Board hears Parkview’s Iditarod learning odyssey

by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH — Centerpiece of Tuesday’s Plymouth School Board meeting was a presentation of a project developed by Parkview teachers to encourage student engagement — not just in a single subject at a time but several at once.

The project was briefly introduced by Parkview Principal John Mather who immediately turned it over to teachers Julie Kohlmann and Sarah Desidero, along with a half-dozen students.

Heart of the project is a multi-faceted subject, facets of which the kids pursue, where their interests take them. They then complete projects, and present what they have found to others with talks, artwork, scale models, maps, electronics, whatever.

The overall subject of the Parkview project is the Iditarod, which lends itself to many levels of interesting subjects.

Yes, it is a sled-dog race held in Alaska each March. More than that, it commemorates an incident from the year 1925, where dog sleds were the only means possible of getting anti-diphtheria serum from Anchorage to Nome in time to effectively treat sick Nome kids. They made it. A statue of the lead dog, Balto, today stands in New York City.

But the race commemorating it is also a major sporting event. Each sled is pulled by a maximum of 16 dogs, with Siberian Huskies the preferred breed, having elbowed malemutes aside long ago. The route they follow was in use by Eskimo tribes long before Russian fur traders came over 200 years ago.

Like many other subjects, this is one where one discovery can easily lead to another. And that seems to be the idea.

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In personnel matters, the board approved a retirement request from Janet DeJean Newton, English and Language Arts and Drama teacher at Plymouth High School, effective at the end of the 2017-18 school year. Newton has served the Plymouth School District for 16 years.

• • •

In support staff matters:

Gloria Bach, custodian at Riverview Middle School has submitted her resignation. She has served the district for three months.

• Mary Augustine, special aide at Fairview Elementary, has submitted her resignation. She has served the district for five months.

• Susan Awe, special education aide at Horizon Elementary, has submitted her resignation.

She has served the district for 29 years.

• Elyse Buchholz, special education aide at Horizon Elementary, has submitted her resignation. She has served the district for six months.

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In other matters, the board approved an out-of-state travel request from Laura Koebel, World Language teacher at Plymouth High School, to take students to the We Day Convention in Chicago next April 25. The request is in line with board policy,and students and their families will be responsible for expenses through fundraising.

Following the item’s second reading, the board approved a set of policy updates from NEOLA, a consulting firm that specializes in school policies.

The first reading occurred at last month’s school board meeting.

• • •The board accepted the following gifts and donations:

• $1,000 from the Sargento Company to install a water cooler with a bottle filler and filter at Horizon Elementary School.

• $203.80 from the Sargento Company for Horizon Elementary’s Activity Fund.

• $364.17 from Parkview PTK for transportation to the Generations Building.

• $165.54 from Horizon PATH for transportation to the Plymouth Police Station and Plymouth Public Library.

• $291.34 from the Riverview Student Council for transportation to the Generations Building.

• $200 from Lori Petrie for Mr. Krzyzaniak’s Physics class to offset transportation costs.

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