The Duneland School
Board approved a plan to replace two K-4 positions--one art teacher and one
physical education teacher--that it left vacant at the end of the 2017
Elementary Learning and Performance Christy Jarka reported that a Related
Arts Action committee consisting of herself, representatives of each grade
level, and other administrators, concluded that not filling those positions
resulted in students at Jackson and Brummitt not getting enough instruction
in those subjects.
Jarka said best
practices are for students to get 2,100 minutes of related arts instruction
per year, per related art subject, and that hasn’t been happening.
“At some points,
students at Jackson and Brummitt are getting about 60 percent of their time
in music and less than 25 percent of their time in art and gym,” Jarka said.
Jarka said having
adequate arts instruction across the board at Duneland’s nine schools keeps
Duneland in compliance with the Title I program and the Every Student
Succeeds Act (ESSA), a replacement for the No Child Left Behind Act intended
to bring uniformity to federal educational standards and ensure students
have a level playing field.
The result of the
plan is that each school will have a full-time person for each of the
related arts subjects.
Jarka said the
committee looked into making these changes mid-year and opted not to. “It
wasn’t conducive to do that, otherwise I would have been here in December or
January making this request,” Jarka said.
plan means that Duneland will hire two new, full-time elementary
teachers--one for art and one physical education. Existing staff members
won’t be asked to increase their commitments.
Brandon Kroft explained the Board’s series of upcoming closed executive
sessions, following an article in the Chesterton Tribune last week
that listed the dates and times for the sessions.
Kroft said the
purpose of the meetings is to conduct first round interviews with
Superintendent candidates. Kroft said the Board will be interviewing every
day this week and on Sunday.
The Board is
conducting its own interviews to have more control over the hiring process
this time around. Search consultant, BWP & Associates, took the lead filling
Dr. David Pruis’ spot in 2017. This time, BWP’s involvement was limited to
collecting application materials.
Director of Support
Services Greg Lindy received approval to go out for bids on summer paving
projects. Lindy said he’s looking into installing a speedbump in the CHS
lot, widening the 5th Street entrance to Bailly Elementary, and repaving the
band parking lot at CHS.
Lindy also reported
bids are in for ventilation work at Jackson Elementary. Lindy said he worked
with an architect and an engineering firm to decide what work needed to be
done. The duct work in the north section of the building and the media
center will either be replaced or reconfigured. Any old duct work left will
be cleaned and sterilized, and new LED lights will be installed in the
ceilings. Lindy said the result will be an updated system with better
The Board approved
the low bid from Hasse Construction, out of Calumet City, Ill., for
$815,500. “It sounds like a big number, but it was a lot lower than I
thought it would be,” Lindy said.
Board Secretary Ron
Stone said Jackson’s ventilation has been a long-standing issue.
Superintendent Judy Malasto reminded parents that the April 3 eLearning Day
was cancelled. Students are to attend school as usual tomorrow.
reminded anyone interested that the next referendum information session is
at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, April 3, at the Westchester Public Library
Baugher Center, 100 Indiana Avenue, Chesterton.
There will also be
an open house for the Westchester Intermediate Robotics team in the
Westchester Intermediate cafeteria from 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow. The open house
celebrates the WIS Robotics team’s forthcoming trip to a world championship
competition with their robot, Bob 3.0.
The Board will not
meet the first Monday in May. Instead, the Board opted to reschedule its
regular meeting to Wednesday, May 8, at 7:30 a.m. and will hold a special
session the last week of May.