| TheUnion.com

Nevada County school district hit by destructive TikTok trend, sees surge in school fights

A viral social media trend that purportedly encourages students to destroy school bathrooms and engage in other forms of destructive behavior has made its mark in Nevada County, even as school district administrators say that they are also dealing with a notable surge in physical altercations between students.

The TikTok trend, which has been sweeping schools across the nation in recent weeks, according to NPR, has caused enough damage and disruption at Nevada Union High School that school principal Kelly Rhoden sent out an email earlier this week pleading with students and parents to help put a stop to the trend, which she said has cost the school time and money to address.

“There is a significant uptick in daily destruction to student restrooms and other locations on campus,” Rhoden said in the email. “The issues we face every day in our restrooms are becoming an epidemic after the recent TikTok challenge to destroy school bathrooms were seen on our campus … We are asking parents to have conversations with their student(s) about the issues around negative social media, negative TikTok crazes.”

Students who engage in the TikTok trend typically damage school facilities, most often bathrooms, while using the hashtag “deviouslick” or “deviouslicks“ to gain attention for their actions.

On Wednesday, Nevada Joint Union High School District Superintendent Brett McFadden said Nevada Union has had to temporarily close numerous bathrooms on campus due to students damaging or destroying installations such as faucets, soap dispensers, mirrors and toilets. While McFadden echoed Rhoden in asking parents for help, he also lambasted TikTok itself for failing to take any significant action to put a stop to the trend.

“I think we have to talk about the irresponsibility of TikTok and other social media outlets in allowing this to go on,” McFadden said, expressing disappointment at what he argued has been a lack of internal accountability on the part of the application’s developers.

“Venues like TikTok are really reaping the rewards of this situation while the rest of us are left to clean up the mess … it’s irresponsible from a public standpoint, because school districts are having to spend taxpayer money to respond to this issue — the question I ask is, where is the accountability on the part of these entities?”


In addition to dealing with damage to facilities resulting from the social media trend, Rhoden and McFadden both said the school district has also seen a recent rise in physical fights between students on campus, mostly at Nevada Union and Silver Springs high schools.

In most cases, these altercations have been successfully deescalated by campus security and school staff, although administrators have had to contact the Sheriff’s Office on multiple occasions, McFadden said.

While declining to go into more specifics on the specific incidents due to concerns regarding student privacy, McFadden said the surge in school fights can be linked to the social isolation students experienced for over a year between 2020-21, when schools statewide were closed due to the pandemic.

“We’ve had an increase in the number of altercations between students in the last two weeks … and really we’re seeing that happen all over state and the nation, as students come back after being gone for more than a year … they’re all relearning how to operate, how to interact, on a high school campus,” McFadden said, noting that many new students in the district are attending in-person high school this semester for the first time as a result of the school shutdowns.

While Bear River High School has been able to avoid the uptick in school fights experienced at Nevada Union and Silver Springs, the school has not been spared from the destruction caused by the TikTok craze, said Principal Chris Roberts.

Like its sister schools, Bear River’s bathrooms have been a scene of chaos in recent weeks, with toilets plugged with paper, soap dispensers destroyed, and restroom walls struck with graffiti, Roberts said, adding that the damage has taken a tremendous toll on the school’s custodial and maintenance staff who have to clean up the mess.

While Bear River, like Nevada Union and Silver Springs, has been able to successfully identify and penalize a number of the student perpetrators behind the damages, Roberts said his administration’s approach to handling such incidents has been to emphasize education and “restorative practices” — making students understand the consequences their actions have while generally avoiding draconian punishments.

One classroom exercise that Roberts said he conducted recently was to ask students how they would feel about a rival high school‘s students coming to Bear River’s campus and destroying or damaging school facilities. The principal said that the response to the question was overwhelming — students uniformly insisted that such actions should meet with the strictest of punishments.

“So then I said, well let’s flip the script — how would you feel about that same question if it was people in our own student body that were doing this? And the whole room got real quiet,” Roberts said. “We agreed that as bad as that kind of behavior would be, it’s that much more disrespectful and disloyal to your school for you to be engaging in those actions.”

Like McFadden, Roberts agreed that the uptick in such destructive behaviors has a lot to do with the social isolation that students experienced as a result of the pandemic. He also agreed with the superintendent that app developers such as TikTok should be taking more accountability for the harm that these trends cause in communities such as Nevada County.

“…It’s extremely irresponsible for (TikTok) to allow this stuff to continue, knowing that it’s a national issue and that it’s causing these kinds of problems,” the principal said.

Punitively, McFadden and Roberts said that some of the students caught engaging in damaging bathrooms had been issued disciplinary warnings or even suspended. Both urged parents to take extra time to monitor their children’s social media use and to not hesitate in talking to their them about social media issues such as the TikTok trends.

At a districtwide level, Roberts said that all of the high schools are holding mandatory advisory periods at least once a week, as part of what the principal called “re-socialization” efforts aimed at re-acclimating students to in-person academic life. As a part of this initiative, Roberts said that Bear River students meet with teachers one-on-one every Monday to discuss not just academic issues but life in general, in an attempt to help students feel included in the overall school community.

“We want to give teachers the opportunity to connect with students on a different level, not purely academic but more social … in these meetings we talk about team building, the impact your actions have on others, and the common good … we’re really taking this stuff to another level,” Roberts said.

Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at swyer@theunion.com

Rose Murphy: Financial aid for college


One of the most important actions families can take to pay for college is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you, or your child, are thinking about attending a university, community college or trade school in the next year, the following information may be helpful.

Oct. 1 marks the first day families can access, complete and submit the 2022-2023 FAFSA Application. Some families will skip the application, but I would like to provide you with some essential reasons to not pass up the opportunity to fill out this free application for need-based aid. By filing the FAFSA as early as possible, more time is available to research options and create your college fund availability.

Not completing the FAFSA in a timely manner could be a costly mistake. Nearly all students who apply will qualify for some type of aid. By filing the FAFSA, and for resident undocumented students, a CA Dream Act application, students may be offered government grants, low-interest loans as well as scholarships.

No matter the family’s financial situation, students will qualify for the Direct Federal Subsidized Loans through completing the FAFSA. The current Direct Federal Loan has a fixed interest rate for the life of each loan based on the year it is issued. Cal Grants are available to CA students who meet certain GPA and income requirements. Some students will receive funds that will fully cover their tuition at UCs, CSUs or community colleges. State and federal aid can generally be used to pay for tuition and living expenses at four-year universities, community colleges or trade schools.

Work study is also a benefit because the student can earn income while attending college. A student must complete the FAFSA to qualify for this option. Work study is usually on-campus, accommodates the student’s schedule, and matched to the student’s skills and interests.

The California Promise Grant has provided many benefits to students who attend community college. You may have heard of free tuition at Sierra College. Are there requirements for this? Yes, one of the requirements is to complete the FAFSA!

If a student does not submit the FAFSA, colleges may wait until after the deadline before they provide award letters. The deadline to submit the application varies from college to college. Missing these deadlines could jeopardize the student’s eligibility for aid. Some scholarships offered by organizations or institutions will request FAFSA information. Students could miss out on institutional-based scholarships if the application was not completed or delayed. For those planning to apply during the early decision or action rounds, these financial aid deadlines are often Nov. 1 or 15.

It is easy to submit your tax return using the IRS.gov Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The retrieval tool will auto-populate your tax information into digital form. This assists in making it easier to complete the application and prevents mistakes. For those concerned with using the DRT submitting tax returns in an acceptable alternative.

It is helpful if students have a list of the colleges they will be applying to; ten schools can be listed on the FAFSA. The information will be sent directly to each financial aid office. The office at these institutions will then create a financial aid “package”. Students should list a state school first, in case they are offered state-based aid on a priority basis. Students can add or change schools to the FAFSA at a later date, as well. However, it is important to change the school names as soon as possible, as university grants run do out.

There is no age limit for receiving federal financial aid. If you are over the age of 24 and planning to attend a post-secondary school, it is in your best interest to complete the FAFSA.

Families can create a Federal Student Aid account by setting up a username and password. Each student and one of the parents will need their own FSA account (FSA ID). Both parents and students will need social security numbers.

If your family has received a reduction in income since the 2020 tax year contact the financial aid office at the colleges where your child is applying. Schools have the ability to assess your situation and adjust awards.

The CA mandate to have all seniors complete the FAFSA in their senior year will go into effect (most likely) in the 2022-2023 school year. This was added to the CA budget package in hopes that it would encourage all high school students to consider continuing their studies.

FAFSA provides free resources at https://studentaid.gov/resources.

Rose Murphy is a retired high school counselor now working as an independent educational consultant. She can be reached at abestfitcollege@gmail.com or abestfitcollege.com

Learn music composition through InConcert Sierra’s Composers Project


“The feeling of listening to music can only be rivaled by the creation of music itself,” affirmed Composers Project student Jamie Thomas-Rose.

The Composers Project is a comprehensive youth music education program, sponsored by InConcert Sierra and designed by composer and Education Director Mark Vance, that teaches Thomas-Rose and his fellow students how to compose music.

The Project is a nine-month series of classes and private lessons for ages 12-25 that provides in-depth instruction in composition, notation software, conducting, melodic and rhythmic dictation, theory, harmony, music history, ear training, solfege and rehearsal/performance techniques. The students receive input and master classes from both world-renowned and regional musicians and composers who have performed for InConcert.

During the year, students create two original compositions: one piece for voice accompanied by the student’s instrument of choice and a second composition for solo instrument or ensemble. Both works are premiered by professional musicians.

Each season, a community partner is chosen for the students to learn about as inspiration for their final works. During last season’s interdisciplinary second semester, the students studied about the increasing number of wildfires in California, climate change, and what different organizations are doing to help remedy those things. Experts from the lumber industry, Cal Fire, US Forest Service, and other fire and climate scientists worked with the class. This season’s community partner will be announced shortly.

To view how extraordinary both this program and its student musicians are, the final concert for the 2021-22 season can be viewed on InConcert Sierra’s YouTube channel. Past seasons, prior to COVID, concerts were performed live for community audiences. InConcert hopes to return to this format as soon as possible.

“This is a course students will want to include on college and scholarship applications and job resumes. You will meet some influential people who may be instrumental in your pursuit of musical goals, while attending concerts that you may otherwise never hear. It is a meaningful and powerful experience,” said Vance.

Students, parents, and musicians rave about this program. One parent wrote, “I want to thank you very much for the wonderful, enriching opportunities through the Composers Project and your dedication to their learning. It’s such an enriching experience for our son!”

From student Baraka Anderson, “Thank you for continuing to teach this awesome program during the pandemic over Zoom. I look forward to the next year of being in the Composers Project.”

Pianist and InConcert’s Artistic Director Ken Hardin said, “I love performing the works these young students compose. I wish there had been a course like this when I was a teenager; it would have been incredible.”

The first Zoom class meeting is scheduled for Saturday morning, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. to noon. Classes will be both in-person and via Zoom, dependent on public health guidelines.

The nine-month course is $1,200 for new students and $1,100 for returning students. Payment plans are available. Applications are currently being accepted online at https://www.inconcertsierra.org/composers-project/. Late applicants are also accepted.

Source: InConcert Sierra

Composers Project ensemble from July 2021 videotaping of final composition, from left, Kristen Autry, viola; Zoe Schlussel, violin; Eliza Hagy, composer & violin; Jia-mo Chen, cello.
Photo by Craig Silberman
Composers Project class field trip with Joe Flannery of United States Forest Service.
Photo by Craig Silberman

Musical landscape for young people


As a lifelong musician and lover of music, I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about music, studying different instruments, and partaking in the amazing musical gifts this community offers in its generous sweep and variety of genres.

My daughter, Eva, like many children who live here, has had the privilege of growing up in a community overflowing with musical performers, performances and opportunities. Beginning as a toddler with “Music Together,” Eva moved on to piano lessons with the late Anna Gold, then to more piano with Joan Tumilty. She has also studied trumpet with Glenn Smith for many years.

Like many of her friends, Eva has participated in every possible music program from elementary school through high school. In 5th grade, she started trumpet with Ruth Mary Harrup, and went on to band and choir at both Seven Hills and Nevada Union. This translates to many hours of music played on any given day while in school as well as after school and on weekends.

Summer brings joyful immersion into Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp. Her father and I rarely experience a day without Eva’s trumpet, piano, singing, and humming weaving through the texture of our soundscapes.

Five years ago, Eva started studying with professional composer Mark Vance, in his brilliantly constructed Composer’s Program that teaches composition to middle and high school students. Mark has a special talent for igniting compositional interest in students and enormous capacity for guiding that interest into well-constructed pieces that express each student’s unique sensibilities. While several short films have been made about this program, it’s easy to imagine a full-length documentary about the creative relationships that are fostered between teacher and students, as well as students with each other.

During her years in Mark’s program, Eva has composed many different musical arrangements, based on poems by Adrienne Rich, Mary Oliver, William Butler Yeats and Robert Frost, as well as in collaboration with local nonprofits and agencies, including Hospitality House, the Crocker Art Museum, SYRCL, Sierra Harvest and the US Forest Service. Notably, all pieces completed within the project are performed by professional musicians.

Children and young adults participating in InConcert Sierra’s Composer’s Program learn a variety of excellent life skills including research, public speaking, resume writing, composition software, and visioning and overseeing performances of their pieces. They learn what goes into musical composition and develop sensibilities about art, creativity, and music that easily transfer to writing, dancing, theatre and other forms of creative expression. They learn what steps are required to bring the seed of a creative idea to fruition.

While a good number of his students have gone on to pursue musical careers in performance, film and theater scoring, and other musical paths, Mark is clear about his prioritization of teaching skills that can be used in life in addition to music.

In the past year and a half we watched Mark pivot, seemingly effortlessly, to meet the needs of his students once Covid-19 prevented meeting in the usual way. The compositional results were better than ever. As father and stepfather to five young men, and an active grandfather to all of their children, Mark has an easy-going, unflappable, humorous approach to working with young people wherein he is able to meet each child at their individual skill level and set of interests to create works of art that will be noteworthy and beautiful.

When students see their pieces performed, they are amazed. I’ve witnessed incredulity, as though they were thinking, “I did that. I had an idea and look where it went.” In a world where a sense of agency and volition are critical to navigating forward to solve the myriad problems facing humans, this kind of inventive thinking brings joy and comfort and carries over to many other aspects of life. Doors open for these students as they build confidence and believe in their talents.

In response to the most recent series of compositions resulting from the Spring 2021 session focusing on wildfire in collaboration with the US Forest Service, professional cellist and former Nevada County music instructor David Eby writes, “As a professional cellist versed in contemporary music, I am astounded at the level of creative artistry in each of the young composers’ pieces over time and in this most recent concert on Sunday, Aug. 8. I love seeing how Mark Vance taps into what the young composers want to express. I love that he makes subtle suggestions that bring fuller expression in the pieces, but leave them in the composer’s voice. Instead of ‘here’s how I would do it,’ Mark opens the door for the young composers to see for themselves other possibilities that light them up.

The compositions in these performances hold no trace of intellectual entanglement, and express beauty without pretense.

As a performer and composer myself, listening to this music is the freshest experience imaginable. I love it.”

InConcert Sierra’s Composers Project is just about to begin accepting applications for the ’21-’22 year. For more information, visit www.inconcertsierra.org > education > composers project.

Annette Dunklin is a resident of Nevada County since 1987. Her daughter, Eva, is a senior at Nevada Union High School

InConcert Sierra's Composers Project is just about to begin accepting applications for the ’21-’22 year. For more information, visit www.inconcertsierra.org > education > composers project.
Photo by Craig Silberman
Children and young adults participating in InConcert Sierra’s Composer’s Program learn a variety of excellent life skills including research, public speaking, resume writing, composition software, and visioning and overseeing performances of their pieces.
Photo by Craig Silberman

‘Meet the Author’ with Reonne Haslett

Local author Reonne Haslett has released a new book called “JAKE/GEEK: Quest for Oshi.” We snagged a few minutes of time with Haslett and asked some questions about her latest book and life.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I love to write and have been writing all my life. I’ve written books, screenplays, poems, magazine and newspaper articles. I’ve had several blogs, the most recent one sharing my journey reinventing myself after my husband’s death four years ago. I especially love to write SciFi, Fantasy and Paranormal stories. I live in Grass Valley with my daughter and two cats.

What brought you to this area?

I always wanted to move to the foothills. When I met my husband in 2000 it turned out he had the same dream. We had a healing practice together in Vacaville, then opened one in Auburn, then on up to Nevada City. It was a gradual process, until March 2003, when my daughter got into the Nevada City School of the Arts. I had a good friend who had moved to Nevada City, and she helped us make the transition.

How did you get into writing?

I started writing stories as soon as someone put a pencil in my hand. I remember earning an award for a SciFi story I wrote in the third grade. I have hundreds of stories I’ve written, and ideas scratched on notepads lying about. My imagination knows no bounds. I dream prolifically and write them down as soon as I wake up. I worked in the film business in the 1990’s, and especially love writing screenplays. I see entire films in my dreams.

What is your favorite book or who is your favorite author?

There are so many I don’t know where to start! I read SciFi voraciously and particularly like Young Adult fiction. One of my favorite SciFi writers is N.K. Jemisin. I’m reading her latest book “The City We Became,” and loved “The Broken Earth” trilogy. I also like Cixin Liu’s “The Three-Body Problem” trilogy, as well as “Ball Lightning.” I like M.T. Anderson’s book “Feed,” and, of course, who doesn’t love Harry Potter? If it’s about outer space, time travel, magic, spirits, or anything that pushes the limits of our beliefs, I’m there. That’s why I named my publishing company Expansive Press.

What is your book about?

“JAKE/GEEK: Quest for Oshi” is a story about teenage relationships amidst the backdrop of Silicon Valley. It’s a SciFi adventure and mystery involving hackers, avatars, evil billionaire computer gurus, experimental government projects, and a paranormal research lab housing an energy transmutation pod that transports Jake and Oshi into the World Wide Web. I don’t want to give away too much, but it’s a page-turner!

I’d also like to add something about the cover art. The artist, Chinthaka Pradeep, listened to my vision and captured the essence of “JAKE/GEEK” so well. Chinthaka lives in Sri Lanka and has quite a following on Facebook. He’s an amazingly talented artist.

What inspired you to write this book?

Teenagers today spend so much time on their phones and laptops, and my daughter was no exception. I think originally I was concerned about privacy issues, and I became fascinated with how hackers can find out so much about us. This was ten years ago, and it’s become much worse since then. I got the idea about a 15-year-old computer genius who becomes a hacker after his parents’ divorce. When I decided to self-publish, I had to bring the story up-to-date with technology trends that change so rapidly. I hired a tech consultant to make sure the details were correct.

What did you find most challenging about writing a book?

Discipline. I was in an advanced writing program when I wrote the book. I had an instructor/editor to report to which forced me to complete my assignments — basically the book’s outline and chapters. In December 2020 I rented an office three days a week to get “JAKE/GEEK” updated and ready for publication. I knew I couldn’t do it at home — too many distractions!

What is your key takeaway or message you hope readers find in your book?

Kids that are hurting inside need a positive outlet for their sadness and anger. Jake’s quest to find Oshi, his best friend, gives him a sense of urgency and something productive to focus his intense energy on. He transforms from the experience. He realizes that he can use his incredible talent to help others rather than be destructive, and his relationships with his family are healed.

Where can people find your book?

Locally, “JAKE/GEEK: Quest for Oshi” is available at Harmony Books in Nevada City and The Bookseller in Grass Valley. I always encourage people to support our local bookshops. If you happen to be at Quietech, the “geek” store in Grass Valley, there are a few copies. Online it’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Abe’s Books, to name a few.

Please describe what you’d consider your perfect day.

Sitting in a café, drinking a chai, writing. Then later, a walk on one of the many beautiful trails we have up here. Pretty much a normal day for me.

Locally, “JAKE/GEEK: Quest for Oshi” is available at Harmony Books in Nevada City and The Bookseller in Grass Valley.
Provided photo
Reonne Haslett

Founding conductor returns to Music in the Mountains with postgraduate degree

Music in the Mountains announces that Wayland Whitney is returning to take the reins of the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra. A native of Northern California, Whitney directed the youth orchestra from its inception until he moved to New York State in 2018, where he earned his master’s degree in conducting.

“As music and strings programs are cut from school budgets, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for young people to develop and maintain music skills,” explains Whitney. “Yet society as a whole needs to continue cultivating musicians. MIMYO offers a friendly, nurturing environment where young students can work with their peers, which studies show is important.”

Ryan Murray, Music in the Mountains artistic director and conductor commented, “I’m thrilled to be welcoming Wayland back to MIM. He is a truly gifted musician and educator and I know our students will get so much out of working with him. I’m looking forward to our first MIMYO concert this year and all of the great music this season.”

Whitney will also serve as assistant conductor for Music in the Mountains and has recently been named conductor of the Modesto Youth Symphony Orchestra. Wayland co-founded the Placer County Youth Orchestra in Roseville during his undergraduate work at U.C. Davis. He also served as assistant conductor for Rancho Cordova-based Symphony D’Oro and has written and arranged music for a series of Auburn Symphony school outreach programs.

The Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra offers the orchestral experience to players in grades 3 – 12 under the direction of a professional conductor. String, woodwind, brass and percussion players work on classical repertoire during weekly rehearsals at the newly renovated Center for the Arts, where the group will also perform. The youth orchestra is generously underwritten by Julia Amaral, Mark Straite, Felix Bors and Tailan Izet.

The application form and calendar may be downloaded at: https://www.musicinthemountains.org/education/youth-orchestra/

Interested students may also contact Marge Shasberger, education programs manager at: marges@musicinthemountains.org, or call 530-265-6173.

Source: Music in the Mountains

Music in the Mountains has announced that Wayland Whitney is returning to take the reins of the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra.
Provided photo

Nevada Union campus deemed school site community outbreak

Statement from Nevada Joint Union High School District:

I am writing to inform you of the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic in our district schools. As many of you know, we have experienced a significant uptick of on-campus cases this week, specifically, at Nevada Union High School. This surge has been consistent with what has been experienced across the county and much of the state.

The district has been working with the Nevada County Public Health Department over the course of the week, and has recently been working directly with the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH). At this point, spread on the Nevada Union campus has been deemed a school site community outbreak. To aid the district in maintaining school operations, assistance from the CDPH Outbreak Response Team has been called upon.

In an effort to keep our school doors open, to avoid mass quarantines, and to mitigate the potential spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, rapid testing is being made available to all district students and staff. Specific to Nevada Union, testing or proof of COVID-19 vaccination is being required prior to starting school on Monday morning.

Families are being asked to come to the NU campus tomorrow, Saturday, August 21st, or Monday morning, August 23rd to do one of the following:

1. Provide documentation of student full vaccination status (vaccinated students do not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic). Please provide a vaccination card on site; or

2. Perform a rapid antigen COVID test (BinaxNOW). This is a 15 minute self-administered nasal swab test (unvaccinated students with negative antigen tests do not need to quarantine at this time).

3. Optional: The Outbreak Response Team will also provide vaccination shots to interested families.

The Outbreak Response Team will be on the Nevada Union High School campus this Saturday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. They will return Monday morning for those students still in need of completing one of the steps above. The same Response Team Resources will be provided on the Nevada Union Campus on Monday morning beginning at 7:30 am. Saturday’s Resources are available to all district students and staff.

It is recommended that families pre-register for testing in advance to expedite the process of testing on site. Links to pre-registration can be found below.

Those interested in vaccination shots should complete this form to reserve a vaccination dose. Minors must be accompanied by an adult to receive the vaccination.

Bear River High School Registration Link Staff: https://my.primary.health/l/bear_river_staff

Bear River High School Registration Link Students: https://my.primary.health/l/bear_river_student

Nevada Union High School Registration Link Staff: https://my.primary.health/l/nevada_union_staff

Nevada Union High School Registration Link Student:


Silver Springs High School Registration Link Staff: https://my.primary.health/l/silver_springs_staff

Silver Springs High School Registration Link Student:


North Point Academy Staff: https://my.primary.health/l/north_point_academy

North Point Academy Students: https://my.primary.health/l/north_point_students

Ghidotti Early College HS Staff: https://my.primary.health/l/ghidotti_early_college_staff

Ghidotti Early College HS Students: https://my.primary.health/l/ghidotti_early_college_student

District Office Staff:


District Office Community: https://my.primary.health/l/district_office_mm_community

Lastly, we want to acknowledge the impact this has on our students and families, especially the potential impact on Monday morning. We are threading a needle between the health and safety of our schools and community, and our commitment to providing a free and appropriate public education. The district and our staff are committed to ensuring that we are doing everything within our power to keep our schools open, while maintaining student and staff safety. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and support.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Dan Frisella



Learn more about what NJUHSD is doing here


Back in the classroom: Schools across Nevada County begin school year (PHOTO GALLERY)

Silver Springs High School teacher Lily Gicker helps a student in her art class on Friday. This was the first week back to school with in-class learning. Students and staff were masked indoors across the Nevada Joint Union High School District to help slow the spread of the now dominant Delta COVID-19 strain.
Photo: Elias Funez
Students wait for the bus after the last bell at Nevada Union High School Friday afternoon.
Photo: Elias Funez
World History teacher Kyle Lutkemuller gets high school students inspired about world history during the first week of studies at Silver Springs High School.
Photo: Elias Funez
Silver Springs High School science teacher Dennis Houlihan addresses his students during class this week in Grass Valley. Schools across Nevada County began school this week with on-campus learning.
Photo: Elias Funez
Students disperse following the first week of school for the 2021-2022 school year at Nevada Union High School.
Photo: Elias Funez
Silver Springs High School art teacher Lily Gicker talks to her classroom of students Friday.
Photo: Elias Funez


Climate Change Agents innovate, collaborate to prepare for impacts

If you needed to build a refugee camp for a town of wildfire evacuees, how would you create buildings, waste treatment strategies and a water filtration system from scratch?

These, among many questions, prompted youth to explore hands-on solutions at the 2021 Climate Change Agents camp.

Some projects were inspired not only by this year’s theme, Kinship, but by the parallels between local issues and real-world transformations witnessed in the developing nations of their many fellow change agents abroad.

For example, a Liberian girl’s water filtration system saved her community from dysentery after a recent flood.

In a nearby county, students striving to electrify elders’ homes — first with batteries and then with solar — saved a man from stepping on a black cobra by providing the gift of light.

Some schools, these past few weeks and months, started movements to amend climate-based health disparities or to improve food security through sustainable agricultural initiatives to feed the vulnerable.

Each team of Nevada County youth addressed one of these issues by pursuing an innovative and locally relevant adaptation to a climate change impact, such as growing food in a drought or helping people displaced by a disaster or preventing health issues for those who cannot go to the doctor after a fire.

Using nature’s models of collaboration and kinship to observe how species support one another in adapting to climate impacts, the students demonstrated the value of mutual assistance, inside and outside of camp. Ultimately, they sent videos of their wisdom exchange ideas to their extended “family” abroad. On the final day, they also taught their strategies to local community members at the Nevada City Farmers Market, singing to invite people to learn new ideas at their exhibit.

Climate justice issues and discussions of legacies inspired one project in which they honored the late Peggy Baldwin, who had, each day, fed birds of all species, without distinction. Their own bird drawings now appear on a bench made of milk jugs, in Peggy’s memorial garden, which they presented to her widower, Don Baldwin. As African peers had fetched plastic from beaches with signs advocating “One ocean, one world, one climate, one future,” these youth had searched for ways to make every act of kindness bring oneness for members of their human family and the family of living things.

The scholarship-based Climate Change Agents Camp is presented by Nevada County Climate Action Now and Full-Circle Learning, with additional sponsorship from the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation, Sierra Foothills Audubon and Earth Justice Ministries.

This year’s change agents learned from many community mentors: Sol Learning Center’s Travis Duckworth, Woolman Farm’s Malaika Bishop, science teacher Lily Ning, musicians Maggie McKaig and Luke Wilson, artists Rene Sprattling and Susie Steinbarth, with materials from Haute Trash and assistance from Liam Nielson at the Curious Forge, Briar Patch’s Lauren Scott, and also with help from special presenters: Tower garden advocate Lori Trowbridge, health advocate Dr. Chris Newsom, plastics advocate Shirley Freriks, climate refugee advocate Olivia Carson and birders Rudy Darling and Don Rivenes.

Stella Reeves, Jennifer Rivenes, Paxx Weidert, Baellen Carson, Savannah Delgado, Finlay McCulloch, and Taj Daunch-Greenberg, caught in a moment of song, beckon the audience to learn about new adaptations to climate change.
Provided photo
Don Baldwin rested on the milk-jug bench honoring the late Peggy Baldwin, etched with birds made by the Climate Change Agents Camp scholarship recipients: Logan House, Stella Reeves, Savannah Delgado, Darren Fisher, and Tanner Delgado (back row); Taj Daunch-Greenberg, Baellen Caron, Jennifer Rivenes, Liana Trowbridge and Finlay McCulloch (front row); and Paxx Wiedert.(not pictured).
Provided photo
Counselor Logan House showcases “The Family Tree,” a treehouse replica of life-size experimentations with clay and straw building materials, water filtration and other sustainable systems.
Provided photo
Taj Daunch-Greenberg became an aficionado on food security methods that use little land or water, sharing the information in one of five videos that the group sent to various African nations. He also edited the videos.
Provided photo


Nevada County Library ends overdue fines


The Nevada County Community Library has announced that it is no longer charging overdue fines. This is a permanent move meant to remove financial barriers that may be keeping people from enjoying the library’s full benefits.

“We are very excited about this and what it means for the community,” said County Librarian Nick Wilczek. “Patrons are now free to check out items without the worry of being penalized for returning them a few days late.”

Nevada County Community Library joins numerous other libraries across the country that have done away with fines on late items. Many libraries note that these fines can put an undue burden on low income individuals and can create unnecessary conflict. By switching to a fine free model the library is able to better serve every member of the community by giving them greater access to library materials. From now on, any late books or materials will be accepted without a fine. No questions asked.

“It’s been a great change!” notes Madelyn Helling Branch Manager Rachel Tucker. “It’s so much nicer telling people they don’t owe any fines. Everyone leaves with a smile on their face!”

Despite the new rule, patrons are still encouraged to return their items in a timely manner. Emails and text messages will be sent out to users when items are overdue as a reminder and items that are checked out longer than five months will be set as lost. Users should note that lost or damaged books may still incur a fee. Patrons should contact their local library if they believe that an item will be returned more than five months past the original checkout date or if they believe an item may have become lost or damaged.

For more information on this or other services available at the Nevada County Community Library please visit https://www.mynevadacounty.com/290/Library or call your local branch.

Source: Nevada County Community Library

Grass Valley’s Hlynn Metz browses the books available for checkout at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City. The Nevada County Community Library has recently announced that it is no longer charging overdue fines.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com