Category Archives: Schools

Tessa Perkins and Sebastian Mitchell Penn named Students of the Month

Tessa Perkins and Sebastian Mitchell Penn were honored as Students of the Month at the Burney Lions Club on Thursday evening October 21. Ms. Perkins  was named 8th grade student of the month for February, and Penn was named 8th grade student of the month for March.

Principal Ray Guerrero, Sebastian Mitchell Penn, Tessa Perkins, and Lion George Whitfield

The students were introduced by Burney High School Principal Ray Guerrero.

Perkins has a 4.0 grade point. She is active in volleyball and plays flute in the band. She also enjoys playing piano, drawing, and writing stories. She would like to train a dog or a cat. When asked how she would train a cat, she said, “Like a dog!” After finishing high school, she plans to attend college to get a four-year degree.

Tessa’s parents Annie and Herb Perkins and her grandmother Linda Bates attended the dinner to see their daughter honored. Her mother, who noted that Tessa has had two surgeries for cerebral palsy, said they are very proud of their daughter’s achievement in academics.

Eighth-grader Sebastian also has a 4.0 grade point average. He competes in track and enjoys mowing lawns. He is looking forward to playing football. He is also good at baseball and tennis. He likes to read. In the future he would like to be a cook in the Navy.

Sebastian’s parents Jennifer Mitchell and Ellis Penn also attended. Mr. Penn said that he is very proud of the person that his son is becoming.

Each student was presented by Lion George Whitfield with a check from the Burney Lions Club for $50.

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Filed under Burney, Burney Lions Club, Schools, youth

FRJUSD staff and community meet with consultants to provide input on selection of new Superintendent

On Wednesday evening March 20, 23 people attended a meeting with consultants from Leadership Associates to express their desires and opinions regarding the selection of a new superintendent for the Fall River Joint Unified School District (FRJUSD).

Community members meeting to provide input on search for new FRJUSD Superintendent

Leadership Associates is an executive search firm that has assisted many California school districts to select their school superintendents.  The Board plans to have a new superintendent selected and approved by the regular board meeting on June 14. The new superintendent will begin on July 1.

The purpose of the March 20 meeting was to get input from staff and community members. The meeting of parents, teachers, staff members and concerned citizens from the community was moderated by consultants Rich Fischer and Tom Changnon.

Fischer began the encounter by explaining the selection process. Leadership Associates hopes that through advertising and active recruitment they will find a pool of possibly up to 14 applicants. The deadline for applications is April 17. During April and May they will complete comprehensive reference and background checks on applicants to identify applicants who are most qualified and suitable to the district. In May the FRJUSD Board will meet with the consultants to review the applications and select the candidates to be interviewed. The Board will then interview selected candidates.  Final decision on who is to be hired will be the responsibility of the Board.

Fischer then asked three questions. First he asked what qualities people would like to see in their superintendent. People responded that they would like someone who is inclusive and cooperative; who is aware of and amenable to the Intermountain climate; who is up to speed on developing trends in technology; who has a background working in similar small rural, diverse districts; whose heart is committed to the welfare of the students; who is knowledgeable  about finances and capable of generating revenue; and who is capable of making difficult decisions if necessary in matters concerning such issues as layoffs; and who is able to deal with issues of busing in a large geographic district.

As for character, people responded that they wanted a person with good people skills, who is committed to the community, and who is aware of and dedicated to helping at-risk youth.

The second question presented to the audience was “How do you sell this place? What are the advantages of living here?” People emphasized the diverse nature of volunteerism by individuals and organizations supporting the district. They praised the commitment of teachers and students. They said that a superintendent could be proud of the results that the district could achieve and derive personal satisfaction. Some stressed the beauty of the environment and the recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, etc. One gentleman pointed out that there are numerous grant opportunities for rural districts available to fund specific programs from foundations.

Finally, Fischer asked what challenges the new superintendent might face. One challenging issue involved recruitment and hiring of qualified teachers, staff members and bus drivers. Another involved becoming familiar with the diverse backgrounds of students and the variable nature and needs of the nine different sites that make up the district. Another addressed balancing academics, sports, and other activities for students.

After a rich discussion on the three questions, Fischer concluded the formal meeting but many participants remained behind to carry on the conversation amongst themselves and the consultants.

Anyone who was unable to attend but would like to offer input into the selection process is encouraged to take part in an online survey at the FRJUSD website at http://www.frjusd.org/frjusdsuperintendentsearch.

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Rylee Stier honored as National PTA 2020-2021 Reflections Theme Search Contest winner

Rylee Stier with Principal Marcy Schmidt (Photo courtesy of Marcy Schmidt)

On January 30, Burney Elementary School first-grader Rylee Stier was honored at an afternoon assembly for being selected as the 2020-2021 Reflections Theme Search Contest winner by the National PTA Reflections Team.

Rylee’s submission, “I Matter Because…” was selected from nearly 100 student submissions across 21 states. The review was conducted by the National PTA Board Officer Team and Mission Engagement Committee.

As the Theme Search Contest winner, Rylee will receive $100 from National PTA and recognition in the 2019 Awards & Reflections Celebration program at the PTA annual convention.

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Greg Hawkins to retire as FRJUSD Superintendent

Greg Hawkins has informed the Fall River Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees that he will be retiring as Superintendent at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Looking back over a career in the school district spanning almost four decades, Hawkins said with a smile, “The whole picture just been great, from my first teaching job up to the present day.”

FRJUSD Superintendent Greg Hawkins

Hawkins moved to Fall River Mills with his family in 1959 when he was three years old. He attended Fall River Elementary School and Fall River Junior Senior High School. He was in the 9th grade when Burney High School opened. He graduated from Fall River High School in 1974.

After graduating he attended Shasta Community College and received his AA and then went on the California  State University, Chico where he earned his BA in Physical Education in 1978. He continued on to get his teaching credential doing his student teaching at Red Bluff High School and received his teaching credentials in 1979.

That summer was an eventful summer. After receiving his teaching credentials, he returned home to marry his high school sweetheart, Rena Oiler. They have been happily married for 40 years and have three sons: Brent, 36, Tyler, 34, and Preston 32. They have two grandchildren, one boy Rider who is three years old, and a seven month old granddaughter Raiya.

For their honeymoon, the couple  went to Happy Camp, where Hawkins was hired by the Siskiyou Union High School District to teach English and Drama at the high school. He also coached Football, Basketball, and Baseball . He was named Happy Camp’s High School Teacher of the Year in 1979.

Hawkins taught at Happy Camp though 1981. In 1982, he came to Burney to teach English at Burney High School.

“It was one of my best years of teaching. Great town, great staff,” he said.

It was also interesting experience coaching the Burney sports teams who had been his rivals not so many years before.

Concerning his years of coaching, Hawkins said that over time he realized that the relationships with the students was more important than winning or losing. Some years you have really talented players and an extraordinary season. But the years when the players you work with are not as gifted, the kids still work just as hard with just as much enthusiasm and it is just as inspiring.

Then from 1982 through 1983, Hawkins worked with the Regional Occupation Program, assisted some teachers, and taught English part time.

From 1983 until 1996, he taught English, Social Studies, and PE at Fall River High School.

After receiving his Pupil Personnel Services Credential, Hawkins served as full time school counselor for Fall River Junior-Senior High School from 1997-2000. He earned his M.S. in Pupil Personnel Services from the University of LaVerne in 1997.

From 2000-2006, he served as Vice Principal at Fall River Junior Senior High School. He also continued to serve as counselor and in addition became athletic director. Then from 2006 to 2011, he was Principal of the Fall River High School. In 2011, he was appointed District Superintendent.

In the role of Superintendent, Hawkins said the budget is always of primary concern. It would be nice to always have the money for everything you want to do, but there are often changes in state funding. The challenge is to make sure that we continue to meet the needs of our students and the community for optimum education.

He also said that maintaining a safe environment for students and teachers has become a top priority. He believes that the district has done its best to ensure that the schools are safe and that teachers, staff, students and law enforcement are prepared to respond quickly and appropriately in case of any emergency.

“One thing that I am most proud of is when one of our graduates goes on to become successful and then comes back to give back to our community. Thirty percent of our teachers are graduates from this district. That’s rewarding!”

Many of the employees of the District were once his students.

Hawkins is an affable people person. He spoke warmly of his appreciation for all of the support that individuals and organizations in the community give to the schools. He also praised the staff, teachers, and Board Members who have worked hard to make the school system successful. Most of all he spoke of how much he has enjoyed interacting with the students as a teacher, coach, counselor, and administrator for the past 36 years and how rewarding it is when past students come up to say hello and remind him of experiences they shared in the past.

After retiring, Hawkins looks forward to traveling with his wife and spending time with his children and grandchildren.

Hawkins will retire at the end of the school year on June 28. He believes that the FRJUSD is in good shape. During the remainder of his term, he wants to ensure that everything will be in order so that there will be a smooth transition for his successor.

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Mt. View students give out Christmas presents at Burney Annex

Three students from Mt. View High School, Elias Avelar, Danell Brumbaugh, and Jordan Potts, gave out presents to 55 patients at the Burney Annex on Wednesday afternoon December 19.

Danell Brumbaugh, Teacher Becky Mock, patient Sally Schmidt, Elias Avelar, Superintendent Greg Hawkins, and Vice Principal Becky Torgrimson

The presents, hand-handmade by students, included pinecone-peanut butter-bird seed bird feeders, homemade snowflake decorations with glitter, and water bottles and bags filled with sugar-free candy and gum.

The activity was part of the students’ empathy unit. School Nurse Karen Van Cleave comes to the school once a week to teach a class on empathy.

According to teacher Becky Mock, the purpose of the unit is to “help students to put themselves in the shoes of others and serve people in need.”

Teacher Lori Carlson suggested the idea of giving gifts to patients at the Annex. The visit to the Annex also helps to fulfill the students’ community service requirement for graduation.

Teacher Becky Mock, FRJUSD Superintendent Greg Hawkins, BHS Vice Principal Becky Torgrimson, and MVHS Secretary Shaun Davis accompanied the students as they delivered the presents.

 

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Burney Jr. Sr. High School performs The Annual Sounds of the Season

The Music Department of the Burney Junior Senior High School presented there 2018 Winter Concert at the Burney High School gym on Tuesday evening December 18. The Concert was titled “The Annual Sounds of the Season.”

Vocal Ensemble

Hundreds of parents, family members, teachers, and friends came to hear the students perform.

Beginning Band

Altogether, more than seventy students took part in the concert under the direction of music teacher Hugo Castro.

Advanced Band

The concert began with the Vocal Ensemble singing five songs. Mary Lawson, Angel Estrada, and Makenna Crook were featured as a trio,

Featured trio

and Christinia James and Neveah Trump did a duet.

Featured duet

Next the beginning band, which this year has more than 40 students, performed five songs with a wide variety of instruments.

Clarinets

Diverse instruments

The Advanced Band played the final five selections ending with a lively well arranged rendition of Feliz Navidad. Mr. Castro brought out his saxophone and joined in playing with the students.

Flute and sax

All in all, the students displayed their musical talents performing a delightful selection of traditional Christmas carols and popular songs of the season.

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Operation Warm Winter provides coats and boots to disadvantaged elementary school children

Operation Warm Winter provided new warm coats and boots to more than a dozen elementary school children at the GIVEAWAY at Word of Life Assembly of God Church (WOLA) on Thursday afternoon between 3-5 p.m. More families came to the program on Thursday to sign up. They will also receive boots and coats in the near future.

Kira Hernandez giving out boots, coats, and beanies

Burney High School Junior Kira Hernandez organized Operation Warm Winter as her Senior Project. Burney Elementary School teachers assisted in selecting 15 children who needed warm coats and boots. Parents signed up in advance so that the exact size needed could be purchased. The program is funded by community donations. A major fundraiser for the program the past few years has been the concert by the Ohio Northern University Choir held in the late Spring.

Signing up in the foyer

In addition, scores of people from the community came to select coats, sweaters, sweat shirts, pants, shirts, and other  gently used items that had been donated by people from the community. Altogether, over 200 people signed in for the GIVEAWAY.

One recipient said, “This is such an unexpected blessing. I haven’t had a good warm winter coat for years. I also found a pair of wonderful pants in my size which is almost impossible to find.”

Many items to choose from

WOLA church secretary Kathy Newton helped Ms. Hernandez to organize the GIVEAWAY at the church. She also helped with fundraising and collecting clothing donations. The Burney High School Leadership Club came in the morning to help set up tables and display clothing. Volunteers helped to man the sign-up tables and oversee the event. Pastor Ken Frazier was present to welcome and chat with all who came.

Operation Warm Winter was started in 2007 when Stephanie Pruitt, a WOLA church member and wife of a BHS teacher, discovered that some elementary school children could not go outside to play during recess in the winter because they did not have adequate winter clothing. Ms. Pruitt ran the program for six years. Parents and community members interested in learning more about the program can contact Burney Elementary School or Kathy Newton at WOLA.

For the last two years, a Burney High School student has organized the program for their Senior Project. Last year junior Alexus Bellino organized the program. This year Kira Hernandez has successfully overseen the operation.

Kira Hernandeex organized this year’s Operation Warm Winter for her senior project

Ms. Hernandez said, “Operation Warm Winter means helping the community out in a way that makes them feel loved and welcome.”

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Filed under Burney, Schools, Word of Life Assembly of God, youth