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Sunday, May 1, 2016

State's top educator visits Greencastle school

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sixth-grader Elise Merrell (right) discussed a pendulum project with Suellen Reed, Indiana superintendent of public instruction, during her visit to Greencastle Middle School on Tuesday, Aug. 28. Also at the table with Merrell is Steven Butts.
Technology was in use in every classroom at Greencastle Middle School when Indiana's top education official visited GMS classrooms Tuesday.

Smart boards and classroom computers fit alongside hands-on science and art projects as seen during a visit by Suellen Reed, state superintendent of public instruction.

Reed toured the school with Principal Shawn Gobert and Greencastle Superintendent Robert Green as part of her effort to visit all school districts in the state during her four-year term. Tuesday's visit to Putnam County was the third for Reed, who has previously visited South Putnam and North Putnam schools.

It was the technology in the classroom that kept capturing Reed's interest as she interacted with students and teachers.

"It's great," Technology Education teacher Shields explained about the Smart Board that projected assignment information. "I'm not sure I can ever go back now."

By go back, Shields referred to the long-time teaching tools of chalkboards and paper hand-outs to get information across to his students.

The Smart Board has become such an integral part of his class, Shields told Reed, that his eighth-grade students each teach a chapter to their classmates using the large white screens and computer projector.

As one project, Shields explained that his students have to run a factory, designing all of the production and operations of the factory on the Smart Board.

They can animate the project to see if their factory operates smoothly, or where improvements can be made.

Reed's visit through the school began in the sixth-grade corridor, passing through Jane Roberson's language arts room, touring castle projects in social studies teacher Matt Huber's class, checking out the media center, and observing a pendulum project in science teacher Staci Stoffregen's class.

In Margaret Huggard's art class, Reed saw seventh-graders putting together their first compositions of the year.

And she was intrigued by the artwork on the ceiling tiles, painted by past eighth-graders to replicate the style of masters such as Michaelangelo and Monet.

She also granted an interview to student journalist Nolan Sappenfield, an eighth-grader writing an article for The Inkling newspaper.

Asked to give advice to students, Reed urged them to "work had, and pay attention to their teachers and principals."

Principal Gobert commended Reed's timing for her visit, noting that the school was in top shape for Tuesday evening's Meet the Teacher Night.

But he stressed that all of the hands-on projects ongoing in the classrooms Tuesday are the usual fare for GMS students.

GMS has about 460 students in grades six to eight.

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