Chesterton Tribune

 

 

School board celebrates end of 2013 - 14 year; sets policy changes

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Many cheers will be heard this week at Thursday’s Chesterton High School graduation, and the Duneland School Board began celebrating a few days early hearing end-of-the year highlights from Superintendent of Schools Dave Pruis.

The 25th annual 5 Percent Club Banquet, which honors the top five percent of the senior class, saw 26 students at the Water Bird Inn and Spa, said Pruis. Each student got to bring a teacher who inspired them in their educational careers. The event was underwritten by the Duneland Education Foundation.

Also, departing teachers and staff were given a celebration at the Administration Center. Retirees have a combined total of 715 years served at Duneland.

“That’s an awful lot of experience leaving us this year,” said Pruis.

Student achievements included the CHS Fine Arts Academic Team placing second at the state competition losing in a tie breaker with Center Grove. The team consisted of seniors Ben Moy and Jonah Pruitt and junior Alisha Dziarski.

Westchester Intermediate School raised $700 for the American Heart Association last month in the Hoops for Heart event, Pruis said. Related events like the Heart Walk and the Jump for Heart events helped bring the total to about $3,000 raised for the AHA this year.

Pruis also praised efforts of CHS junior Natalie Petro who organized a 5k run/walk at the high school on May 17 in order to promote starting a local chapter of Making Advancements for the Autistic Population, which would raise funds for autism outreach. Pruis said Petro was named MAAP’s first Director of Youth Activities and she continues to look for ways to educate students about autism.

Also, the CHS Sandscript received an honor from the Women’s Press Club of Indiana, Pruis said.

Duneland School Board President Ralph Ayres added that the Chesterton boys volleyball team won the Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association State Championship, beating out the No.1 ranked team. That’s impressive, he said, considering the team’s only been organized for three years.

Lastly, 504 diplomas will be handed out during Thursday’s graduation ceremony, CHS principal Jeff Van Drie said. The ceremony will be outdoors, weather permitting, or in the gymnasium in case of rain.

Van Drie said that 303 scholarships have been given out so far to the senior class and just 11 of them have been for athletics. The rest have been for academics.

Ayres congratulated students, staff and the supporting taxpayers on a “very successful 2013-2014 school year.”

Ayres also reminded folks to be cautious of the changing traffic patterns now that school is out for the summer.

Policy changes approved, 4-1

During the business portion of the meeting, a split vote of 4-1 added updates to Duneland policies to comply with the new regulations from the Indiana General Assembly.

These include an updated definition of bullying, policy on employees in the military, prohibiting the promotion of religion in class, grant funds and service animals on school property.

Dissenting was Ronald Stone, Liberty Township, who said after the meeting he would not vote for the policy as a whole, disagreeing specifically with the state’s changes regarding open enrollment.

He said he wishes the school corporation would have closed enrollment to keep class sizes smaller, as was promised during the school tax referendum, and to keep out students who may be a bad influence on those already attending Duneland Schools.

“The way I see it is we’ve got to make sure we can take care of our own kids,” he told the Chesterton Tribune.

In other actions, the board unanimously accepted two resolutions regarding investment of funds. The first was an approval to authorize the school corporation to invest funds with banks outside its boundaries. The second is to allow the corporation to have interlocal agreements for the investment of its public funds.

Two other resolutions were tabled while changes can be made. Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz said the state now allows the school board the authority to invest public funds for at least two years but no more than five up to 25 percent of its portfolio.

Board member Kristin Kroeger argued for changes to the investment policy which says school investments must have a stated maturity of not more than two years.

Ayres said the school administrators will work with the board members to make the changes and present them at the next meeting.

School calendar

In another matter, the board approved amendments for the set 2014-15 calendar.

Earlier this year, the board had added President’s Day as a snow make-up day and will do the same if needed next year. That means Friday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 16 will be reserved for make-up days. A third make up day will be Friday, April 24.

The first day of school for students will be Wednesday, Aug. 20. Graduation next year will be on Thursday, June 4, with June 3 being the last day for students.

New teachers welcomed

After saying goodbye to retiring teachers and staff, Duneland welcomed new faces to its 2014-15 team on Monday night.

Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Human Relations Monte Moffett announced six new teachers, many of whom were sitting in the audience.

Three of the teachers will be at Yost. Andrea Levrio, a CHS and Purdue University graduate, will teach 2nd grade. Valparaiso HS and Butler University graduate Mary Moats will also teach 2nd grade. Thomas Santonyo will be the new music teacher at Yost.

Teaching 5th grade at WIS next year are Kathleen Maple and Lindsey Darnell, both CHS and Purdue University grads. This will be Maple’s first year teaching while Darnell has worked as an RtI aide at WIS.

A Purdue Calumet grad from Lake Central, Elizabeth Coutroubis will teach math at CHS.

In other announcements, CMS teacher Ian MacLaverty will move to CHS to teach business. Karla Allmon is moving from CMS to CHS to teach Math.

Cynthia Hesemann will be the Natural Helpers sponsor for next year.

One more retirement was announced Ð Duneland Media Processor Karen Ressler effective Sept. 2.

Resigning are CMS attendance secretary Toni Biancardi, Brummitt remediation/ESL aide Jessica Koziatek, CMS health/PE teacher Jane Schlichting, CHS alternative class placement supervisor Andrew Prater, CHS utility aide Jen Drlich, CMS cross country and wrestling coach Adam Schultz, CHS JV Basketball coach Doug Uehling and Yost 3rd Grade teacher Megan Irwin.

Next meetings

The board approved the dates for the two upcoming school board meetings Ð Monday, June 23 and Monday, July 14.

 

 

Posted 6/3/2014