08-31-2017 Host of new staff to greet students at Hartford Public Schools on Tuesday; Redwood Elemen

Host of new staff to greet students at Hartford Public Schools on Tuesday; Redwood Elementary may not open on time

By Nancy Albright At the meeting of the Hartford Board of Education on August 17 it was announced that the newly renovated Redwood Elementary will open its doors to approximately 750 students on September 5 to start the 2017-2018 school year. But at press time this Wednesday, school officials were unsure if the school could open on time. Superintendent Andy Hubbard told the Record the decision wouldn’t be made until later that evening. Please check the school’s web site for the latest information. Crews from Miller-Davis Contracting and Construction of Kalamazoo have been working around the clock executing the building plan designed by Kingscott Architects, also of Kalamazoo, to complete two new wings and a major overhaul of the existing Woodside Elementary building in time to welcome Hartford elementary students back on the first day of school. There are three fully-equipped classrooms dedicated to educating 48 Preschoolers through the Great Start Readiness Program operated by the Van Buren County Intermediate School District. There are six Kindergarten rooms, each outfitted with appropriately-sized restroom facilities, utility sinks, drinking fountains and cubbies; three first grade classrooms; eight classrooms for second and third graders; eight fourth and fifth grade classrooms; dedicated classrooms for ESL and Special Education; two Title I rooms; an art room; a state-of-the-art Library/Media Center; a computer lab; and teacher workrooms, a staff office, para-professional room, copy room, lockers for each student, drinking fountains, ADA-compliant student and teacher restrooms, administrative offices and, of course, the principal’s office. One of the many crown jewels of Redwood is the space housing the combination gymnasium/ cafeteria/ musical education facility. The full-size gym has an operable sliding wall that converts the space on the east side into a cafeteria during lunch hours. Garage-type doors conceal a state-of-the-art kitchen, dishwashing room and serving area, as well as table and seating storage. The southwest corner of the gym contains a stage concealed by a black curtain when not in use. A soundproof music room, situated next to the stage, is accessible from an external door as well as the stage itself, which is equipped with theater lighting and a high-quality sound system. This year Redwood will also roll out an Automated Dismissal Management System. There will be a car tag associated with each student, and students will wait in a staging area near the main entrance until they see their name on a big screen announcing their ride has arrived. When asked how he feels about Redwood, Principal Ed Dickerson replied with a grin that stretched from ear to ear, “We’re proud of it.” HPS welcomes new staff New Hartford Middle School Principal Ken Mohney comes to Hartford from the Mattawan School District where he served in various capacities between 1999 and 2017. Mohney was the Assistant Principal/ Athletic Director at Mattawan High School and Middle School, taught math and business education, and coached high school and middle school football, wrestling and baseball. A decorated veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Mohney has an undergraduate degree in Business Education/Mathematics and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University. He also made significant contributions as a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) from 2001-2014. Mohney was chosen from a pool of 20 applicants and selected by a 5-1 vote after meeting extensively with both an interview committee and a site visit committee. Committees were comprised of a combination of board members, teachers, administrators, staff and HPS Superintendent Andy Hubbard. HPS Board of Education President Ben Chambers said of Mohney, “I believe it’s fair to say that with such a pool of quality candidates, the extensive interview and site visit process, and the accomplishments and experience that Mr. Ken Mohney brings, he was the perfect choice for our district and we are so very happy to have him.” HPS also welcomes new teachers Janice Lee, Middle School Life Sciences; Lisa McKeeby, Middle School Language Arts; and Certified Instructional Team member Paige Suhr. Mrs. Suhr has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Purdue University, has served as a paraprofessional at Woodside Elementary since February 2016, taught third grade in Hartford’s summer migrant program, taught preschool in Bangor and Holland, and worked with emotionally impaired students in Kokomo, Indiana. Superintendent Hubbard commented, “HPS looks forward to having Mrs. Suhr as part of our Certified Instructional Team and know that she will serve our students well.” Lee and McKeeby are former HPS teachers, both serving for 18 years in the district. Of both returning middle school instructors Mohney said, “I am pleased that I will be working with two veteran Hartford teachers that know their way around the district.” Saying goodbye HPS says goodbye to Middle School Science Robotics Chair Katie Woodham, Elementary Special Education teacher Spencer Carr and Middle School Counselor Amanda Roundhouse. Hubbard wished all departing staff well and thanked them for their service to Hartford Public Schools.

Lakeland Health president & CEO speaks to Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club

 Loren B. Hamel, MD, President & CEO of Lakeland Health was the guest speaker at the Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club.  He spoke about the hospital Pavilion being built at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph. He also spoke about the Triple Aim goal of Lakeland – Better health. Better health care. Lower cost.

Everyone that works in the healthcare industry should recognize those three goals as the Triple Aim. Lakeland, along with just about everyone else in health care, has organized their resources and efforts around the Triple Aim. It’s hard work. It doesn’t pay well. But it’s the right thing to do.  Hamel gave an overall view of Lakeland and its future.

Program Chair was Bob Becker, Rotary President.  Paw Paw Lake Rotary meets on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. in Classroom C of Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet.

Traffic pointers for Back to School students and families

By Annette Christie

With going back to school quickly approaching, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey urges “SAFETY” first and foremost.

Of the 301 school-age children killed from 2006 to 2015, in school transportation related crashes in the U.S., 102 were pedestrians and eight were cyclists, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Transportation Administration.

“With more than 16 public school districts in the county, drivers and pedestrians need to put their phones away and pay attention to their surroundings,” Sheriff Bailey said.

Deputies will be monitoring school zones, but here are some additional tips from the Sheriff’s Office for the safe trip back to school.

If parents drive their child to school: Know your districts instructions and follow the rules that apply to make drop-off and pick-up smooth & stress free. Be alert and drive defensively – always anticipate the possibility of a child darting out in front of you. Slow down and pay attention especially in school zones. Watch out for children walking, biking and waiting at bus stops. Remember buses make frequent stops. It’s against the law to pass a school bus while it’s stopped on the roadway picking up or dropping off students. When turning at an intersection, be sure to yield to pedestrians and cyclists.

If a student is riding a bus: Stay out of the street while waiting for the bus and allow the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the bus from the curb. Make sure you remain in clean view of the bus driver. Never walk behind a bus. Look both ways before getting on and off the bus. When you get off the bus, look both ways and move immediately onto the sidewalk and out of traffic.

If a student is walking or biking to school: Make sure to have some type of reflective equipment/material on the bike, backpack or clothing. Be Seen Be Safe! Walk on the sidewalks where available and always cross at intersections. Bike riders should ride on the right, in the same direction as traffic, and use appropriate hand signals. Bicyclists should also respect traffic lights and stop signs.

College bound seniors struggle to retest the SAT

By Jon Bisnett

While Michigan Department of Education is still patting itself on the back for saving the state some $5 million in the vendor switch from the prior ACT, those students who want another crack at the test to improve their scores are finding a comparable lack of SAT test sites that may cause travel of over an hour and sometimes overnight hotel stays to secure a seat in the room.

For well over a decade high school juniors took the ACT test at their own high schools, with a number 2 pencil in hand. Developed in 1959, American College Testing, ACT, is a college readiness assessment standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions. Those seeking to improve a few points to increase their odds of acceptance at their preferred college or university would take a retest at their own cost, sometimes more than once.

The state’s $17 million 3-year contract with the SAT, (Scholastic Assessment Test,) does not contain any provision of guaranteeing an adequate amount of secondary test sites. With only 30 sites for the August session and 80 for the October date, reports are coming in from across the state that test takers cannot find access to the test within reasonable travel distance. Keep in mind the test site typically “locks the doors” at 8:00 a.m. for any given session. Needless to say a hefty drive and an early morning start don’t combine well.

We found only three “nearby” sites for the October test according to the College Board website; South Haven, Lakeshore High School, and St. Joseph High School. From there one jumps to Sturgis High School, Muskegon or East Grand Rapids. Some southeastern Michigan students, where test sites are completely overrun, are finding more flexibility by traveling into Ohio and Indiana. Indiana has been on the SAT for several years and has appreciably more test facilities.

With a couple points of test score swing that can make or break the difference in a college acceptance or a “thanks for applying” letter, some students are travelling to Ohio and Indiana where test sites are more plentiful.

Watervliet Superintendent Kevin Schooley, who lives in South Haven, said he was aware of Indiana and Ohio students coming to South Haven during the recent August session, but since school has yet to start in his district was unaware of any of his students that were having difficulties testing.

Coloma Superintendent Pete Bush said to his knowledge the SAT is really dominate in the east coast institutions and the Ivy League schools. He has seen the real savvy students independently taking the ACT anyway, which is still widely accepted by many college admission boards. Again, Bush had no direct knowledge of a student having difficulty, but the seniors won’t come back to school in Coloma until after Labor Day.

Hartford’s Andy Hubbard said he heard some not so funny joking at a recent superintendents meeting calling the SAT acronym “Sorry About That.” Hubbard added he hopes the situation will improve as more sites become available.

In any case, seniors of the Class of 2018, you have been warned. Plan early to schedule your retests and even then you still may end up with a hefty road trip. Best of luck to you all.