Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fifth-grade student Matthew Miller works with a hands-on science kit at Benton Elementary School on Friday, March 21, 2014. Benton is one of the several schools in Elkhart County that will start STEM-focused lessons in the coming school year. (James Buck / The Elkhart Truth/File)

Roosevelt Elementary School kindergartner Ana Hernandez uses a straw to blow air on a tennis ball to move it across the floor. The students conducted a science experiment Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Roosevelt is one of several schools in Elkhart County that will start STEM-focused lessons in the coming school year. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth/File)

An artistic rendering shows plans for a new playground at Chamberlain Elementary in Goshen. The school announced Friday, May 23, 2014, that it has raised $91,000 over the past five years for the playground. (Photo Supplied)
Changes are coming to Elkhart County schools this fall

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 1:47 p.m.

Schools in Elkhart County are going through major changes this summer.

Here are five ways the school your child attends could be different this fall. 

More hands-on learning

One big push in education right now represents a shift away from traditional classroom practices and a focus on letting kids lead their own learning, with the teacher functioning as a “facilitator.”

Sometimes this is called STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEAM, which includes an “A” for Art.

Roosevelt Elementary School in Elkhart will be an official STEAM school this fall. 

Goshen’s Chamberlain Elementary just received more than $1 million from the state to implement expeditionary learning – another way of saying STEM.

Chandler Elementary, also in Goshen, is doing another STEM program called Project Lead the Way. 

Fairfield Community Schools is restructuring its three elementary schools to support STEM programs also.

School uniforms

Two local schools will require students to dress alike in the coming year.

Roosevelt Elementary is implementing uniforms as part of its transition to a STEAM school. Students will wear solid light blue, navy blue, yellow and white collared tops with solid navy blue, khaki and black pants, shorts, capris, jumpers or skirts.

The dress code policy will allow dress shoes, athletic shoes and sandals, but flip-flops and heels will not be permitted.

At West Goshen Elementary, students will wear a solid-colored, collared shirt with sleeves but can wear whatever style of pants and shoes they choose.

New playground

Chamberlain is getting a new playground over the summer, built by volunteers and paid for by fundraising efforts over the past five years. 

The old playground at the school was about 25 years old, and it was rusty and broken in spots, the school’s PTO president Jess Elliott said. 

Safer spaces

Elkhart Community Schools will be enclosing the cafeteria at Memorial High School and building a safer entryway for Tipton Street Center before the end of 2014, although those projects may not be done before school starts in the fall. 

New, safer locks will also be added to classroom doors for the coming school year. 

Breaking ground

Goshen Community Schools’ major construction work will start before school begins this year, but construction will continue for many months. 

Changes students might see happening around them include new classroom space at both the middle and high schools and a completely new pool at the middle school. 

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks
Reporter Angelle Barbazon contributed to this story.