New Chromebooks a Big Hit in Denair Classrooms

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Technology permeates every classroom in the Denair Unified School District. It’s not a matter of if teachers and students will incorporate computer-based instruction as part of everyday learning, but how they will do it.

From the earliest grades at Denair Elementary Charter Academy to middle and high school students across the street and across all subject areas, access to technology is an expectation, not a luxury.

Every Denair student at every grade level has a district email account and access to Google Drive that allows them to log in in every class. They also can sign into their account from home to work on projects or complete homework.

“These kids have grown up with technology in their hands, unlike any other generation before them,” said Mark Ranes, a former teacher who is now the district’s technology director. “Most were using mobile devices before they could write. They are wired differently than us adults.

“We’ve reached a point in education where we are no longer teaching ‘technology’ to students; we’re teaching them to use technology to learn.”

The district has invested heavily to get to this point. This year, it used nearly $300,000 in state funding saved over several years to add 18 Chromebook carts to its tech arsenal. The portable carts can be moved from class to class. Each contains up to 30 Dell Chromebook computers with charging stations.

The new computers brought the district’s number of carts to 20, with another five in the pipeline for next year. Eventually, Ranes said, each student is likely to be assigned his or her own computer.

Demand has been tremendous across the four campuses – DECA, Denair Middle School, Denair High School and Denair Charter Academy. The rollout was delayed until the district could upgrade its wireless network last fall. Once that was completed, the computer floodgates opened.

“We were asked on pretty much a weekly basis when they were coming to the sites,” Ranes said. “We didn’t want to let them out in the wild until I was sure the network could handle 450 new devices.” Continue reading “New Chromebooks a Big Hit in Denair Classrooms” »

Career Fair Encourages Students to Find Their Passion

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair High School graduate Randy Jones talked about what it’s like being a civil engineer for the City of Turlock. Sarah Jennings of the Paul Mitchell School in Modesto extolled the possibilities of a career in the hair or skin care industries. Explorer Scouts Landon Zamora and Carlos Lerma discussed what it takes to become a sheriff’s deputy.

They represented just a handful of more than 20 potential career paths Denair students were exposed to Wednesday morning during an informative and wide-ranging College and Career Fair.

The point, explained Principal Kara Backman, wasn’t to direct teens down any particular path, but to open their eyes to many different possibilities. Students from both Denair High as well as Denair Middle School participated.

“We really want kids to figure out what their inner passion is and learn about the kinds of skills they need to develop to attain it,” she said.

The presenters ranged from Turlock orthopedic surgeon Scott Calhoun (another Denair graduate) to a myriad of business owners, a real estate professional who also is a life coach, a police detective, someone from the manufacturing industry, dairy and almond farmers, teachers, an auto mechanic, a social worker, a welder and a dental hygienist.

Students were able to sign up for three 20-minute sessions to listen, watch videos in some cases and ask questions.

Jones, Class of 2005, told students how he turned a lifelong love of math and science into a career as a civil engineer. He talked about working together as part of a team to solve problems and create long-lasting solutions.

His latest assignment, he said is an $8 million project to redesign 1.4 miles of West Main Street between Highway 99 and downtown Turlock.

“Most of the homes along the road are 100 years old. The infrastructure also is 100 years old,” Jones said. “We’re trying to have the least impact on people’s lives and build a project that will last another 100 years.”

Answering students’ questions, he said engineers can expect to earn $75,000 to $140,000 a year after spending up to six years in college. Continue reading “Career Fair Encourages Students to Find Their Passion” »

Denair High School Students Will be “Kicking Butts”

Submitted by Denair High School

Local high schoolers in Denair are holding events next week for national Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. It will provide good visuals, and this is a completely youth-driven effort.

Denair High School students are taking a stand against tobacco by holding a morning flash mob to rally for tobacco-free living. In the afternoon, they will continue working to create a smoke-free community by organizing a cigarette butt cleanup. Time: 11 AM. Location: 3431 Lester Road, Denair. Contact: Melissa Treadwell (209) 216-8550.

Denair High School’s activities are a part of a larger movement. Students in California will unite against tobacco use on March 21 as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned across the United States for this annual day of youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

On Kick Butts Day, students encourage their peers to be tobacco-free, reject tobacco companies’ devious marketing and urge elected officials to help make the next generation tobacco-free.

This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on the progress the U.S. has made in reducing youth smoking and the actions needed to create the first tobacco-free generation. Since 2000, the national smoking rate among high school students has fallen by 71 percent (from 28 percent in 2000 to 8 percent in 2016). However, the fight against tobacco is far from over:

  • Tobacco use is still the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing over 480,000 people and costing about $170 billion in health care expenses each year.
  • Tobacco companies spend $8.9 billion a year – $1 million every hour – to market tobacco products in the U.S., often in ways that appeal to kids.
  • Electronic cigarettes have become the most popular tobacco product used by kids – nationwide, 11.3 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes compared to 8 percent who smoke cigarettes. The latest trend with teens is JUUL, an e-cigarette that looks like a computer flash drive and comes in flavors like mango and fruit medley.

In California, tobacco use claims 40,000 lives and costs $13.29 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 4.3 percent of California’s high school students smoke.

On Kick Butts Day, kids and health advocates are calling on elected officials to implement proven strategies that make up a “roadmap to a tobacco-free generation.” These strategies include tobacco tax increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, raising the tobacco sale age to 21, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and banning the sale of flavored tobacco products.

“On Kick Butts Day, kids are celebrating the progress we’ve made to reduce tobacco use and building momentum to get us across the finish line,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Elected leaders in every state can help create the first tobacco-free generation by supporting proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use.”

On Kick Butts Day, kids join in creative events ranging from classroom activities to educate their peers about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to rallies at state capitols.

 

Denair Boys Fall to Summerville in Basketball Playoffs

Submitted by Denair High School

The Denair High School boys basketball team picked a bad night to have one of its worst shooting games of the season, falling to Summerville 55-32 on Wednesday in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs.

The Coyotes knew going in they would be physically overmatched by the much bigger Bears. Their best chance to overcome that was to shoot well from the perimeter. Unfortunately, Denair went just 5-for-27 from the 3-point arc while consistently giving up second and third chances on defense because of Summerville’s size advantage.

“We were very good defensively for what we have,” Coach R.J. Henderson said. “But there were probably eight to 10 possessions where Summerville had three or four shots at it. I think a lot of our guys – even our guards – expended a lot of energy on defense, which affected their legs and their shots on offense.”

The only Denair player to find the range from 3-point land was Drew Pritchard, who made 4 of his 11 attempts. The rest of the Coyotes were a combined 1-for-16.

“It was high volume without a lot of reward,” Henderson said. “They had some guys who closed out on our shooters who were athletic and long.”

Despite its poor shooting, Denair trailed by only eight points at halftime and had narrowed the gap to five with about 3 minutes left in the third quarter. But Summerville built its lead to 11 points going into the fourth period and then gradually pulled away.

Though the season ended with a loss, Henderson and his players achieved one of their goals – to make the playoffs. It was the first time Denair (13-13) qualified for postseason in seven years. The Coyotes – with only two seniors on their nine-man roster – improved dramatically from November to February. They finished second in the Southern League to Mariposa, which earned them the No. 11 seed in the playoffs. Continue reading “Denair Boys Fall to Summerville in Basketball Playoffs” »

Two Denair Wrestlers End Successful Seasons at Division V Meet

Submitted by Denair High School

The Two Denair High wrestlers gained valuable experience, their coach believes, before they were eliminated at last weekend’s Sac-Joaquin Division V meet in Delhi.

Cody Martinez (126 pounds) and Quentin Parker (160) both were first-time qualifiers for the Division V meet.

“They were competitive in their weight classes,” Coyotes Coach Jorge Ruelas said. “They succeeded in experiencing a new competitor that they will be able to visualize in their training for next season.”

Martinez, a freshman, was pinned by Hughson’s Trace Huber in his first match. Huber went on to qualify for this week’s Masters meet in Stockton.

Martinez bounced back to pin Michael Alcoriza of Argonaut in the second round, but then got pinned himself by Josh Stubbert of Big Valley Christian in his third match.

Parker, a junior, was pinned by Bryan McCoard of Golden Sierra in the first round. He got a bye in the second round, but lost by technical fall (trailing by 15 points) to Jacob Giles of Bradshaw Christian in his third match.

“The Division V tournament was a good experience in that it allowed each wrestler to extend their knowledge and push themselves physically and mentally,” Ruelas said. “It also showcased different styles of wrestling they were not previously exposed to within their own division.”