Stories from Scott 2

Your story matters. You matter.

February 4, 2016

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Two sisters warm hearts, bodies of Scott County residents

For the last six years, Ashley Martin and her sister, Abbey, have collected coats and blankets to make sure no one in Scott County feels the winter’s chill.

“I talked with my mom and heard about all the people in need,” said Ashley Martin, Scottsburg Middle School seventh-grade student. “That’s mostly how I started it. I felt bad and everything.”

When Ashley Martin was in second grade at Vienna-Finley Elementary School, she spoke with Holly Asdell, school social worker, about starting a coat drive.

“Her mom contacted me stating Ashley was really serious about wanting to help, but she wasn’t sure how to go about it and wondered if I could help ask for donations through the school. Of course, I wanted to help,” Asdell said. “It’s not often that a student comes to me or another adult saying, ‘I want to do something about this; I have to help in some way.’”

Asdell and Ashley Martin created a plan, where they could collect gently-used coats of any size and would take one month’s proceeds of the Friday popcorn sales to donate to the Scott County Clearinghouse. At VFES, the Parent-Teacher Organization pops popcorn on Fridays to sell to students for $1; the money goes toward various local agencies that the students vote for annually. Each year, the students vote to give money toward the Martin sisters’ coat and blanket drive.

“The students really like to help and this is something that they can understand when they donate a coat or buy popcorn, they know that their donation or popcorn money is going directly to helping someone stay warm during the winter,” Asdell said.

Because the coats and money are donated to the Scott County Clearinghouse, the collected coats and the new coats — which are purchased with the popcorn sale proceeds — go to not just any families with students at VFES, but they go to families and individuals throughout Scott County.

“Here at VFES, we teach students about Random Acts of Kindness and how giving to others not only helps other people but also helps you feel better about yourself,” Asdell said. “The students do get excited about the coat drive. They love to participate. When they put their coat in the donation box, you can see the big smile spread across their face.”

When Ashley Martin entered the sixth-grade and started going to Scottsburg Middle School, her sister, Abbey Martin, continued her family’s tradition of collecting coats to donate to the Clearinghouse. But, Abbey added her own spin on the drive this year — she wanted to collect blankets.

“It will make other people happy, and it is fun to give other stuff to other people,” said Abbey Martin, who is a fifth-grade student at VFES.

This year, Abbey Martin collected 26 blankets, 14 pairs of gloves, five hats, and 53 coats. In the six years the Martin sisters have orchestrated the drive, more than $2,000 and more than 400 coats have been collected, Ashley Martin said.

“I plan to carry this on through high school,” Ashley Martin said. “I feel good about it.”

In 2014, Ashley Martin’s efforts were recognized by Mayor Bill Graham and the City of Scottsburg when she won the Mayor’s Good Neighbor Award in the Individual Youth category. The award is given to groups and individuals who dedicate their time and resources to make Scottsburg a better place to live and work.

“I was really excited,” Ashley Martin said about winning the award. “I was up against high schoolers.”

Ashley and Abbey Martin’s dedication to keeping the people of Scott County warm during the winter months embodies the Golden Rule and strong character. At Scott County School District 2, the Martin sisters’ story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.

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SES teachers use annual trip to create an interactive class project

Two Scottsburg Elementary School teachers took a typical field trip to the zoo and turned it into an experience that students will likely not forget.

Using the backdrop of the annual first-grade field trip to the Louisville Zoo, teachers Kala Cudjoe and Amy Hubbard discovered a way to meet their science standards and keep their students’ interest at the same time. As she was planning the annual trip, Cudjoe noticed a new animal adoption program the zoo offered. From there, Cudjoe and Hubbard planned a project that included their students adopting animals, fundraising, using technology, creating a book, and building a habitat for the animals they adopted.

“We wanted to do this because it fit perfectly with our science standards. First-graders have made habitat dioramas for the last few years, but this project gave them a real purpose and an authentic audience. They had to learn and work in order to help the Louisville Zoo. The students were thoroughly engaged the entire time,” Cudjoe said.

“This was a great opportunity for students to be introduced to researching, use technology to create a book, and create a project of their choice by making a poster, diorama, picture collage, or build a habitat in Toca Builders to present what they learned,” Hubbard added.

By visiting the zoo and doing a little research, the first-grade students were able to learn firsthand about animals they might want to adopt. Cudjoe said her class even exchanged a few emails with a Louisville Zoo animal expert about the animals and adoption process. The classes received a formal letter asking the students to adopt an animal and build a habitat for the animal from the zoo.

“As a class, we voted on what animals to adopt. My class adopted a grizzly bear and a zebra. Mrs. Cudjoe’s class and my class together adopted an anaconda,” Hubbard said.

“Mrs. Cudjoe’s class adopted a meerkat and a polar bear. Some students wanted to learn about dolphins, so we allowed a few students to research the dolphin even though we were not able to adopt one from the Louisville Zoo,” Cudjoe said. “The biggest challenge was deciding what animals we were going to adopt. Each class opened up a Canvas discussion to allow the students to share their thoughts. We ended up tallying up the students’ choices.”

After the adoption animals were selected, the students collected photographs and research information to create their books using an app called Book Creator. The books were later printed off to display in the first-grade hallway, so other students could learn about the animals after the project was completed. The students also created a poster, diorama, or a picture collage in an app. Some students used an app, Toca Builders, to build a habitat. Toca Builders is an app that is similar to Minecraft, where the users build anything their imagination allows, brick by brick.

“We then displayed our finished projects in the hallway for others to critique and learn from, so they had an authentic audience,” Hubbard said.

During the height of the project, the classes hosted a Word-a-thon to raise money to donate toward their animal adoptions. Parents and guardians pledged money for every sight word their student could read. The amount could be from one penny to 50 cents per word. The classes also asked the community for pledges and invited parents and adults to join the students for the Word-a-thon.

“We played music, had snacks, and danced in-between sets of words. We even had balloon animals,” Cudjoe said. “Thirty-six students and 18 adults participated in the Word-a-thon. Combined the students read over 3,200 words.”

The students raised more than $400 during the Word-a-thon for the animals they adopted.

“The money went to the Animals Depend On People To Survive program at the zoo,” Hubbard said. “The money is used to help feed and care for the animals. The Louisville Zoo is a not-for-profit zoo, and many of the animals at the zoo are rescued from poor conditions.”

For adopting each animal, the Louisville Zoo sent the classes a stuffed animal that resembles the adopted animal, a pin with a picture of the animal, and a certificate.

“There were many benefits to completing this project: we raised money for a good cause, learned about different types of habitats, how to research and write an informational piece, worked with others, explored technology, and challenged ourselves,” Hubbard said. “The only challenge was that we couldn’t adopt every animal! The students were so proud and excited that they wished they could help support the zoo even more!”

By taking an annual field trip and turning it into a meaningful, impactful project is what sets Scott 2 apart from other schools. At Scott County School District 2, the first-grade class’ story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.

Upcoming District Events

Events For Week Beginning Sunday, February 7, 2016

Board MeetingTime: Starting 2/9/2016 at 6:00 PM
Event Groups: Event Groups: District Events, School Board Meeting
Location: Administration Office Board Room [Scott County School District 2]