Skill building exercise with the “Mountain Teams” underway at Eagle Field last week.

Photo by Lisa Morton

By Becky Brewster

Students in CCAISD grades 5 through 12 competed in the first ever Mountain Extravaganza on September 6.  Four “Mountain Teams” competed in an obstacle course filled with physical activities and academic challenges.  The Delaware Mountains Team won the day with a time of 10:44 and earned 100 points.  The Red Rock Team took second at 10:45 for 75 points; Carrizo placed third at 11:36 for 50 points; Apache came in fourth at 12:36 for 25 points. The event was described by some as “organized chaos” generating a spirit of both fun and competition with team members urging their teammates on to completion of the course.

How did the “Mountain Teams” come about?  CCAISD staff attended training at the Ron Clark Academy this summer.  They came away with ideas to expand and challenge students to excel in both classroom skills and soft skills (such as social etiquette).    At the Ron Clark Academy, students are divided into four teams; the students go through a selection process similar to the sorting into houses that occurs in the Harry Potter series. Activities and competitions among these teams occur throughout the school year. The program is based on Ron Clark’s “Essential 55,” a list of rules that outline expected acceptable behaviors.

Aaron Hannah, CCAISD Principal, reflected on his likes/dislikes of the things he observed at the Ron Clark Academy and discussed his vision of how the strategies used there could be modified to fit our needs.   He pointed out that Van Horn has a lot going for it.  His vision of the program focuses on “rekindling pride” and “unveiling new aspirations and casting a vision for our kids for the future.”

To this end, the “Mountain Teaming” concept was born.  The teachers met and selected the rules from the “Essential 55” that would be beneficial to our students. Then, since our surrounding mountain ranges are such a strong identifier for Van Horn, Hannah decided to name the four teams after local mountain ranges. The teachers were given a description and brief history lesson on the mountain ranges from Gary Fuentes of the local Soil Conservation Service, and then they selected four ranges from a choice of nine.  Colors and virtues for each range were also selected. The resulting Mountain Teams are as follows:


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