Fishers Public Library Collides with the Lorax

library

I’m a huge (huge) fan of our public library. I’ve an article I’ll be publishing about the library that flaunts many of the great services it provides that are not books. I’m also a fan of green space and especially trees.

One of the cool things about Fishers is that it included local legislation that requires builders to include green space. While those rule were recently reduced in some cases, for the most part, there is an understanding that green space is valuable.

If you look around Fishers, you’ll see a number of huge trees. There are several along Allisonville Road, within our larger parks, and many other areas. In the “downtown” area, there are still a few large trees, with many being around the library.

It was disheartening to see many big trees ripped out with the widening of Allisonville Road, but it was sadder to see the trees ripped out in the downtown Nickel Plate area around the amphitheater and then in the lot next to the library so that a new 3 story building could be built. Some of the trees, however, were left in place behind the library. For now.

A new plan that was mentioned at a Nickel Plate Trail update meeting showed that a change is in the works for the Fishers Public Library (actually called Hamilton East Public Library). The entrance is expected to be shifted to what is currently the back of the building, and parking is going to be adjusted as well. This will allow for a path to be created from the new Nickel Plate Trail to the central amphitheater area of the city center. This is a current parking lot, so converting it to green space means new growth.

But this post is about trees!

Because the parking in the front of the library will be reduced, a new parking lot will be added to the back. This will mean cutting out many more of the remaining trees on the Northwest side of the library. These trees will be removed for progress.

Fishers library

As I hear about the changes being made, the more Dr. Seuss’ story of The Lorax comes to mind. What is ironic, however, is that it is the making of a new city park that seems to be driving the need to make the changes to remove green space.

It would be nice if the city looked closer at how trees could be saved. It often seems that the city strives for green space, but the end result is a bit less green and a lot more grays and browns.

When The Yard (not to be called the Yard, but rather The Fishers District) was initially discussed, there was a lot of talk about how it would not look like the typical strip mall with message parlors, cellular companies, and lots of parking spaces, but would rather feature outdoor green spaces. Clearly paradise was paved over at The Yard. As the library makes changes, let’s hope that we don’t move closer to the world presented in The Lorax.

I end this post with a song I’ve referenced before in regard to Fishers:

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CHECK IT OUT: Check out my book, Spot the Difference in Fishers: City Parks Edition. Support a local writer/business by buying a copy today! This is a ‘game’ book good for a bit of fun for you and/or your kids!

HSE School Start Times – Letter from the Superintendent

Dr. Bourff, the superintendent of HSE Schools, sent out a message to parents about his impending proposal of two options for changing school start times. As his letter states, these changes could happen as soon as next year. The HSE School Board will be discussing this topic once again at the February 12th, 2020 board meeting and could take action at that time.

I’ve included the content of the superintendent’s message below. I’ve included a few other items of reference as well. These include:

Note that the first two videos were captured after the meeting had started using a cell phone. The three videos from the working session don’t have the best sound due to the heating system in the board room being so loud. These are provided, however, as reference so you can hear some of the discussion and feedback that has been happening.

Note: Please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel: Fishers: The Other Side of the Tracks.  You can also follow my school related page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/HSEParents/

The Message from the Superintendent


Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff: 

I want to share an update with you regarding the discussions around a proposed change to school start times.  

For the past several months, at the direction of the school board, our administrative team has been researching and identifying outcomes of other neighboring school districts that moved to an earlier start for elementary students and a later start for secondary students.

In addition to our research, since November 2019, we have also solicited feedback from the school community in the following ways:

  • Community Forum (Nov. 19, 2019)
  • Online Survey (Nov.-Dec. 2019)
  • School Board Meetings (Jan. 15, 2020 and Jan. 29, 2020)
  • Board Work Session (Jan. 27, 2020)

I want you to know that a decision still has not been made by our school board. However, the issue is slated for discussion and possible action at the February 12 meeting. Its implementation could begin as soon as the 2020-2021 school year.

At the Board’s request, I will be presenting the following two different options. Each come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, which I will discuss further during our meeting.

OPTION 1

Start times of high school and elementary students will be flipped, and we will utilize a three-tier transportation schedule. 

Elementary:                               7:50 AM – 2:20 PM

Intermediate/Junior High:        8:20 AM – 3:20 PM

High School:                              8:55 AM – 3:55 PM

Advantages of Option 1 include:

  • Supports adolescent sleep pattern research.
  • Provides consistent student day with no need for early release.
  • Provides Professional Development time for teachers and staff.
  • Three-tier transportation schedule relieves demands of the drivers required to transport students and allows for direct bussing for Student Choice at the high schools.

Disadvantages:

  • Will require some families to rethink childcare for younger students and may impact parent and high school student work schedules.

OPTION 2

We will implement a three-tier transportation schedule with the following start times listed below for 2020-21. Then, we would transition to Option 1 start times for 2021-22. This would give families an additional year to make arrangements in their schedules to accommodate “flipped” start times.

High School:                              7:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Intermediate/Junior High:        8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Elementary:                               9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Advantages of Option 2 are as follows:

  • Provides consistent student day with no need for early release.
  • Provides Professional Development time for teachers and staff.
  • Three-tier transportation schedule relieves demands of the drivers required to transport students and allows for direct bussing for Student Choice at the high schools.

Disadvantages:

  • Not supported by adolescent sleep pattern research.
  • Families may still need childcare for their intermediate and junior high-level students.
  • Stair-step approach would cause families to deal with changing start times two consecutive years.

I have given you a lot of information to consider here. I wanted to share this update to be fully transparent about the process and the possible path ahead.

I understand the challenges of change and the adjustments that families and staff members face. I encourage you to learn more about this possible upcoming school board decision by reviewing the video recordings of the previous board meetings and by checking the School Start Time Information webpage.

I have also attached a list of FAQs that may help answer some of your questions.

Thank you for your continued support of our students, staff and schools.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Allen B. Bourff

Superintendent

Hamilton Southeastern Schools

School Start Times FAQ 

Knocking It Out of the Park: 2019 HSE Foundation Fall Grants

One of the many things the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation does for the HSE School district is provide grants to teacher and staff. This year has continued this service by funding 31 projects across 18 schools and the district. Specifically, the foundation funded 10 elementary school projects, 12 in the intermediate and junior high schools, 6 in the high schools, 1 in the academy and 2 for the district.

The themes for these projects range from areas of mental improvements such as mindfulness to technological areas such as Virtual Reality and to other areas such as culture, STEM, robotics, wellness, podcasting, and so much more.

The foundation presented a list of the projects to the school board that includes the teacher, school, topic, and number of students impacted. Because I couldn’t find an easy link to this document, I’m including what was posted on the School Board BoardDoc’s agenda below. It’s an impressive list of projects and a good reason to provide support to the Foundation!

FALL 2019 GRANT RECIPIENTS

Marcia Abraham (FCE) Mindful Music

Student Impact: 600

“Mindful Music” is a program to combine music and tactile manipulatives to create mindfulness. Mindfulness is a tool that can be used every day to reduce negative emotions and stress, help focus and tune out distractions, Music has a powerful impact on our moods and emotions. Tactile manipulatives decrease stress, increase focus and concentration, and improve fine motor skills. The goal of combining both of these into “Mindful Music” is to create tools for students to regulate their emotions, manage their stress more effectively and decrease anxiety.

Laurie Boykin (FCI): Innovative Sphero STEM Units

Student Impact: 900

The Sphero STEM challenge project will empower students to develop scientific thinking through creative problem solving and authentic collaboration. Spheros can be used to inspire creativity because they can be used in seemingly endless ways, and students develop critical 21st century skills. The Sphero project is innovative because it starts with specific engineering design challenges and progresses to student-created challenges.

Lindsey Bradshaw (HIJH): Birds Galore!

Student Impact: 12

This real-life experience will give our FAP students the knowledge of what birds are around them, what they eat, and how they interact with their environments. The key objective for this project is to provide our FAP kids with a way to connect to the outdoors even when it’s cold out, to participate in Citizen Science Projects with people all over the world, and get to dissect something like their peers in the general education program. This will enhance their student experience because we see how much they like to build, take apart, observe, document, and apply their learning.

Heather Butz (SCI): Let’s Go eVRywhere!

Student Impact: 50

Students will use Oculus Quest virtual reality devices to explore and interact with places throughout the world and history. From the Acropolis and Parthenon in Ancient Greece, to the Colosseum in Ancient Rome to the construction of Notre Dame in Medieval Europe to touring Anne Frank’s house during the Holocaust…the destinations and connections are endless!

Janet Chandler (HSEHS): Civics Education/We The People

Student Impact: 61

Student experiential learning would be enhanced by this grant as it goes to defray cost of programming in civic education. We the People is a co-curricular program to encourage civil discourse and civic engagement.

Lauren Doran (SCI): Connect Classroom to World

Student Impact: 110

This project leverages video conferencing technology to build global partnerships to help students to build empathy, understand and appreciate cultural diversity, and understand global issues. Global connections with other classrooms allows students to connect with others through shared literacy experiences and project-based learning. Students can build relationships and find their place in the world by traveling virtually anywhere on the globe without ever leaving our classroom.

Maria Dorsel (HIJH): Learning-To Infinity and Beyond

Student Impact: 1200

The project is directly related to the science standards as they relate to Space Science and STEM. Revolve around the sun and explore the planets! Discover space history and important STEM concepts. Bring the universe to students with this brightly colored map that illustrates the inner and outer planets, a portion of the sun, orbital paths and a timeline.

Erin Duros (DES): DES HUB

Student Impact: 375

A library should be the hub of a school where there are opportunities and tools available to meet the needs of our diverse learners. The space goes beyond checking out books and instead should be a place for innovative change. These seven design studios within the library becomes a gathering space for collaboration, innovation, and authentic learning opportunities.

Jeff Fronius (FHS): Engineering Class Modernization

Student Impact: 400

This project incorporates four current technology robot brains and associated controllers and sensors for teams of students to learn through robotics. The learning will include programming for machine control, control feedback loops, and kinematics. This new equipment will help keep up with changes in technology and increased interest in engineering classes at Fishers High School, which are at the highest enrollment in the school’s history.

Johanna Gianforte (FHS): Making an Imprint on Society

Student Impact: 65

Printmaking is an innovative artform dating back to 105 A.D. with modern applications used in many forms including amongst graphic design companies. This new class will be a valuable resource to students hoping to pursue a career in visual arts. These new gelli plates will help with the instruction of monotype printmaking, one of the first more introductory types of printmaking.

Madeline Hennessy (FJH/HIJH): A Natural Approach to French

Student Impact: 93

The CI classroom methods deepen student learning and open more doors for our learners down the road by making the classroom a more fun and engaging place. Through student voice and student choice, these students will be prepared to enter the world as global citizens, developing abilities that will prepare them to make connections with people around the world.

Kristin Hicks and Finae Rent (CRE): CRE Sharing Bookshelves

Student Impact: 570

Through a Global Goals project, students collaborated to set up a Little Free Library outside of CRE as well as some local neighborhoods. These Little Free Libraries will house books that can be borrowed, traded, owned or replaced by any children that want or need a new book to read.

John Hochstetler (RSI): Drone On

Student Impact: 500

Students will learn coding with drones by creating a safe enclosed environment using the 9 Square in the Air Game Equipment. Netting will be added to the frame of the game and obstacles will be added to increase the challenge level.

Jennifer Jacks (SCE): Get Your Mind Ready

Student Impact: 678

The Mind Yeti program is designed to help children practice mindfulness. Mindfulness, a subset of social-emotional skills currently being taught through the Second Steps program, helps improve student attention, perspective taking and empathy, increase sharing and including others, and helps decrease aggression and signs of depression. Utilizing Mind Yeti for all students K-4 at SCE will lead students and staff through sessions which are designed to help children practice mindfulness.

Johanna Kitchell (RJH): Going the Distance with Healthy Hawks

Student Impact: 85

This project will add a way for students who don’t otherwise have a phone or smartwatch app to actually track their running distance and empower them to take more control of their training. Adding these pedometers also provides opportunities for student equity and access in training.

Sara Larkins, Brittany Sugg, Erin Mohr (FES): You Belong Here Buddy Bench

Student Impact: 7,913

This project will create, design, and build buddy benches for any HSE elementary school that currently doesn’t have one. A buddy bench is a place you go when you need a friend at recess. If a peer sees someone on the buddy bench, they might come and ask that student to play. This will encourage everyone to feel welcome and like they belong!

Amy McDuffee (SCE): Microscopes for iPads

Student Impact: 650

These mini microscopes that attach to iPads will help students observe flowers and leaves in the SCE garden with a detailed viewpoint and take pictures of these observations. Students can learn a lot from being able to see the intricate details of a natural object when viewed under magnification. The microscopes will do much to influence their view of the world they cannot see with the naked eye and combine science and art with mindful observation.

Amy Murch (Conner Prairie Teacher-in-Residence): Classroom Connections for Adventures on the Prairie

Student Impact: 1,700

This project will help extend the learning experiences of all fourth grade HSE students created while at Conner Prairie travel back to the classrooms. These kits will encourage students to ignite a curiosity and wonder prior to visiting Conner Prairie and the outdoor classroom. Students from all over the district will be able to connect, reflect, challenge and spark a natural connection with fellow 4th grade students.

Todd Niswander (CRE): Rigamajig Workshop

Student Impact: 600

Rigamajig Workshop is a large-scale wooden building kit for open-ended cooperative play and exploration. Rigamajig encourages curiosity and cognitive thinking through play utilizing wooden planks, nuts and bolts. Students will be creators, using their imagination, to build structures and simple machines from the Rigamajig materials. Through collaboration, students will practice and develop problem solving, communication, teamwork, and adaptability.

Kayla Pippenger (FCI): Traveling the World to Create Cultural Awareness

Student Impact: 167

Humanities class interweaves reading, writing workshops, social emotional learning, and social studies. Virtual reality headsets will allow interactive movement and allow for students to view places and things all over the world in 3D, enhancing cultural understanding, global awareness, and historical awareness in our classrooms. These headsets also allow teachers new ways to present works of literature and related topics.

Jennifer Regelski (HSEHS): Integrated Chemistry and Physics on Mars-a PBL Approach

Student Impact: 140

Students will work in collaborative teams in a project-based learning environment. The students will be tasked with setting up a colony on Mars and will need to use problem-solving and critical thinking skills to complete various tasks and challenges centered around the physics and chemistry standards that are traditionally taught in Integrated Chemistry and Physics.

Bob Rice (HSE Energy Manager): Renewable Energy Interactive Display

Student Impact: 22,000

Kids and adults can light up a model of the electric grid using hydropower, wind, and solar generation. This interactive mobile power lab will potentially put renewable power generation into the hands of all 22,000 students of Hamilton Southeastern.

Allie Rogowski, Heather Skaggs, Carolyn Porzuczek (BSE): Imagineering an Animatronic Robot

Student Impact: 75

Students will rally together to build their own robots from scratch. The students will design, build with recycled materials, and completely wire and code their own unique robot. Using this inquiry driven process, students will develop real world skills, as well as deepen their understanding of academic content.

Amanda Scott (HFA): The Academy Wellness Education Program

Student Impact: 135

Substance and vaping use is a growing problem among students. Through this class, students will learn more about common substances being used, healthy coping mechanisms, and ways to help both themselves and those around them.

Leah Ann Self (HSEHS): Create, Enhance, and Innovate with Cricut

Student Impact: 150

Cricut use is limitless and will help enhance student learning by creating projects and posters for the classroom as well as for group assignments within Fashion and Textiles courses. Students will be able to see their innovations on the computer become reality as they learn how to manufacture and enhance their designs.

Kelly Steiner (FES): Building Community Through Sensory Opportunities

Student Impact: 416

This project promotes authentic play, inquiry, collaborative and problem-solving opportunities aligned with HSE21 through a sand exploration table. With the power of a child’s imagination the sand table can be an archeological dig, a bakery, an art studio, and an experiment on friction at the same time.

Robyn Stout (SCI): Robotics for ALL Students!

Student Impact: 945

The STEM curriculum provided by Vex-IQ can be weaved into many of the curriculum areas but not limited to language arts, math, science, and computer science. Robots and arenas will support whole class activities as well as the robotics team.

Emily Stout (RSI): RSI Podcasting Cart

Student Impact: 1,000

Podcasting stations will be available for students to script, create and record their own podcasts based on current curricular needs and eventually moving on to student created podcasts based on interests.

Jessica Sullivan (FCI): Finding Coherence: Connecting Heart, Mind, and Emotions

Student Impact: 30

Using the Smart Brain Wise Heart™ program in conjunction with the advanced emWave® technology, students will be able to actually see how their body is responding in both moments of stress and calm. This curriculum will allow staff members to provide a targeted intervention to students who have high needs in areas such as emotional dysregulation, impulse control, or anxiety.

Sarah Tappendorf (SES): Environment as a Third Teacher: Let Me Explore the World Outside

Student Impact: 56

This field study and provocation kit will allow students to use the environment outside the classroom walls as a third teacher, giving them an authentic opportunity to engage and explore nature. Students with all types of learning styles will be able to share their findings via note-taking, sketching, researching, and presentations.

Benjamin Wyss (FHS): Wireless Stylus

Student Impact: 1,500

The student experience will be enhanced through the efficiency of the teacher going through the lesson with this stylus. Due to the increase in efficiency, teachers will have more time during class to help students that may need extra attention at the conclusion of the lesson.

HSEF 2019 Grants

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Gardening in Fishers, Indiana

How do you grow a garden in Fishers, Indiana when you don’t have space or don’t want to use a chunk of your yard? You do it at a city park instead.

Cyntheanne Park

In my book, Spot the Difference in Fishers, Indiana: City Parks Edition, one of the parks shown is Cyntheanne Park on the Eastern side of Fishers. This park has one unique feature, the Community Gardent Program (CGP), which is to allow community members to garden. Residents of Fishers can reserve a garden plot for a summer. There is a cost of $30 to reserve either a 10-foot by 10-foot conventional or organic plot. There are also a few four-foot by nine-foot raised gardens that can be reserved.

Gardening spots can be reserved online at https://www.playfishers.com/193/Community-Garden . There is a fee for the 2020 summer season of $30 that will allow you access to your plot starting April 18. The city has a limited number of plots available, so you’ll want to reserve early to ensure you get access!

  • Conventional – 26 plots
  • Organic – 16 plots
  • Raised – 11 plots

While the city website indicates the gardens are open year-round, an email from the parks department indicates the gardens open on April 18th. Either way, they are available on a first come, first served basis.

Cyntheanne Park is located at 12383 Cyntheanne Road, just south of 126th Street. In addition to the gardens, it also includes a number of multi-purpose athletic fields, a play area, a natural area, a 1 mile paved trial plus a natural-area grass trail, a seating plaza, playgrounds for ages 2-12, picnic tables, restrooms, pickle-ball courts, and more.

Cyntheanne Park Gardens

Should HSE Flip Start Times?

The following are slides presented to the HSE School board on January 15, 2020 regarding the idea of flipping start times of the various schools in the district.

The data was collected via comments on the HSE website between November 20th, 2019 and December 20th. There were 1840 total comments, which were read and compiled by the HSE Administration team.

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Here is a link to the 3-tier busing proposal as well. The link on BoardDocs uses spaces, so it doesn’t always work. This is a temporary link from my site (here). At some point I might remove it.

http://jones123.com/tmp/Proposed3Tier.pdf