SKATE PARK TEARDOWN BEGINS… The skate park located in Watervliet’s Hays Park started being deconstructed Saturday, March 18 by Aaron Durand and Tim Schmidt; Schmidt is the owner of Schmidty’s Ramp and Camp in West L-fayette, Indiana. Schmidt and his crew travel to skate parks that are being demolished and salvage materials from the site. Materials are then taken back to West Lafayette for use in their own park. Deconstruction of the skate park in Watervliet would take three days, according to Durand. In this photo, Durand works to dismantle a platform. According to Deah Muth, project chairperson, construction of the new park is scheduled for May 1 – 5. Grand opening is planned for May 13; details will be announced at a later date. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Hartford Public Schools expands Math and Art Education programs
By Nancy Albright
At the Hartford Public Schools Board of Education meeting on March 16, Woodside Elementary School Principal Brad Geesaman discussed the Eureka Math Program that Woodside and Red Arrow Elementary schools would like to implement as a new method of learning in the field of mathematics for the 2019 school year.
Education reports indicate that Eureka is the best alternative method of teaching math to K-5 students, and that the program can eventually be expanded to grades 6-8 once K-5 students learn the foundation of the program. The tool will then carry into high school, allowing students to better master upper level math instruction, such as algebra, geometry and calculus.
CONSTRUCTION HAS BEGUN… Staffers get a “first look” inside the new gymna-sium addition to Hartford’s Woodside Elementary. Superintendent Andy Hubbard (left) led the tour of the active construction site. Red Arrow Elementary Principal Ed Dickenson (right) will captain the new building under the new moniker of Redwood when the K-5 campus opens in the fall of 2017. Creative design work from Kingscott Architects incorporates a combination music room and stage as shown above, into a gym sized for a regulation basketball court, dual entry doors with an automated divider wall allowing simultaneous use for physical education classes while serving hot lunch from the expansive new kitchen. A P.E. office and changing rooms complete the gym, while visitors will enter the facility via a spacious and attractive lobby with HDTV message board and easy access adult-sized restrooms. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)
Eureka is not considered a curriculum, meaning that textbooks are not used. Rather, the model involves a series of modules designed to provide students with alternative methods of arriving at the correct answers by explaining to them how numbers work.
When asked by board member Mike Banic what prompted Mr. Geesaman and his staff to choose the Eureka method, he stated that, “This program allows instructors to teach alternative strategies on how to solve problems, dropping the traditional teaching of process. The program teaches students to manipulate numbers in a different way.”
In collaboration with six school districts, Woodside participated in a Eureka pilot program which resulted in teachers choosing the math tool they consider most beneficial to K-5 students. Red Arrow will participate in the pilot program during the upcoming school year.
Math instructors will participate in a comprehensive training program over the next two years prior to implementing Eureka, in order to help them effectively put the teaching method into practice.
Mr. Geesaman will request formal approval at the April school board meeting to integrate the Eureka program into the elementary school curriculum.
Red Arrow and Woodside Elementary Art Club benefits students and the Hartford community at large
Hartford Public Schools Art Educator Mrs. Julie Jacobusse created the Red Arrow and Woodside Elementary Art Club for students that are interested in producing art and sharing ideas and experiences with other art students, schoolmates and the community.
Beginning in October 2017, Red Arrow and Woodside students have worked in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, paper maché, sculpture, and oil pastels. Mrs. Jacobusse designs projects to teach budding artists about the fundamental principles of art. Red Arrow artists painted pumpkins during the fall season to learn about color values and shapes, and Woodside artists created paper plate poinsettias during the holiday season to learn a technique called watercolor crayon resist. Woodside artists even created a Google Doodle for the “What I See for the Future” art contest.
Students worked with high school art teacher Mrs. Hahn to create a clay sculpture based on a superhero drawing of their own design. Mrs. Hahn plans to exhibit the artwork of elementary students alongside sculpture created by high school art students at the Spring Art Show, and elementary students will get to keep the sculptural pieces created by high school artists.
The Red Arrow Framed Art Show was held on March 7, and the Woodside exhibit is scheduled for March 29. As part of the program, artists volunteer during exhibits, and students from both schools will collaborate to create work for the Strawberry Festival. Students will also have the opportunity to volunteer for projects designed to promote appreciation of the visual arts within the Hartford community.
Mrs. Jacobusse encourages student participation in the extra-curricular art program, and invites those interested to submit an application, along with an art piece of their own creation, and a teacher recommendation. The limit is 25 students per class and students of all elementary levels will be considered. There is a small fee of just $20 per student that will be used for supplies, and Art Club t-shirts to be worn during each class. For those who would like to participate next year, submit your applications as soon as possible.
Red Arrow K-2 classes meet each Monday after school until 4 p.m., and Woodside 3rd – 5th graders meet on Tuesdays until 4 p.m. All Art Club sessions take place in the art room at each school. Art Club will be held through the 2017 spring break.
Career Video Library can help students plan their futures
HPS Instructional Technologist Rob Sheffey talked with board members about a program designed to expose students to potential career choices as they further their education. The plan calls for short videos geared toward elementary, middle school and high school students that feature people from around the world speaking about the careers they have chosen. How many times have you asked yourself, “When am I ever going to use this?” The intention of the Career Video Library is to help students relate the education they are receiving now to what they may decide to do in the future.
Mr. Sheffey cited an example of a career as a sausage-maker which involves much more than just stuffing casings full of ground meat. The job is not as easy as it might appear. In addition to making the sausages, the butcher must also take into consideration preparing the meat, how to not break casings, maintenance of equipment, working with equipment manufacturers, timing related to meat deliveries and expiration dates, scheduling of employees to meet timeframes, accounting, health regulations and a host of other operating procedures.
Mr. Sheffey stated that, “It will be nice to see people who like their jobs explain what they do in more detail to help kids understand that every job, from pharmacist to food service, is important. The first video, each of which will average one and half minutes, will be recorded on Monday, March 21, and be stored in a repository on the HPS website.
HPS teachers and staff will be missed
Retirements abound at the end of the 2017 school year and Superintendent Andy Hubbard told the board and members of the audience that, “They will all be missed.”
Middle school teacher and athletic coach Bruce Pennington is a 38-year veteran of Hartford Public Schools and plans to retire at the end of the 2017 school year. In addition to his roles as an educator and middle school basketball coach, Mr. Pennington originated the Science Olympiad and the Outdoor Adventure Club, both of which have been in operation for decades.
Mr. Pennington addressed the board, saying that, “I have worked with seven superintendents, seven principals, countless administrative staff, and over 5,000 students throughout the 38 years I’ve been here. I have felt respected and appreciated by each and every one. I feel that the Hartford School District school board, administration, staff and teachers have always supported me, and that type of professionalism has enabled me and my fellow teachers help Hartford students measure up incredibly well compared to other districts.” Mr. Pennington was met with applause and a standing ovation when he ended with, “I consider my colleagues my friends, and feel honored to have been part of this family of exceptional educators.”
Barry Nelson was also present at the meeting and has served the Hartford Public School system since 1998. Mr. Nelson is one of a team of HPS custodians, and at one time drove an HPS bus. Mr. Nelson told the board that, “This job is the most fun of all the jobs I’ve had in my life and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to work here.”
Elementary school teachers Deborah Schwartz and Deborah Stull will also retire at the end of the 2017 school year. Mrs. Schwartz has taught Hartford students since 1988, and Mrs. Stoll has been at HPS since 1978. Elementary paraprofessional Sandy Simpson, retiring effective June 30, 2017, has helped students in all areas of learning since 1988.
Board member Mike Banic thanked all five staff members for their combined 154 years of service to Hartford Public Schools, and Superintendent Hubbard and members of the board thanked them all for their dedication to HPS, wishing them well in retirement.
Board approves After-Prom venue
The Hartford High School Prom is near and the board approved the Airway Fun Center in Portage as this year’s venue for After-Prom activities. Airway is located at 5626 Portage Road and offers black-light bowling, a laser tag arena, a mini-golf course, bumper cars and an arcade to keep the students busy until dawn. After-Prom will begin on Friday, May 13 after the dance, and end at 4 a.m. on Saturday, May 14 when students return to Hartford.