

  • Thursday, Jan. 10 at noon
  • Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Superintendent Terry Metzger said her goal is to identify community volunteers willing to meet one-on-one for an hour each week with a student.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “We feel like we have a number of students who can benefit from another caring adult in their lives.”

She already has reached out to local service clubs and said the response has been positive. All mentors will undergo a background check and screening conducted by Sierra Vista, which also will provide training.

The weekly meetings will be held during school hours on the child’s campus. Students from all grade levels and mentors will be matched based on teacher referrals and Sierra Vista’s expertise.

“It could be a conversation in the library or shooting hoops outside,” Metzger explained. “Most often, these students just need someone to be there to listen. They need an adult. Sometimes they’re being raised by their grandparents or caring for their younger siblings. They need someone who can be there for them.”

The partnership is an extension of a larger mental health pilot program that began last fall, also in collaboration with Sierra Vista. A full-time mental health clinician is stationed at Denair Middle School to work with students and their families from all DUSD campuses.

The program is funded by the Legacy Health Endowment, whose mission is to provide financial and technical support to improve the health of people living in Stanislaus and Merced counties. The nonprofit was created in 2014 as part of Tenet Healthcare’s acquisition of Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock.

One of Legacy Health’s grants funds a program directed by Sierra Vista that focuses on the mental health of people living in southeastern Stanislaus County. Research by Sierra Vista shows that some children and teens in the area can be adversely affected by their socioeconomic status or rural living conditions.

“That can lead to greater risk of anxiety, depression, and self-harm, including drug or alcohol use,” Metzger said.