Area youngsters put on lifejackets and boarded the research vessel the W.G. Jackson on May 7 for a two-and-a-half-hour hands-on, investigative science experience which is truly a unique learning experience. In this floating classroom, aquatic science instructors guide participants in the use of sampling equipment and instruments to compile water quality data from Lake Michigan and shoreline water bodies. Sampling equipment used on a standard cruise includes a plankton net, Van Dorn water bottles, and a PONAR dredge. Equipment for determining water color, transparency (secchi disk), and temperature is also found on the vessels. Each of the main cabins on the vessels has a laboratory with stations for water analysis including dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and conductivity. Other types of analyses can include nitrates, phosphates and alkalinity. Microscopes with video cameras are used for examining biological samples. Other instruments on the vessels are a global positioning system (GPS) and depth finders. Data from sampling stations are compared and contrasted to develop an understanding of Lake Michigan and inland lake or river ecology. For school groups, attention is paid to aligning the cruise experience with Michigan science standards.
by ANA OLVERA A port-a-potty was stationed in front of Roguewood Elementary in Rockford on October 15. This all came about when Principal Michael Hibbeln told Roguewood Elementary students that if they met their fundraising goal he would do something wacky in return. The cause was to raise money for the school’s PTO by doing a walk. The school’s PTO funds transportation for field trips, after-school programs, start-up costs for teachers, and books for the library, among other things. One night while brainstorming ideas, Hibbeln’s two children suggested spending a day in a port-a-potty. He figured it would be a great idea. “They (kids) avoid them (port-a-potties) like the plague,” Hibbeln joked. The idea was a gimmick to help motivate students to collect pledges. Students actually met and rose over their $20,000 goal. Hibbeln stayed in the port-a-potty from 8:15 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. He spent the day reading, listening to a radio, and doing paperwork. When students met their goal last year, Hibblen sat in the school’s trophy case. He has yet to come up with any ideas for next year.
Respectful, responsible student sensitive toward others Skylar Berlin is known at Roguewood Elementary as a confident and resilient student who has a wonderful sense of humor. She is the daughter of Kathy and Joe Berlin. Her teachers describe Skylar as a respectful, responsible and caring student who is honest and sensitive to the feelings of others. She is very competitive, yet demonstrates good sportsmanship when she doesn’t win. She is extremely focused and on task when it comes to just about anything-athletics, hobbies, studies and her desire to do her best. Skylar has an iron will and a calm determination to accomplish goals. She is also caring and concerned about all creatures, from her pets-a cat and dog-to the smallest bugs. She has been known to rescue insects, worms and other creatures by moving them from harm’s way. A personal confidence and strong desire to do the right thing, Skylar is focused, organized and completes any project she starts. She is mature beyond her years and many skills come to her very naturally. Her determination is a strength that leads her to prepare well for competitive events such as Jump Rope for Heart, which she won two years in a row by diligent practice. She won the hustle award at basketball camp in summer of 2008 and first place in gymnastics with the best cartwheel and round-off. Skylar excels in all she attempts and she is very active, participating in basketball, softball, dance and running in the Roguewood mileage club. She began water-skiing and was a natural. Other hobbies include rollerblading, bocce ball, four-square and swimming. Skylar’s determination toward success, plus a caring sensitivity to others and natural tender heart make her an Example in Excellence at Roguewood Elementary.
This Student Run Credit Union is the “reel” deal! Red Carpet Events will be held in three Rockford area schools. Rockford Community Federal Credit Union is making savings fun in schools through a movie and celebrity themed, fully functioning “reel” Student Run Credit Union. Schools participating in programs are Belmont, Roguewood, and Our Lady of Consolation School. The schools recognize the need to teach students how to save for the future. In a partnership with Rockford Community Federal Credit Union the Student Run Credit Union was established. This program is now in its 6th year of operation. “By partnering with the schools, it provides the students an opportunity and a first hand experience with money management and financial education. Students learn as employees and as members who make deposits and withdrawals. Good habits learned early are more likely to last a lifetime,” said Connie Taylor, CEO of Rockford Community Federal Credit Union. These Credit Unions are now fully functional and run once a week for students to be able to make deposits, withdrawals and learn how to save money. The students get rewarded for good savings through games and prizes. As an added bonus, students in 5th grade have the opportunity to become an employee of the Student Run Credit Union. Lisa Smith, the Educational Coordinator for Rockford Community Federal Credit Union, oversees the Student Run Credit Unions. She says, “in these tough economic times our goal with the all Student Run Credit Unions is to provide a “reel” life financial literacy-based program that teaches students about saving money, decision-making and critical thinking while they are young.” The Credit Union hopes that by having the Credit Union, students will be more responsible with their money management and finances in the future. The Red Carpet was rolled out February 9, at Belmont Elementary, February 11 in Roguewood Elementary, and February 12 in Our Lady of Consolation School. These super star celebrations had snacks and Emmy pictures with celebrities for all student members.