For the third consecutive year, James H Watson Elementary School achieved the
honor of being named a 4 Star School by the Indiana Department of Education.
Principal Mike Buckner said the 4 Star rating is based onISTEP plus passing
percentages in the top 25 percent of all Indiana schools, meeting the 95 percent
student participation rateand being a Grade A School based onstudent
performance. In addition, 99 percent of Watson third graders passed the state
IREAD-3 test, the largest percentage of any Lake County public school.
Watson students participated in many programs this year including the Young
Authors Tea, the Fine Arts Festival, the Friends after School Club and a
fundraising student versus staff basketball game.
Watson Fourth Grade Teacher Gretchen Pishkur, who developed the Friends after
School Club, was Lake Central’s Teacher of the Year for the 2012 - 2013 school
year. The club is designed for students who can benefit from help in regards to
positive peer interactions and self-esteem. In the club, students engage in a
variety of activities including playing games, arts and crafts, and working on
strategies which will help make school a more positive experience.
The 2011 - 2012 school year Lake Central Teacher of the Year was also from
Watson – fourth grade teacherBrenda Kovich.
On April 19, Watson celebrated a Fine Arts Festival which was organized by the
art and music teachers. The hallways were filled with exhibits of artwork
created throughout the year. The fourth grade choir ended the night with a
stellar performance of Broadway hits. It was a memorable and well-attended
event, Buckner said.
The second grade Young Authors’ Tea was held in May. Students authored books
with dedication pages. Subjects ranged from non-fiction works about vacation and
family to fictional works about haunted houses and Captain Breadstick. Parents
were entertained with poetry readings and song and later treated to snacks.
Teaching students to give back to the community is a priority for Watson. On
April 24, the fourth grade Watson Wildcats narrowly defeated an adult team
comprised of the Watson Head Honchos in a benefit basketball game. Festivities
included singing of the National Anthem by the Watson choir and the singing of
patriotic songs by kindergarten students. Event proceeds of more than $3,000
were donated to Kids Caring and Sharing for Riley Children’s Hospital. Last year
the Wildcats game against school staff and Schererville Firefighters raised
$2,500 for Soujourner Truth House, a community resource and day shelter for
homeless and at-risk women and children.
The Watson library Summer Reading Challenge encourages students to read
2,013 pages for 2013. Children who complete the challenge, as verified by their
parents, receive a sign for their front yard that states “A Lake Central Library
Champion Lives Here” and breakfast with Principal Buckner.
“We are excited about the number of Watson students who continue to choose to
participate in our summer reading,” Buckner said.