School board hears about project-based learning

USD 410 elementary and middle-school students reported on their project-based learning activities at the April 8 regular Board of Education meeting.

Using gauge and tape, five kindergartners prepared a cast on the forearm of board member Tim Kaufman. That demonstration by Katelyn Bowman, Madelynne Olson, Blaine Nickel, Sahana Steuve and Moses Thomson showcased their learning project about the physical body.

Their teachers—Eleanor Jost, Michelle Ediger and Shari Sisk—reported on learning outcomes that were part of Project Lead the Way at Hillsboro Elementary School.

Also, Lincoln Wichert, Teaygan Miller, Trysta Miller and Daisy Thouvenell, along with teacher Tamara Cassidy, described their involvement in Chopped Junior Club at Hillsboro Middle School. The students told board members that they’ve were enjoying the opportunities to learn to cook as well as work with others.

At their club meetings, Cassidy said, students divide into groups and receive unique ingredients to prepare a dish. She invited board members to be judges at a future Chopped Junior Club meeting.

In his quarterly report, HES principal Evan Yoder said 38 children were part of kindergarten screening for next fall.

“From a testing point of view, they looked really good,” Yoder said about the all-day preschool students who were screened.

Yoder announced that elementary students were scheduled to start state assessments the following day. Superintendent Max Heinrich added that the touchscreen Chromebooks will facilitate testing.

HMHS principal Clint Corby said good progress is being made on the redesign initiative. He said data gathered by teachers Jessica Bowman and Dennis Boldt indicates that project-based learning aids in learning retention.

Heinrichs said that this year’s HHS awards will be announced at an April 22 meeting, and Commencement will be held at 4 p.m. May 18 with Aaron Yoder as the speaker.

Board vice president Rod Koons led the evening meeting because board president Mark Rooker was absent. Board member Kim Klein participated via telephone.

In other business, the board

◼ approved continuing participation in the Marion County Parents as Teachers Program for the 2020 fiscal year.

◼ reviewed two options of the 2019-20 USD 410 preschool calendar. Heinrich said the board would take action at its May meeting.

◼ approved hiring classified positions for Tammy Ollenburger and Allison Maxfield as summer painters at 40 hours per week for up to 10 weeks.

◼ approved the resignation of Devin Metzinger as HMHS math teacher.

◼ heard a food service management update from Heinrichs, who reported that two companies—Opa and Thrive—would be submitting bids. He said the goal is to have a recommendation ready for the board’s May meeting.

◼ met twice in executive session, first for personnel and then for a student issue.