Chesterton High School’s new administrative team is expanding the
breathalyzer pilot program to include this weekend’s Homecoming dance.
CHS principal Jeff Van Drie, with assistant principals Rob Blumenthal, Judy
Malasto, and Josh Huwig, gave the Duneland School Board a presentation
The principals propose turning last spring’s breathalyzer pilot program for
school dances into firm policy.
Van Drie and Huwig said the first try of the pilot program was a success
during this year’s prom where 600 attendees and guests all submitted to a
mandatory portable breath test as part of admission to the dance.
No one tested positive for alcohol, Van Drie said, and the process itself
was “simple” enough that they were able to move the lines without any
trouble. It also affected the attitude of the students positively, he added.
“Even the flavor of the dance changed because of the (breathalyzers). It was
happier, more upbeat,” said Van Drie.
The pilot program will be utilized at this Saturday’s CHS homecoming dance.
Attendees will be reminded on the ticket.
Should an attendee test positive, he or she will be escorted by a law
enforcement officer to a private room for a second test. If the student
tests positive a second time, they will face school disciplinary action,
ticket costs will be forfeited, and parents will be notified, Huwig said.
Four or more PBT machines will again be borrowed from Chesterton Police
Van Drie said homecoming is CHS’s most highly attended dance, but he and
former principal Jim Goetz, who is now assistant superintendent of
instruction, said they would expect the line at homecoming to move at a
“It’s such a quick endeavor, we only had to use four machines (at prom),”
Meanwhile, Huwig, who previously was Dean of Students at Lake Central High
School which has implemented mandatory PBT tests at its senior banquet and
prom, will be working on a permanent policy to present to the board at a
“We expected a little bit of negativity but there was none whatsoever,” said
“We actually had some kids thank us,” Goetz added.
Huwig said the mandatory PBT policy will be only for school dances, leaving
out other extracurricular activities, for which some schools in Indiana
As it is planned, Huwig said the policy would require students to sign an
agreement form when purchasing tickets, which will also list other
expectations such as appropriate dress. He would like a way to make tickets
available for purchase over the internet, possibly through the new Skyward
The board took no action on the policy recommendations Monday, but member
Ron Stone asked the administrators if they should add something to address
what to do if an attendee refuses to take the breath test and leaves the
Huwig said he will try to word the policy recommendation in response to
It’s not known when the board will vote to adopt the policy, but Van Drie
said he anticipates having the policy in place before the CHS winter formal
dance in January or February.
Five and Under Club
Malasto told the board about a new enhancement to CHS’ “Five and Under Club”
to professionally support a large population of newer teachers.
A little less than one half of the teachers at CHS have been with Duneland
for five years or less. Many are in their 20’s and 30’s, Malasto said.
The “Five and Under Club” has been around for a few years now but CHS is
adding a new feature to help members be more motivated in their teaching,
Malasto said. With the “Monday Morning Minute,” everyone in the “Club” will
receive a piece of motivational information, a serious thought, a quote, a
humorous quip or a link to a useful website.
Malasto said the thought behind the effort is to help build character in
teachers, which in turn would affect students and the community at large.
“It impacts the students and in the end we are happy to be a part of it,”
Swimming Coach honored
The board gave a public pat on the back to Kevin Kinel, who has been a
celebrated swim coach at CHS for 33 years, recognizing his many
CHS Athletic Director Garry Nallenweg said that in his career Kinel has
achieved 40 team titles in the Duneland Athletic Conference (20 for boys and
20 for girls), 38 team sectional titles (20 for girls, 18 for boys), three
team state titles for boys, 45 individual relay state championships, 13
state high school records, three national high school records, 32 top ten
state finish results (17 for girls, 15 for boys), has coached four Olympic
trial swimmers, earned 29 awards as sectional coach of the year (18 for
girls, 11 for boys), been four times the Indiana High School Coach of the
Year and, most recently, this summer Kinel was named Coach of the Year for
boys swimming by the National High School Coaches’ Association.
Despite all the accolades, Kinel was humble and thanked the Duneland
administration, the CHS principals and the community.
“The big thing for me is all the support I’ve had,” Kinel said. “I’m still
having fun doing what I am doing.”
Board member John Marshall said as a swim parent it’s a pleasure to travel
to competitions and hear others say, “You guys got a great coach.”
Schools Superintendent Dave Pruis reported that enrollment is holding steady
since the start of the school year and attendance for the student count on
Friday, Sept. 13, will be “hopefully slightly above” last year.
The attendance number on that day will determine Duneland’s average daily
membership, which the state uses to compute the amount of funding for a
Also, Pruis said the employee health and wellness center, at 411 S. 5th St.
in Chesterton, opened last week.
Pruis said staff may also use the Novia clinics in Griffith and in Knox.
As usual, Assistant Superintendent Monte Moffett reported on the latest
appointments and resignations within the Duneland Schools.
Kathryn Ahrendt will be a long term substitute at Bailly Elementary.
At Brummitt Elementary, Jayne Korpak will work as an RtI aide.
Two new lunch aides will be in the kitchen at CHS, Stephanie Rutkowski-Clark
and Stephanie Demkowicz, and two more in the CMS kitchen, Andrea Persuhn and
Liberty Elementary welcomes new lunch aide Michelle Merceir and new
custodian Kyra Nuce.
Also, Tracey Dibble will assume an instructional aide position at
Westchester Intermediate. Helen Dzomba will be an instructional aide at Yost
As for resignations, the list includes Liberty Elementary lunch aide Shannah
Wilson, CHS hall monitor Tracey Dibble, CHS access control greeter Dave
Adkins, and CMS custodian Arbie Taylor.
Next Board meeting
The next board meeting will be the public hearing for the 2014 advertised
budget on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m., in the Duneland Administration