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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Cyndee Sanders' child care part of state study 2007.11.14

Written 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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