Chesterton Tribune



Self-managed Discovery Charter School returning to original focus

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The Discovery Charter School, having successfully transitioned away from American Quality Schools, is shifting its focus back to the goals and objectives it started with when it was established in 2010.

“We want to get back to what our vision was,” said School Board President Laurie Metz at Wednesday’s board meeting.

Some of the elements the school is hoping to revitalize are place-based learning and sustainability, which will enhance students’ learning experiences through the environment.

The board added mission focus as an item on its regular agenda. Principal Ernesto Martinez said as part of the effort, four committees have been set up at the school.

The committees, which consist of Discovery staff and teachers, are Data and Curriculum, Place-based Education Stewardship, Events and Policies and Professional Development.

Martinez read comments teachers have made about the professional development practices which show hat more of them are having a greater role in the management of the school.

Board member Linda Simon said she’s also heard from staff and teachers their excitement about self-management, as they feel “it’s a huge difference.”

Construction moves ahead

Metz told the board that construction of the new 16,000 sq. ft. additional building is moving ahead of schedule and parts of the building may be ready to move into around Thanksgiving break.

The building was projected to be completed by the school’s winter break at the end of December.

“There are no major glitches. (Board member) Bill (Schmuhl) got a tour. It’s exciting,” Metz said.

Although the building is moving quickly, the school still has to come up with the financing and a construction firm for the parking lot addition. As part of the site plan for the building, the Town of Porter required the school put in more parking spaces on the west side for the expansion.

Metz said lights may also need to be installed if the area is too dark.

Martinez said there is also a “natural dip” on the south side of the barn that could be smoothed out so that lot drains properly.

The board will take up further discussion about the parking lot next month. Meanwhile, the Development Committee and the Parents Advisory Council are heading up efforts to raise money for the expansion work.

Fall Fest at Hawthorne

PAC President and School Board member Lisa Apato said Discovery’s Fall Festival will be off-site this year and will be held on Sunday, Oct. 9 at Hawthorne Park in Porter off Waverly Rd. The ticket sales and proceeds from the event activities are given to the school for projects like the construction.

Being at Hawthorne Park will make Discovery more visible to the community, Apato said. “Anybody who would like to know more about the school can come to the event.”

Director’s report

Martinez reported to the board that enrollment for this year is up to 516 currently. That’s a few more than anticipated for in the budget, but that’s a good thing, he said.

The state’s student count for tuition support is coming up on Friday, Sept. 15.

New staff this year have acclimated well to the school and the new phones are being installed, Martinez said.

Also in his report, Martinez said the school is looking to do some landscaping improvements on the overgrown areas and one business has come forward to do the work at an affordable price.

Martinez said a donation will be given to the Boys and Girls Club’s upcoming brick campaign for the new Duneland location and another donation has been made to the Duneland Boys and Girls Soccer Clubs. Discovery Charter School will appear on the soccer programs as one of the supporters.



Posted 8/26/2016




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