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‘Writing lesson’ on Declaration of Independence

Westside Elementary 2nd grader Malorie Pippins transcribes an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence.This week students at Westside Elementary School are learning about the leaders, documents and origins of the United States of America as the nation marks 225 years since the Constitution was signed.

Like many of her colleagues, second grade teacher Heather Jacobs orchestrated hands-on lessons to demonstrate the challenges the Founding Fathers faced, including writing documents like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence with quill and ink.

After lunch on September 18, Mrs. Jacobs’ students used brightly colored feathers and small cups of black paint to replicate the endeavor.

“Aren’t you glad we don’t have to do all our work like this,” she told the group of about 20 pupils struggling to write the second paragraph of the Declaration: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all me are created equal …”

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Students return to the classroom

Carolyn Davis of Glen St. Mary drops her son Garret, 4, off for his first day of preschool the morning of August 20.About 4500 students returned to Baker County schools the morning of August 20, with another 500 expected in classrooms by the end of the week.

“It was very smooth day,” commented Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson during a school board meeting that evening.

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Mealtime makoever coming to local schools

BCHS art teacher Tiffany Armoreda paints the new lunch room mural at BCMS.Some students want Asian food, others sub sandwiches, and all of them want more pizza options. But the Baker County school district wants students to eat healthier foods, and it’s Cathy Golon’s job to see that both groups are happy.

Beginning August 20, when students return from summer break and experience the district’s revamped meals program, she’ll know if she succeeded.

Ms. Golon, the district’s nutrition services director, has been working with a Winter Springs, FL consultant, Sue Tatum of Vinca Marketing & Communications, to implement changes to the program, many of which are mandated by the federal agency responsible for funding about 70 percent of it.

They’ve revised school menus, but also how the food is presented to students, in hopes of making district-provided meals more appetizing and more nutritious. That way, Ms. Golon said, more students will participate in meal plans, which helps “keep them on campus and keep them safe.”

The effort started last spring when Ms. Tatum conducted focus groups and surveys with students at the middle and high schools to uncover their preferences. She was paid with a $4000 grant from the USDA (Department of Agriculture), the same agency that funds most the district’s food services budget.

“We wanted them to share what they wanted for the upcoming school year and we explained how the meal patterns would be changing and how best to combine those,” Ms. Golon explained this week.

For instance, she said, students on school meal plans will be required to have a specified amount of a “red-orange” vegetables, like carrots or sweet potatoes, but they prefer them as is, rather than made into something else, like sweet potato fries or carrot cake.

“We’re taking what they said to heart as we’re making the changes,” Ms. Golon said.

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State revises BCMS grade, now an A

Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson found out July 20 that Baker County Middle School did not receive a B-grade as reported by the Florida Department of Education earlier this month; it got an “A” for the sixth consecutive year.

She said a review by the state of school grade data showed that 40 districts in Florida had schools that received the wrong grade.

“We’re really excited about that,” she said some 10 minutes after receiving a call from a state education official.

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