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'Data dashboards' are new tool in Duneland Schools accreditation process board told

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Teachers and 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 readiness.

School Board 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 dashboards.

“To me, it’s a little bit of a bragging site, because I think we do extremely well,” Hall said.

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 plans.

Bullock emphasized the importance of maintaining communication.

“Every stakeholder 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 partnership

In other matters, the school board approved of donating an obsolete bus to the Boys and Girls Club of Porter County Duneland Unit.

Moffett earlier 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.

Energy contract

Other business 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.

RDC money

Bolinger announced 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.

Eclipse

In her Superintendent Comments portion of the meeting, Bolinger lauded teachers and staff who helped students witness the lunar eclipse earlier in the day.

 

 

Posted 8/23/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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