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    Allen County officials say they are waiting to see where future funding will come from for statewide prekindergarten now that Gov. Mike Pence has withdrawn an application for $80 million in federal funds.
  • For many, home is where the school is
    Michele Berkes-Adams tried several public and charter schools before she withdrew her 14-year-old son, Caedmon, and daughter, Delphi, 12, and started schooling them herself.“My son has Asperger’s.
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    The academic performance of home-schoolers runs the gamut, said Robert Kunzman, managing director of the International Center for Home Education Research at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Working with a scooter board to promote stimulating gravity receptors, teachers and staff use the new sensory room at Southwick Elementary.
education notebook

Sensory rooms helping students

A year ago, students at Southwick Elementary School with sensory issues might have been the same ones being called “klutz” or being asked to leave class for disrupting learning.

But with the help of a new sensory room, the school is seeing fewer students acting up and more learning taking place, Southwick Elementary principal Natalie Drummond said.

“This time last year, we had nine students who had to be taken out of classes; … so far this year, we’ve only had one,” she said.

Drummond explained that students with Sensory Processing Disorders – or SPD – may over-respond to sensations or under-respond to stimulation like pain or extreme hot or cold. This can lead to frustration, which then leads to students acting up, she said.

“At that point, we need to remove the students from class, and they could be out for a significant amount of time,” Drummond said.

That time can span from a couple of minutes to an hour or more, she said.

In February, Southwick Elementary teamed with East Allen County Schools’ special services department and Lisa Compton of Sensory Critters to create a Student Sensory Room. The room was completed in February. Inside the room are a variety of stations, each designed to help individual students based on their needs, Compton said.

A green mat distinguishes the active area from the blue calming area and equipment like a skidder board and vestibular swing help students develop core strength and to reorganize and relax their bodies. A sand table helps with developing fine-motor skills and handwriting, and a nearby tent with a weighted blanket inside can be used for calming a child, Compton said.

Southwick’s sensory room was a pilot program, but the district already has plans to create rooms in additional schools, said Connie Brown, interim director of special services. The next location is likely to be Heritage Elementary School, she said.

“This is a benefit to all students, not just students with special needs,” Brown said. “It’s designed to help any child.”


•The university has received an estate gift of $365,300 that will be the first contribution to IPFW’s new Honors Program Endowment to support student research, creative inquiry and intellectual discovery. New honors curriculum will be introduced in the fall of 2014.

•The university will host the annual Career Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday in the Athletic Field House. The career fair is open to current students and alumni at no charge and includes full-time, part-time and internship opportunities. Prep sessions are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the IPFW Career Services office in Kettler Hall, Room 109.

Indiana Tech

Brian Engelhart was recently appointed to the position of vice president of marketing at Indiana Tech. Engelhart will lead the university’s integrated marketing communications efforts and will oversee the creative services department.

Huntington University

•Huntington University students are offering a free home-school physical education program for children in kindergarten through fifth grade with a special preschool class for children ages 3 and 4. Class time is from 1:15 to 2 p.m. in the Merillat Complex. The dates for the sessions are Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 and Nov. 7, 14 and 21 and Dec. 5. Registration is at 1 p.m. Oct. 3. For more information, contact Jody Davenport at or 359-4214.

University of Saint Francis

•The University of Saint Francis will host the Three Rivers Science Symposium on Oct. 4 for high school sophomores through seniors. The activities will include research techniques, group discussions and laboratory experience for students interested in the fields of science and technology. The registration deadline is Monday. For more information, call Carolyn Exner at 399-8067.

•“Painting the Untouched Landscape” by Tom Keesee will open Saturday and run through Nov. 8 at the University of Saint Francis’ North Campus gallery, 2702 Spring St.

•The University of Saint Francis will offer continuing education for educators with a webinar series “Learning is Forever: Celebrating the Power of Professional Development.” On Thursday, Mike Gorman will present “Revelation, Reflections and Resources from the PBL Super Highway” and on Thursday, Chris Riley of Southwest Allen County Schools will present “Navigating Literacy in the Secondary Education Content Areas.” On Thursday, Gorman will present “STEM and PBL: Next Generation Science, Literacy, Math, Art and the New Standards … More than Dessert!” The webinars run from 4 to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Dan Torlone at 399-7700, ext. 8408.

Education Notebook Listings appear on Mondays. To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.