Chesterton Tribune



Both Liberty schools and St Patrick School earn four star rating

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The Indiana Department of Education revised its list of four-star schools for the 2015-16 year which now includes Liberty Elementary and Intermediate schools from the Duneland School Corporation and St. Patrick’s School in Chesterton.

Liberty schools

This is the first time for LES to be on the list, at least since before 2009 according to the DOE’s website.

LES Principal Christy Jarka she is excited to see her school make the list this year and told the Chesterton Tribune this morning it was a combination of perseverance and determination by her staff, students and parents.

“We not only believe children can learn, we live it,” Jarka said. “Our faculty and staff is committed to going above and beyond to help all students reach their potential. Our parents are amazing in their support, too. Most of all, our students come to school knowing they are our number one priority, and we are here to do whatever it takes to help them achieve.”

At LIS, Principal Greg Guernsey said collaboration between the staff and students with activities are what achieves success.

“These activities require the application of newly acquired concepts rather than just recollection. Although we are very pleased and honored to receive this award, we understand that this is only one measure of all that we do for our students at Liberty Intermediate School,” Guernsey told the Tribune.

This is the first time LIS has been named a four-star school by the state since the 2010-11 school year.

Comparably, for the 2014-15 school year, only Chesterton Middle School received a four-star rating.

Duneland Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jim Goetz said that the School Corporation is proud of all its schools, regardless if they make the four-star rating or not. However, the rating is something the administrators will keep striving for, he said.

“We’re happy for our two schools -- LES and LIS -- for getting this honor but we would like to see all nine of our buildings have it.” Goetz said. “We’ve got great students and parents that are very supportive. Those two things usually go hand in hand.”

St. Pat’s

Meanwhile, St. Patrick’s School Principal Richard Rupcich gave praise to his students and teachers as the school earned its eighth consecutive four-rating.

Rupcich said the critical factor for the school’s long-term success is the longevity of Pastor Father Meade and the teachers, many of whom have been there for 20 years or more, as well as the families of St. Patrick students and their commitment to education.

“Our families support our efforts by sending students to school on a daily basis who are ready to learn and understand the importance of education, this taking homework, classwork, and testing seriously,” Rupcich said.

This will be Father Meade’s last year with the school after having served for 17 years.

Four-stars in Porter County

The state also announced Immanuel Lutheran School in Valparaiso as a four-star school. A few of its students come from the Duneland area.

Other schools in Porter County that were announced as four-star schools on Friday include Morgan Twp. HS, Washington Twp. HS, Boone Grove HS, John Simatovich Elementary School in Union Twp., Union Township Middle School, Cooks Corners Elementary School in Valparaiso, Hayes Leonard Elementary School in Valparaiso, Memorial Elementary School in Valparaiso, Northview Elementary School in Valparaiso and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Valparaiso.

In the two lists of four-star schools, a total of 248 schools received the award. The list can be found on the DOE’s website.


To receive Four Star designation, a school must receive an “A” on the state’s A-F accountability system, grades 3-8 must have at least 85 percent of all students passing English/Language Arts and Math portions of the ISTEP test, at least 55 percent of all students in grade 10 passing the English/Language Arts portion of the ISTEP and 35 percent of all students passing the Math portion, a 2016 graduation rate of at least 97.5 percent of all students and show success in closing achievement gaps.

“Receiving designation as a four-star school signifies a pursuit of academic excellence among both the students and the administration,” said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, in a press release. “I am honored to recognize these four-star schools and their leadership for their hard work and dedication to preparing their students for a bright and prosperous future.”




Posted 5/31/2017




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