Culver teachers welcomed


   Culver Elementary principal Stephanie Garber presented information about the Hewlett Packard Technology in Teaching Grants during the Culver School Board meeting Oct. 3.
   Garber explained Culver was one of only 15 schools in the United States and Canada to receive the funding, and this is the second year of the grant for Culver.
   The first year, five teachers involved in the program each received an HP tablet personal computer (PC), digital projector, and HP digital camera for use in their classrooms.
   The total value for the first year grant was $35,447. The grant also included professional development through the International Society of Technology and Education.
   Last year, the Culver Elementary technology team consisting of Kelly Cloud, kindergarten teacher, Jill Hite, third grade teacher, Cindy Dix, first grade teacher, Becky Brouillard, fifth grade teacher and Katrina Latham, fourth grade teacher and project leader, designed a CASE project, which stands for Culver's Amazing Science Expeditions.
   Several classes came up with a subject regarding science and the students helped contribute by designing pages for the Web site.
   The subjects were "The Solar System" by Becky Brouillard's fifth grade class, "Plants" by Glenda Cloud's second grade class, "Matter" by Jill Hite's third grade class and "Inventors" by Katrina Latham's fourth grade class.
   These sites were designed for students in kindergarten through fifth grade to visit and learn from.
   Second year plans
   This year's participants are Heather VanAlstynne, English as Second Language teacher, Stephanie Garber, principal, Becky Brouillard, this year's technology specialist and Katrina Latham, project leader.
   A grant totaling $56,000 was given for this year. The new project is COMPUTE, which stands for Culver's Overall Math Practice Using Technological Expertise.
   Latham explained the programs help to meet three schoolwide goals: geting technology into the classrooms by allowing students to gain hands-on experience, professional development and mentorships, and community outreach -- including a newsletter -- to the parents and community.
   The school recently received the new components which include 18 tablet PCs available to classrooms. The computers are wireless, so they are ready to use in the classroom and come with 18 travel batteries.
   Culver Superintendent Linda Florence noted the program is "making our K-5 technologically literate ... the results are so great!"
   In other business, Florence updated the council on schoolwide enrollment. As of Oct. 3, there were a total of 677 students, which include 315 in elementary, 142 in the middle school and 20 in the high school.
   The average class size for grades third through fifth is from 26 to 28 with one third grade class of 30 students.
   Alice Smith, middle school principal, presented a team-wear update.
   "The transition has been really smooth," she commented, with only a couple students failing to wear the appropriate clothing.
   The summer food program for Culver was deemed a success by Diana Cretsinger, nutrition supervisor. She said 48 elementary students and approximately 15 to 20 middle school students were provided breakfast and lunch free by the federal government program during Culver's summer school.
   Although the numbers of other community members participating was low, Cretsinger said hopefully more will participate in the future. Adults were also able to purchase meals. A total of $6,400 in federal reimbursement was received by Culver schools for the summer food program.