CLAYPOOL – Second District Congresswoman Jackie Walorski made a stop at Claypool Elementary School Tuesday morning during her education tour.

She had the opportunity to tour the Warsaw Inquiry Learning Lab Science, Technology, Engineering and Math bus. She joined Dr. David Hoffert, Warsaw Community Schools superintendent, and Melissa Rees, Claypool Elementary principal, and fifth grade students at Claypool Elementary School, for the tour.

The bus is a mobile lab that focuses on inquiry and provides the opportunity for student-driven learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The bus has 4G Internet, and students can use iPads to report data for their experiments.

Walorski met during the education tour Monday and Tuesday with education officials, community leaders and students to honor them for their academic achievements and learn about new programs in the Second Congressional District to improve educational opportunities for Hoosier students.

“The bridge to creating jobs when there is a shortage of labor is looking at what schools are doing because our labor pool will come from these schools,” Walorski said.
She said she has visited schools who have raised their graduation rates by 10 percent and have active ROTC programs, and said she was impressed with Warsaw Community School’s STEM bus.

“This bus is expanding opportunities for kids to fall in love with science and be scientists and I am thrilled to have had a chance to stand in the bus and watch the kids critically think and make problem solving decisions,” Walorski said. “Knowing that they have IPads everything is digitized and computerized and these kids are learning to speak like and think like scientists.”
 Nicki Baird, STEM instructional coach for Warsaw Community Schools, said the bus was in operation for Warsaw Community Schools since last year. The bus is used at all the elementary schools for kindergarten through sixth grade in the Warsaw Community Schools system. OrthoWorx donated funding to purchase the bus.

The students learned Tuesday how to think like a scientist and about the scientific thinking process.
“We are really proud of what we are doing with STEM education and that we are able to bring it to each of the schools,” Baird said.
Hoffert said the local economy is STEM-oriented, whether agricultural or orthopedic.

“Starting three years ago we started taking a look at our STEM education programming across all eight of our elementary schools and realized there were great things going on at Washington STEM academy with the project-based learning approach,” he said. “We started brainstorming how we could get those ideas out to our local elementary schools and we came up with the idea of the mobile STEM laboratory.”

Hoffert said the goals of the stem lab are to provide a unique experience of STEM education and the lessons are based around local industries, lakes and streams, thinking like an engineer and thinking like a scientist.
The other goals are professional development for teachers, providing teachers an opportunity to incorporate STEM education into their classroom and the commitment by the school corporation to the local economy.

“We want to make sure we are providing students with opportunities that prepare them for the local workforce,” Hoffert said.
Hoffert said the school district was happy to host Walorski during her education tour.
“We have some really amazing things happening in Warsaw Community Schools and it is great that the congresswoman is in touch with local public education,” Hoffert said.
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Believe it or not, 6-year-olds in Warsaw will soon be preparing for a career in the global economy. Some kindergarteners in the district will be learning to speak fluent Spanish in an immersion program-- thanks to a large grant from the Department of Education. The kids will spend half the day learning in English and the other half in Spanish.

Go to the WSBT TV website below to hear the remainder of the story.

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This week the kindergarten students at Leesburg spent time reviewing the different colors of the rainbow.  During library time the students saw how famous artists mixed colors in their paintings, and they learned how primary colors are blended together to make secondary colors.  On "Gray" day the kindergarten students got to enjoy the book, Hurty Feelings by Helen Lester, and see how a very sensitive gray hippo, name Fragility, learns how to not have her feelings hurt so easily.
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Warsaw Community Schools is filled with staff members who love enriching the lives of others by serving students and their families. Below is one example of these staff members:

"In February, Anna, who has Down Syndrome, turned 3 and we needed to get her into a school system for preschool. We have been blessed to be placed in the Jefferson Elementary school with Ms. Dawn Pickens. The special education system here has met and exceeded all we could ever ask for at this point. Ms. Pickens is doing wonderful things with the preschoolers and has helped our daughter bloom.

Dr. Hoffert and the administration agreed to allow the classes to attend equine therapy at Magical Meadows. I had heard of equine therapy and was looking to take Anna to Elkhart where I had found a facility. I had no idea about Magical Meadows right here in Kosciusko County. My husband and I volunteered to go with our daughter on these trips and she loved it. She perked up and her posture would straighten up while riding.

In the beginning, she could not walk with help once off the horse. Her muscles were so weak that she could not use her legs right away no matter how much she wanted to. By the last couple of trips, she was able to walk right after getting off the horse, that is how much the riding therapy was helping her muscles. Due to finding this facility and seeing her come alive, we chose to put Anna back in the second summer session at Magical Meadows. Last week, Anna learned how to feed the horse once her ride was over. While feeding the horse, she stood all by herself, unassisted. That was a bright spot. She had not done that for more than a few seconds at a time. Last night was the 5th of the 6 week session. When Anna was done feeding the horse, standing up by herself again, she wanted to walk to her friend, Cowboy Carl, who rides with her. In doing this, she let go of her dad's hand and ended up walking about 4-5 steps on her own. That led to about 20 minutes of Anna walking on her own. She was so proud. She could walk holding a hand prior to this point or with her walker. Today, she walks different places on her own. This has been something as parents we have been praying for over the last 3 1/2 years. 

We want to thank Dr. Hoffert and the administration for allowing these trips. They are very effective for all of these kids in multiple ways!"

This story of appreciation was submitted by Rob and Amy Seewald, the parents of Anna. Do you have a story to tell to show your apprciation for a WCS employee? Click here to share!

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A Walk For Sunshine: Appalachian Trail Research Pathfinder

As you read, A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt, answer the following questions:

1. Take a look at several examples of trail registries at the Appalachian Trail Museum:
-What is the function and purpose of a trail registry?


National Parks Service: Appalachian Safety:

Appalachian Trail Museum:

2.  Is there a "right" way to hike the Appalachian Trail?  Should you bring technology or a weapon for protection? 


Step by Step: An Introduction for Walking the Appalachian Trail: (Page 20-24)

Appalachian Trail Conservancy: Thru and Section Hiking:

National Parks Service: Appalachian Safety: No Time to Hike the Appalachian Trail Backpacking vs. Thru Hiking:

Boots to Birk: Dirty Rotten Good for Nothing Aqua Blazers:

Hike 4 Kids: What is a an AT Purist:

Hiker Writer: Thru Hiking Lingo for the Appalachian Trail:

Appalachian Trail – Being a Purist:

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Students and teachers from Shengli Primary School in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province in China, are again visiting Warsaw and its schools this week.
Two teachers and 24 students from Shengli visited Harrison Elementary School in 2014. This year, a different group of students and teachers from Shengli have been split between Harrison, Madison and Jefferson elementaries.

“The reason we do this is for our students and, of course, for theirs,” said Harrison Principal Lee Snider. “We want to have our kids have this experience, and we want to expand it to other schools this year so they can have this opportunity.”

He said hosting the visitors is about living Warsaw Community Schools’ mission statement and enriching the lives of others. Warsaw is home to global companies, and having international students visit can serve the Warsaw students well, he said.

Events planned for the visiting students included a cookout Tuesday evening at Jefferson, and visiting the high school and middle school today to work with Warsaw students studying Chinese. Thursday, the Shengli students will read to Harrison students in Chinese and share their calligraphy. On Thursday night, they will tour downtown Warsaw and Grace College.
Snider said the host family students are the ones really getting the best experience because they get to spend four nights with the Chinese students and make new friends. He said he was happy and excited that the host families opened up their homes to the visiting students.
Jefferson mom Courtney Jenkins said her family was hosting two Chinese students.
“I have three daughters at home and I felt it would be a great experience for them to experience a different culture and make friends from a different place,” Jenkins said during the cookout Tuesday.

It was the Jenkins’ first time of hosting international students, but she said they would definitely do it again.
“They are so kind and so considerate,” Jenkins said, noting they made their own beds and tried different foods.
“I made corn for dinner and they didn’t know what corn was,” Jenkins said. “They tried it and liked it and tried it again.”
Harrison parent Regan Mangun and her family hosted two students.

“We hosted last year,” she said, adding that it was a good opportunity for her daughters to see a different culture.
“As a family, we enjoyed it, just trying to get to know someone else’s culture and language,” Mangun said.
She added it also was good for her daughters to learn to host someone else who is out of their element and to make them feel comfortable.
“It’s very beneficial to my kids and they enjoyed it. As long as they enjoy it, we’ll keep doing it,” Mangun said.
Angie Tom, a Harrison parent of three boys, hosted two Chinese male students.

“It’s not every day that you get this opportunity to experience cultural diversity first hand,” Tom said.
She said they’re really sweet and polite kids. After the cookout, Tom said they were taking her visiting students out on a boat ride on Winona Lake, and tonight were giving them a tour of Tom Farms.

Harrison welcomed its visiting students Tuesday morning with a convocation and gift exchange.
“They’ve come to see us from the other side of the world,” Snider told Harrison.
Chinese Education Connection LLC Director of Operation Phil Boley, a 1968 WCHS graduate, told Harrison students that Hangzhou has “only” 7 million residents and China has 1.3 billion, and more people in China speak English than those who do in the United States.

“We’re so glad to be here today,” he said. “Maybe some day you’ll get to go to China, too.”
Through a translator, a visiting teacher told Harrison that they were glad to be here and were very thankful for the students and teachers.
After the convocation, Boley said Chinese Education Connection works with educators from Chinese schools. In August, when they are off, CEC brings groups of students to the United States. This year, they have eight students each at Harrison, Madison and Jefferson.

Shengli and Harrison are sister schools. Harrison teacher Deb McClintock visited China and the school there three years ago with Boley’s former organization, Global Indiana. She signed a memorandum of understanding to form the sister school.

Jiang Li is a fifth-grader at Shengli. Through a translator, Jiang said the climate at Harrison is very nice, and the teachers and students feel like friends.
This is the first time she’s been to the U.S. and Jiang said she wanted to come because she’s never been here before.

Asked about her host family, Jiang said their house is very big and everyone is very kind to her. The environment is very quiet.
Comparing Warsaw to her hometown, Jiang said there are a lot of animals around here. Her host family’s home has three floors, which is very different from her own home. She also noted it was very clean and neat, not like the noisy city she comes from in China.
The visiting teachers include Chen Xueying and Li Xuehui.

Chen said she wanted to come to the U.S. to compare the educational systems. She hopes that when she goes back to her school she can talk to her students about her visit.
Li said their school has connections to other sister schools like in Taiwan and she wanted to come and study here as well.

Though they’ve only been in the area since Monday, Li said she found it interesting how in Indiana there are not many people here. China has a large population, but there are not a lot of neighbors around in Warsaw.
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