Chesterton Tribune



Discovery Charter Schools moves in to new addition successfully

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The Discovery Charter School increased in size by over 16,000 sq. ft. this week as it started classes in its recently completed building addition.

That surpasses the original target of having the addition finished during the school’s winter break. Principal Ernesto Martinez said that the new cafeteria area, which also doubles as a gymnasium, was finished in time before the weather turned cold and students could eat inside.

The new wing is attached to the original building and has seven new classrooms, three offices, restrooms and a teachers lounge. No major hiccups were reported as classes transitioned to their new rooms and only a few minor tasks remain. The school is finishing installation of a PA system and key cards for staff.

“It feels like an entire building. This is the real deal,” said Discovery board member Bill Schmuhl at Wednesday’s board meeting.

The board is planning to have an open house and ribbon cutting on April 13, when the weather is warmer after spring break.

Assistant Principal Pamela Moore said the school committees are brainstorming ways to get people to see the building, such as having a math/science night.

The Board’s financial advisor Allan Gabriele told the board that the school is in good shape with its bonds and cash flow. The school closed on a $7 million bond a year ago for construction of the new building and its transition to self-management from American Quality Schools.

Gabriele said the school has completed its most recent audit and in January will be able to advertise and start paying off debt.

In other construction news, Martinez said crews will continue working on the next phases of the parking lot expansion, adding more spaces on the west end. The Hamstra Group will be disconnecting the power to modular buildings and will be removing them from the property shortly after that, Martinez said.


In his report to the board, Martinez said the Department of Education has come up with its most recent accountability grades. State legislators have not decided yet whether schools would be held harmless, as they did last year, if the school received a lower grade due to the tougher standards for ISTEP+ testing. Lawmakers will convene in January for the 2017 General Assembly.

The accountability grades are embargoed currently. Martinez said he is not sure when they will be released to the public but he is “very happy with the results” he has seen for Discovery.

Current enrollment is 506 students, which is down from the school’s September count of 510 due to some students moving away, Martinez said. The school is continuing open house tours for prospective families, he said. A list of those dates are on Discovery’s website.

Moore said the school’s four committees have continued to discuss different topics. The Place-based Learning committee has been collaborating on ideas with Dunes Learning educator Erin Crofton and are planning to do a geocaching program with the National Lakeshore.

The Professional Development committee is working with the director of technology from Purdue Northwest on differentiation, Moore said.

Also, board member and Parents Advisory Council President Lisa Apato said $8,000 has been rebated from use of SCRIP gift cards, which raise money for the school. That is the running total since August, she said.

In public comment, parent Deanna Stazinski asked the board if it would consider approving a policy so that parents working as substitute teachers are assigned to teach the class their child is in. Board President Laurie Metz said the board see what it can do about the request.

The next board meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 25.



Posted 12/12/2016




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