The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Cyndee Sanders' child care part of state study 2007.11.14

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Everybody benefits in this project. Child care workers receive free coaching. The coaches have the opportunity to interact with area child care facility owners and put their skills to work. A university study obtains data for research.

And let’s not forget the children. Youngsters participating in the project benefit as their teacher gains new knowledge.

The endeavor is known as Project Great Start Professional Development Initiative—an effort to improve the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators.

One Morenci child care center—Cyndee Sanders’ Circle of Friends—is involved in cyndee.sanders.jpgthe statewide program.

Once a week for a 10-week span, Sanders receives a visit from Brooke Rains who observes, provides teacher behavior modeling and gives direction and ideas.

Rains is an Adrian College elementary education graduate who owned her own child care center before joining the Child Care Network, a resource and referral agency.

She also works with Jackson Community College and Baker College, and it’s the Baker affiliation that brought her to Great Start as a teacher coach.

With campuses in several cities, Baker is working in collaboration with the Michigan 4C Association and the University of Michigan School of Education in a research project with the end goal of improving literacy skills among young children.

Mark Sullivan, executive director of Michigan 4C (Community Coordinated Child Care), explained the project as a means of finding the best way to improve interaction between children and their adult care-givers.

Participating child care centers are divided into four groups:

1. The teacher takes a class at Baker College and receives a weekly visit from a coach;

2. The teacher takes a class at Baker;

3. The teacher receives a weekly visit from a coach;

4. A control class without a class or coach.

Pre- and post-assessments of pre-school students will help researchers at the University of Michigan reach their conclusions.

“The whole idea of having mentors give teachers the opportunity to gain skills is really pretty exciting,” Sullivan said, noting that many child care providers have no education beyond high school.

“We’ve tried workshops, courses and classes,” he said, “but we haven’t spent a lot of time with coaching.”

Coaches aren’t told anything about the initial assessment, said Jean Allison of Baker College, so their efforts won’t skew the research by focusing on weaknesses.

Instead, coaches will give advice as needed and when requested by the child care providers.

In the end, Allison said, researchers will determine which approach is the most valuable.

Cyndee Sanders has no doubts about the value of her coach.

“Brooke has given me lots of ideas that I haven’t done here,” Sanders said.

They range from how to interact with kids to physical changes in the layout of the classroom.

One youngster in particular has proved to be a challenge in the development of early literacy skills, Sanders said, but her coach offered pointers that have really made a difference.

She’s also brought in a variety of reference materials for Sanders and her staff.

Rains has enjoyed the coaching project, too, not only for the assistance she can give, but simply for the opportunity to get out and visit child care centers in the area.

“It’s so cool to see the centers after talking on the phone to providers or seeing them in classes,” she said.

A recently published paper by the RAND Corporation points out the value of preschool education. If that’s the case, then investment in the early years makes a lot of sense.

“So many families use child care now,” Sullivan said. “We need to make it better.”

He expects the University of Michigan study to be published by the end of next summer.

“For those of us involved in improving child care, we will need to be reading that,” Sullivan said.

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