Gryphon Gazette

Back to North Star’s Past

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A picture of the first staff of NSA

A picture of the first staff of NSA

A picture of the first staff of NSA

Carmen P and Samantha K

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Do you ever wonder what North Star was like in the past, and how this school came to be?  Well here’s how it happened.

 

In 1997 Redwood City School District decided they needed a higher academic school and our school was born. Mckinley Middle School had a declining enrollment, and there was a lot of room on the campus, so they built our building and named the school the Academic Magnet School. The student body didn’t like the name and came up with other names such as Golden Gate, Redwood, Horizon, but In May of the first year students, faculty and parents voted to call it North Star Academy. North Star was smaller at first.  The grades were 3rd -6th but they added 7th and 8th over the next two years. Students were selected to attend. The first principal was Susan Vickers.

Right from when she started working here in 2006, Mrs. Pinto liked,“…the collaboration on projects and willingness to try new things.”

      In North Star many suspenseful moments occurred! A tree fell on the school 2003, students were not allowed into the two-story building for the whole morning.The space shuttle flew over North Star on October 20, 2014, on its was to a final resting place.  There is a mural in the stairwell of the two-story building, an eighth grade independent mural project called “Going to the Extremes.”  It was made in 2002-2003 and was painted by Tanya Rogers. There is another mural inside the school which was made in 2006. It was made to remind people about the environment, the mural quote states “Through your eyes we see or challenge to appreciate, preserve and restore all natural environments. Thank You.”  This mural was also painted by Tanya Rogers as an independent study project for her high school.  There used to be a vending machine in the school, in February 2011  but it was taken out because the school wanted to offer more healthy drinks and snacks.            

Many school field trips and enrichment classes have changed. In the beginning of North Star, there were very few field trips because the teachers didn’t know the curriculum. Sixth grade used to go to Yosemite which was beautiful.

“It was a really enjoyable and it was one of my favorite field trips,” said Elise A, an 8th grader.

In Yosemite they usually slept in tents, but in 2011 they went to a hotel because their was the hantavirus going around. Some students didn’t like the long drive or the cold tents. Mrs.Pinto said, “Some of the hikes were hard.”

Mrs. Simke decided that Yosemite didn’t help students meet the standards of the test enough. So they  switched to Pinnacles National Park. Pinnacles doesn’t have a long drive, the hikes are easier.

Zach N. a 7th grader “One of my favorite things to get at breakfast was hot cocoa unlike other cocoa this wasn’t watery ”The curriculum changed again, so Mrs. Simke felt that they should change the field trip too. This year for the first time 6th grade students will go to Marin Headlands.

Another fun field trip was 3rd grade space camp, but the nearest space camp they could go to to closed. The 7th grade used to sleep over at the Zoo. This trip was special not only because they got to sleep with animals, but many people don’t know that you had to have at least a C in all classes including PE to go. Working hard pays off.There were so many fun field trips students of the past have gone on.

There used to be a World Dance class enrichment taught by Mrs. Pinto which a lot of people liked. In 2011 there used to be a class called passion project where people came and did any project they had Passion about, taught by Mrs. Snyder. There was a puppy enrichment taught by Mrs. Gaffney. Students got to learn about show of their pooches.

“The best thing about having a dog is that they always love you no matter what” Mrs. Gaffney said. They showed off the dogs in a show just for the enrichment. A circus enrichment was taught by Mr. Cagle during the second trimester. The students learned how to use the chinese yoyo, juggling, and just clowning around with balloons. Surprisingly, it was serious though they had fun. On February 11 they performed their talents on the school grounds. The students in the enrichment made posters that said Get Sirius. A student in the enrichment named Samantha C. was always careful in her act and that did good she was great at doing balloon animals like dogs, cats, giraffes and swans. Many students learned how to learn the talents you use in the circus.

The people from the Gryphon Gazette got go to the San Jose Mercury News for a field trip. Unfortunately they closed the printing presses there but the students that went knew how amazing the field trip was. Mrs. Frazier used to do a Movie Review enrichment. In the enrichment they watched movies and rated them.

Another thing that makes NSA what it is today is the garden. In 2004 a middle school Girl Scout troop raised money and asked Mrs. Martin for advice on what they should use it on. Mrs. Martin suggested building a garden. The girl scouts followed her advice and did such a good job on it that they achieved their Silver Award (which is the second highest award in Girl Scouts). The garden continues to be updated today by the construction committee.

The Spanish and P.E  programs have also changed. There used to be fewer P.E. coaches. Spanish has really changed a lot too. In the begining, Spanish was mainly for 3rd graders taught by Mrs. Lozano. Then a Spanish teacher came to each classroom. After that, students in middle school could choose Spanish instead of P.E. and then Mrs. Rinehart came and each grade had a spanish class. The school did not have enough money to pay for a full time Spanish teacher so that was the end of the Spanish program.  Now Students in 7th and 8th grade can take Spanish as an enrichment.  Many of Last year’s graduating 8th graders were able to Start in Spanish II in high school!

    There are many teachers and students that North Star will always remember for example Mrs. Fizz. She let and encouraged many students to join the cast for musicals and plays especially 3rd graders. Many staff have left.  We will always remember  Ms. Fine Mr. Wallace Mrs. Stiltt, Mrs. Quan, Mrs. Wood, Ms. Tarr, Mr. Harris, Mr. Harrison, Ms. Hutchinson, Ms Wilkie  and Mrs. Gaffney. We were sad to see you leave and we will always remember you.

The curriculum has also changed. In the beginning of the year there were not as many field trips and many things were taught out of a textbook. Last year some math classes switched to CPM. The middle school Language Arts switched to a program called Amplify. 8th grade added an Algebra and Algebra/8th grade class.Teachers change the curriculum to make more engaging and so kids can learn more.

The musicals and plays have changed a lot over the years. There have been 14 years of Shakespeare, The fall play used to be taught be Mrs. Hutchinson until San Carlos Children’s theater came in.The field trips they went to see were about people like the movie Hidden Figures, about books they read.The students were trained in voice and speaking like character. Neva Hutchinson said one of the things she liked about North Star is “I like the lightbulb going off in there head because they’re so smart.”

A teacher named Mrs.Fizz taught the musicals.Some of the musicals in the past were Oliver, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, beauty and the Beast, The Music Man, The Secret Garden and Seussical. When Ms. Fizz retired, Maureen McVerry took over the directing of the Musicals.  This year North Star will be putting on Legally Blonde.   

Neva Hutchinson said,“ NSA has many principles but it still goes along being a great school”.

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