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  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette School resource officer Chris Kramer's dog, Alvin, visits with Whispering Meadows Elementary School students, from left, Peyton Maack, Nehemiah Givands, Filippas Pliastos, and Kians Senter.

  • Calinski

Monday, March 05, 2018 1:00 am

Education Notebook

SACS' K-9 officer a deterrent and reward

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

When Chris Kramer began working as a school resource officer this academic year, he brought along his longtime partner – Alvin, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois and German shepherd mix.

“Kids love him,” the Allen County sheriff's officer said in an email about his K-9 partner. “It is not uncommon for a flock of students to surround Alvin at a passing period and pet him. I've seen kids have full conversations with him as if he was going to converse back.”

The two are a regular presence in Southwest Allen County Schools, rotating among the 7,300-student district's nine schools. They have worked together for six years.

Bringing Alvin into the buildings was a collaborative effort between the district and police, Kramer said, noting the dog is with him almost constantly. He has a car kennel and kennels in three schools for instances when they have to be apart.

With skills that include drug odor detection and apprehension, Alvin has worked with the Narcotics Division, the SWAT Team, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Kramer said. He noted Alvin was reliable in a federal drug case involving a drug trafficker.

Although Alvin's presence makes students think twice about engaging in illegal behavior at school, Kramer said the dog is more than a deterrent.

Alvin is an incentive for some students and makes Kramer more approachable, the officer said.

“Police can be intimidating for some kids, and Alvin makes that encounter easier,” Kramer said. “Dogs are universally loved by most, and when you have an approachable, friendly and professional work dog like Alvin, kids and adults gravitate to that. It gives us the opportunity to know one another.”

For those wondering, Alvin's namesake comes from “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” one of three suggestions from Kramer's then 5- and 4-year-old daughters.

“You can imagine how relieved I was when they chose Alvin as the name and not Tinkerbell,” Kramer said.

Events, opportunities

• A program titled “Assessing Year 1 of the Trump Administration” is set for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Cordier Auditorium at Manchester University in North Manchester. Panelists include four university faculty. The event is free and open to the public.

• The 2018 Northeast Indiana Regional College Fair is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Trine University's MTI Center, 1215 Thunder Ave., Angola. It is free and open to the public.

• The Innovate WithIN Pitch Competition will host a regional competition at Region 8 Education Service Center in Fort Wayne Thursday. The top 10 high school entrepreneurs from around Allen County will participate. One team or innovator from the region will advance to the April 9 state event in Indianapolis.

• Warsaw Community Schools will host its third annual Elementary Robotics Showcase from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Warsaw Area Career Center gym, 1 Tiger Lane, Warsaw. The public is welcome to the free event.

• The University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts will host a communication workshop for high school students Saturday in the Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center at the main campus off Leesburg Road. The workshop will focus on visual storytelling and social media. Contact 399-8064 for more information.

• This spring, ACT will launch ACT Academy, a free online learning tool and test practice program designed to help students improve their college and career readiness. Features include video lessons, interactive practice questions, full-length practice tests and educational games. Visit for more information.

• The Society of Professional Journalists and Journalism Education Association seek to match journalists and K-12 teachers in a nationwide effort to bring more journalism education to schools. Educators who would like to request a journalist for their classroom should visit

Scholarships, contests, recognitions

• Fort Wayne Rotary Club is accepting applications through March 21 for its annual Cleo Fox Scholarship program. It provides up to $750 in summer band/orchestra camp tuition or up to $1,500 to a program promoting international peace through music. Visit for more information.

• Picture Keeper is accepting spring scholarship applications through April 30. Visit for more information.

• The Trine University Scholarship Gala raised more than $790,000 for student scholarships last month.

Diane Calinski, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics at Manchester University, received a $10,000 grant to research the metabolism of the synthetic drugs commonly referred to as bath salts. She will also receive a $1,000 travel award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to present her findings at its annual meeting in Chicago next summer.

• Bishop Luers High School senior Adam Veldman received an Air Force ROTC college scholarship and was offered the same scholarship through the U.S. Army. He plans to attend Georgetown University and pursue a career as a defense intelligence analyst.

• The Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition presented Fort Wayne Community Schools transportation supervisors Mike Emerson and Dean Hess with a Stakeholder Award for Outstanding Achievement and Support of biodiesel-blended fuels. FWCS has used such fuels since 2006.

• Winners of Trine University's ninth annual Walter Cunningham Writing Contest included Emma Lucas of Hamilton, Taylor Davis of Fort Wayne and Jazmine Dalman of Fremont.

• Grace College recently added four faculty and staff members: Jermaine Chaney, special adviser to the president for multicultural student affairs; Connie Burkholder, coordinator of student disability services; Lorinda Kline, assistant professor of education; and Fred Wentorf, chair of the engineering department and assistant professor of engineering.

• Trine University promoted two staff members to build its new Trine Broadcasting Network and expand the university's video production capabilities. Josh Hornbacher was named executive producer of the network, and Colin Meadowcroft was named senior producer and creative specialist.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.