Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
By Shelley Grieshop
Young Redskins seek green thumb
  ST. HENRY - Six elementary students approached the school board Monday night in a quest to build a flower garden on school property.
The St. Henry fourth-grade students and their teacher, Sharon Chatwood, sought permission to build a 22-by-13-foot garden at the edge of the elementary building to use as a learning tool for all students at the school.
Board members listened as each student read details of the proposal; no action was taken at the meeting. Besides the creation of the garden, the students also are seeking a storage shed to keep shovels, rakes and other tools and supplies nearby.
The boys and girls told the board they would seek donations, hold fundraisers and solicit items for the project as needed. They did not ask for funding but did say they hope to obtain grant funding, if possible.
The garden would include flowers, bushes, a trellis, a water feature and other items that would be cared for by the students year-round. The children also would seek help from the school's vocational agriculture department to prepare the soil and possibly supply fertilizer such as manure, they said.
"We'd like to do this organic," Chatwood said, adding the students may learn how to create their own compost pile in the future.
Chatwood said the youngsters have worked on the proposed project all year, designing the layout with help from the Internet and choosing plants that would attract specific wildlife such as butterflies and birds.
"We thought about doing a 'donation exchange day,' " Chatwood added.
She explained the event would allow district residents to bring in plants they don't want or ones they have in excess and take home new ones that others discard. Extras could be planted in the garden.
Coldwater schools' gifted class created a similar project several years ago to the west of the elementary school. The fenced-in "science lab" includes a variety of plants, a small pond and fountain, trees, birdhouses and other types of landscape.
In other business Monday, board members:
• Watched a PowerPoint presentation about the upcoming school levy. Superintendent Rod Moorman and board members have begun appearing at numerous village and organizational meetings to show the presentation and field questions about the levy, which will face voters in May.
• Accepted the resignations of girl's varsity basketball coach Charlie Maier and boy's varsity basketball coach Joe Niekamp, both effective at the end of the current school year. Replacements have not yet been named. The board approved the non-renewal of Maier as a part-time high school math teacher.
• Accepted the resignation of longtime second-grade teacher Nancy Mueller, effective June 1. Mueller has served the district her entire teaching career - 381/2 years.
• Approved a long list of limited contracted teachers, continuing contracted teachers, all extra-duty supplemental contracts for the 2009-2010 school year and classified limited contracts.
• Approved the Reduction In Force (RIF) for Kailey Brinley as a part-time Title I reading teacher for the elementary. The termination is part of the school's cost containment plan across the district.
• Approved the revised five-year financial forecast presented by Treasurer Glenn Miller.
• Learned the FFA banquet is 7 p.m. April 21.
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