administrators at Duneland Schools are strategizing to maintain and improve
the accreditation process designed to foster student success.
Monday members of
the Duneland’s District Internal Review Team (DIRT) -- teachers Bobbi Hall,
Kirstin Reed, Christine Bullock and Katie Curiel -- gave the Duneland School
Board insights into what components it is sharpening with the Corporation’s
steering committee to meet the next accreditation and communicate with
stakeholders in the community.
“We are still
focused on kids. Our kids are number one,” Hall said. “Everything we do we
do for our students.”
The introduction of
a “data dashboard” is the next part of the team’s “journey,” Hall said,
which helps keep track of student and teacher performance in all of the
schools by indicators. Those include school grades, ISTEP and NWEA testing
scores, AP and IB exams, survey data, staff evaluation, student-to-teacher
ratios and, among other things, highly qualified staff percentages as well
as several indicators for operation integrity and college and career
President Kristin Kroeger asked how the information in the dashboards is
being used to drive decisions.
There will be
dashboards for each of the nine school as well as one for the district, said
Bailly Elementary Principal Kevin Zeck, who is the elementary representative
on the DIRT team. The dashboard concept was developed a little more than a
year ago, he said, and the schools are starting to see trend data to
evaluate and do adjustments to measure student success.
“School grades and
how we measure those have always changed each year,” Zeck told the board.
“There have been so many changes but we are finally at a point where we can
rely on more data because it’s staying consistent.” The eventual goal is
look at transition points as students move through elementary school, to
intermediate school and eventually to the high school.
The start toward an
accredited school district began in 2005 to bring the nine schools under one
mission. Zeck said there have been a few “systematic pauses” that have
stalled progress at times, such as when there has been a transition in
leadership, but Duneland’s new Schools Superintendent Ginger Bolinger has
done well in meeting with groups about plans to strategize.
“Once our planning
fits, things are going to move faster than any of us expected,” Zeck said.
Bullock said that
the team strives to do better each year and works to keep up with changes.
But she and Hall said Duneland staff should feel good about themselves and
the high marks they have achieved, which can be seen from the data
“To me, it’s a
little bit of a bragging site, because I think we do extremely well,” Hall
Hall said that a
review committee will be visiting Duneland Schools in January to assess how
the Corporation is measuring up to AdavancED standards. Prior to that, all
schools will be completing AdvancED surveys in the fall and steering
committees will meet with Bolinger. The response from the review committee
will be delivered in the spring semester and work will continue on strategic
the importance of maintaining communication.
has to be on board and know what’s going on. There are not many schools that
are part of this accreditation process district-wide and now that we are,
there is information they need to know so they can say good things about the
schools,” she said.
Other members of
the DIRT committee are CMS Principal Mike Megysei, Liberty Intermediate
Principal Greg Guernsey, CHS Assistant Principal Josh Huwig, and Assistant
School Superintendents Monte Moffett and Jim Goetz.
Boys and Girls Club
In other matters,
the school board approved of donating an obsolete bus to the Boys and Girls
Club of Porter County Duneland Unit.
this month said the Corporation is forming a partnership with the Club to
transport students after the school day is finished. Along with the school
bus donation, the Corporation also agreed to provide general maintenance for
the buses and to train drivers who will drive them.
Monday included an agreement with Maverick Energy to be Duneland’s natural
gas cooperative. Bolinger said the school used to receive the services
through the Northwest Indiana Education Service Center but that arrangement
has been dissolved and now the contract will be through Duneland itself.
that the Corporation has received its first installment of funds from the
Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission, which in 2014 began granting part of
its TIF collections to benefit the schools’ career training programs. The
amount for this installment is $57,440.
Superintendent Comments portion of the meeting, Bolinger lauded teachers and
staff who helped students witness the lunar eclipse earlier in the day.