Students entering a particular portable building at Skyview Elementary may think for a moment they’re in Africa, surrounded by native African plants and animals. African art lines the walls, and African cuisine is available.

But instead, the students are experiencing aspects of African life through a student-designed and -constructed “holideck.”

The holidecks are part of Skyview’s enrichment program, which provides alternative learning methods for students. This year, Skyview was named along with several other RISD schools as a pilot Accelerated School.

“An accelerated school is one which recognizes that all children, at each learning level, need to be enriched,” says Charlotte Anctel, a Skyview teacher who supervised the African holideck.

“Accelerated schools are given the opportunity to evaluate and alter teaching methods,” she says. “The hands-on approach of creating these holidecks teaches the children geography, social studies, language, culture, math and science.

“It crosses many curriculums and is often more effective than teaching from just a text book.”

The term, holideck, was taken from a fantasy room that is frequently featured on the television show, “Star Trek, The Next Generation.”

The African holideck was created by sixth-grade students. Another holideck created by first graders features a farm complete with hay and stuffed animals.

“The kids are very motivated by this method of teaching,” Anctel says. “Other students have already put in their bid for a holideck which features the solar system.”

IN OTHER SKYVIEW NEWS: Beginning next school year, pending funding, Skyview Elementary plans to offer low-cost, afternoon enrichment programs for students, adult education programs for parents, and increased health and social services programs at the school.

These proposals are part of the school’s pilot accelerated program and were designed by the Youth Services Council, whose goal is to improve quality of life services for the Skyview community

Program goals include reducing mobility in high-density areas, improving child care and involving students in more age-appropriate activities, says Martha Horan, director of the Youth Services Council.

“Through these programs, we are trying to meet the many needs of the at-risk students and families at our school,” says John Kalny, Skyview principal.

Activities include science, library, and arts and crafts clubs, Kalny says. Skyview also plans to expand traditional clubs such as Cub Scouts, Boy and Girl Scouts and Camp Fire.

Proposed education courses offered to parents include practical parenting, housing issues and assistance, community affairs, budgeting and leadership. In addition, Skyview hopes to employ a full-time parent support coordinator to assist school parents in social services.

The program also proposes a full-time, on-site registered nurse and nurse’s assistant.

LHHS to Present Musical Jan. 21-23

Nearly 80 drama, choir and orchestra students at Lake Highlands High School will present the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical satire “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” Jan. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m., says director Nancy Poynter. The play is based on a novel by Shepherd Mead.

Featured performers include Chris Reisor, Leslie Collins, Arnold Cavazos, Lee Clay, Julie Halstead, Shelley Houston, Ginger Moore, Brian Winter, Brian Alverson, Dave Osler and Sheaffer Tindall.

Mollie McCollough is music director, Larry Gebhardt is director of instrumental music, Darrell Muncy is technical director and Brenda Parker is choreographer.

Admission is $4.50 in advance, $5 at the door. Tickets are available at the school or by calling 553-4271.

ATTENDING TO BUSINESS: Students are looking at each other’s report cards, but instead of comparing grades, they’re comparing absences. This increased attention is due to a new program that aims to decrease student absences through incentives.

The school-based management team launched the program at the beginning of the year. To be eligible for the program and rewards, students must have perfect attendance during a six-week grading period and must be enrolled the entire six weeks.

For perfect attendance the first six weeks, students receive goodie bags containing coupons for restaurants and car washes. Other items include a preferred space in the school parking lot and a free merit to work off any demerits. Most of the rewards have been donated by Lake Highlands merchants.

Students with perfect attendance for an entire semester are rewarded with a football autographed by Troy Aikman, a baseball signed by Nolan Ryan or a color television.

JAPANESE STUDIES LAUNCHED: With the help of a $110,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Lake Highlands now offers a Japanese studies course.

According to foreign language specialist Fran Maples, RISD was one of 10 districts throughout the state recommended to receive federal funding for its innovative Japanese program.

“This is the first time the federal government has provided funds for a foreign language program. The government has realized the importance of teaching students to become competent in more than one language,” Maples says.

In addition to teaching the basic curriculum, the program also includes studying Japan’s culture and instruction with Japanese-speaking tutors. The program is complemented by a Japanese club at the high school.

Future plans for the program include Japanese II and III for students wishing to pursue Japanese as their sole language study.

Hamilton Park Students Learn Business Basics

Sixth-grade students at Hamilton Park Pacesetter Elementary are studying business basics in a unique four-week special project.

Their instructors are students from Lake Highlands High School, who teach 45-minute classes in organization, management, production and marketing.

The high school students are enrolled in a program sponsored by Junior Achievement that gives them the opportunity to teach courses to elementary students. Many of the high school students hope to become professional teachers.

“This program enables the high school students to attain experience with the elementary students, and in turn provides the 6th-graders with positive role models,” says Bobbie Eldridge of Hamilton Park.

“Lake Highlands High School was one of the first schools to offer such a program many years ago,” Eldridge says. “Many former LHHS students are now teaching in RISD and throughout the state.”

LH Elementary Teachers Attend Conference

Several Lake Highlands Elementary School teachers recently participated in a program concerning the use of multi-cultural literature in classrooms.

Betsy Kaye, Deborah Norris, Caree Rahberg, and Mika Shirasu attended the curriculum conference, held at North Texas State University.

Also that same day, teacher Angela Ribo led a multi-cultural workshop at Brookhaven Community College.

In other news, the school was selected for the Accelerated Schools program sponsored by RISD, says school PTA spokesman Kathy Salvie.

Accelerated learning schools teach all students as if they were academically gifted, rather than placing slower-learning students in remedial classes.

Other differences from conventional programs include transfer of decision-making from administrative staff to teachers and parents; emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving as opposed to drills, worksheets and rote learning; and emphasis on reading and writing in all subjects.

Only eight RISD schools have become a part of the program, Salvie says.

Junior High Students Write for EDS Project

Lake Highlands Junior High students in Majorie Kleinneiur’s English I class are participating in a five-month project with Electronic Data Systems (EDS).

The students are re-writing the corporation’s Employee Benefits Handbook in an effort to polish writing skills and learn how to collaborate with project groups, how to master basic skills, and how to connect with the community.

Upon completion, several students will visit Clemson University to show the new document to other students from throughout the country.

Cultural Arts Winners Announced at Skyview

Skyview Elementary recently held its annual cultural arts contest, which is designed to encourage children to explore the visual arts, music and literature. This year’s theme was “Imagine That.”

Winners in the visual arts category were: Painting – Stephen Park, Chris Couthit; Collages – Jennifer Mayo, David Butler, Samantha Clary; Photography – David Butler; Drawing – Barry Bujol, Varchith Khanthavongsay; Needlework – Julia Trecartin.

Winners in the Literature category were: Charlie Mercer, Julia Trecartin, Clay Lipscomb, Lauren Barab; Poetry – Laura-Jane Kirby, April Varnett; Prose – Rachel Woodward; Fiction – Christine Lee, Ellen Feltenberger.

The winner in the music category was Jean Lee.

News & Notes

SKYVIEW SUPER CITIZENS: The following students were selected as Skyview Elementary Super Citizens for the second six-week grading period:

Katrina Akhagbeme, Kristi Bowman, LaKeya Collins, Taryn Garza, Lauren Hawkins, Garin Moi, Rebecca Row, Oscar Trujillo, Samantha Ash, Brandon Bruck, Aliya Dharamsi, Nicole Gore, LaKeisha Lawson, Esteban Mondragon, Danny Sayachack, Juan Villamizar.

Also, Lauren Barab, Barry Bujol, Milton Farr, Matthew Hardwick, Cindy Lee, David Ok, Darylyn Sprowal, Adam Barajas, Dana Caraker, Corey Garland, Sarah Hardwick, Joshua Marks, Adam Palmer, Amy Thompson.

LAKEHILL HONORED: The private philanthropic Meadows Foundation featured Lakehill Preparatory in its recent publication, citing the school as “one of seven model schools firmly vested in the concept of community service, with a supportive administration and dedicated students who facilitate the success of their projects.” Lakehill students recently completed building a campus food pantry housing more than 6,000 cans of food for monthly food baskets delivered to senior citizens, says Dianne Harris, assistant head of the school.

DALLAS ACADEMY FOOD DRIVE: Dallas Academy students recently completed a food and toy drive benefiting needy families, says school director Jim Richardson. With the assistance of the Wilkinson Center, the senior class adopted a family, supplying them with a Christmas tree, decorations, food and presents. “I think it went better than well because we learned the real meaning of Christmas and we grew together as a class,” senior Brandon Davidson says.

NORTHLAKE PROGRAM: Northlake Elementary students will learn about the Civil War and slavery during a Feb. 5 presentation of “Letters to Harriet Tubman,” an arts-in-education program presented by Young Audiences of Greater Dallas. The program will feature Civil War songs and “Harriet’s” reminiscences about the Underground Railroad and its role in leading slaves to freedom. The Young Audiences agency presents workshops, programs and artists-in-residence to schools throughout the area.

SKYVIEW ALL-A HONOR ROLL: The following Skyview Elementary students attained straight A’s in all academic and behavioral categories for the second six weeks:

Audrey Basse, Robin Douthit, Trudy Moi, Joshua Patten, Aubin Vieger, Amanda Field, Celia Palmer, Julie Kappler, Whitney Barab, LeKeya Colins, Laura-Jane Kirby, Justin Meyer, Ramsha Sabir, Marc Wright, Jean Lee, Rachel Woodward.

Also, Brandon Bruck, Milton Farr, Beau Muhlbach, Christina Pavlakos, Edmund Yong, Bryan Kelly, Terell Stowbridge, Christine Lee, Ingrid Bradley, Chris Douthit, Kristal Lightning, Charles Oyeneye, Lindsey Sebesta, Carly Benson, Boone Mooty, Arfeo Yllana.

Also, Brandon Bush, Evan Haynes, Rachel Munsch, Rebecca Row, Whitney Arp, Christen Meyer, Kelsey Castleberry, Honi Migdol, Cynthia Cisneros, Blair Ellison, Clay Lipscomb, Daniel Reagan, Tyler Sorenson, Samantha Clary, Donald Muhlbach.

Also, Emily Busselman, Kayli LeBlanc, Johanna Norvell, Julia Trecartin, Jessica Dunn, David Ok, Lauren Hawkins, Adam Palmer, Meredith Colgin, Destiny Hardin, Bethany Luker, Jason Rupp, Juan Villamizer, Katie Fairless, Carrie Schultz.

MOSS HAVEN GOOD CITIZENS: The following Moss Haven Elementary students were named Good Citizens of the Week:

Week of November 11: Kimberly Adams, Colin Anderson, Sheena Black, Jessica Bronner, Brett Crockett, Shelby Gavos, Kenneth Lee, David Rister, Zach Seal, Kelly Sellers.

Week of November 17: Angela Avery, Jessica Bronner, Loren Fox, Nick Gray, Caitlin Hinton, Ashley Skipper, Meggan Stall, Adam Tharp, Stefani Tharp, Emily Thurman.

Week of December 1: Rebecca Bogart, Brett Bowman, Quentin Burton, Coulter Cooksey, AbbieDouglas, Chrissy Edwards, Robert Fancher, Jonathan Lerner, Spike Pollock, Lauren Rucker.

WALLACE STUDENT WINS AWARD: Wallace Elementary fifth-grader John Harrington was chosen as a winner in the Breyers Ice Cream All-Natural Leadership Award. For this honor, he will spend a day with Channel 5 sports anchor Scot Murray and attend a Dallas Cowboys football clinic.

MERRIMAN PARK ART AWARD: Merriman Park Elementary’s art program won the National Art Education Association’s Program Standards Award, recognizing outstanding achievement in schools throughout the country that meet or exceed nationally established visual arts standards. Merriman principal is James A. Smith; art teacher is Alana Mitchell.

R.T. HILL CHOIR HONORED: Five students from Robert T. Hill Middle School Choir were selected to represent their school in the DISD All-City Honor Choir. The students include Christina Neubrand, first chair; Jill Collins, 13th chair; Alicia Wilson, 18th chair; Casey Murter and Amber Wheat. More than 400 DISD middle schools students auditioned for the Honor Choir.

R.T. HILL BAND WINNERS: The following students in the Robert T. Hill advanced band were selected for the DISD All-City Middle Schools Band: Alicia Schmidgall, Natalie Ridley, Ashley Kilburn, Rachel Winningham, Adrienne Wenning, Michelle Loftis, Julie Demoen, Sajay Nair, Sarah Cooper, Becky Reed, Megan Lyle, Ryan Bridges, Ashley Harris, Nick Terrell, Ellen Bennett, Brian Jakubik, Jill Black, Alison MacManus, Jordan Show and Kyle Thompson. Ridley and Thompson were selected to the All-Region Band.

INVENTION CONVENTION WINNERS: The following Lake Highlands students won top honors in the recent RISD Invention Convention. Students from 49 schools participated in the competition, which encourages students to be creative in problem solving skills.

Outstanding Inventions by Grade Level: Kindergarten , Richard Smith, White Rock Elementary, “Thumb Saver”; First grade, Travis Acevedo, Wallace Elementary, “Brite For Nite Comics”, and Kyle Jahnke, White Rock, “Everlasting Bed Spreader”; Second grade, William C. Rohee IV, White Rock, “No-Tangle Double Dog Leash”; Third grade, Amy Smith, White Rock, “A Race for the Cleanest Room”, and Adam Mintz, Hamilton Park, “Sticky Swatter”; Fifth grade, Stephani Perkins, Merriman Park, “Ferter Quirter”, Sixth grade, Jamie Hopper, Merriman Park, “Dog Proof Cat Bowl”, and Meredith Allred, Nicole Debenport and Brenda Marr, White Rock, “Double Blade.”

Rube Goldberg Winners: Travis Acevedo, Wallace, “Brite for Nite Comics”; Jonathan Lerner, Moss Haven, “Measure Matic”; Jamie Hooper, Merriman Park, “Dog Proof Cat Bowl.”

Best Environmentally Related Invention: Lisa Goodman, Moss Haven, “Sprinkler Master”; Stephanie Perkins, Merriman Park, “Ferter Squirter.”

Best Engineering Design: Lisa Goodman, Moss Haven, “Sprinkler Master.”

Best Invention Related to Organization: Kyle Jahnke, White Rock, “Everlasting Bed Spreader”; Charlie Mercer, Skyview, “Brushman.”

Best Invention Related to Animals or Animal Health: William C. Rohee IV, White Rock, “No-Tangle Double Dog Leash.”