Thursday , June 13 2024

Big Creek Elementary goes the extra mile for students

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A tiny school district in Fresno County is making the grade. <br /><br />If you are a very small school district, you may not have the winning sports team or all the fancy equipment, but the Big Creek Elementary School District has something no other school district has. <br /><br />This is the classroom for Big Creek Elementary’s science project. Students are mapping out a plot of land in the forest identifying the vegetation. <br /><br />They hope to determine which plants are good for the forest and which needs to be removed to help prevent forest fires. <br /><br />&quot;Many of us this is where we choose to live, live in the forest and being able to maintain a forest is not only important for the forest but for our health too,&quot;&nbsp;Nancy Shearer, a teacher at Big Creek&nbsp;said.&nbsp;<br /><br />These students live and attend school in Big Creek, a community located 62 miles Northeast of Fresno, nestled in the mountains between Shaver and Huntington Lake. Their pre-school to 8th grade school district is the smallest in Fresno County, where 57 students attend. <br /><br />&quot;Being small allows our kids to have a lot more various experiences,&quot;&nbsp;Toby Wait, the Principal and superintendent&nbsp;said.&nbsp;<br /><br />Experiences like being able to pack up and conduct your science classes at the local museum and learning with the latest technology.<br /><br />Teacher Phil Young, who also attended Big Creek as a child, uses the area’s natural surroundings and habitat as teaching tools. <br /><br />Students do not only get to connect with their surroundings, but with each other students. Students start taking Spanish in the fourth grade and get the benefit of indoor activities such as archery and ceramics.<br /><br />We don’t know of any school that can boast of having it’s own bowling alley. Superintendent Toby Wait says it is part of the original design, created to provide activities for a community landlocked by snow. <br /><br />Despite what appears to be an idyllic situation, there are some drawbacks to being so small. Big Creek’s funds come from property taxes and it gets no money from the state based on the districts student population it also doesn’t qualify for much federal money. <br /><br />Small school district’s like Big Creek do get help from the Fresno County Office of Education. It provides support in the areas of technology, business department and curriculum.<br /></div>

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