Chesterton Tribune


Google apps coming to Discovery Charter School

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Students and teachers of Discovery Charter School will join the Google world in a few weeks.

On Wednesday, the board gave Integrated Technology Teacher Jennifer Frankowski permission to download Google Apps For Education which will keep classes connected with collaborative study programs, integrated e-mail, filing sharing, and calendar that groups can easily schedule lessons and tests. All information is protected and is owned by the user.

Frankowski said using the technology will cut down on the school’s cost for paper supplies and that will add to the reputation for “going green.” All data on the system is backed up by Google servers, Frankowski said,

But what might be the best part about the whole thing is it is free to schools like Discovery.

The proposal was met with enthusiasm by board as a way to meet development goals.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Board president Laurie Metz.

Frankowski said she expects the Apps to be ready for use in six weeks. Discovery Director Ernesto Martinez said it would be more feasible for the older students to use the technology first, then introduce it gradually to the younger classes.

The board also formed a committee for updates to the school’s website with members Metz, Janine Girzadas and Linda Simon.

Another committee for school development plans expressed interest in streamlining searches for grant opportunities and other fundraising. Board member Allan Gabriele, who heads the development plan committee, said the goal would be to have a central person, a school representative, who can effectively coordinate which grants to pursue and keep efforts moving.

Parents, teachers and administrators who come across a grant opportunity or have an idea to raise funds or collect items to benefit the school can notify the coordinator.

Metz concurred with the proposal saying as of now “efforts are getting too spread out.”

Gabriele said the board would need to include this person’s duties in their school policies. A vote is anticipated at the board’s next meeting on Jan. 23.

The development plan committee will meet soon to work on a mission statement.

2013-14 Enrollment

In his director’s report, Martinez said Discovery is currently accepting applications for open enrollment of Kindergarten for the 2013-2014 school year. Applications can be found at the school’s website and are due on Feb. 20 at 4 p.m.

The lottery will take place before the Feb. 27 Discovery board of directors meeting.

Martinez said there will be several open houses scheduled for January and February which will be posted on Discovery’s website.

Currently there is a total 155 students on the waiting lists for all grades, Martinez said. The current enrollment figure is 445 students. Martinez reported there have been five withdrawals this past month due to various reasons.

Meanwhile, Martinez said with the addition of the 8th grade class this year, Discovery is helping students and families consider options for where they want to go to high school next year. He said principals from Chesterton High School are offering assistance on enrollment. Students potentially attending CHS are required by the state to take standard entrance exams, he said.

Holiday festivities

Martinez said ticket sales are booming for the Winter Music Program, to be held at Chesterton Middle School this year. The primary grades are performing on the evening of Wed., Dec. 12 and the older grades will be performing on Thursday, Dec. 13.

The program is open to the families and friends of Discovery students. Each student gets two tickets and any additional are $2. Tickets for Wednesday’s program are nearly sold out but there are some left for Thursday, Martinez said.

Discovery’s Parents Advisory Council (PAC) will be serving light refreshments.

PAC is selling gift cards for holiday parties to help each class with costs. The Council is also planning their spring event for January, Girzadas said.

The board also set Wednesday, Dec. 19 for the school’s holiday luncheon for teachers.

New Logo

Those in the audience got a preview of the Discovery Hawks design logo. The blue and brown emblem, which was designed by a talented parent of a Discovery student, will be officially unveiled soon.

In Hawks news, Martinez said the 2013 basketball season starts up Jan. 7 with nine boys games and ten girls games scheduled.

In other matters:

• A new HVAC unit will be installed the week of Dec. 20 in one of the fifth grade rooms while the class is away on a field trip. Metz said the school, in following state regulations, will also install an additional drinking fountain which may cost up to $10,000.

• Eighth grader Michael Mannion read a proposal to the board about art students wanting to paint a display on the walls of Discovery’s lunch room and said a bake sale can be held to raise money for paint supplies. The board favored Mannion’s idea and will continue to discuss it at their next meeting. Student winners in the Spring Art Contest will get to be the painters.




Posted 12/6/2012