Warsaw School Board Hears About Edgewood Project-Based Learning Unit

Representatives from Edgewood Middle School presented information on the school’s first schoolwide read/project-based learning unit to the Warsaw School Board Monday.
It is called Racing Towards STEM Excellence: Project-Based Learning with “The Boys in the Boat,” said Edgewood Principal JoElla Hauselman.

Assistant Principal Jason Culver said Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert laid the groundwork for the project. Over winter break, staff members remembered seeing a Facebook post Hoffert had made talking about his experience as a high school history teacher.
In the video, Hoffert said in 2006 he had some students who wanted to find someone who was alive during the 1936 Olympics. They found the story of Joe Rantz, who was on the row team. The students wrote a letter explaining they were history students studying U.S. and wanted to know about Rantz’s experience in the Olympics, as well as understand Germany pre-World War II and what happened there.


The letter gave Rantz’s daughter the chance to write a 10-page document about Rantz’s experience and Rantz wrote a letter along with it with some of his memories. After Rantz’s death, a neighbor decided to write “The Boys in the Boat,” about Rantz’s story, Hoffert stated in the video.

Hauselman said the version of the book Edgewood is using has been rewritten for sixth through eighth grades.

Hauselman asked staff members what they could do to get all the school’s students to read the book, which is about the University of Washington rowing team and their quest to compete in the 1936 Summer Olympics. The idea came up to do a project-based learning unit.

Hauselman said the idea grew and everyone wanted to be part of it.

As part of the unit, students will design a cardboard boat, building a prototype and testing it by filling it with pennies to see if the boat will float and then building a full-scale 5-foot-by-8-foot boat that will carry two middle school students across the high school pool.
Project Lead the Way teacher Abbi Richcreek said all middle school students will read “The Boys in the Boat.”

Race Day is scheduled for May 17. Richcreek said there will an overall winner for seventh grade and one for eighth grade.

In other business, the board:
• Heard high school student Mattix Garrett perform a baritone solo.
• Recognized G & G Hauling and Excavating for being a partner with the school corporation and helping WCS when called.
• Heard the Indiana School Board Association (ISBA) recognized the Warsaw School Board for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to professional learning and student success during the 2024 spring regional meeting of the ISBA.
Board awards are based on points earned by each member for attending ISBA seminars, workshops, conferences and other learning events, as well as the board’s completion of certain additional criteria, such as a retreat with an outside facilitator and goal setting to elevate student achievement outcomes. This award reflects the dedication of the WCS board members, whose combined efforts work to advance the quality of education within WCS, Hoffert read from a news release.
Also, two individual board members were recognized. Brad Johnson was honored with the Level 3 Distinguished Award and Randy Polston received the Level 2 Advanced Award, underscoring their proactive involvement and contribution to the school board, Hoffert read.
• Heard Hoffert remind families and community members to ensure the safety of students, especially those students who walk or ride bikes to school.
As there’s more warm weather, more students will be walking or riding bikes to school. Hoffert said WCS urges all drivers to be particularly vigilant in school zones and residential areas. Watch carefully for students crossing the street and always yield to pedestrians.
He said the school corporation also encourages parents and guardians to discuss the importance of obeying traffic signals and taking time to look both ways before crossing with their children.