Kohler donates to PHS Tech Ed

¦ Kohler exec explains need to expose students to manufacturing work
by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH - Kohler Co. executive Mark Feick, who is employed in the company’s workforce development efforts, outlined for the Plymouth School Board at their March 20 meeting some of the reasoning behind a donation which will total some $65,000 for the district’s Technical Education program.

Industries — and not just Kohler — are aware that they will continually need good people, he said, and decided several years ago to do something about it. A key, they felt, was to expose students - most of whom have probably never seen a factory previously - to what a company does, what it does to develop new products, and how it goes about it.

This, he said, is important because manufacturing is moving away from the old emphasis where lots of people physically handle products and components toward ever deeper emphasis on robotics.

In other words, in the words of an old IBM ad headline, “Machines should work. People should think.”

Working with PHS, the Kohler team and students developed a controllable robot for school educational use. As part of the emphasis on problem solving methodology, it was designed particularly for a school environment, not an industrial one: wheels for classroom-to-classroom portability; size and foldability to fit through school doorways; power requirements scaled to schools.

• • •

The board approved its list of classes for the upcoming summer school. Several of the courses seem to include the emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking reflected in the Kohler donation above:

• In Science Adventure Week, grades 2-6: “Students will learn to predict, build, construct experiments and observe as they tackle problems...”

• In Mission Impossible, grades 1-4: This class will focus on critical thinking skills...also included will be looking at unsolved mysteries.”

• In Everyday Chemistry I (grades 3-5) and II (grades 6-8): “(A) lab-based class (where) students will investigate the chemical concepts that explain many of them that happen to them every day … and also become familiar with laboratory techniques and safety.”

• In Science in Motion (Grades 5-8) students are introduced to physics. “There will be nothing but action as students explore the laws of physics in motion (and) … attempt to solve real world problems.”

• In Science of Flight I and II (Grades 3-5 and 6-8): students will build at least three different flying machines (kites, model planes and rockets) and fly their creations … and learn building and assembly techniques.”

• In Lego Robots (Grades 4-8): Students will have fun learning to build and run LEGO robots... starting with building a programmable robot … and will progress to programming.”

• In Computer Game Design (grades 6-8): Studnts learn how to design video games … and learn important computer programming concepts, problem-solving skills and game theory.”

All told, there are 69 separate courses listed.

• • •

In personnel matters, the board:

• Accepted the resignation request of Sandra Nicholson, German teacher at Plymouth High School, effective at the end of the current school year. She has been with the diastrict 11 years.

• Accepted the resignation request of Mary Strong, English teacher at PHS, effective at the end of the current school year. She has been with th district 19 years.

• Accepted the retirement request of Kay Hannes, special education teacher at PHS effective at the end of the current school year. She has been with the district 22 years.

• Approved a 100 percent prorated contract for Leroy Schwab to teach fourth grade at Fairview Elementary School for the remainder of the current school year. He has some 25 years teaching experience in the Sheboygan Falls District.

• Approved a one-year leave of absence for Josie Hau, first grade teacher at Parkview Elementary School for the 2018-2019 school year.

• • •

The board accepted the following gifts and donations:

• $65,00 from the Kohler Foundation for a robot to be used in the Science and Technology Center.

• $250 from Sargento Foods to help offset the costs of transportation to Six Flags Great America for Physics Day.

• $250 from Matt Gabrielse of Gabe’s Construction to help offset the costs of transportation to Six Flags Great America for Physics Day.

• $100 from Francis Chiropractic to help offset the costs of transportation to Six Flags Great America for Physics Day.

• $282.12 from the Riverview Student Council for bus transportation to Generations.

• $174.80 from Fairview PTO for bus transportation to Above and Beyond Museum.

• • •

In other matters, the board approved three out of state travel requests, all consistent with board policy and all to be funded by the students and/or parents. These included:

• A request from Kelly Ochalek, seventh and eighth grade teacher at Riverview Middle School, to take students to Washington, D.C., next June 17-21.

• A request from PHS physics teacher Paul Krzyzaniak to take students to Six Flags Great America for Physics Day next May 11.

• A request from PHS German teacher Sandra Nicholson to take students to Germany for three weeks during the summer of 2019.

In a separate action, the board approved the bid of Mannenbach Mechanical Contractors of Kiel to handle the replacement of the boiler at the Horizon School. Mannenbach’s was the recommended — and lowest — bid.


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