Electives Bring Balance For Lucerne Valley Elementary Students

While learning math, science and language are key to student success, the Lucerne Valley Unified School District knows there is more to life, and school, for lifelong learners. Recently a wide assortment of electives began for the 2018-19 school year at Lucerne Valley Elementary School.
Classes, which are held every Wednesday afternoon, include American Sign Language, learning to “upcycle” with plastic, the 100-Mile Club for fitness-minded walkers and runners and a chess class. Each student gets to pick their elective, which affirms that learning is a holistic journey.
“It helps the whole thinking process,” said Mrs. Raschke, who teaches the school’s 100-Mile Club. “They’re better learners.”
During a recent electives day, Mr. Burt Umstead, the school’s principal and assistant superintendent for the school district, was giving high-fives to students who proudly displayed their bracelets that are given after participants complete a certain number of laps. Six laps around the field and 12 laps around the playground equal one mile, Mrs. Rashke said. The 100 Mile Club is a nationally-known program that has been helping students live healthy, happy and connected lives for more than 25 years.
“Electives were designed to give students an alternative from the regular Core Curriculum,” Mr. Umstead said. “ Further, the idea is for students to work with a variety of adults and build relationships with them.  We asked teachers to pick an elective that they are passionate about and share that passion with students.”
Meanwhile in Ms. Lane’s sewing class, students were learning how to thread a needle and cut fabric. Although most sewing students are girls, several boys chose to learn the age-old skills of tailoring.
“Last year they learned basic hand-stitching,” Ms. Lane said. “But this year we got two sewing machines.” As a result, she is hoping hoping some Lucerne Valley Elementary sewing students will enter their work in the San Bernardino County Fair next spring.
On the other side of the campus, Mrs. Nelson’s students were packing soil and planting vegetable seeds in containers for her gardening class. The students in grades 1 through 6 will soon watch excitedly as cauliflower, radishes, spinach and lettuce (both red and green varieties) peek their green shoots out of the brown earth.
Here is a rundown of elective classes at Lucerne Valley Elementary:
For the younger students in grades 1-3, Miss Lopez teaches “Bringing Stories to Life,” Mrs. Stafford teaches “Get Creative With Plastic,” Mrs. Stiles leads a paper mache class and Mrs. Pedersen teaches STEM activities.
For grades 1-6, Mrs. Raschke supervises the “100 Mile Club,” which focuses on fitness through walking and running, while Miss Wolf teaches American Sign Language and Mrs. Nelson teaches Gardening.
Ms. Chicca-Wilding, who recently was named the district’s teacher of the month, serves as adviser for Destination Imagination, which is open to second- through sixth-graders. Mrs. Pennington teaches drama to the same grades.
The older students in grades 4 through 6 are learning filmmaking by Miss Brander, “Mindful Yoga” by Mrs. Hall, “Pop Art Fun” by Mrs. Hankins, sewing by Ms. Lane and soccer by Mrs. Paddack. Mr. Rivas is teaching the Chess Club and Mrs. Paddack teaches soccer.