Chesterton Tribune

Discovery charter school welcomes new director

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Ernesto Martinez will be the new director for Discovery Charter School heading into the 2012-2013 school year.

Martinez’s appointment was officially recorded into the minutes of the Discovery Charter School’s board of directors meeting on Wednesday. The board also recognized the appointment of Ryan Erdelac as the school’s new assistant director.

Being with Discovery since its opening, Martinez will succeed outgoing director Karen Poplawski who announced her resignation earlier this year. Martinez previously acted as Discovery’s Grade 4-7 team leader and has taught third grade during his five years working as an employee of American Quality Schools which is Discovery’s management company. A LaPorte native, he is a Purdue University graduate and is currently earning his masters in elementary education and school leadership at Indiana University Northwest.

Parents have had the opportunity to meet with Martinez this week and he will be “rolling out” his plan for the next school year at another meet-and-greet session in the next few days. Part of the presentation will entail the renovation planned for the building that will add more middle school classes.

As the new assistant director, Erdelac will be new to Discovery having previously taught fourth grade at Yost Elementary.

AQS assisted the board in interviewing candidates for the positions. Final selection was then made by the board.

Paplowski said Discovery will also be bringing on four new teachers next year, two new positions and two replacements.

In other business, board president Laurie Metz asked the board to consider a number of minor policy revisions that will be reflected in the 2012-13 school handbook. The board firmed up wording in a handbook to reflect that children must be 5 years old before Aug. 1 in order to be included in kindergarten enrollment. Some changes to the school’s expulsion policy were unanimously tabled until the May meeting.

Meanwhile, with the Indiana State Assembly’s decision to approve funding for full-day kindergarten to public schools throughout the state, Discovery will add a third kindergarten class. Metz said this will bring the number of kindergarten students from 44 to 66 (22 students per class) which reduced the number of names on the wait list.  

The target enrollment for the 2012-13 school year at Discovery is 458 students compared to the 378 enrolled for this year. Metz said currently there are 141 names still on waiting lists.

In addition to the extra Kindergarten class, Discovery will be adding a third 1st Grade class and the middle school will expand to include a full 8th Grade class just as 7th grade was added this year.

Fundraiser for classrooms May 5

Board member and Parents Action Council (PAC) President Janine Girzadas said the big “Discover Your World” fundraising event is coming up on Saturday, May 5, at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City. The event starts at 6 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. Third Coast Spice Café will cater the event, Aged 2 Perfection will offer wine and beer tasting, and musical entertainment will be provided by Nick Byrd and MoJo Daddy.

Ticket cost for the fundraiser is $40 per adult. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets can contact Girzadas at

She said PAC has sold close to 100 tickets and expects attendance to closely match last year’s number of 130.

The fundraiser will feature silent auctions of gift baskets specially themed for each individual classroom.

Girzadas reported that the Grandparents Day event this past month received high marks from those who participated and said they would be interested in continuing the event next school year.

IREAD-3 results

In her director’s report, Poplawski said that ISTEP testing will begin on Tuesday, May 1, for grades 3-7. She also said Discovery School received a passing rate of 96 percent from the Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination exam (IREAD-3).

The state requires all third grade students pass the reading test before continuing on to fourth grade. Poplawski said that students who fail the exam can be exempted if they have an IEP (Individual Education Plan).

Also at the meeting, Girzadas said orders are still being taken for school uniforms next year. Uniforms will be available for pick up at school registration on July 25-26.





Posted 4/26/2012