Before 2014 arrives, View Neighborhood Newspapers revisits some of the stories from the southwest and Spring Valley areas from 2013.
More than 312,000 students were expected to enroll in the Clark County School District in August, according to Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky.
Wright, Reedom and Forbuss elementary schools were the first three schools in the district placed on a year-round schedule because of space limitations.
As of December, Forbuss is about 400 students over capacity and has a small city of 20 portables near its playground. Two additional portables that were set to arrive in August have been placed on hold because the school district ran out, according to principal Shawn Paquette.
“Honestly, it’s going a whole lot smoother than I thought it would,” Paquette said. “I just finished reviewing report cards, and the scores are pretty equally distributed. That’s my indication that students have all mastered the content at the same pace.”
Paul Garbiso, academic manager of Performance Zone 11, said it’s difficult to monitor progress when only four-fifths of the students are on campus at a given time.
“It’s so much easier on a nine-month school to be consistent with instructional planning because they can monitor and see the progress of the students,” Garbiso said. “With year-round, you have tracks on and tracks off. It’s a challenge to try and figure how to make sure that kids are receiving quality instruction.”
Though it’s too early to determine how the year-round schedule is affecting the schools’ performance, Garbiso said he isn’t worried.
“These are three high-performing schools that have been consistent with staff impact and academic results,” Garbiso said. “I have three quality principals that are battling a lot, but I’m happy with what they’re doing day in and day out in this difficult situation.”
CRIMES IN THE SOUTHWEST
It was revealed in February that former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner owned a Las Vegas home off Loughton Street, near Blue Diamond and Fort Apache roads.
Dorner was wanted in connection with the killing of four people.
FBI agents monitored the house until Dorner was spotted in Big Bear Lake, Calif. The weeklong manhunt ended in Dorner’s death from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound Feb. 12.
In a separate incident on April 19, a mother and two children were found stabbed to death in a southwest-area home off of Wolf Pack Lane.
The children were identified as Hope Serra, 11, and Cory Serra, 9. The mother was Hae Chong Serra, 40.
Police ruled the incident a double homicide and suicide by the mother.
WET ‘N’ WILD OPENS
Wet ‘n’ Wild officials consider the water park’s first season a success. The park was open to the public from June 3 to Sept. 29.
“It’s been a wonderful first year,” said general manager Takuya Ohki. “We’re thrilled with the great response we have experienced from our local community and visitors to Las Vegas.”
The park, which covers 41 acres, was designed to be water-efficient by placing water tanks underground to prevent evaporation. More than 25 slides and attractions were available this season.
“The Rattler, the only slide of its kind in North America, and the Constrictor, an extreme water slide featuring some of the tightest turns, proved to be our most popular attractions,” Ohki said.
Construction on Wet ‘n’ wild began in October 2012 and cost about $50 million.
In May, View featured southwest-area resident Joy Bartlett, a teacher at Ries Elementary School who planned to retire in June after 50 years of teaching.
One day into retirement, Bartlett, 70, accepted a teaching position at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Bartlett taught for 39 years in Minneapolis before moving to Las Vegas in 2004.
“My sister threw me an open-house retirement party (in Minneapolis) and invited all my old colleagues,” Bartlett said. “They suggested I teach at the college again, and I said, ‘You know, I just retired yesterday.’ ”
By the end of the party, Bartlett had accepted the invitation. Though she will continue to live in Las Vegas, she frequently flies to Minneapolis to teach a hybrid education course that includes online and in-person instruction.
“Here I had such a difficult time leaving in June. I just thought, ‘People will think I’m totally insane for continuing to teach after 50 years,’ ” Bartlett said. “But the college students still keep me young. As long as I can still keep doing it physically, I don’t know when I’ll actually retire.
“This has never been a job; it has always been a passion. It’s such a large part of my life.”
Bartlett said she has always preferred teaching early childhood education.
“Seeing the reactions of students and watching them gain knowledge is something I can’t put into words,” she said. “There’s nothing as rewarding as seeing a child learn to read or knowing you opened the door to their appetite for learning.”
Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.