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March 2011  
2011 Young Authors' Winners Selected
Mattoon FFA competes at Section 20 Proficiency Awards contest
Second-graders pick up good vibrations through sound activities
Recognitions Aplenty at Mattoon Middle School
School Bus Stops
Students learn the science of making ice cream
Highlights From Riddle Elementary School's Curriculum Exposition
Mattoon CUSD #2
1701 Charleston Avenue
Mattoon IL 61938
Tel: 217-238-8850
Web: www.mattoon.k12.il.us
Email: Newsletter@mcusd2.com
2011 Young Authors' Winners Selected

Each year, students in our elementary and middle schools create original manuscripts for the Young Authors' competition. We select one representative from grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. After much consideration, our judges determined three winners who will represent Mattoon at the statewide Young Authors' Conference in Bloomington on Saturday, May 21. They will share their winning stories with students from across the state. They will also meet with real Illinois authors!

Our K-2nd grade representative is Isabella (Izzy) Bayley. She is a first grader at Riddle Elementary School. Her story, Izzy and Talaya's Day at the Zoo, is about two friends and the adventures they have together at the zoo.

Our 3rd-5th grade representative is Tobias Sanders. He is a third grader at Williams Elementary School. His story, The Most Lucky Day, is about three friends on a space adventure looking for the arctic creatures and aliens.

Our 6th-8th grade representative, once again, is Allie Betts. She is an eighth grader at Mattoon Middle School. Her story is The Song of a Rising King. This twelve-chapter story describes a mystical world that has hobbits, elves, and trolls.

We are very proud of these students, as well as the other participants in the Young Authors' competition, for their hard work and creative writing.

Mattoon FFA competes at Section 20 Proficiency Awards contest

Seven members of the Mattoon FFA Chapter competed in their record book areas at the Section 20 Proficiency Awards contest Feb. 17 at Altamont High School.

Those competing included Dalton Cox in Swine and Beef Production, Alex Elliott in Food Service and Agricultural Education, Holly Alwardt in Floriculture, Jacob Miller in Agriculture Mechanics, Blake Strong in Home and Community Development, Cody Morris in Sheep Production and Diversified Livestock Production, and Trey Utsler in Turfgrass Management and Environmental Science.

Cox, Elliott, Alwardt and Miller each won one of their respective areas, earning them the opportunity to compete at the district level, where they will compete with the top five projects in their areas among all District 4 participants. Morris, Strong, and Utsler all earned second place finishes in one of their supervised agriculture education areas.

The proficiency awards contest evaluates a student's ability to keep accurate, detailed records on an enterprise fitting into one of over fifty areas. In addition to evaluating the record books, students must complete an interview at each level above the sectional level.

Second-graders pick up good vibrations through sound activities

By Emily Simpson
WES student

We learned about sound and vibration. Sound vibrates and it goes to your eardrum and then up to your brain. You use it to hear.

At recess, there are headphones when you shake them they sound like space guns like in Star Wars. We also were given a metal triangle and we hit it with a metal stick. When we hit the triangle it made a high pitch sound.

There is a music stick and it makes a high sound and when you put it up to your ear it vibrates.

There was also a long stick and when you swing it very fast it makes a high pitch sound and when you swing it slow it makes a low pitch sound. This happens because of the air and vibration.

I learned that sound is important because without sound we couldn't hear anything. I look at sound differently than before. I think about how sound is being made.

Recognitions Aplenty at Mattoon Middle School

Despite the long winter, Mattoon Middle School has lots to celebrate. Coach Ron Bateman and the Mattoon Middle School wrestlers sent four students to State with Trevor Edwards securing 4th Place and Blaise Hiltebeitel landing 5th Place. Josh Evans and Jayvin Quinn also won matches at the State Meet but failed to place. Coach Crystal Sparks and the Mattoon Wildcats Special Olympics Basketball squad travelled to Normal for their first ever State Tournament appearance and came home with a Silver Medal after winning 21-18 and losing to a Chicago School in the Championship 33-22. Coach Mark Jackley and the Wildcat Volleyball squad brought home Mattoon Middle School's first ever 8th Grade State trophy by beating Lansing Memorial in the quarterfinals, losing to eventual state champ Normal Parkside in the semifinals, and beating Edwardsville Liberty in the Third Place contest. The Wildcats Netters finished with a school-best 26-1 record also capturing their first ever Effingham Crossroads Classic Championship. Allie Betts reigned as a two-time winner of the District Young Authors' Competition. Her 12-chapter story The Song of a Rising King will travel with Allie to the State Young Authors' Conference in Bloomington later this spring.

Students aren't the only ones having success at MMS. Ingrid McCallister, a seventh grade reading teacher, recently won the Thesis Award of Excellence in the College of Education and Professional Studies at Eastern Illinois University. Marissa Wright, a seventh grade language arts teacher, won the Distinguished Graduate Student Award for the 2011 Master of Science in Elementary Education. Both of these outstanding teachers have been asked to present their work at EIU ceremonies.

We also have students and teachers being recognized together as MMS teacher Jamie Willis, the 2010 Illinois Art Educator of the Year, has been recognized by the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY for her outstanding efforts in fiber arts. Once again this year, Mrs. Willis and three MMS students: Jasmine Kurkyendal, Kimberli Jones, and Shania Chapman will have their work in the fiber arts on display at the National Museum.

We are so very proud of our students and staff at MMS and know that many more great things are on the horizon.

School Bus Stops

by Mark S. Nelson
Transportation Director

With close to 100 in town stops, it is easy to understand why school bus stops are an important part of each school day. Some stops have as few as one or two students while others can have as many as 20. While most stops have few problems, there are times when the Transportation Office receives phone calls from citizens reporting misbehavior at a stop. When that occurs, the transportation director will visit a stop and remind students of proper bus stop behavior. A common error is students entering private property. Students are reminded that sitting on the front porch steps of a home or playing in a driveway are examples of trespassing.

A key example of what it takes to help a bus stop avoid problems is parent presence. Students tend to act more appropriately when they know that an adult is present and watching. As I ride on routes to evaluate driver performance, I am happy to report that there are many stops that have at least one parent keeping an eye on things. There are noticeably fewer calls from the stops with parent presence. To those parents, I say thank you for being there for our students.

One last item I wanted to address is that the Mattoon School District does not have a mandate that requires a parent to be present at the drop off point for a young student. While it is common for a parent to meet a kindergarten or first grade student at the bus stop, it is not required unless you request that a student only be dropped off if you or another guardian is present.

It is hard to believe that we are now in the last quarter of the 2010-2011 school year. The winter was a challenge for the transportation department and I want to thank our drivers and our parents for working together and getting through those tough days. 

Be safe in everything you do.

Students learn the science of making ice cream

By Gwen Howard
WES student

The second-graders in Mrs (Michelle) Englund's class understand that science is involved in the making of ice cream.
I was excited to make ice cream. I had never made ice cream before.

To make ice cream, it takes ice, vanilla, milk, sugar, salt. We also had a big bag for the ice, little bag for milk, the sugar and the vanilla. We put our hands and began 'squooshing' the bag and we started shaking it up.

The reason there is science is because the molecules get really close together and then they spread apart a little bit and then they spread apart more. A liquid becomes a solid or a solid becomes a liquid.

It was a like a slushy ice cream but it was good. And everybody called it a slushy.

I learned this is something you can try at home but you have to have the vanilla and all the ingredients and your parents will ask what are you making and you can tell them "I am making ice cream from learning it from science. Science is fun because you can make things."

We made ice cream because of the announcement that was made that we were going to get ice cream because we were the 2010-2011 December trophy winners. We were the only second grade class to win the trophy. We won the trophy for being quiet at the lunch tables and being respectful, sitting on the carpet not playing hand games and waiting for the teacher to say "up" so we could go back to our classroom.

Highlights From Riddle Elementary School's Curriculum Exposition

Once again, Riddle students shine. All 790 students showcased a wide variety of projects with their classmates. Some students displayed classroom projects such as travel brochures highlighting Australia. Other classrooms displayed Iditarod dioramas and maps of the Alaskan dogsled race. Original stories, Lego models, pretzel houses with coconut grass lawns, and volcanoes were also on display. Celebrating the hard work and creativity of our students has become cherished tradition each year at the Riddle Elementary School Curriculum Exposition.


Click the images for a larger view

Students link letters together through cursive

By Angelo Hernandez
WES student

We are learning about cursive. I thought it was going to be hard and it wasn't hard. It was a little bit difficult but I got used to it. I kept writing the letters on the practice sheet. I wrote the words four times. The difference between print and cursive is in cursive the letters are hooked together. My favorite word to write in cursive is people. It is long and it has more letters. The most difficult word I had to write in cursive is they and the because of the -th. I am looking forward to doing more cursive so I can learn more words.

Students set goals for the new year

By Bobby Fisher
WES student

We had to write what our goals were for the new year because it's a new year. It's good to write goals so we can make the school a better place and so we can make better grades. We were asked to write about our academic goals. I said I will make better grades. We were also asked about our virtue goal. I said I will help others when they are hurt! My school goal is I will be honest.

My favorite virtue word is honesty and it is good to be honest because people should tell the truth.

Important Dates in April-June

Apr. 08: End ofEnd of 4th 5-Week Progress Period
Apr. 08: Dismiss 2 1/2 hrs early
Apr. 15: 3rd 5-Week Progress Reports Home
Apr. 18 - Apr 22: Spring Break - NO SCHOOL
Apr. 27: Prairie State Achievement Exams (PSAE)
Apr. 28: Prairie State Achievement Exams (PSAE)

May 27: End of 4th Quarter
May 27: Last day of student attendance
(subject to change)
May 31: Teacher Institute - NO SCHOOL
(subject to change)

May 27: High School Graduation

NOTES: This calendar contains 187 total days.
There are 4 teacher institute days, 176 student attendance days,
and 7 emergency days to be used if needed from May 20-May 31.
If necessary, there will be NO SCHOOL on Monday, May 30th in
observance of Memorial Day.

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Important Phone Numbers

Administrative Service Center:
(217) 238-8850

Hawthorne School:
(217) 238-8800

Mattoon Middle School:
(217) 238-5800

Mattoon High School:
(217) 238-7800

Riddle Elementary School:
(217) 238-3800

Williams Elementary School:
(217) 238-2800

Transportation Office:
(217) 238-3270

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