Happy New Year and Welcome Back

I hope everyone had a wonderful break from their regular routine over the holidays.  I kept up my blog reading and am proud of all that our high school student athletes have accomplished while classes were not in session.

I got the opportunity to visit my sister and nephews in Ensenada, Mexico.  My sister Laura is teaching in Ensenada for the year. 

Ensenada from the Water

Ensenada from the Water

Ensenada is located about a couple of hours south of San Diego by bus.  As you can see, the city sits on the western slope of some hills up against the Pacific. 

Ensenada is not a tourist mecca or resort.  Ensenada is a regular, growing city with all of the good and bad that comes with growth.  One of my favorite aspects of the city was the food.  My nephews made sure to take me to their favorite stands where they ordered tacos made with fish, beef, and pork. 

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As you travel east over the coastal hills the climate get warmer and drier.  There is a developing wine industry in this part of Mexico.  The vineyards are beautiful.

Mexico's Napa Valley

Mexico's Napa Valley

One of the vineyards hosts an annual bull fight.  Thankfully we missed the event.  My nephews and their visiting friends, however, did get to play soccer in the arena.

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Another highlight for me was visiting my sister’s school.  She is in a brand new facility for grades one through seven.  The early childhood facility is in a different location.  My understanding is that the facility took about three months to build.  I have more pictures coming, but I was struck by the contrast in the school building process we are in the midst of in Burlington versus the process Laura’s principal described to me. 

As you can see, the classrooms do not have any frills.  The climate allows for there to be no heating or air-conditioning.  The building was completed in an area that does not yet have access to city water.  Students drink bottled water.  There is a cistern for all gray water uses like flushing toilets and the urinals are all waterless.

Laura's Classroom

Laura's Classroom

 

Laura's Classroom continued

Laura's Classroom continued

I hope we can incorporate some of the sustainable techniques available as we consider building options for the New Memorial Project.

The school has excellent access to technlogy and we are in the process of setting up some students to student communication between Ensenada classrooms and Burlington classrooms.  More to come…

Again, welcome back.  I am looking forward to sharing more of our student and teacher accomplishments in 2009.

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