Chesterton Tribune



Discovery Charter School plans readathon to benefit libraries

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If each of the 490 students at Discovery Charter School read 20 minutes per day and got five supporters to pledge 10 cents for each minute read during the two week Read-a-Thon or a flat $24 donation, the school would earn $58,800.

The scenario spelled out by Discovery’s Director Ernesto Martinez piqued the interest of school board members during their meeting Wednesday. The school’s first ever Read-a-Thon is scheduled to start Monday, Nov. 11.

Martinez said he had heard of other schools having success with their read-a-thons, bringing in large sums of money, and thought the fundraising idea would have a good chance of being successful at Discovery.

“We thought we would try it ourselves,” said Martinez.

Board members got behind the idea believing in its potential since reading is already a popular activity at the school.

“All the students in our school love to read. I think this just encourages them to read more,” said board member Janine Girzadas.

Martinez said there is no goal amount specifically other than to raise as much as possible. The school will use the money to purchase new resource books for the main library center and some of it will be used for the libraries in individual classrooms, he said.

“It’s not just a drop in the bucket,” said board member Linda Simon.

In a related matter, Girzadas reported that Discovery’s Fall Festival event organized by the Parents Advisory Council took in around $16,000 with about 1,000 tickets sold each for the teacher dunk tank, the haunted highway and the cake walk.

Girzadas said $5,000 will be given to the school library for needed chairs, tables and computers. Another portion of the proceeds will go to pay the landscapers for the new outdoor classroom.

The PAC will be meeting soon to discuss what its spring event will be, Girzadas added.

Chickenpox outbreak over

Later, Martinez reported that all students who were pulled out of school during last month’s chickenpox outbreak have returned.

Discovery had a total of six confirmed cases of the disease, according to Martinez, that occurred in students in different grade levels.

The school followed the guidelines of the Indiana Department of Health, enforced by the Porter County Health Department, by sending students home who had not received their chickenpox immunizations.

About 40 students were excluded but the majority of them returned to school after they received a vaccination. Sixteen students were vaccinated by the County Health Department, which set up a clinic at the school.

However, some students had waivers due to medical reasons or religious objections to the vaccination. Those students were required to be excluded from school 21 days after the last reported case of chickenpox.

Board president Laurie Metz asked Martinez if the students who just returned to school have been able to complete their lessons.

“Are they where they need to be? Are they all caught up?” she asked.

Martinez answered in the affirmative saying that coordination between teachers and parents has gone smoothly.

SCRIP for fundraising

Meanwhile, board member Allan Gabrielle said 25 people sat in on discussions informing them about the SCRIP fundraising program during PAC’s fall fest.

SCRIP is a fundraising tool available to schools, community organizations and nonprofits where “gift cards” can be ordered and used at participating retailers.

When someone uses the gift card to make purchases at one of the retailers, a small percentage of the face value is rebated to the benefiting organization such as Discovery.

Discovery has SCRIP order forms available at the school office or families can enroll online at

A list of businesses participating with the SCRIP program can be found on the schools website.

Some of the rebates that Discovery collects are used for classroom equipment or other purchases. Gabrielle mentioned SCRIP can be a tool to help the Development Committee in land acquisitions.

Gabrielle said a few other schools that use SCRIP require families to make a certain amount of purchases in a given time frame but Discovery has decided not to make any requirements.

In other business:

*  The date for the 2014 kindergarten lottery is set for Wednesday, Feb. 26. Martinez said the school will be giving open house tours for prospective families two or three times a month from November through February. Dates and times can be found on the school’s website

*  In his director’s report, Martinez said the results for the fall NWEA testing in 2nd through 8th grades were “pretty consistent” with the scores from last year. The tests monitor growth and proficiency for students over the year.

“We’re moving very well with our academics given our budget constraints and resources,” Martinez said.



Posted 11/1/2013