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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Parent Volunteers Spice Up Classroom With Help

In one corner of the room, Michelle Smith worked on telling time.

With a mom’s patience, she asked each first-grader to pick up a clock. They worked on easy times first.

“Show me 3 o’clock,” Smith asked.

“How about my bedtime?” asked one boy, announcing that his bedtime was 9:30 p.m.

“No wonder you’re so tired,” Smith replied.

In another corner, Angie Jones helped first-graders create spider monkeys, fitting in with the class theme of the rain forest.

And in a third corner of the room is the teacher, Jeannie Semler, or “Miss Jeannie” as her students call her. Semler is the first-grade SPICE teacher at West Valley’s Seth Woodard School.

SPICE stands for Student Parent Interactive Classroom Environment. While some teachers would think they’d died and gone to heaven to have two regular parent volunteers in their class at once, for Semler, it’s a daily expectation.

Parents who enroll their children in SPICE are also signing on for a commitment of at least 90 hours volunteer time during the school year. Some mornings, Semler has two mothers in her classroom, some mornings, three.”I teach the same way I always have. But they allow me to do a lot of things I wouldn’t otherwise,” Semler said.

Mostly, Semler’s students benefit by a great deal of individualized work or work in groups of three or four. They have individualized spelling lists, for instance. And those words are transferred into a packet of pages, one word per page, one packet per student. On most of the packets, corners are clipped off the pages. Semler, or one of her parent volunteers, clips off one corner once the student can spell the word, another corner when the student can write the word and a third corner when the student can use the word in a sentence.

Smith, who is helping with the math center, likes the chance for a window into her son Ryan’s education.”I’m a lot more aware of what he’s doing,” she said.

Jones, who’s overseeing the monkey project, said a neighbor told her just before the start of school that the SPICE program was a good one and it’s first grade class had room.

These two mothers know that their children will be classmates and friends for the next four years. The SPICE kids stay together, in a second- and third-grade combination, and a fourth-fifth grade combination. They also know they’ll be right there - ready to help with academics and other things.

Mountain View spellers

Mountain View Middle School held its spelling bee earlier this month.

Eighth-grade Jennifer Bledsoe out-spelled her classmates. Thea Prickett was second, Jeff Rocco was third, Justin Moody fourth and Amanda Lewis was fifth.

In seventh grade, first-year competitor Chanelle Hill beat Jay Hanley, who won the schoolwide competition last year. Amanda Miller was third, Heather Shane was fourth and Rudy Krogseth was fifth.

In sixth grade, winners were Benn Hilgersom-Volk, Brenn Hanley, Julia Hawker, Heather Decorte and Mercedes Moore.

Spellers at St. Mary’s St. Mary’s Catholic School announces its spelling bee winners. Katie Skogen won the overall competition and the sixth-grade competition. Sarah Pretz won in seventh grade. Ryan Mountjoy won in eighth grade.

Katie received a $50 savings bond and she will go on to the Valleywide spelling bee in February. Her winning word was “rhythm.”

Bingo for a cause

The Mountain View parent group is holding a bingo night tonight to benefit a parent with leukemia.

The bingo will start at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.

Kathy Glover has a son in eighth grade at Mountain View. Her leukemia is in remission, but she’s trying to pay off heavy doctor’s bills.

Glover worked as a teacher’s aide at Otis Orchards Elementary School this fall, but has had to take time off due to her illness.

, DataTimes MEMO: The Education Notebook is the spot The Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com

The Education Notebook is the spot The Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com

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