Mini-Marauders move to Fortville

Story by: Claire Dorsch, Features Editor
Photos by: Samuel Jobe

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At Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, there is a vast amount of resources at their fingertips. They have a competent transportation department, a reliable janitorial staff, a caring special-ed department, and much more. This year, there will be another program added to the community: The Mini-Marauder Early Learning Academy.

The new school’s goal is to provide quality education to kids ages three to five in the district at an affordable price. Although there is already a preschool existing at Mt. Comfort Elementary School, it is for children who are developmentally delayed. The new preschool will accept all children within the age range. It will be located in the administrative building, previously known as Fortville Elementary, and begin running in the fall.

“I have heard of [the Mini-Marauder Preschool],” said Mrs. Terrell, a teacher at MVHS and mother of two. “I believe that MV will successfully implement the program, similar to how we successfully implement most initiatives. I think the Mini-Marauder Preschool is a great idea.”

The cost for this preschool is $125 a week, which is competitive in the county, but high enough to bring revenue to the community, both benefiting the school and the parents of the preschoolers.

presschool 2It was Dr. Robbins’ idea to start the preschool program for the children of MVCSC who are not old enough to enroll in one of our three elementary schools.

“As I have spent my time evaluating our operational structure and the opportunities we have before us, it became evident early that opening a preschool at the Administration building was something I thought would benefit our community,” said Dr. Robbins. “The developmentally delayed preschool at Mt. Comfort will relocate to the administration building and we will open a typical peer preschool program. This will provide our community with robust and well rounded programming opportunities.”

The current administrative building used to be Fortville Elementary but closed and remained vacant for some time. Dr. Robbins took advantage of the empty, ventilated building and made it the new admin building. The old admin building is now the home of the Department of Transportation. It is the center of the bussing for students who are not dropped off or given rides to school.

There will be specific personnel for children who qualify for special needs assistance.

Dr. Robbins is very confident in the success of the program.

“I think the access to an organized learning environment is a plus. I also feel that the early structured introduction to a blended learning environment is an advantage for students entering our school district. Finally, I feel like our program is a very cost effective program.”

The preschool is currently accepting applications for staff members who want to be a part of this new program. Parents of children who want to attend the preschool can apply now as well. It is open to children of the community, including the children of students of MVHS.

“I am definitely considering the program, but I would like the gross-motor play time to be a bit longer,” said Mrs. Terrell.

Hopefully this program will benefit the children of MVCSC. They are offering full and half day enrollment.

Chromebook check up

Story by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer
Photo by: Mackenzie Carpenter, Photo Editor

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Mt. Vernon High School students received Chromebooks this year to improve the educational environment. Students are able to work on homework, schoolwork, and personal work. High school students will continue to use these throughout their high school career and in years to come.

¨We will continue to expand the number of access points in the building to minimize dead spots in the building. The biggest change will be to continue to encourage innovation and research into ways to engage students and empower students in their courses,¨ said Dr. Robbins.

¨When students and staff adapt to operating in a blended environment we should see greater examples of project based learning,” said Dr. Robbins. “Some courses are naturally designed for PBL, however, the use of technology encourages that approach across the content areas.  We hope to see greater examples of teachers not only facilitating information, but learning along with students.¨

Only the middle schoolers and high schoolers use Chromebooks, while the elementary students use iPads. When the fifth graders move on to sixth grade they will be receiving Chromebooks.

Dr. Robbins explained how the use of the laptops will start to change over the years,especially when fifth graders become sixth graders and move to the middle school. They also are used differently whether in high school, middle school, or eighth grade academy.

¨While the device will change, the operational environment such as the use of Google Tools and the EdMentum products will not change. There is some screen tapping as the touch screen is not a feature on the Chromebook. However, Dell has developed a new chromebook that does have a touch screen, so that might be a natural evolution for us as a district.¨

He continued, ¨The main difference is the use of a keyboard. Our goal with the primary grades was to introduce them to academics in a digital environment. However, we also felt that the lack of keyboarding skills would be a limiting factor; therefore the iPad was the obvious decision. As students get older and begin typing and researching at greater levels, the iPad really becomes limited. It does not operate as well in a Google environment thus limiting the collaboration capabilities.¨

Even though Mount Vernon students have only had Chromebooks for a year, they have become beneficial for successful learning at Mt. Vernon. These computers run faster and work more effectively than the older computers most teachers used to have in their classrooms.

Dr. Robbins said, ¨I am convinced the lightweight nature of Chrome OS is a big reason why most students enjoy using the Chromebook. They can do everything the students need to do with fewer problems. There are no driver issues and no software glitches to deal with. Hit the power button, sign in, and you can be productive in seconds. That is what computing should be like all the time.

¨Furthermore, there is little overhead required,” Dr. Robbins added. “In regards to the previous computers in the classroom I would simply say this…It is pretty hard to carry a desktop home, therefore the digital environment was limited to only those classrooms.¨