Schools plan for reopening and bringing back students is in development, and
the goal is to have recommendations finalized by mid-July.
stressed at Monday’s Duneland School Board meeting that the plan is still
under development. DSC has formed a reentry committee comprised of all
Duneland Administrators and formed subcommittees for school operations,
student health, return to instruction, technology, transportation,
extracurriculars, mental health, CMS and CHS athletics, and human resources.
Superintendent Dr. Chip Pettit said Duneland will continue to provide a
world-class education to Duneland students and that the final reentry plan
will be based on guidance from state agencies, Porter County Education
Services, best practices from other reentry plans, and stakeholder input
gathered through surveys.
“In the coming
weeks, we look forward to listening to your thoughts and ideas for reopening
for the 2020-2021 school year,” Pettit said.
Superintendent Robert McDermott reported parent surveys have been sent, and
1,245, representing over 2,000 students, had already been returned by the
time of the meeting Monday.
one highlight from the results so far: “96 percent of those who have
responded believe that communication from our administration has been strong
throughout the pandemic.”
The Board also
approved a new three-year dynamic Strategic Plan at its meeting Monday.
Education consultants Deb Howe and Brad Balch, of Howe and Associates, gave
a presentation on the making of the plan.
Howe, a former
superintendent of Tri-Creek School Corporation, and Balch reported a
Strategic Planning Team of 54 Duneland administrators and teachers, parents,
community members, and students worked well together in spite of it size.
The team worked
between Jan. 27, 2020 and May 21, 2020 using a number of reports,
longitudinal data, surveys, and site visits to two comparable schools to
create recommendations and action plans. They ultimately set goals,
established strategies for action, and set timelines for action, in five
focus areas: student achievement and growth, culture and climate, human
resource development, governance and communication, and finance and
the 2020 Engagement Survey as an important indicator of Duneland’s bright
future. The purpose of the survey was to get a feel for the base of the
school climate and culture and how the schools are perceived, he said.
Balch said question
after question, the results showed confidence in Duneland. “I’ve not known
stronger and more positive results in 20 years of administering this survey
than I found in your district,” he said. “It’s just very noteworthy to see
very strong feedback across all stakeholder groups.”
Brandon Kroft and Secretary Alayna Lightfoot Pol were excited about the new
plan. “We implemented a plan two full school years ago, and to say that this
plan and that plan are night and day is an understatement,” Kroft said, and
added that the team did a phenomenal job gathering input and staying the
course amid COVID-19 restrictions.
“This is the
framework for getting our students where we want to be. The beautiful thing
about this is we will be reevaluating and pivoting and adjusting as we need
to,” Pol said. “I just want to thank everyone for their time and effort. I
am thrilled, and I am especially thrilled to see this as a parent of two
The Board approved
Director of Support Services Greg Lind to start the bid process for parking
lot reconfiguration at Yost Elementary School. Lindy says the project will
enlarge the west parking lot, which will hopefully make parent drop-off and
pick-up more efficient and safer by isolating the drop-off area from the
buses for an estimated $140,000.
The Board approved
2020-2021 vendor agreements for milk and dairy, food, and produce. The
produce and food agreements are $25,000 and $900,000 investments,
respectively, according to Duneland CFO Lynn Kwilasz. Kwilasz reported
Duneland participates in cooperative bidding through the Northern Indiana
Education Center to get the best prices on such vendor agreements.
Grab and Go meals
continue through July 31
Director Bridget Martinson reported ‘Grab and Go’ meals will continue
through July 31 for all Duneland students, regardless of need. Meals are
distributed at Chesterton High School from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday
through Thursday and consist of lunch for the current day and breakfast for
the next day. On Thursdays, parents can pick up meals for both Thursday and
Friday. Vehicles should enter the CHS lot through the entrance by the
football stadium, follow signs for curbside pick-up, and exit onto C. R.