School is not letting its newly acquired five acres southwest of its campus
The Board of
Directors viewed a slideshow presentation at its meeting last week
illustrating how Discovery students are interacting with the natural world
in pace-based learning programs.
In September, first
grade classes began a compost bin with the help of school nurse Kristen Byrt
to see what organisms live in the soil. A discussion was facilitated by
Michelle Benson of the Porter County Soil and Water Conservation District on
different kinds of soil -- e.g. sand and clay -- and what function it has in
Educator from the
Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County Abe Paluch also
visited first grade students bringing with him “red wiggler” worms to
explain their unique anatomy.
based activities included tracking weather daily and using data to forecast
what the next day was going to be like.
classes learned about invasive species, specifically phragmites, and their
effect on individual habitats. Afterward, students removed many phragmite
reeds from a ditch to the west of the school and made hypotheses about what
would happen once they were removed.
graders went to the Paul Douglas Center in Miller Woods. Students identified
plants and studied aquatic wildlife in a wetland area and explored other
habitats hiking in the oak savannah.
traveled to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for a canoe trip on the
Little Calumet River. Students got to paddle along in a 24-foot voyager
canoe and learned about the history of the area and water quality from
National Lakeshore Rangers and representatives of the Environmental
Martinez has uploaded the PowerPoint slides to Discovery’s website to share
“I think people are
interested in that kind of stuff,” said Director Linda Simon.
Laurie Metz said that the board strives to keep place-based curriculum a
priority through its professional development and with the help of partners.
She said Discovery teachers will continue each month to present a glimpse of
what is happening in classes.
“Doing this not
only lets everyone know that this is a priority, it also allows us as a
board to see firsthand that the mission is being fulfilled,” Metz said.
In other matters,
Parents Advisory Council president Lisa Apata said this month’s fall
festival brought in $15,000 to support the school. Over 120 volunteers were
on hand at the event. “That’s amazing,” Apata said.
The money that PAC
raises goes to items in the classrooms or improvements needed at the school
and alleviates some of the burden of Discovery’s budget. Recently the group
helped purchase picnic tables and a concrete pad.
Apata said that
over 5,000 box tops were collected in a contest between the classes this
last month. Each box top earns 10 cents for Discovery.
Also, PAC will be
hosting a pasta dinner fundraiser on Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at
the VFW in Porter. Tickets are available until Nov. 7 and can be purchased
through the PAC on Discovery’s website.