FWCS Visionary September 2017

Welcome to the Visionary

Welcome to the FWCS Visionary, a new, monthly e-newsletter produced by the Public Affairs staff of Fort Wayne Community Schools.

When you think of a visionary, you think of someone who is inspired, imaginative, creative, enterprising and innovative. When we see our dedicated teachers and students in action, it conjures these same descriptors.

And, so, we want to share with you what we know goes on in each of our buildings every day of the school year. We want to bring the classroom to you, to show you that we are helping to develop the inspired, imaginative, creative, enterprising and innovative leaders of tomorrow.

The Visionary will come to your inbox once a month, filled with feature stories and information we hope you find useful as parents and community members.

If you are a parent of an FWCS student, then you were automatically subscribed to the newsletter. You can choose to unsubscribe at any time, but we hope that you will keep us around. Please share us with others, and encourage those who might be interested to sign up themselves.

We also want to hear feedback from you regarding what you like – and even what you don’t like – so we can make this a useful resource. Please send any questions, comments or suggestions to us through Let’s Talk! Make sure to select "The Visionary" as the topic.

Weisser Park 5th graders to perform Lion King Jr.

Fifth-graders at Weisser Park Arts Magnet Elementary School will perform a Disney Theatrical production this year as part of the school’s Common Threads.

The school, thanks to a grant from Music Theatre International, has obtained the licensing necessary to perform the Lion King Jr. musical. While the musical is designed to be performed by middle school students, Weisser Park was granted the opportunity because of the school’s years of performance experience.

The free performances will be Oct. 10 and 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the South Side High School Auditorium.

The 60-minute musical is based on the Broadway production directed by Julie Taymore and the 1994 Disney film.

As part of the school’s Common Threads, a unique program that celebrates diversity, Weisser Park students are learning about the continent of Africa this school year. Students will read stories and legends, look at the continent’s cultures and study different art forms from African.

Besides the Lion King Jr. performance, each grade level will choose a story from the continent and present it in a program for parents and friends.

Study Connection kicks off 29th year

Study Connection kicked off its 29th year of helping students with its Annual Celebration and Recognition Breakfast Thursday, Aug. 31. The event honors volunteers and students for their accomplishments and featured keynote speaker Carmen Agra Deedy, author of 11 children’s books, including “14 Cows for America” and “The Library Dragon.”

Deedy’s stories of her childhood as a Cuban refugee growing up in Decatur, Ga., first appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered. She is also the host of the four-time Emmy-winning children’s program, “Love that Book!” Deedy is also an accomplished lecturer and has been a guest speaker for the TED and TEDx conferences, the Library of Congress, Columbia University, The National Book Festival, Kennedy Center and other places. Her newest book, “The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!” was released earlier this year, and “The Book of Unintended Consequences,” a young adult novel, will be released next year.

The annual breakfast serves as the kick-off to a new year of tutors throughout the community working with students, but it also is a time to honor those who have given their time to improve students’ lives.

The 2017 Mike McClelland Outstanding Volunteer is Doug Cramer, who is a volunteer at the Harris Corp. site. St. Joseph Central Elementary student Jamarion Kolagbodi was celebrated as the 2017 Don Wolf Outstanding Student. And, FWCS staff members Sheri Kummer and Franci Kever were surprised with the honor of being named the Connie Dickey Outstanding FWCS Colleague. Both women work at Bloomingdale Elementary School.

Following the breakfast, Deedy visited Lindley Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders who have recently read “The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!”

Study Connection began in 1989, founded by Don Wolf, retired CEO and president emeritus of Do it Best Corp. Over nearly three decades, more than 10,000 students have gone through the program. Volunteers are matched one-to-one with FWCS students who need academic assistance. Students and volunteers meet weekly after school for one hour during the school year with the majority of the students bused to and from local businesses for tutoring sessions. This not only gives students a chance to receive extra homework help, but also meet a mentor in the community and learn about local career opportunities.

To get involved with Study Connection, call 467-8811.

Sweetwater founder pledges 1/2 million dollars to fwcs foundation

Sweetwater founder Chuck Surack and his wife, Lisa, issued a challenge to raise $3 million for the music programs in schools, in support of the FWCS Foundation’s b Instrumental program. The $3 million campaign will allow the foundation to purchase 4,000 to 5,000 instruments over 12 years, as well as cover refurbishing and repairs.The Suracks donated $500,000 and 100 instruments to the b Instrumental program.

To be successful, the FWCS Foundation seeks to raise $3 million to cover the purchase of 50 musical instruments for each of Fort Wayne Community Schools' 11 middle schools - and provide instruction - annually for six years. It also will provide support to ensure the instruments are refurbished for the next seventh grader who will use the instrument through 12th grade. Fort Wayne Community Schools will provide additional support to complete the funding for the program.

In addition to the Suracks, major sponsors include the Auer Foundation and the AWS Foundation

FWCS students view the aug. 21 eclipse
Enhanced STEM Curriculum Approved for Irwin Elementary

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees approved a three-year contract with Discovery Education to provide professional learning services and the development of an enhanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum for Irwin Elementary.

Irwin has been the District’s science and math magnet school since the fall of 1989. As a magnet school, students apply to attend through the FWCS school choice lottery. The school has been designated a Four Star School by the Indiana Department of Education several times in the past.

By partnering with Discovery Education, Irwin’s curriculum will be bolstered with additional STEM learning. Students will explore various STEM concepts, including technology and engineering, while in elementary school.

“Fort Wayne Community Schools has long been committed to offering math and science as a focus at Irwin. With Discovery Education, we will enhance that program and deepen the STEM opportunities for students,” Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “We are continuously looking at how to ensure our programs are relevant for students in the 21st Century, and it was time to recommit to the STEM program at Irwin.”

Fully developing the program at Irwin will take three years. The first year will be establishing the vision and building the foundations for STEM and communicating with students and parents on the changes and expectations of the new curriculum. The next year, the focus will be on building a foundation for project-based learning. In the final year, teachers will deepen their knowledge in teaching the STEM concepts across all subjects and grade levels.

Through project-based learning, students will learn through active participation in order to find solutions to real-world problems. Parents will have opportunities to participate in family events to learn more about STEM education and STEM careers.

“We are excited to bring this to Irwin, and we think the students and parents will appreciate the enhancements made through the partnership with Discovery Education,” Irwin Principal Ingrid Laidroo-Martin said. “The next three years will be busy as we immerse ourselves in this program, and we are ready to get started.”


Volunteers cleaned, painted and spruced up the landscaping at nine Fort Wayne Community Schools buildings Thursday, July 20, as part of a special Day of Caring sponsored by United Way of Allen County.

Employees from six local businesses spent the day getting the schools in shape for the new school year, which begins Tuesday, Aug. 15.

The 25th annual United Way of Allen County Day of Caring will took place Wednesday, Aug. 23. Because school was already in session then, FWCS and United Way partnered with local businesses to create a special summer Day of Caring to focus on school buildings. This is the second year for this partnership. FWCS buildings have been included in Day of Caring for 10 years.

The friendships formed on Day of Caring often turn into long-term partnerships between the businesses and the schools, with employees returning to volunteer or help the schools in other ways throughout the school year.

“We appreciate the support we receive from our community,” FWCS Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “We are thankful that even though the official Day of Caring is later, we can still be a part of this annual event and work with the United Way of Allen County. These buildings will be welcoming sites when students are parents return next week for in-school registration.”

Below are the Day of Caring sites and the teams that worked at the sites:

Arlington Elementary, 8118 St. Joe Center Road – Vera Bradley

Brentwood Elementary, 3710 Stafford Drive – Fort Wayne Community Schools

Harris Elementary, 4501 Thorngate Drive – Vera Bradley

Kekionga Middle School, 2929 Engle Road – Johnson Controls

Portage Middle School, 3521 Taylor St. – Hylant Group

Scott Academy, 950 E. Fairfax Ave. – Hylant Group

South Wayne Elementary, 810 Cottage Ave. - NIPSCO

Study Elementary, 2414 Brooklyn Ave. – NIPSCO

Wayne High School, 9100 Winchester Road – Wells Far

Health Corner: Help your allergy/asthma sufferer have a healthy school year

We asked our partners at Parkview Community Nursing for some advice for students suffering from allergy and asthma as they head back to school for the 2017-18 school year.

First, parents should create an up-to-date asthma action plan, a written plan which includes personal information about our child’s asthma symptoms, medicines and physical activity limitations. The plan should include specific instructions about what to do if an asthma episode does not get better with prescribed medicine.

Your child’s educators should have an up-to-date copy of the action plan, include school nurse, teachers and coaches. They should also be aware your child’s asthma triggers and usual symptoms so they can be prepared to help your child if the need arises. If your child has exercise-induced asthma, the physical education teacher and coach(es) need to know.

Next, an asthma checkup with your physician, even if your child hasn’t had any symptoms or attacks in some time, is important for continued asthma and allergy management. During the visit, your physician should:

• Watch your child use an inhaler and provide guidance if he or she isn't using it effectively;

• Update asthma-control medicine prescriptions, if needed;

• Complete any forms required by the school to let your child have an asthma inhaler , nebulizer or other asthma-control medicine on school grounds;

• Give you a form that grants permission for your child to carry and self-administer his or her asthma-control medicine.

Also important is that you talk to your child about their asthma to help them have a healthy school year. Here are some topics to cover:

• Recognizing and controlling triggers;

• Identifying early-warning signs of an asthma episode;

• Administering asthma-control medicine (and knowing where it's kept at school);

• Knowing who to go to for help, if symptoms, or an episode, occur.

For information additional information on asthma, as well as the required forms for medication in schools, please visit the FWCS Health Services website.

FWCS is always looking for talented, passionate employees interested in working for and with children.

To find out what jobs are available at FWCS, visit the FWCS Jobs website and see if we have something that fits your interests.

Created By
Joyce McCartney


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