Students and teachers of Discovery Charter School will join the Google world
in a few weeks.
On Wednesday, the board gave Integrated Technology Teacher Jennifer
Frankowski permission to download Google Apps For Education which will keep
classes connected with collaborative study programs, integrated e-mail,
filing sharing, and calendar that groups can easily schedule lessons and
tests. All information is protected and is owned by the user.
Frankowski said using the technology will cut down on the school’s cost for
paper supplies and that will add to the reputation for “going green.” All
data on the system is backed up by Google servers, Frankowski said,
But what might be the best part about the whole thing is it is free to
schools like Discovery.
The proposal was met with enthusiasm by board as a way to meet development
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Board president Laurie Metz.
Frankowski said she expects the Apps to be ready for use in six weeks.
Discovery Director Ernesto Martinez said it would be more feasible for the
older students to use the technology first, then introduce it gradually to
the younger classes.
The board also formed a committee for updates to the school’s website with
members Metz, Janine Girzadas and Linda Simon.
Another committee for school development plans expressed interest in
streamlining searches for grant opportunities and other fundraising. Board
member Allan Gabriele, who heads the development plan committee, said the
goal would be to have a central person, a school representative, who can
effectively coordinate which grants to pursue and keep efforts moving.
Parents, teachers and administrators who come across a grant opportunity or
have an idea to raise funds or collect items to benefit the school can
notify the coordinator.
Metz concurred with the proposal saying as of now “efforts are getting too
Gabriele said the board would need to include this person’s duties in their
school policies. A vote is anticipated at the board’s next meeting on Jan.
The development plan committee will meet soon to work on a mission
In his director’s report, Martinez said Discovery is currently accepting
applications for open enrollment of Kindergarten for the 2013-2014 school
year. Applications can be found at the school’s website
www.dunesdiscoverycharter.org and are due on Feb. 20 at 4 p.m.
The lottery will take place before the Feb. 27 Discovery board of directors
Martinez said there will be several open houses scheduled for January and
February which will be posted on Discovery’s website.
Currently there is a total 155 students on the waiting lists for all grades,
Martinez said. The current enrollment figure is 445 students. Martinez
reported there have been five withdrawals this past month due to various
Meanwhile, Martinez said with the addition of the 8th grade class this year,
Discovery is helping students and families consider options for where they
want to go to high school next year. He said principals from Chesterton High
School are offering assistance on enrollment. Students potentially attending
CHS are required by the state to take standard entrance exams, he said.
Martinez said ticket sales are booming for the Winter Music Program, to be
held at Chesterton Middle School this year. The primary grades are
performing on the evening of Wed., Dec. 12 and the older grades will be
performing on Thursday, Dec. 13.
The program is open to the families and friends of Discovery students. Each
student gets two tickets and any additional are $2. Tickets for Wednesday’s
program are nearly sold out but there are some left for Thursday, Martinez
Discovery’s Parents Advisory Council (PAC) will be serving light
PAC is selling gift cards for holiday parties to help each class with costs.
The Council is also planning their spring event for January, Girzadas said.
The board also set Wednesday, Dec. 19 for the school’s holiday luncheon for
Those in the audience got a preview of the Discovery Hawks design logo. The
blue and brown emblem, which was designed by a talented parent of a
Discovery student, will be officially unveiled soon.
In Hawks news, Martinez said the 2013 basketball season starts up Jan. 7
with nine boys games and ten girls games scheduled.
In other matters:
• A new HVAC unit will be installed the week of Dec. 20 in one of the fifth
grade rooms while the class is away on a field trip. Metz said the school,
in following state regulations, will also install an additional drinking
fountain which may cost up to $10,000.
• Eighth grader Michael Mannion read a proposal to the board about art
students wanting to paint a display on the walls of Discovery’s lunch room
and said a bake sale can be held to raise money for paint supplies. The
board favored Mannion’s idea and will continue to discuss it at their next
meeting. Student winners in the Spring Art Contest will get to be the