Enrichment classes offered


Learning how to design and build a prosthetic arm is one of the new extracurricular activities that will be available to students at Prussing School this fall.

First-year principal Dr. George Chipain said that new clubs and enrichment classes are being created based on suggestions by students and teachers and that the activities will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. In many instances the school will partner with an outside entity such as a college to help with the program, Chipain said.

In the past students were expected to be out of the building by 4 p.m., and after-school sports events were not always well publicized, according to some parents. Classes are dismissed at 3:15 p.m.

Plans call for the Science Club to participate in the "Get A Grip" program from the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University. Under the program, a video of an Afghan child who lost an arm during a land mine explosion is shown, and students are assigned the task of using low-cost materials such as a plastic pipe, hooks and duct tape to create a functional prosthetic arm.

The program requires students to use mathematics, science and engineering principles that they have learned in their classrooms. "They test the prosthetic arm by simulating what a child in Afghanistan would do," Chipain said. "It could be how far can you carry a bucket a water."

Other clubs and enrichment programs that are being considered include yearbook, computer, debate, knitting, gardening, French, and health and wellness. Academic support in reading and mathematics also will be offered after school, and what is believed to be the first cheerleading program at the school is being planned. Chipain said.

The Prussing School Local School Council recently allocated $10,000 for the school’s sports program in an effort to preserve existing teams and to allow a possible expansion of the program, LSC chairman Michele Taylor said. The Chicago Public Schools has stopped providing funds for coaching stipends for elementary school teams, and Taft High School is providing at least $1,000 to each of the sports programs at its feeder elementary schools.

The school is working with Taft to ensure that the curriculum at Prussing is designed to help its graduates have a smooth transition when they begin high school, Chipain said.

The school also recently purchased six Chromebook carts, each with 25 computer tablets, bringing the total number of carts at the school to eight.

Last year Prussing’s enrollment was about 675 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, with an additional 40 children in the pre-school program, Chipain said.