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Fri, Sept. 20

Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District looks back at 2016

Cottonwood-Oak Creek Superintendent Barb U'Ren. VVN file photo

Cottonwood-Oak Creek Superintendent Barb U'Ren. VVN file photo

COTTONWOOD – Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District found a way to capture the hearts and the minds of its students this year.

But the recent retirement announcement of District Superintendent Barb U’Ren – effective June 30, 2017 – is clearly the top story coming out of the K-8 school district.

Replacing U’Ren, employed at COCSD for more than three decades, will be Steve King, the district’s assistant superintendent.

For eight years, King served as principal at South Verde High School in Camp Verde before moving to Cottonwood-Oak Creek in the fall of 2015.

Always focused on her work in the district, U’Ren looks back at the 2016 school year with fond memories – and with plenty to celebrate.

In its third year, the district’s Dr. Daniel Bright, Cottonwood Elementary and Cottonwood Middle schools have developed the Three Schools-One Culture team which as “aligned activities, parent communications and looked more closely at the transition expectations for children leaving second grade at DDB and entering third grade at CES and likewise for children leaving CES and moving up to CMS,” U’Ren says.

In Cornville, Oak Creek Elementary School has “worked hard to enhance” its STEAM program, and has built its Ag program “around gardens, animal husbandry, range land management and viticulture,” U’Ren says.

Thanks to the community support of capital bond funds, COCSD updated electrical systems, installed new HVAC units, added fresh coats of paint, remodeled bathrooms, installed new roofing, and door and window replacement “where needed,” U’Ren says.

Cottonwood Middle School sought ways this year to bring real-life experience into the classroom. Developing a four-day elective program was designed because staff “wanted to create an opportunity for students to pursue their interests so that CMS became a place where students engage their curiosities, discover the many unique pursuits of this world, and spurn their intrinsic motivation that will in-turn drive their love of learning throughout the day,” says CMS Principal Matt Schumacher.

In November, CMS brought the presidential elections to school, as children discussed politics, then voted for their favorite presidential candidate.

Also in November, Mountain View Preparatory students collected nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes in its celebration of National Kindness Week. Says Principal Stephanie Jones, the shoes will be sent to Africa so “so they can attend school,”

Five MVP teachers were selected by the Yavapai County Education Foundation to receive a $500 teacher grant for their classrooms.

Those teachers were Genna Adams, Heather Langley, Kelli Rhoda, Stacy Shelton and Magdalena Sloniger, selected by the Yavapai County Education Foundation.

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