Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Schools cut back on eLearning in 2019-2020 calendar

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Interim Duneland Schools Superintendent Judith Malasto announced at Monday’s School Board meeting that there will be three eLearning days next school year.

The 2019-2020 Duneland Schools Calendar has eLearning days on both election days, per an agreement with the County Election Board, and one eLearning day to serve as a “professional development blitz” for teachers on Dec. 5, 2019.

The announcement comes after the Board approved the cancellation of the April 3, 2019 eLearning day after getting feedback from parents and the community. The May 7, 2019 eLearning day remains in effect because of the School Board's agreement with the Election Board to have students working from home on Election days, when many schools serve as polling places.

In addition to the eLearning days, Malasto announced the first day of school will be Aug. 14, 2019 and the last day May 27, 2020. Graduation will be May 29, 2020.

Malasto addressed the inclement weather last week, which caused Duneland to have three impromptu eLearning days. One day was not called as an eLearning day and left to be made up later. Malasto said, “We felt we were losing some continuity in instruction, and we weren’t protecting the integrity of instruction by having four eLearning days in a row.”

Since the April 3 eLearning day won’t be in effect to make-up for the lost instruction, Malasto said Friday, Feb. 15 will be an eLearning day where teachers and tech support are available to students instead. Assignments will be posted a week in advance and not due until Feb. 19 to account for families who had already made plans over the long weekend. Malasto thanked Duneland IT Director Kevin Wilson, whose staff agreed to give up having Feb. 15 off in order to be available for eLearning support.

Superintendent’s Comments

Malasto took a moment to thank the Duneland Schools workers who didn’t get time off due to the weather last week--the maintenance, custodial, transportation and support staff.

“While our teachers and our students and families were at home working diligently, we still had working buildings, and they were here making sure everything was working inside and out,” Malasto said.

Malasto had another announcement: “We’re going to be hosting a series of information meetings, just for giving info on the general state of our schools.”

The first of these info sessions is Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Westchester Public Library’s Baugher Center, 100 W. Indiana Avenue. There will be several more through the end of the school year.

Transfer Student Policy

Board President Brandon Kroft commented at the end of the meeting to say the Board hasn’t forgotten its promise to address the issue of transfer students at Duneland.

Kroft said the Board is waiting and plans to address the issue once it has found a new permanent Superintendent.

In the meantime, Policy 5111, which dictates how Duneland decides legal settlement in the district, remains in effect. Under that policy, children of Duneland employees, students at accredited nonpublic schools in the district who need to advance to a grade level not offered at their nonpublic schools, and the siblings of students who have transferred in will be admitted to Duneland, so long as the number of transfer students admitted doesn’t cause the Corporation to meet its maximum student capacity. Parents can read all Duneland policies online by going to the Duneland website, hovering over the “Administration” tab, and selecting the “Policies and Procedures” option.

50th Anniversary

Public Relations Director Bridget Martinson reported that interested community members should be on the lookout for an announcement about a new Duneland Schools alumni association. Martinson said the project has been in the works for the past six months.

Students were given the chance to enter a bookmark contest in honor of the 50th Anniversary. They were tasked with creating a bookmark showing what they like most about school. The contest garnered more than 170 entries from students in grades K- 6.

The winners, who got 25 copies of their bookmarks printed and gift voucher for Barnes and Noble, are: First place, Lucy Arocha; Second place, Abrielle Dehnart; and Third place, Dominic Orlando in the K-4 category. In the 5-6 category, First place was Han Phan, Second place was Hailey Geiser, and Third place was Enrico Ortega.



Posted 2/8/2019




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