Chesterton Tribune



School Board hears about new CMS business tech class

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Chesterton Middle School is offering a new student technology team course in which students learn collaboratively in a simulated work environment.

The new class, an advanced elective for eighth-graders, is the brainchild of CMS business teacher Toni Biancardi, who brought two of her students to the Duneland School Board’s meeting Monday night to talk about their work. The students, Ethan Kroft and Chris Israelite, handed each of the board members an iPad for the presentation and talked about their experiences.

The goal of the class, according to Biancardi, who has a background in retail management, is for the students to provide public relations support to CMS teachers and community partners in a simulated work environment. The course is structured as though Biancardi is the bossŃshe receives work requests and then assigns them to students. After students complete a project, they solicit reviews of their work from their “clients.” Twenty-three students have completed over 100 projects this year.

Both Israelite and Kroft told the board that they enjoyed helping teachers and other students. Kroft said that he recently worked on converting worksheets to Google Docs, creating quizzes per teacher instructions, and building a cookbook for the FACs class. Israelite said that he liked choosing his work. “It’s really nice to have the trust from Mrs. Biancardi,” he added.

One of the highlights of the class was a service learning project where the students took photos and videos at Frontline Foundations Hooked on Art street festival for the organization’s website and social media. A group from the class has also started using a cart of audio visual equipment to live stream events through Twitter and Facebook. Biancardi said that group is writing a how-to guide for the cart because even she doesn’t know how to use it yet. “They do a lot of figuring it out and then teaching it to me.”

Biancardi also said she has enjoyed seeing the students become more independent and connected to their work. “They love the idea of empowered learning. They are choosing the work. They are planning it. It’s just exciting.” She added, “Students are regularly engaged in work that requires them to engage with their teachers and peers and problem solve on their own.”

Biancardi extended thanks to CMS staff, the school board, and the Duneland PTO for support in planning and implementing the new course. She also said the students want to do more service projects to help the Duneland Community. Interested organizations can contact Biancardi at 219-983-3776 or





Posted 1/19/2018




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