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School Board OKs grant requests

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 30th, 2013

A student named Landon shows the school board Monday night what he has learned in the Tiger Afterschool Program. He is measuring two miniature pumpkins to determine their circumference as instructor Cara Green Osier looks on. In the next photo, Huron Middle School Principal Mike Taplett, teacher Bobbie Matthews and ESL para-educator Sah Lay Lay Wah pose for a photo after Sah Lay Lay Wah was given the Classified Employee of the Month Award. PHOTOS BY SEAN M.X. KELLEY/PLAINSMAN

HURON — The Huron School board approved on final reading Section D of the policy handbook while also giving permission for a pair of grants to be sought by the district.

The first grant involved the proposed purchase of an audio-video Entrainment machine. Entrainment is a kind of “outside the box” concept concerning the brain frequencies.

“It’s where you put glasses on and it has blinking lights, and you lay down for about 20 minutes,” said Peggy Heinz, the district’s special education director. “And it has some music, like brain music, and the purpose is it helps students calm down and focus and so we use this throughout the school district.”

She said the time spent with the program helps children throughout the day.

When asked about the current condition of the district’s equipment, Heinz said the grant will help add to the program.

“They are starting to break down, and the problem with it — like our 10-person unit, which means you can plug in 10 different systems — they are hard to fix,” said Heinz. “Those are from 2004, so what they have suggested is to buy the single units and just start replacing them that way, and that is what this grant is for. ”

The board passed the measure which seeks a $1,000 grant from the American Bank & Trust Spirit Fund as well as one for the Madison wellness group.

School nurse Rita Baszler is the director of the group and has applied for a $1,000 grant from Coborn’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

Madison Principal Heather Rozelle was there to speak about the grant application.

“The main focus is to get students and parents involved in healthy eating habits,” said Rozelle. “I believe part of the grant says you have to have some ‘tastings’ within your school with parents and community members.”

She said Baszler has set a couple of opportunities for parent involvement where there will be tastings of food groups and vegetables.

She went on to say that some of the money has to be spent on the produce and the groceries.

She said there is also a fitness component for the grant, where Baszler is asking for 33 yoga mats to help participation in exercises.

During the reports portion of the meeting, Director of Assessment Gay Pickner, Carrie Studer, the director of the Tiger After School Program (TAP) and Cara Green Osier.

The program is funded by the district’s 21st century grant that it received this year, and is currently being used at each of the elementary schools and the middle school.

At the Buchanan Kindergarten Center, there are 18 students enrolled with an average of 12 students each day.

At Madison School 38 first and second grade students are enrolled, with an average attendance of 23.

Enrolled at Washington School are 36 third graders with the average attendance of 29. Jefferson School, which has the city’s fourth graders, has 21 students enrolled with 18 on average each day.

The middle school has club activities which include cooking, math, science, technology, art, book studies and jewelry making. Right now the middle school has 89 students enrolled with an average of 30 attending each day.

Studer then discussed some of the specific programs that are used.

“We have partnered with many different businesses and organizations within the community that have volunteered their time and resources to make the program more productive for our students,” said Studer.

She gave examples like the Huron Police Department, which will be part of programs this week teaching kids about Halloween safety.

South Dakota State University nursing students have been at the sites talking about bullying.

A third example is the Kids in the Kitchen program put on by the SDSU extension office, which teaches students food safety, kitchen safety and how to make quick and nutritious snacks.

A young student named Davis then showed the board what he learned about at TAP, which was measuring the circumference of pumpkins. He took out his tape measure and measured them both for the board.

He also talked about how he used the pumpkins in an art project, turning them into a decorative cat.

“I feel this program has been a great success,” said Osier. “These little guys’ brains don’t shut off at 3 o’clock. The more you put in front of them, the further they are going to go.”

Board member John Halbkat asked if the somewhat low turnout rates at some of the sites are disturbing.

Pickner said that transportation from school has been one of the obstacles.

Amy Schoenfelder a kindergarten teacher at Buchanan, also discussed the effects of the Pets in the Classroom program.

The group studied hermit crabs and through the experience were able to use problem solving, record keeping as well as literature and science experiences centered around the crabs.

Kari Hinker, English as a Second Language director, gave a report about the Title I Parent Involvement Act.

She was joined by Title I specialists Lisa McCarty, Michelle Kretschmar and Joselyn Schmitz.

The Title I program identifies those students that need extra help to make their projected growth.

Parent Involvement includes the Tacos and Technology night.

The teachers were partnered up and gave mini-lessons about iPads and Smartboard activities so that the parents can learn more how to share in their child’s learning.

“It was fun to see the kids and parents interacting with technology,” said Hinker. “Things they can do at home as well as at school.”

The tacos came from Taco John and Coca-Cola helped sponsor the night.

The middle school will have its Parent Involvement night tonight from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Fifth and sixth graders will participate from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. while the seventh and eighth graders will start at 6:30 and run to 7:30 p.m.

There will a wide variety of activities including some physical challenges in the gymnasium.

Middle School Principal Mike Taplett and teacher Bobbie Matthews presented ESL para-educator Sah Lay Lay Wah the Classified Employee of the Month Award.

Sah Lay Lay Wah was nominated by Bobbie Mathews for the award.

She is an invaluable resource to us,” said Matthews. “She is one of the most valued and respected staff members at Huron Middle School. And without her there are many students who would not understand what we are working to teach them everyday.”

Matthews also went on to say that Sah Lay Lay Wah also works with two Destination Imagination teams on her own time and helps with phone calls and interpreting.

“She is someone we can trust to be reliable, and is a constant in the lives of our students. And she is a person our middle school would struggle to function without.”

For the complete article see the 10-29-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-29-2013 paper.

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