Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy
Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy

FALA Volunteer Corps

Classroom Connections | Environmental Explorations

I had the pleasure of hanging out this past week with two of our teachers that both clearly have a love of the outdoors. After chatting with them for a while, I kept feeling this interesting connection between the two of them.  They clearly liked each other a lot and had this neat way of talking together that really worked.  A totally interesting vibe…  I was a little hesitant to ask, but I shyly asked, “Are you guys a couple?”  He then looked up at me with a grimace and said, “We are married after all…”  I truly had no idea.

This is what I learned from Dustin Kuluris and Nadège Neta…!

Smiles, Joe Bodin (Volunteer Corps President)

Exploring With or Without a Neta

I have to say that I find Nadège Neta to be an interesting person.  She is primarily FALA’s French Teacher and she does talk with a heavy French accent.  But, this year she is also the Outdoor Explorations Teacher for the Middle School kids.  This is a partnership with Rich Krueger who heads the class for the High School kids.  Together, they have a number of ideas for trips and “explorations” to teach them a little bit about outdoor skills and bring adventure into their lives.  This is what I learned from Nadège…

A Trip to the Climbing Gym

One of the trips that is in the planning for the Outdoor Explorations class is to go to the local Climbing Gym.  They take the kids there to learn some skills about rock climbing so when they are out in the real outdoors, they can safely know how to handle themselves.  We do live in the mountains, and learning this skill will be invaluable for our kids to know.

Flagstaff Climbing GymThis trip is still in the planning stages, but we do know that we will need Chaperone/Drivers for this activity.  The two classes combined are around 40 students.  If you wish to become a Driver for this event, please go to our Volunteer Signup form or email her at nneta@flagarts.com.  It is likely that the parent volunteers could join in at the climbing gym, so this is an opportunity for you to learn some new skills (or show-off skills you might already know).

The Wall Awaits You…!


Note: Both of these trips qualify for the Arizona Tax Credit.
Click here for more info

Backpacking on the Peaks

The other big trip planned for Outdoor Explorations is a backpacking trip on the Peaks.  They plan to take the kids up Snowbowl Road and then hike down the Arizona Trail to Bismark Lake.  This is an overnight camping trip that will most likely leave on a Friday evening and come back on Saturday around noon.

Last year, this trip was only for the Middle School, but Nadège expressed that she would like to have both the Middle School and High School kids go this year. She expects that between the two classes, there will be about 20 students that will go. This means that they will need 2 to 3 drivers (above the school van) to get them up to the trailhead. They want to keep the price down for this trip (most likely it’ll only be around $10 per kid to go), so that it is available for everyone who wants to participate.

Right now, the target date is October 7th and 8th.  This is not set yet, but I like to put out teasers so that parents can start thinking about how they wish to be involved.  They will most likely leave after 3rd hour on Friday (so around 1:45 pm) and come back at Noon on the next day.  This trip will need both Chaperones and Drivers.  If you like to camp out, then join the Outdoor Explorations for a fun backpacking trip in our local mountains.

Caveman Adventures & Activities

Dustin Kuluris - History Teacher at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership AcademyDustin Kuluris - History Teacher at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership AcademyOkay, so I don’t want to embarrass Dustin Kuluris, but the first time I met him he looked prim and proper.  He had a fairly short and neat haircut and was wearing a dress shirt.  He was a new History teacher at FALA and I think he was trying to make a good impression.  But, I think after being at FALA for a while, his true self has come out.  FALA is like that…!  My kids call him the Caveman and truly seem to enjoy his enthusiasm and love for what he teaches.  I believe that this is the kind of person we want energizing our kids!

After talking with him a bit last week, I found that he is completely an outdoors person too.  His trips and the clubs he is supporting at school are all about the environment.  As I was wrapping things up with him and Nadège, the sky opened up with a torrential downpour of rain.  This wasn’t just your little rain drops, it was a downpour.  He was not phased a bit.  He was all prepared to BIKE home in that storm (while I ran for cover to get to my truck as fast as I could).  A true lover of the outdoors!

A Grand Canyon Trip

This trip is already planned for Thursday, September 22nd to Sunday September 25th.  It is a 3 Day Camping Trip for approximately 12 students that is all about learning Environmental Practices & Science.  Grand Canyon TrustDustin and Dave Edge (our new Science Teacher) are working together with the Grand Canyon Trust and Arizona Ranchers to teach them about “Spring Maintenance” in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

From what I understood, the Ranchers have a deal that they will divert and share any water they don’t use back into the environment. This water is diverted with a back valve that then sends the water into Springs that are then maintained for wildlife and plant life.

The goal of this trip is to take the kids out and teach them about “water” as a resource and get them to help with the research going on surrounding this project.  The kids will be helping cleanup the spring, learn about native plants, and be a part of this amazing life sustaining project.

This trip is already planned, but I’m sure that Dustin would love your input and help. He has a grant in the works to pay for the trip, but expressed that Tax Credit Donations would be more than welcome.  If you have questions, drop him an email at dkuluris@flagarts.com.

Environmental Sustainability Club

The other project that Dustin asked me to tell everyone about was the “Environmental Sustainability Club” that some of his students are trying to put together.

This is a NEW club that he would like to see happen on campus, and he would love parent involvement to get it off the ground.

If you are interested in Environmental Studies and/or have contacts that could help this club become a reality, please contact Dustin at dkuluris@flagarts.com and tell him how you can help.

Any and all ideas are open right now as he and the kids formulate their plans.


A few quick announcements:

  • The Chaperone/Driver Committee will be meeting for a “Phone Call Chain” on Saturday, September 10th from 2 to 4 pm (join us).
  • Vision Screenings will be held at the School on Friday, September 16th from 9 am to Noon (Nurse Volunteers are needed).
  • The FALA Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 21st at 4 pm in Room 4.
  • The FALA “Parking Lot Sale” will be on Saturday, September 24th from 8 am to 2 pm.
  • The next FALA Council Meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 26th at 3:30 pm in Room 8.
  • The 8th Grade Elden Pueblo Field Trip will be on Thursday, October 13th (Drivers are needed).
  • Our next School Beautification Day will be on Saturday, October 22nd from 9 am to Noon.

Don’t forget to watch latest Llama Show.

If you have anything you wish to see on the next Classroom Connection, please contact Joe Bodin at (928) 526-6991 or info@flagstaffcentral.com to get your suggestions in…!

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