Bath schools move toward “blended learning”

By Brendan Smoker
Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Education proposal

 In President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address he mentioned the goal to connect 99 percent of all schools to broadband Internet. In this year’s address, Obama states, “With the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we have got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit. “ The government plans on completing this task within the next four years.

Michigan State student Madeline Verklan studies elementary education and believes all schools should have Internet access. “School is meant to equip children and give them the tools needed to function in the adult world,” said Madeline. “(They) will have to use the Internet almost every day.”

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Bath Elementary computer lab.
Photo by Brendan Smoker

With such an incentive to get schools Internet access, it seems possible that there may be a transition from hard textbooks to Internet-based e-textbooks on tablets like the iPad.  This transition has the possibility to greatly affect Bath schools and most other schools throughout Michigan.

Benefits

 A major component that textbooks cannot match is the stimulating visuals and audio that comes with tablets. Third-grade teacher at Willow Elementary School, Paul Munson said that tablets “use a platform that is engaging and are more fun to use than textbooks.” The apps Munson uses for his classroom are “easier to navigate for students and keeps (their) interest longer,” he explains.

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Bath Elementary has mini-laptops in theirlibrary for students to listen to audio books.
Photo by Brendan smoker

Finding pros in using tablets, Bath technology directory, Doug Murphy explains that “most schools are using technology for what we call blended learning.” Blended learning uses both digital content and instructional content in the classroom, similar to how lots of college courses have both weekly on-campus classes and online material. “(Blended learning) is similar to what kids are going to do when they move on,” said Murphy, advocating for engaging students early on with tablets and the Internet. Continue reading

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“The Hothouse” performance at DeWitt High School

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt reporter

The Overall Play

DeWitt High School students performed for the first time “The Hothouse.” Written in the 1950′s by Harold Pinter, which is a black comedy about a group of people trying to solve a murder that it ends up in mayhem as they try to figure out who did it.

Cover of the play's program

Cover of the play’s program
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

“We chose this play because it primarily is very challenging,” said Jeff Croley, the head of the theater department at DeWitt High School. “It also is a timeless piece, and it really creates a sense of absurd theater.”

Feedback

Challenging was the common response when asked about the play.

The crew, consisted of only seven people, and they only had three weeks to work on this play when an average play usually takes a few months to complete.

But, that didn’t stop from them performing well each and every time out.

“At the end of every night, we would talk back with the audience to get their opinion on it,” said Geoffrey Croley, who plays the main role of Roote and is also Croley’s son. “They gave us positive reviews every night, and it felt good to hear that.”

Listing of cast members

Listing of cast members
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Crew’s Ability to Mesh

Not only was the time factor a huge key, but also it really helped them develop the ability to handle tough situations quickly and to build the chemistry between the cast members. Students performed this play four times in a span of four days, twice at 7 p.m., once at 2 p.m., and once at 9 p.m.

“My favorite part of working on this play is how tight this crew is,” said Cameron Cleminson, who plays the part of Lush in the play “We really became a family over this three week period; it came to the point where we trusted each other no matter what.”

 

For questions, please contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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Bath Township’s school board appreciation meeting

By: Brendan Smoker
Bath-DeWitt Reporter

The Bath High School bees.

The Bath High School bees.
Photo by Brendan Smoker

Board appreciation

Mark Twain wrote in his novel “Huckleberry Finn” that “God made the idiot for practice, and then he made the school board.” Bath’s Board of Education’s meeting on Monday, Feb. 26 at Bath High School, took on the tone of Twain’s statement.

The meeting focused on appreciating the school board by distributing gift bags to each board member and displaying thank you cards from students in the Bath School District.

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A thank you letter directed to the Bath Township Board of Education.
Photo by Brendan Smoker

Video appreciation

Bath first-graders shared their thanks in a video in which they sing “we appreciate you.” The entire video was six minutes long, but Bath Elementary School Principal Zac Strickler assured everyone two minutes would be plenty to enjoy. “(The video) says a lot about the thoughtfulness of this community,” said Strickler.

Bath Superintendent enjoyed the video as well. “I know the board really appreciated the recognition from our high school and elementary students, especially the video with the first-graders singing,” Huffman said. “These acts of kindness are an example of what makes Bath such a great school and community.”

Senior trip 

Three Bath seniors gave a thank you presentation for a trip the school board donated funds to so that 48 seniors at Bath High School  could attend their senior ski trip. Each student shared pictures of their time at the resort.

Board of Education treasurer since 1998, Dean Sweet Jr., enjoyed the students’ presentation. “What the seniors did was great and I want to see more of it,” he said.

After hearing about the seniors’ ski trip, Michigan State plant biology grad student, Prateek Shetty comments, “Those kids very are fortunate. I was not able to go on my senior trip because I had to pay all of it out of pocket. Our school board would never be so generous.”

A big thank you

The presentations and thank you cards were a compilation thanks to the board for budgeting several class excursions over the past couple years,  as well as a new school bus.

Huffman values the school board and everything they do for the district. “Our school board is progressive and focused on offering excellent educational opportunities to our students,” said Huffman. “Our staff, from support staff to teachers, is top notch and student centered.  No child goes unnoticed at Bath Schools, and every child receives support in working to maximize their educational abilities.”

Future plans for the school board is “finishing our curriculum alignment, implementing a new teacher/administrator evaluation system, and beginning to use a new data warehouse,” said Huffman.

For questions contact Brendan Smoker at smokerbr@msu.edu

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Outstanding Citizen Recognition Award Handed Out

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt reporter

The Winner

An award was given to Curtis Thayer in DeWitt Township called the Outstanding Citizen Recognition award of 2013. Thayer was handed this award on January 27, 2014.

Thayer, or as his colleagues like to call him “Frog,” has been a resident of DeWitt for over 40 years now. His wife, Linda, didn’t even know about the award, but was very grateful that he received it.

About Thayer

“He has literally done everything for this city, especially the senior citizens,” said Mrs. Thayer. “He has helped mow their lawns, shovel their driveways, anything you can think of, he has done.”

This is one of the plow truck Thayer uses

Plow truck Thayer uses
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Thayer is a volunteer fireman for DeWitt Township. His co-workers say that he is a favorite around the station.

Here is the Fire Department Thayer volunteers for

Fire Department Thayer volunteers
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

“He’s constantly helping the community because he is the type of guy who will put everyone else before him,” said Lt. King of the fire department. “He truly is a great candidate for the award, and he really deserved it.”

Nomination Process

Similar to the Outstanding Business Recognition Award given out within the township, board members have to nominate the recipient. The main difference between the two awards though is that this one focuses more on what the citizen has done as a whole to the community. Then, members vote on who gets it between the nominations, just like the business award. The person who nominated Thayer was DeWitt Township Clerk, Diane Mosier.

“I nominated Scott because he is the kind of citizen we all want to live next to. He’s familiar with everyone and helping others is always his first priority.” said Mosier.

Thayer looks forward to helping his community every day and every opportunity possible. He really loves what he is currently doing, and his favorite part is being in DeWitt.

“I’ve been here since 1976, and I’ve loved every second of it,” said Thayer “To receive an award like this is truly an honor and I hope that I can inspire others to help the community as much as I have.”

For questions, please contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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Fourth annual ice derby

By Brendan Smoker
Bath-DeWitt Reporter

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Bath Township’s annual ice fishing derby.

Bath Township’s ice derby this past Saturday was the biggest yet. Over a hundred people registered to fish on Park Lake from areas including DeWitt, Haslett, Lansing, and Bath Township citizens. This particular event takes place on the Department of Natural Resources free-fishing weekend. Which is one of two during the year that allows people to fish without a license.

Parks and Recreation staff director, Becky Goodwin’s, dedication to coordinating this event gave her the opportunity to say that this year’s ice derby is the “fourth annual ice derby with the biggest group yet.” She said, “it has grown every year.”

The ice derby began at 8:30 a.m. and fishing went on until 4 p.m. Cookies, coffee, milk and beef stew were available throughout the day to help warm up those coming back from the lake. Special guests included faculty and students from Michigan State University’s Fish and Wildfire Department who came out to practice their wildlife skills and take vegetation surveys. According to the department’s president, Rebecca Blundell, MSU’s Fish and Wildlife Department “do a lot of fish analysis [at Park Lake].”

Another volunteer organization was the Clinton County Special Rescue Team. Volunteer Commander Kip Harman is a SRI veteran of over 15 years. He even bought a beer truck for a dollar, which he converted into a rescue vehicle.

Beer truck which has been converted to Clinton County SRT vehicle. photo DSC00045.jpg

SRT’s converted beer truck rescue vehicle.

Dan Schulte, also a volunteer, has been an SRT member since 2007. When asked how the day was going in relation to emergencies, Schulte responded: “it’s the way we like it. The best days are with no incidents.”  “Search and rescue is [the SRT’s) bread and butter.” Continue reading

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Outstanding Business Recognition Award Given Out

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

An award in DeWitt township that the board members gave to the company Redline Auto Service for the Outstanding Business Recognition award of 2013. The board of members at DeWitt decided to present them this award on January 31, 2014.

Redline Auto Service, located on the corner of E State Road and US Business 27, has been in business since 2002. Scott Rendell, with his son Nicholas run the business.

Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Redline Auto Service on the corner of E State road and US Business 27

“I was very proud of my dad after receiving the award,” said Nicholas Rendell. “He really has worked hard, and he put in the most effort to get this place to where it is at today.”

What is decided on who gets this award is it all starts when the board members nominate a company, and with seven members voting, they decide on who gets the award. The board then bases this decision on contributions to the community is, as well as public services to the competition. But, in the beginning when a board member presents a company, they have to make a case on why they are nominating them.

“We chose Redline because they made a serious commitment, and it wasn’t just one thing,” said Phyllis Daggy, the DeWitt township treasurer. “They improved the whole corner they were located at, as well as addressing the community in a positive way and always guaranteeing customer satisfaction.”

When this business first started in 2002, it was a broken down building. Rendell then made serious renovations, such as installing new tiles in the front desk area, getting new signs, rebuilding the garages, and repairing the parking lot.

“My favorite part about working in this location is it really has a strong community feeling,” said Scott Rendell. “It is very tight knit, and the amount of people and traffic that passes the company really helps me get good business, and everyone that comes in is so respectful.”

 

For questions, please contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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Bath Township’s February Parks and Recreation meeting

By Brendan Smoker

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

On Feb. 10 Bath Township’s Parks and Recreation board had their first monthly meeting. Although these meetings are open to the public, there was a lack of attendance, possibly due to the unusually cold temperatures.

One main topic discussed was Bath’s top three Capital Improvement Projects that consists of expanding broadband accessibility, improving worn roads and repairing sidewalks. Although a good portion of Bath residents have access to high-speed Internet, there is a still a big need for wireless access where satellite Internet is not available.

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Areas in Bath Township do not have wireless Internet access. Photo courtesy of Brendan Smoker

The potholes and torn up concrete on the roads and sidewalks are also a real problem in the town, and this becomes evident simply driving through the town. These three projects were chosen and put as priority for the Park and Recreation’s 2014 agenda.

New Superintendent

The second round of interviews for Bath’s new superintendent will be a public, interactive Q & A presentation. Daniel Burke Wietecha, from Wisconsin, is first to present on March 5, following  Sherry Katz-Hedrington from Bath, and, finally David Thayer, Grayling, Michigan’s past city manager.

Parks and Recreation Elections

Ending the meeting was the yearly Parks and Recreation elections. End results were Kyle Roush taking over for Nichole Waters’ secretary seat and Alden “Coh” Rohen is going to fill his last yearly term as Chairman. Waters served multiple terms as the Park’s secretary and, although she enjoyed her time, she was ready for a change, “it was nice to serve,” she said. “I enjoyed it. It kept me busy, but I’m glad to pass the torch to Kyle.”

Coh was elected chair in 2007 and has recently decided to retire after his 2014 term to pursue other life goals. He is glad that the committee has been “one of the more active” committees in the town. Coh goes on to say he considers it a “rewarding opportunity to work with the park and recreation director [Rebecca Goodwin].”

Closing Statements

Minor projects also discussed during the meeting included the “Winter in Michigan” themed snow sculpture competition, spring baseball, Park Lake reservation, and a possible Parks and Recreation logo. For more information on all these events, plus others, visit the Bath Charter Township website.

For questions, please contact Brendan Smoker at smokerbr@msu.edu

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