For the first time since 2007, Duneland School Corporation employees will
pay more for their health insurance.
The Duneland School Board on Monday approved a recommendation from a school
insurance committee to boost the employee-paid premiums by 6 percent in
2012, following a review by Anton Insurance showing that the premiums will
rise by at least 14 percent in Dunelandís self-funded insurance program.
Duneland Assistant Superintendent Dave Pruis said that the increased premium
will boost the cost for the single plan by $450 annually. Of this, the
school corporation will pay 80 percent, or $360, and the employee will pay
the remaining $90 increase. That translates to $7.50 per month more per
For employees on the family plan, the increase will total $1,050 a year per
family. Of this, Duneland will pay $840 and the employee will pay $210 more
a year, or an increase of $17.50 per month.
Also at the Duneland School Board meeting Monday, Duneland Assistant
Superintendent Monte Moffett gave a report on the recent parent-teacher
conferences held for grades K through 8.
Attendance for grades K-4 totaled 97 percent, an improvement over last
yearís 96.3 percent.
At Liberty Intermediate, 339 conferences were held, for a 96 percent
turnout. Westchester Intermediate held its conferences in an open format,
with 811 total. In grades 7 and 8, 444 and 507 conferences were held,
Moffett said while the attendance rate is impressive, he was also struck by
comments he heard from parents who were very appreciative that Duneland
continues to hold the parent-teacher meetings. He noted that not all schools
continue to have conferences, now that the state has cut funding for them.
Liberty Elementary staff and students gave the school board a presentation
on their schoolís related arts program. All Duneland elementary schools have
music, art, and physical education courses, but LES is the only one that
offers the related arts on a daily rotation.
Art teacher Colin May said related arts are important in developing children
academically, noting one study that found that SAT scores tend to rise 100
points per child in schools that offer related arts. Another study found
that 85 percent of business executives showed that they are struggling to
find individuals who possess creative ability.
As May, music teacher Lauren Smith and PE teacher Bob Nemtuda outlined the
LES related arts program, six students simulated their class experiences by
doing an exercise routine, performing a musical piece, and pretending to
create artistic masterpieces. The participating students were third graders
Esteban Lamb and Sophia Gill and fourth graders Madison Sims, Olivia
Klinger, Alexis Quiroz, and Nathan Perry.
In an update on technology projects, director Kevin Wilson told the school
board that within the past two years, Duneland has replaced 85 percent of
its network infrastructure, moving more and more toward wireless. Faculty
members have also been given the mobility of laptops and using technology in
For example, one teacher recorded students reading a Christmas story, with
the recording easily available to another class of younger students via the
Internet. In another example, a teacher started a blog discussion on a topic
in which other teachers and students get to chime in.
Wilson said the use of technology allows kids to continue with their school
work conveniently at home or wherever they have online access. He noted that
students have a convenient way to ask questions they didnít get to ask in
class, which can ebe specially important for shy students who arenít
comfortable speaking in class. He added that efforts are underway for
teachers to create videos outlining the points they made in the classroom.
In personnel matters, the school accepted the resignation of Kelly Gaston as
a WIS instructional aide and appointed her as a Title I aide at LIS.
Appointed as an instructional aide at WIS was Joy Martinson.