Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Grant to fund dunes program for 4th graders

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A community foundation founded by early dunes advocate Flora Richardson of Dune Acres has awarded the Duneland Schools a grant that will allow all fourth graders to attend an overnight experience at the Indiana Dunes Learning Center this fall.

Representatives from the Flora Richardson Foundation and the Dunes Learning Center outlined the partnership at Monday’s Duneland School Board meeting.

Foundation President Bob Hartman said the fourth grade project is an extension of the foundation’s ongoing work to foster an appreciation and awareness of the Indiana Dunes.

The foundation was established by the late Flora Richardson, who, along with her husband William, were early dunes advocates and founding members of the Prairie Club in the early 1900s. Hartman described the Richardsons as “way ahead of their time.”

The Richardsons amassed an extension collection of dunes photos, archives and books, which are now housed in the Brown Mansion. Before her death, Flora established the Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary at her home and land in Dune Acres; the sanctuary has now become an environmental educational foundation, which recently awarded three research grants in partnership with local universities.

The foundation’s latest project is to fund a two-day visit to the Dunes Learning Center for all Duneland fourth graders. The estimated cost is $30,000 to $40,000, said Duneland Superintendent Dirk Baer.

The Dunes Learning Center is an environmental education camp located at the former Goodfellow Camp in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Learning Center Executive Director John Hayes said Jackson and Liberty elementary groups have attended the camp, and that with the Richardson grant, the center will be able to accommodate all Duneland fourth graders.

He noted that school groups from throughout the country come to the Learning Center, which has served about 5,000 students in each of its 12 years.

The Learning Center curriculum, which meets state and federal standards, includes a “walk through time” social studies project, a night hike, and a hands-on science project in Cowles Bog.

“We use the park as our classroom, and what a wonderful classroom it is,” Hayes said.


Under personnel, the school board approved the hiring of two new teachers.

Cary Knauff will teach German at Chesterton middle and high schools. An Indiana University graduate, he has been teaching in the Michigan City Schools. He attended Monday’s school board meeting, and said he looks forward to coming to Duneland.

Kaylene Arizzi will teach Spanish at CHS. Also an IU graduate, she has taught at Concord and LaPorte high schools.

The school board also accepted the resignation of CHS Choral Director Christopher Brush and granted a child care leave for Bailly fourth grade teacher Katie Wright.

Jackson Presentation

Students from Jackson Elementary School gave the school board a presentation about their writing projects through the Jackson Media Center.

The projects involved the students writing their own stories, including graphics, which were made into e-books or hard-copy books, or both. The project was coordinated by media specialist Linda Eleftheri.

Reading their works and showing their digitally created books were: Heather VanEekeren, kindergarten; Bobby Gary, first grade; Hattie Hoham, second grade; Ben Slatcoff, third grade; and Hayden Malackowski, fourth grade.

WIS Bids

The school board awarded the bid for the entryway renovation at Westchester Intermediate School to the Larsen Danielson firm of LaPorte. The project is intended to improve the nursing station as well as the security leading into the school.

Architect Bob Gerometta said the bids were very competitive, with just hundreds of dollars separating some of the bidders. An alternate bid for additional cabinetry was added, which helped to separate the prices. Larsen-Danielson wasn’t the lowest bid for the cabinetry but was still the lowest overall, with a base bid of $285,938 and another $13,238 for the cabinets.

Last School Day

Baer announced that the last day of school, June 9, will be a teacher in-service day, meaning that students will be dismissed early. Graduation will be held that evening, with the ceremony to be outdoors at the CHS stadium, weather permitting.



Posted 5/17/2011




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