Chesterton Tribune


Porter's Discovery Charter School sets enrollment target at 470

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Discovery Charter School in Porter will grow next year by nearly 30 students.

Target enrollment will be 470 students for 2013-2014, compared to its current count of 439.

This will be Discovery’s fourth full year. It started out with 312 pupils in 2010.

The board of directors also performed its annual duties on Wednesday of setting dates for the 2013-2014 calendar which mirrors that of the Duneland School Corporation with the exception of three additional days. First day for students will be Monday Aug. 19 and last day will be June 4. There will be two snow make-up days on Feb. 14 and April 25. Registration will begin in July with dates yet to be determined.

The school’s director Ernesto Martinez said there will be three classes each in grades K-3, two class each in grades 4-6, one seventh grade class with a possible second and one eighth grade class, he said.

The school day will still run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, Martinez said, except on Wednesdays when classes dismiss at 1:50 p.m. for teacher professional development.

Board President Laurie Metz said registration forms will soon be available on the school’s website. The school’s web committee met last week to talk about further development of a newly refurbished website, she said, which will have a new database that Discovery staff and families can use to receive and enter information.

Metz said Discovery will receive help on the new website from a parent who has volunteered. Metz said she hopes to have the changes made and database functioning by the start of registration.

“It’s going to be able to do a lot of things,” she said.

The database will have user accounts which will be password protected, Metz said.

Kindergarten lottery

Before the regular board meeting, Discovery filled the 61 Kindergarten spaces by means of an admission lottery which took place in its cafeteria. Thirty-three of those 61 are siblings of current Discovery students and a set of twins were drawn for the last spot. An additional 37 were put on a waiting list.

Families of students selected in the lottery and those waitlisted will be contacted either today or Friday. Families have five business days to fill out and return enrollment forms to the school. If forms are not received in time, the family would need to reapply and will be put on the waitlist. When a space becomes available, the next waitlist family in line will be contacted by the school and will have five days to claim the spot.

Discovery Board Director Laurie Metz said those on the waitlist “should not be discouraged” because many spaces open up due to parents determining they cannot commit to certain things such as the amount of travel or time involved.

State grant

In business matters, Martinez had some good news to share. The facilities grant that Discovery receives from the state to new qualifying charter schools was $70,000 more than what school officials expected.

The school had anticipated securing $100,000 from the information they had been getting, but found out last week the grant will be for $170,000, Martinez said.

“That will help free up some room in our general fund,” he said and calculated the additional funding will be enough to cover “8.72 months of rent” which prompted cheers from the board.

Other items

-- The eighth grade class will paint a landscape mural for the school in one of the main hallways for their “eighth-grade” gift. Students will also have a sign-up sheet to paint the walls in the school cafeteria with “My Food Plate” and the school logo.

-- Martinez said 7th Grader David Dumelle, a Boy Scout from local Troop 908 in Chesterton, has written asking if he could build an outdoor classroom for his Eagle Scout project. The concept, which the board approved Wednesday, includes a small shelter space with wooden benches. Board member Janine Girzadas said the school has a grant to build another outdoor classroom so Discovery will have two.

-- The board will set dates for its Spring Coffee Chat similar to last year, one for Mother’s Day and one for Father’s Day.

-- Girzadas said the Parents Advisory Council will host its yearly spring fundraiser on Saturday, April 13, from 6-10 p.m. at the Uptown Center for the Performing Arts in Michigan City, which will feature a silent auction. Donated items for the auction will be taken through Friday, March 22.


Posted 2/28/2013