Warsaw Community Schools Board learned about the Megalodon project at Madison Elementary School.

Erryn Blake, digital learning specialist at Madison, became an ambassador of the Field Museum.

Blake got a letter stating she was accepted to the ambassador program that has educators from Illinois and Indiana learning how to teach object-based projects. Out of the 15 people that started the program, Blake was one of 11 that completed it.

Madison had 536 students and chose to focus on fourth grade.

In order to do her object-based project with the fourth grade, Blake chose the topic of the megaladon because “kids like sharks, kids like ancient sharks and they’re really cool,” she said.

The fourth grade consisted of 86 students. At the beginning of the project, Blake said 20 students said they liked hands-on projects, six said they weren’t really into it and the rest of the grade wanted to learn using their own devices.

Blake said she used different ways to increase the number of students who liked hands-on projects.

“I brought megaladon teeth,” Blake said. “And (the students) just lit up.”

Blake also said she had the grade mark on the floor how big the megaladon was in one of the hallways. The ancient shark was skinnier than what it normally would be because the hallway wasn’t wide enough.

She stated the other classes started wondering what was going on.

“The fourth grade started to educate the rest of the school,” Blake said.

“At the end of the year when I had to take the tape up, (the kids) literally cried,” she said, but the maintenance team wanted to buff the floor.

The class also 3-D printed megalodon teeth and each student got one.

At the end of the project, 66% of the fourth grade liked object-based learning, while 20% wanted their own devices to learn, Blake said.

The school board also learned how the Gateway Adult Education program went this year.

Steve Ferber of the Gateway Adult Education program said there are two sites for the program – Warsaw and Rochester.

The program offers morning and evening classes in several different topics, such as high school equivalency and integration education training.

One example of the IET program is the partnership with Robinson Construction, where several employees enrolled in an IET program to learning welding for their job, Ferber said. Robinson Construction now has seven employees that have welding certifications.

During the 2018-19 school year, the program has had 39.5 contact hours, with 7% of students separating from the program without gains and 45% receiving high school equivalencies. During the 2017-2018 school year, the program had 64.3 contact hours, with 43% of those enlisted separating without any gains and 33% of those enrolled receiving their high school equivalencies, Ferber said.

Usually, the program would run July to July, but this year, teachers worked December through July.

“Last year, we were looking to dismantle the program,” Superintendent David Hoffert said. However, Ferber took overt the program and made it succeed.

The school board also made a statement in regard to the death of 8-year-old Gideon Cook on June 10. He was struck by a car when crossing Husky Trail outside of Harrison Elementary School. Hoffert said, “While our grief is no where near the family, the school district mourns the loss of Gideon.”

Hoffert also stated the district is looking to update safety procedures for the school district.

“Warsaw schools is dedicated to safety,” he said.