CLK board hears of successful scientists

CALUMET – The Washington Middle School had a good trip to the 2013 Michigan Science Olympiad Tournament, and Darrell Hendrickson brought the participants to the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw Board of Education meeting Tuesday to introduce them to board members.

Hendrickson, who is WMS seventh-grade science teacher and manager of the school’s Science Olympiad team, said they finished 21st this year at the state finals at Michigan State University on April 27.

“This was the middle school’s best season ever,” he said.

Hendrickson said in order to get a medal at the Science Olympiad, students have to finish in the top six places, and six WMS students medaled in three events: Kiira Billeck and Brooke Tienharra taking a fourth place in Mousetrap Vehicle; Ilhan Onder and Cooper Twardzik taking a fourth place in Road Scholars; and Nick Carlson and Abbey Koskiniemi placing fifth in Anatomy.

Other students on the team also placed at various levels, Hendrickson said.

“We were very successful this year,” he said. “We had a real solid bunch of middle schoolers this year.”

Hendrickson said the Calumet High School team didn’t go to the state finals after finishing third at the regional competition in February in Marquette. The winners and second place teams went on to East Lansing.

Superintendent Darryl Pierce said he was impressed with how well the team did this year.

“You represent C-L-K Schools very well,” he said.

Hendrickson said the WMS team also received a Most Improved award for Class B.

The board members also heard a presentation from Horizons Alternative High School teachers about their use of blended learning, which involves the use of computer programs students can use anywhere to do their class work, as well as in-person classroom time.

Science teacher Meg North said the HAHS teachers recently attended a conference near Traverse City, which involved instructions in the use of blended learning, and it was very helpful for them.

North said she “bundles” information about a particular lesson on one page of the computer program, including lecture notes, homework assignments and video tutorials, so students have everything available to them in one place on their school-supplied electronic tablets.

“I bundle all the electronic content I can,” she said.

There are also video and sound recordings available on the program, which can help students who may be having trouble on a particular subject.

“They can focus on that,” she said.

Math teacher Keith Johnson said one of the programs the HAHS teachers use is called My Big Campus, which is similar to Facebook, which makes it easy for students to use.

Johnson said he appreciates the fact teachers can get immediate feedback from students using the electronic instruction method. The use of the tablets allows teachers to be all or mostly paperless, now.

North said she is in her 13th year as a teacher, and using the blended method is a significantly positive method of instruction.

“This has definitely changed the way I teach,” she said. “We are on the leading edge of using technology.”

Pierce said although the use of the electronic tablets has been successful in allowing students to do their assignments wherever they are, it won’t completely eliminate classroom time and one-on-one interaction between students and teachers.

“They need it,” he said.

In other business, the board members:

approved adding a one-credit senior project as a requirement for graduation starting with the 2014 class.

approved renewing several coaching positions for the 2013-14 school year.

approved the 2013-14 Copper Country Intermediate School District budgets.