CRYSTAL FALLS—If several board committees agree, Forest Park will be getting a school garden in the next year.
Elementary teacher Chandra Ziegler made the proposal and asked the School Board for its blessing during its June 23 regular meeting.
“I always wanted to start one,” she told the board. “My mom worked at an environmentally-based elementary school for 20 years, and I saw all the benefits of their efforts, from gardening to composting to working closely with the ecosystems.”
Ziegler said she attended a session about school gardens during an early childhood conference in Marquette early this year. That prompted her to investigate what can be done at Forest Park. She spoke about the benefits of a school garden, including higher scores on standardized achievement tests, environmental benefits and getting kids more closely connected with nature.
“It all ties together with helping children succeed in the classroom and beyond, giving them a sense of pride in their school and community,” the teacher said. She asked for
permission to call it a “school garden” in hopes of raising more donations and grants. “There’s lots of money out there to support school gardens.”
The board referred her request to committee for study. If approved, Ziegler asked that the garden be created in front of the school.
• Forest Park’s new girls varsity basketball coach is Jackie Giuliani, and its new JV girls coach is Kim Bjork.
Giuliani has been the Lady Trojans’ JV coach for several years under Jeff Syrjanen, who has stepped down from the varsity job. As Jackie Stoor, she was a star player on the Lady Trojans team that reached the state finals in 1995.
Bjork, as Kim Hilberg, is also a former Forest Park basketball and volleyball standout. She is currently varsity coach of the FP volleyball team, a position she will continue, and earlier coached junior high basketball teams.
• The board tabled bids for sidewalk, curb and railing work. Board President Jim Nocerini cited some discrepancies, and board members seemed to feel it would be best to rebid the work. Once updated quotes are in, the contract will go to the low bidder.
• The district is still looking for a speech therapist. “They are few and far between,” Finance Committee Chair Lisa Bloomburg said, “and they are definitely needed up here.”
• The district will print its student handbook itself, in 8½-by-11 form. Superintendent Becky Waters said the district wanted it in a book form, but that would cost “substantially more.”
“I think for the sake of economic frugalness, we’re going to copy it ourselves.”
The student handbook will be distributed at the annual open house, which will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 26 (instead of Wednesday, due to a number of conflicts including a JV football game and the first day of the county fair).
• High school-middle school Principal Lisa Olson reported she is looking at a workbook that can be reused for her econ class. A bigger problem is the eighth grade history book—the present books in that class are 20 to 30 years old,
Olson said she hopes to get by with them for one more year. “This is the last large class for eighth grade,” she noted, “so we did not do it for this year because then there would be extra,” She said she would prepare a book proposal for next year.
“It’s not that the textbook itself is bad,” Olson said. “It’s just that literally, after 20 or 30 years of use, they’re falling apart.”