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Professional development aids 21st Century learners

Courtesy photo. Phoebe Harris addresses the board during public input at their meeting on April 8. Harris requested changes in the food services department to reduce waste as part of her eighth-grade passion project on pollution and climate change.

By Crystal Hayduk

Principals Mike Kapolka and Nick Angel, along with Marcus Kaemming, assistant superintendent of instruction, curriculum and human resources, presented information about the current year’s professional development at the school board meeting on April 8, held at Chelsea High School (CHS).

With the goal of educating students to be 21st century learners, the district has implemented the “Portrait of a Graduate,” which includes the four Cs: student competencies for communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Staff are utilizing EdLeader21, a national professional learning network, to aid professional development as they strengthen understanding of the concepts, foster student growth, and measure outcomes.

This year’s focus is on critical thinking. By June, 2021, it is expected that all four Cs will be fully implemented.

Teachers Marie Lombardo, Amy Wagoner, and Alex Stacy presented the Beach Middle School (BMS) tech committee’s recommendations for replacement of the school’s technology. After examining several options, the committee recommends each student have an iPad, along with availability of a keyboard. Additional recommendations for each classroom include a set of iPens, projector, and Apple TV, as well as some laptops.

Scott Wooster, director of technology, said that student devices were replaced five years ago, but it has been 10 years since the last classroom technology upgrade. He will research pricing options before the next board meeting, with the goal of board approval to facilitate delivery of teachers’ iPads prior to the end of the school year.

The technology upgrade will be paid for with money from the tenth year of a 10-year bond fund.

During the opportunity for public input, Phoebe Harris, an eighth grader whose passion project is pollution/climate change, requested that food services switch from using Styrofoam, which does not decompose, to reusable trays at Beach and the high school.

The district uses 36,000 disposable trays every year, as well as bowls, cutlery, and straws. Harris cited additional pollution from delivery and garbage trucks.

Harris said that disposable trays cost $1,800 annually; reusable trays cost $4,000 initially, plus up to $1,600 annually to replace broken or missing trays. “Reusable trays are more expensive. They wouldn’t pay for themselves for 11 years (at which point, Styrofoam trays would become more expensive in the long run),” she said. “But if 11 years sounds long, how about forever sitting in the landfill? The cost on the environment is so much lower with reusable trays.

“Our world needs all its people, especially those in positions of power, to make big changes happen,” said Harris.

Superintendent Julie Helber said she was proud of Harris’ work on her eighth-grade passion project.

During the superintendent’s report, Helber shared the sad news that BMS teacher Jane Straith-Rose had passed away unexpectedly that morning. (Related story here.)    

In other board news:

  • The board voted unanimously to accept bids for seven building and site-related projects. These include: $38,000 to Quality Environmental Services for asbestos abatement in the 500 building; $190,606.27 to Heaney General Contracting, Inc. for improvements to secure entries; $419,000 to Lake Michigan Site Development LLC for earthwork/site utilities at BMS; $480,190 to Nagle Paving Company for asphalt paving at BMS; $47,593 to Margolis Companies for landscaping at BMS; $179,900 to Midtown Group LLC for concrete at BMS; and $88,750 to Hopp Electric, Inc. for the electrical project at BMS.
  • Helber said that Chelsea School District’s application to waive three snow days has been accepted by the state. Barring any further school closures, the last day of school will be June 12.
  • Helber received a thank you note from State Superintendent Sheila Alles for her visit to the district. (Related story here.)
  • In a written communication, Charles Bullard, executive director of Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, commended Band Director Rick Catherman for hosting the District 12 Band and Orchestra Festival at CHS on February 28.
  • In her report, board member Kristin van Reesema said she attended the Collage Concert on April 6, calling it a “fantastic display of talent.”
  • The board thanked Principal Mike Kapolka for hosting the meeting at CHS; they also commended the CHS Theatre Guild for the hilarious performance of “Clue” on April 5 and 7.

Upcoming date:

  • The next board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on April 22 in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center.
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1 thought on “Professional development aids 21st Century learners”

  1. Yeah Phoebe! She is right. Forever in a landfill shouldn’t even be an option any more. It’s a great idea to change back to reusable trays. I hope that the adults were listening and can work to make this happen.

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