children

BG parents and students shower teachers with appreciation

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News On Teacher Appreciation Week, parents and students in the Bowling Green City School District wanted to remind school staff about the positive difference they make in children’s lives. So Jennifer DeVries, a parent volunteer at Conneaut Elementary for Teacher Appreciation Week, decided to give parents and kids an opportunity to drown out the negativity over school levy issues. “In the midst of community controversy over funding for a new school etc., I think it is more important than ever to let our community teachers know how much we appreciate them for all the hard work they do for our kids,” DeVries said. “There are so many negative comments. All of it kind of transfers to our teachers,” she said. DeVries’ hope was that not only will this expression of gratitude be a great gift to teachers, but perhaps unite the community in an effort to focus on the positive impact the schools and teachers have on the community and children. “My children have flourished in BG city schools and I believe a public display of affection and appreciation would go a long way in uniting our community to support our schools,” she said.   As for her own experience with Bowling Green schools, DeVries said she recalled watching the transformation of her daughter in kindergarten. “She came out reading and writing,” she said. DeVries said she grew up attending a private school, and has been pleasantly surprised about her family’s public school experience. “I’ve been amazed at how Bowling Green schools work. I’ve been impressed with the kids’ growing and learning.” Teachers juggle far more than reading, writing and arithmetic, DeVries said. They handle issues of children with no winter coats or no lunch money. “They have to teach them and meet all the standards. They have to be social workers, teachers and counselors all in one,” she said. And despite disagreements in the community about the school building issue, DeVries said there is one area where citizens can be united. “We can agree we’ve got some great teachers,” she said. Following are the letters submitted to BG Independent News:—————————————————————————————— It takes a village to raise a child and our BG teachers are a big part of that village. My family is so grateful to the teachers of Conneaut Elementary for the impact, encouragement, challenges, education, and love they have given our daughter,…

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Superheroes and sidekicks invited to save the world at Super Dash

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News With their capes and super powers, children are being invited to save the world – or at least a few acres in Bowling Green. The annual Super Dash is planned for May 4, at 2 p.m., on the obstacle course behind the Bowling Green Community Center, at 1245 W. Newton Road. The event takes place one week after the “Avengers 4” movie hits theaters. “So the kids are all going to be in superhero mode,” said Ivan Kovacevic, recreation coordinator with the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. “They will be entering the comic book world of make-believe.” Children are invited to come dressed as Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Spiderman, Flash – or whatever they wish. “Some kids create their own original superhero,” Kovacevic said. “It’s almost like a Halloween in May.” Their powers will be tested by the obstacle course, which is a little more than a mile and has about 18 natural and man-made challenges along the route. There will be tires to jump through, pyramids to climb, tunnels to crawl through, climbing walls to scale, balance beams to cross, hurdles to jump and cargo nets to traverse. Best of all – at least for the kids – there will also be three mud trenches. Mud trenches along the obstacle course “There’s something about jumping around in the mud that is fun for everyone,” Kovacevic said. “The kids totally get into it. It’s fun to watch.” For parents who want to avoid mud in their Batmobiles on the way home, there will be wash stations and a hose behind the community center to clean off muddy superheroes. The costumed kids will follow a storyline as they climb, tunnel and jump through the course. They will have to earn “galaxy rings” along the way in order to stop the villains, Kovacevic said. “Basically, they are saving the world,” he said. Adults are allowed to dress up as superheroes to be the super sidekicks of their children along the obstacle course. If the adults are not sure of superhero identities, all they need to do is check out the movies. “Every month there’s a new superhero movie coming out,” Kovacevic said. The annual Super Dash will also feature a Hero Festival, featuring local hometown heroes – like police officers, firefighters, military members and BGSU athletes. The kids will be able to compete in…


Music experience offered at BGSU for kids with sensory processing challenges

From DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC EDUCATION, BGSU COLLEGE OF MUSICAL ARTS This Saturday, April 6, BGSU will be hosting a Sensory-Friendly Musicking Experience for children with sensory processing challenges. This event will include both music-making and an interactive concert, facilitated by undergraduate student Emma Stumpf in cooperation with her faculty advisors Dr. Lisa Martin and Dr. Alicia Mrachko. Various accommodations will be available for event participants, including noise-reducing headphones, fidgets, puzzles, and more! There will be two sessions, both held in the Conrad in the Wolfe Center on campus. The first session, from noon to 1 p.m., is for students that prefer more guidance and structure. The second session, from 1:15-2:15 p.m., is for students that prefer more independence and exploration. This event is free and open to all ages, and siblings are invited, as well. Videos and information about all of the day’s activities are available on the website, https://tinyurl.com/sfmusicking. Pre-registration is required and is also accessed via website. Registration closes at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 5. 


BG preschool program more than a nicety – not a waste of funds

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Young children with developmental and physical disabilities learn and play side-by-side with “typical” children in Bowling Green City Schools preschool program. For some of these children, this is the only time in their education where there is complete integration with other children of all abilities. “The research shows it’s very important that preschoolers with special needs benefit from being with typical developing children,” Melanie Garbig, executive director of pupil services, explained at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. The preschool program has been the target of some school critics, who have questioned why the district spends taxpayer money on the program. Garbig answered that question – because the district is legally required to do so. The school district has offered preschool for ages 3 to 5 since 1994. The program was first located in the old central administration building, then the Jordan Family Center, then Crim Elementary, and now at Conneaut Elementary. Garbig was principal of Crim when the program was housed there. “It was great to have the preschool in Crim,” she said. There are currently four preschool classrooms in the morning and in the afternoon, with a maximum of 16 children – eight with special needs and eight typical peers. “We have a lot of specialists who help develop the children,” Garbig said. There are speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists. The services “can make them grow like little flowers,” she said. Bowling Green’s preschool program earned the Ohio Department of Education’s 5-Star rating last year. “That means we had met all the qualifications for a preschool program,” Garbig said. “It was actually quite a feat.” The program tracks the students’ progress with Early Learning Assessments. The district is finding that all the early intervention is paying off for many students with special needs. “It really results in students not needing IEPs (Individualized Education Program) when they enter kindergarten,” Garbig said. For those who question the value of such an integrated preschool, Garbig showed a video of an economist talking about the impact of early childhood education on the economy. “Why should I pay more taxes to pay for other people’s children,” he asked. Because, to not do so would be short-sighted, he answered. When other people’s children get more education and skills, everyone benefits, he said. That is the return for having early intervention. Not to mention, the district…


Imagination rules in the world of author & illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Tony DiTerlizzi writes creates stories that are read and viewed by millions of people. Most famous is the “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” both as a book and a movie. There’s “Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight,” a George Lucas approved expansion on the “Star Wars” franchise. Then there’s “Kenny and the Dragon,” The Wood County District Public Library’s Youth Community Reads book for this spring.  Of all those fans one reader remains the most critical to the best selling author. What will 10-year-old Tony think of what now 50-year-old Tony DiTerlizzi makes? Tony DiTerlizzi with Juno Kleinhans, who also likes to draw and write her own stories. DiTerlizzi recently visited Bowling Green as part of the Community Reads program. He visited schools, and in the evening gave a talk about how the 10-year-old from Florida grew up to become a beloved author and illustrator. Luck, he said, was important. Yes, people tell him that he’s lucky because he gets to spend his time  drawing and writing fanciful stories. When DiTerlizzi talked about luck, though, he went back to his childhood growing up in southern Florida. “Old people move down there and turn into lizards,” he said. He was not a good student. He preferred sitting in class drawing. In those doodles he unspooled the stories that were being screened in his mind. Then came time for him to give an oral book report on the classic children’s book “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary.  “An oral book report is like oral surgery,” DiTerlizzi  told the audience of parents and kids. Then he crouched,, trying to make himself as small as he could, to demonstrate how he presented his book report. He had failed to master even the basic details of the book. The problem was, DiTerlizzi said, was that the books he loved were picture books, such as Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad.” While Cleary’s novel had a few illustrations, it was mostly words. But DiTerlizzi was in luck. His teacher had an inkling of what the problem was. So he gave 10-year-old Tony another chance. Pick two scenes from the book and draw pictures of them. Suddenly the youngster was engaged, reading the book scene by scene finding more than enough ideas. He’d read as he’d never had before, and passed with flying colors. “I was lucky because there was an adult…


La Conexion asks Latta to stand up against family separations at border

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A group of citizens wants U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, to take a stand against family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. Latta has stated that the separation of families coming into the U.S. is “not necessary.” But that falls far short of calling out the practice as “a crime against humanity,” said Beatriz Maya, director of La Conexion of Wood County. “There was an intentionality in separating children from parents as a way to stop immigration,” Maya said during a meeting Thursday between La Conexion members and David Wirt, district director for Latta. “There was never an intention of returning these kids to their parents,” Maya said, noting the federal government’s admission that an insufficient record system now means that many children are still separated from their parents. Maya and others presented Wirt with a letter for Latta, asking that he support the termination of the family separations, the immediate reunification of children and parents, and allocations for more agents to process asylum claims. Wirt pointed out that Latta has stated that the separations are not necessary. That isn’t enough, Maya said. “The point is, what are we going to do about it,” she asked. The members of La Conexion asked for a face-to-face meeting with Latta about their concerns. Wirt said he would pass on that request to Latta’s office in Washington, D.C., where all the scheduling is handled. Amanda Schackow talks about family separations as Nicholas Eckhart listens. Most of the families separated at the border were not sneaking into the country, but openly seeking asylum – which is their right under international law, said La Conexion member Amanda Schackow. However, they were torn apart prior to any hearings held. “It’s pretty clear this was meant as a deterrent,” despite the U.S. experiencing a 20-year low in the number of asylum seekers, she said. Without their parents, many of the children had to represent themselves at asylum hearings – which determined if they would be deported, adopted or put in foster care. Many of the children were classified as “unaccompanied minors,” which was only because the U.S. government had separated them. “Those parents have a right to know where their kids are,” Schackow said. “That  is morally wrong.” “We have basically stolen children,” she said. Nicholas Eckhart said the separation policy is beneath the U.S. “It’s a crime against humanity,”…


BG students and community team up for magic of reading

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The second graders at Crim Elementary inched in as close as possible as their teacher sat down in the rocking chair with a new book. They leaned in, some bouncing with excitement, as Stacey Higgins cracked open the magic of the new book, “Kenny and the Dragon.” This is the moment that teachers love – when children are visibly enthused about reading. And this is the moment that is recreated each year with the 1BookBG program that unifies all the elementaries and the community in reading one storybook. “It’s the community experience – to see our schools and community work on this together is wonderful,” Higgins said. Every elementary student family is given a copy of the book – this year being “Kenny and the Dragon” by Tony DiTerrlizi. For the next month, students will be reading it at school and with their families at home. And businesses throughout the community will offer trivia questions on the book. “I love reading,” said second grader Liam Walsh. “I like that reading helps me get smarter. All I want to get is smarter.” Walsh had big plans Monday to go home and read the first four chapters. “I’ll read literally all day,” he said. Kenley Mangold and Mason Naus check out their new books. His classmates Kenley Mangold and Mason Naus were paging through their new books, professing their love for reading. “I read every book every day,” Kenley said of her book collection at home. “I keep telling my mom I need more books.” Naus was particularly excited because DiTerrliz is one of his favorite authors. “I have two bookshelves, actually three,” Naus said. “I need more bookshelves.” Each year, the 1BookBG books are purchased with donations from PTOs, community organizations and local businesses. This year the district is holding a “family night” on Thursday at the middle school, from 6 to 8 p.m., for activities involving the 1BookBG. The goal is to bring the families of the community together to celebrate literacy and build connections between the schools.   Out in the community, 25 businesses have volunteered to be trivia sites for 1BookBG this year. Students can ask for trivia questions about “Kenny and the Dragon,” and if they answer correctly they get a ticket that can be placed in a drawing back at their schools. Winners get to have lunch with their…