Portola High School Fire Science Class

Thirty years ago, Brad Miller, the current Fire Science Teacher at Portola High School, was sitting behind a desk at Quincy High School, taking a similar course to the one he now teaches. During his time at QHS, he took a Fire Science course that led him to join an Engine Crew right after graduating. He stayed with the Forest Service for about ten summers while he went to college and continued after he got his teaching credential. He started teaching at Portola High School in 1991 and in 1993 became the Fire Science teacher, until the course was cut ten years later due to budget cuts. In 2012, thanks to new funding from the Moonlight and Storrie Fire Restoration Projects from the Plumas National Forest Service, the class was able to be re-
instated. Now in its fifth year since being refunded, it’s one of the most popular elective courses at Portola High, drawing 25-30 kids each year, some more than once.

Published 5-24-17
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Plumas Unified adopts Positive Prevention Plus Curriculum

In January 2016, California implemented a new law, the California Healthy Youth act, which updates the state’s requirements for sexual health education in public schools. According to the new law, students must receive comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention education at least once in middle school and at least once in high school. Instruction must be age appropriate and medically accurate, which means that the information must be accepted by organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics. It must also be appropriate for students with disabilities, students who are English language learners, and for students of all races, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations. Endorsing religious doctrine is not allowed. While information will be provided on the value of delaying sexual activity and that abstinence is the only certain way to prevent unintended pregnancy, HIV, and other STIs, “abstinence-only” sex education is not permitted in California public schools.

Published 5-10-17
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Learning Landscapes: A Model Partnership with the Feather River Land Trust

Due to the transforming and pioneering partnership between the Feather River Land Trust (FRLT), Plumas Unified School District (PUSD), local landowners, and generous sponsors, every school in Plumas County has access to an outdoor classroom 10 miles or less from their campus. Right after the Feather River Land trust formed in the early 2000s, PCOE's Outdoor Education Coordinator Rob Wade approached FRLT's Executive Director Paul Hardy with an idea.

Published on 3-1-17
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Students Submit Art and Prose Pieces to Honor Martin Luther King Jr. In the

In the midst of our busy work and school weeks holidays can serve as a much needed day off, but often the significance of the holiday can also be overlooked, treated as nothing more than an opportunity to sleep in. This year the Plumas National Forest Service wanted to collaborate with Plumas Unified School District to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and give students an opportunity to engage with MLK’s mission and values. The competition was open to students K-12th and there were 1st-3rd place prizes given at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for both art and prose.

Published 2-15-17
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Preparing the Future with Technical Career Skills

Woodshop, Auto-shop, Culinary Arts, Business and Finance, Industrial Arts, Welding, Gardening, and Computer Applications, comprise the wealth of Career and Technical Education offered by PUSD. These hands-on, skills-based courses offered by Plumas Unified School District through the County Office of Education’s support of Career and Technical Education (CTE), provides our students with more opportunities to access the knowledge and skills necessary to transition to employment and postsecondary education.

Published 2-1-17
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Every Student, Every Assignment, Every Class

For the last few years Principal Sara Sheridan and staff at Portola Jr. /Sr. High School, were frustrated with the level of D’s and F’s students were receiving. They knew that ultimately it was up to them to find solutions that would support their students and give them the extra tools they needed to conquer concepts, finish assignments, and get their grades up. After attending an academic intervention conference in San Diego last fall they found their answer: an additional daily class period – the Tutorial period. Principal Sheridan and the teachers believed that the first step to addressing failing grades is to eliminate missing assignments and target low test scores with additional one on one support.

Published on 1-4-17
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Makerspaces Drive Student Innovation and Creativity

When students are given the tools and freedom to think, decide, explore, question, fail, and believe that what they think, design and create, has no limitations, learning transforms from a linear exploration of knowledge, into a creative catalytic experience that pushes innovation and inspiration forward. Instead of offering answers, makerspaces supply questions. The curriculum is student directed, experimental, explorative, open-ended, and centered on Socratic discussion.

Published on 12-14-16
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Keeping art education alive in a rural area

The distance digital arts teaching program, which is currently established to deliver quality art instruction to Portola High School and middle school students, was first initiated at the start of the 2014/2015 school year. During that fall of that year art instructor Danielle Frid, who had previously traveled daily between the Quincy and Portola school sites to teach at both, took a leave of absence from Portola. That same fall the Chester/Greenville art teacher resigned. Due to the difficulty to attract qualified part-time art teachers to such a rural area, PUSD/PCOE faced a dilemma, cut back on art instruction or find a feasible alternative.

Published 11-16-16.
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Helping Hands PUSD’s November Life Skills Outing

This month marks the third outing of the newly created Plumas Unified School District (PUSD) monthly life skills outings, for students in 7th-12th with moderate to severe disabilities. The purpose of these outings is to encourage independence and teach functional life skills that will help the students care for themselves after they graduate.

Published in November 2016.
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