Schoolcraft Elementary School construction update

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

Construction on the new Schoolcraft Elementary School is progressing on budget and on schedule, pleasing the planning committee and Superintendent Rick Frens. On April 13, this reporter met with Frens, donned a hard hat, and took a tour to see progress at the new facility.

The tour began with the main offices at the front of the building. This space includes offices, conference areas, and teacher and staff work rooms. The security concerns of parents and community were considered with the design of the front entry and placement of the administrative offices. A buzzer system will let visitors through the first entrance, which allows staff a second screen of an individual. Once allowed through a second door and into the school, visitors enter a spacious entry where individuals will decide whether to continue forward on the main floor or climb the stairs to the second level.

The building is filled with windows and natural light.

Grade-level pods and wings extend from the main hallways. The classrooms are large, and pairs of classrooms are joined by a shared office space.

Common space for collaboration between classes or grade-level projects is strategically placed in hallway alcoves with colorful acoustic tiles to absorb sound. The media center is designed for easy access and also includes many windows.

This day, the wooden gym floor was being installed below a colorful Golden Eagle sign hanging high on the walls. And the building’s cafeteria is another large, carefully planned space. Electricians were installing lighting in the upper hallways, and other contractors were at work in a mechanical room.

New classroom furniture, carefully selected and ordered, allows for various configurations and groupings in classrooms.

After careful budgeting and strategic planning, it is satisfying for all involved to see the project proceeding as planned, and it is a point of pride for administration as the new school will be finished and open when school begins next year.

Frens looks forward to welcoming students, staff and the community to the building this fall. “I just can’t wait!”

Hopscotch and math functions: Learning by moving

Back left Leeland Peery, front Tanner Arnold, special education teacher Aaron Berry, math teacher Sarah Low and Alex Boynton.

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

What do you see when you combine a beautiful April day, prior math learning, and engaged students? At Schoolcraft High School, students and staff created and participated in “Hopscotch Functions.”

Schoolcraft high school math teacher Sarah Low was nearing the end of a unit on mathematical functions. She had covered the basics of functions and created an activity she calls “Hopscotch Functions,” to identify functions using different representations, including symbols, graphs, equations, and tables.

Functions are important mathematical concepts, usually involving a constant, an independent variable, and a dependent variable. An everyday example involves putting gas in a car and estimating how far a person can travel: the constant is the car’s miles per gallon, the independent variable is the number of gallons added to the gas tank, and the dependent variable is how far the car will travel with those gallons.

Low explains, “Students were divided into groups where they practiced and created functions and non-functions in the classroom before we went outside. Once outside, they drew visual representations in hopscotch squares with chalk.”

The game: determine which squares represent functions and jump only on those squares.

Students eventually rotated to the different hopscotch games created by classmates.

Research shows that some students learn best through movement, and, of course, Low’s timing was perfect—it was a beautiful 75-degree day.

Reflecting, Low says, “I thought it went well overall. They asked a lot of good questions while they rotated, and they seemed more confident in identifying functions after the activity.”

From the smiles of staff and students and the active learning happening, this lesson was a success on all levels!

Golden Eagles softball flying high

By Mark Blentlinger

Second-year Head Coach Becca Schemberger has her team on a hot streak right now, boasting a 13-3 overall record and undefeated in conference play.

Coach Schemberger is happy with how her team is playing. They have really been hitting their stride, defeating some strong D1 schools such as Petoskey and Portage Central. Some of their other wins include Watervliet, Pennfield, Kalamazoo Christian, Gull Lake, Coloma, Constantine and Bronson. The three losses were to Bronson, Three Rivers and Petoskey.

Team stats are impressive with a .348 team batting average, .459 team on base percentage, 112 singles, 44 doubles, 14 home runs, with 154 runs scored and only 77 runs given up. The team will be losing three senior leaders this season: Alayna Meade, Cassidy Brunner and Camden Brunner. The seniors are making their mark. Meade has a .400 batting average with 20 RBIs and 4 home runs. Camden Brunner is hitting .439 with a .549 on base percentage. Cassidy Brunner is dominating the circle with a 10-0 record and a 1.017 ERA. Junior shortstop Lauren Evens has a .491 batting average with 4 home runs and 32 RBIs.

The leader of the team and up for MLive player of the week, sophomore outfielder Sydney Drenth, has an outstanding .526 batting average, 562 on base percentage, 16 RBIs and 23 runs scored. The upcoming schedule will definitely test this team with opponents such as Marshall, Sturgis, Battle Creek Lakeview, Portage Northern, Mattawan, Parchment, Walled Lake Northern, Edwardsburg and Lawton.