[3] Students Offered Enriching Curricula

Article excerpt

At Jefferson Davis Middle School, streetwise kids who are prone

to quit school will be learning to manage money and balance a

checkbook.

At West Jacksonville Elementary, students will be making model

rockets that will blast off from the Florida Air National

Guard's base at Jacksonville International Airport.

At Hyde Grove Elementary, the 665 students will be

immortalizing their faces and feelings in a permanent tile

mosaic.

And at Oak Hill Elementary, students will be taking field trips

to the zoo, a gallery and a park while drawing inspiration from

Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit.

Those schools are among 16 on the Westside that have received

1996 enrichment grants from the Duval Public Education

Foundation Inc. The grants were awarded to Duval County

educators who have developed innovative programs.

The foundation awarded a total of $57,000 in grants to 65

schools throughout Duval County. Applications were submitted in

October. The winners were chosen by a panel of Duval County

business, community, PTA and education leaders.

Here's how some of the Westside schools will be using their

grants:

At Jeff Davis, Marsha Kerr Nix teaches seventh-graders who are

learning-disabled or have emotional or mental handicaps. They

are overage when they come to her and likely to drop out in the

ninth or 10th grade, she said.

"You can't teach these teenagers, who are so streetwise and

physically mature, like tender 11-and 12-year-olds," Nix said.

They need incentives to counteract boredom and a lack of

motivation. And they need to know what kind of jobs will get

them what kind of salaries and how they can stretch their

dollars, she said.

To accomplish that, they will be randomly assigned careers with

the corresponding salary to be paid each week with play money

and play checks.

They will maintain a simulated checking account, set up a

monthly budget, pay bills, buy a car, open a charge account,

hunt for an apartment, pay rent and learn to comparison shop.

If they complete their homework, come to class on time and are

cooperative, they can earn bonus bucks which they can spend in

the class store.

West Jacksonville fourthgraders will be setting their sights

skyward with the help of their $500 grant. Gregory Griffin of

the IBM Corp., the school's business partner, will spend one

hour per week teaching 53 students about the relationship

between model rocketry and math and science. For example, they

will have to predict and measure the altitude of their rockets.

They also will learn to set goals, do research, read directions

and work together.

A naval helicopter aviator and F-15 jet pilot will present the

lessons related to flight. After a field trip to the Kennedy

Space Center, students will launch their rockets to a height of

360 feet before parachutes deploy and they float safely back to

Earth.

"The project will cover a lot of skills and these kids don't

get much of an opportunity to make things such as model rockets

or to go on field trips," said Cheryl Collins, a fourthgrade

teacher who will be working with Griffin on lesson plans.

At Hyde Grove Elementary , students will be firing tiles, not

rockets. Several staff members got the idea for a mosaic when

they went shopping for bathroom tile for their homes and noticed

one company had a lot of discontinued fragments. When they asked

for donations, they were given enough to fill a pickup truck. …