An overall decline in the Duneland Schools’ ISTEP-plus results for this year
has school officials deliberating approaches for improvements at each
individual building in the school corporation.
Monte Moffett, assistant superintendent for Duneland Schools, spoke to the
school board on Tuesday about the lackluster 2012 results failing to match
the results of last year, when the district improved in 15 out of the 16
“We’re not satisfied with the scores. Our schools generally improved in
every area but (in 2012) we were only up in eight of the 16 areas. We’re not
making any excuses,” Moffett said.
He went on to say it could be “a bunch of little things” that dragged the
Figures from the Indiana Department of Education released in early July said
for all grades combined, Duneland had 83 percent of students pass English,
85.3 percent pass math, and 77 percent passing both. Duneland’s percentage
for passing both ranked sixth out of seven school corporations in the
In Duneland, elementary grades tended to show higher marks in
English/Language Arts while Intermediate and Middle School students
performed better in Math.
Scoring higher were Discovery Charter School in Porter, with 96 percent of
its students passing the Math portion and 93.5 percent passing the English
portion, and St. Patrick Catholic School which reported the best results in
Duneland with 98 percent passing Math, 98 percent passing English and 96
percent passing both.
Moffett said the performances have been discussed with principals and
teachers of each school in the district. He said there will be three teacher
days designated to look over test data and configure individual strategies
will be implemented based on the needs of those classrooms.
“Each building can come up with a plan on what they need to improve on. I
think that’s the best way to approach it,” he said.
Moffett said a move at his discretion may have been partly to blame. With
Indiana and 45 other states moving to the PARCC national testing after 2014
(the state will cease the ISTEP that year and will replace it with PARCC),
Moffett said Duneland has started to shift to the national Common Core
standards with less emphasis on teaching the standards advocated by the
“It probably cost us a little this year,” Moffett said. “I heard from
principals and teachers that this really was a change for our kids.”
Common Core has some similarities to state standards but uses a more
hands-on-approach with technology being a key component.
“We look to do a better job of laying the state standards next to the Common
Core standards and make sure we are hitting both,” said Moffett.
Duneland Schools Superintendent Dirk Baer said loss of classroom aides due
to funding cuts probably played a role in nudging the scores downward. He
also said new students coming into Duneland this past year have been taught
different standards and just needed more time to adjust.
Some positive statistics were voiced by the board. Board member Ralph Ayres
said most of the scores were above the state’s averages and he expects the
scores to receive a boost in the next three years when those who went
through full-day kindergarten begin testing.
Moffett added that scores were generally up for students in the special
“We just didn’t improve and that’s not what we are used to seeing. If that
is our expectation, that’s good. But there are a lot of really neat things.
We had one outstanding student get a perfect score. Those things are in
there,” said Moffett.
Early in the meeting, the board approved a two-year contract for Mike Oakley
to fill the role of assistant principal at Chesterton Middle School. Oakley
is not a stranger to Duneland as he has been one of the social studies
teachers at CHS for eight years.
Oakley, a graduate of Indiana University Northwest, will replace resigning
CMS assistant principal Tony Bartolomeo who has taken an athletic director’s
job at Lake Central High School.
That makes two new administrators at CMS this year. Last month, the board
named Mike Megyesi as the school’s new principal.
The board also greeted many new hires on Monday.
Christine Roberts will be a math teacher at CHS. A University of Southern
Indiana graduate, she taught one year in Peru, Ind.
Megan Irwin, a native of Newburgh, Ind. and Ball State grad, will teach
third grade at Yost Elementary.
Jason Gast will be a new art teacher at CMS. He is a Valparaiso native and
previously taught 11 years in the Griffith School System.
CHS alums Katie Cahillane and Jacob Havner are returning to the school
district to teach. The school hired Cahillane to teach social studies at CMS
and Havner to teach third grade at Brummitt Elementary. Both are graduates
of Purdue University.
Bryan Nallenweg will be teaching Social Studies at CHS.
The school made the following appointments for aide positions: Karen Donley,
Brooke Hogan and Sharon Haussman, at Bailly Elementary; Kelly Fields, at
Yost Elementary; Chris Nixon and Elisa Boscaccy, at Liberty Elementary; and
Dan Barkas, at CMS. Long Term Substitutes hired are Krista Biggs for Liberty
Elementary and Brandi Nay for Yost Elementary. Sara Binder and Kimberly
Tumbas are two aides to help with Duneland School’s High Ability program.
Moffett also announced the resignations of CHS math teacher Sue Lipinski,
CHS science teacher Carrie Edlen, aides Lindsey Darnell, Elizabeth Kadish
and Tammy McEuen.
Baer said the school is deep in the hiring process for a new support
services director after Mark McKibben retired from the job this summer.
the board the Indiana Department of Transportation replied to the inquiry he
sent last month regarding safety for buses near the entrance of Porter
Regional Hospital. INDOT said a traffic light will be in place when the
hospital opens later this month and the agency will be “watching very
closely” for traffic issues.
On another note,
Baer mentioned the Porter County Commissioners have not responded to a
similar concern for the intersection of CR 700N and Meridian Rd. Board
member Ronald Stone expressed displeasure saying there are “too many”
accidents at that intersection.
reminded the public the first day of classes for students is Wednesday, Aug.
22, and asked the community be considerate of students while driving.