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Park Record Spelling Bee expands

In a town where kids regularly compete for Junior Olympics, national titles and best-in-state across a wide array of athletic endeavors, it seems only fair that our local champion spellers whose brains definitely have some brawn will now have a shot at entering the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

With increased support from The Park Record, the Park Record Spelling Bee is gearing up a few notches so that students from across the readership will be eligible to go to the national bee and represent their school in May 2015.

This change requires an adjustment in our local bee format. There will no longer be 2nd/3rd grade, 4th/5th grade and 6th/7th grade Park Record Bees. Instead, the 2nd/3rd grade bee will become a "warm-up" event for the Park Record Bee, which will serve as a regional Scripps Bee. It will be held for students aged 8 through 14 in 4th through 8th grades, comprising all areas of The Park Record’s readership. The winner of this qualifying bee will go to Washington D.C., while second- and third-place winners will serve as substitutes in the event the winner cannot go. The Park Record will pay travel and bee expenses for the winner and an adult guardian.

The Scripps Bee is in May, and the winner will need study and preparation time, so the Park Record Bee is moving to March 2015, though the exact date is yet to be determined. Written qualifying tests will still be held at the school level and are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 10, 2015. Those qualifying tests will follow the Scripps rules and bee format, as prescribed on the Scripps website, spellingbee.com. The local 2nd/3rd grade bee will remain the same as in past years.

Any school that wants their students to participate and be eligible to qualify for the national bee will need to register directly with Scripps online at spellingbee.com . The cost is $130 and will also serve as the school’s registration with the Park Record Bee. This is a required step and gives each school access to all of the study words, as well as a plethora of other spelling resources for both teachers and students. The fee can come from any source, including the school itself, its parent teacher organization, a community council or a parent donation. Students can participate for no individual cost.

Schools planning to participate should register by Dec. 12. However, they are encouraged to do so as soon as possible if they plan to take part in the local qualifying bee — however, there will not be a price increase for registering after Oct. 15 during this inaugural year. The sooner a school registers, the sooner teachers and students will have access to the online resources for spelling and vocabulary. Registration will give a school instant online access to:

Log-in ID and password for a teachers-only area of spellingbee.com

Grade-specific word lists and study sheets for grades 1 8

Study materials for Park Record Bee participants

The 2015 Classroom Pronouncer Guide

The 2015 School Pronouncer Guide

From Encyclopædia Britannica, a free one-year subscription to Britannica Online for Kids that may be awarded to one student per school (a $69.95 value)

Schools must let the Park Record Bee organizers know by November 1, 2014 if their school will be participating in the 2nd/3rd grade "warm up" bee. Participation in that bee remains free of charge. Please send the name of the school and contact information to Tania Knauer at knauers@msn.com .


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