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New Teacher at Salmon Prairie
explores new learning projects
with students in one-room school

Salmon Prairie students with new teacher, Jill Maus, at far right.

by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
November 13, 1997

Students at the Salmon Prairie School are studying newspapers, forest ecology and the Internet this fall, thanks to the efforts of a new teacher, Jill Maus.

"This is one of my dream schools," Maus said, adding that she is "pretty ecstatic" about her new job. She and her husband, Gordon (who works for the Missoula Children's Theatre), are enjoying the rural atmosphere of the Swan Valley, after living in the Bitterroot Valley for many years.

Maus has taught school for 12 years, and says she jumped at the chance to apply for the position at Salmon Prairie that was vacated by Rhonda Siemens last spring. (Siemens transferred to a school in Alaska.) She enjoys teaching math and science, and encourages her students to learn about the world around them through unit studies. Local loggers, foresters and wildlife biologists recently visited the school as part of the forest ecology project. The students have also been invited to work on a mural project at the new Swan Ecosystem Center in Condon.

Maus is teaching grades 3 through 8 at Salmon Prairie School. Eight of the 13 students in the school are in her classes. Hazel Kesterson teaches kindergarten and primary students.

The children at Salmon Prairie School get along with each other like family, Maus said, adding that the first day of school was like a reunion of sorts. "The kids were all glad to see each other," she said.

Local residents may soon see more "news" from the Salmon Prairie School. Maus helped her students learn about newspapers so they can create their own publications this year. Students are working as reporters, editors, photographers, advertising sales people, and even cartoonists in order to produce the first of five planned editions.

The first issue will focus on stories about local residents, local history, and the Internet course which all the students recently enjoyed. The second issue may contain information about other interesting projects at the school, including a "Hooked on Fishing" unit study and a special field trip to the Missoula Children's Theatre production of "Brigadoon" later this fall.

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