Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Gold Star counselors set goals; LES raises cancer awareness

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All nine Duneland Schools earned a gold star rating for counseling by the Indiana Department of Education last month. Guidance counselors representing the schools shared with the School Board Monday what priorities they’ve made to achieve the recognition.

Karen Moffett, chair of the guidance department at Chesterton High School, said CHS was in its third renewal cycle for the gold star program when the other eight schools jumped in to follow what it was doing. They reviewed programs to see which elements were working and which should be taken out for not meeting the needs of students.

“We worked on having a plan for every student’s future. School counseling is for every single student in our building. I think that has been our focus and it’s a reason this has been so exciting,” said Moffett.

At the high school, every student took part in a survey for counselors to assess the needs. Anxiety is a prevalent problem among students, the counselors learned, and changes were made to counseling programs, Moffett said. Four counselors were designated for helping students plan for the future after high school and two others were tasked with student support. A plan was made for every student’s future, said Moffett.

CMS Guidance Counselor Laura Herrod said the counselors came up with a list of priority goals, including getting low-income students active in the 21st Century Scholar Program which helps them prepare for college. Another goal was for students to have a trusted adult they could talk to. “If students have one significant person, they can be successful,” Herrod said.

Maureen Hurst, counselor for Westchester Intermediate School, said the most apparent result in the surveys was that most students want to go on to college, while about one-fourth of the population said they were undecided on what they wanted to do.

Hurst said she believes that 5th and 6th grade is a good time for students to become familiar with what post-secondary education options are available for them. She said she is reaching out to Purdue University Calumet to set up a day next spring when students can see the campus, especially those in 21st Century Scholar program, along with their parents. “We really want to show them what college is like. Many of them have never been on a college campus,” Hurst said.

Bailey Elementary counselor Amy Snyder and Jackson Elementary counselor Liz Martin said other goals the group came up with include social and emotional learning to comfort students when they are stressed. Martin said they hope to develop a community mentor program.

Brummitt Elementary counselor Lindsey Moskalick and Liberty Elementary counselor Kristin Bonez said they too are focusing on student college and career readiness and planning a career fair with other elementary schools later in the school year.

School Board members Mike Trout and John Marshall asked if there is discussion and opportunities for students to explore apprenticeship programs or learning a skilled trade in lieu of attending college. They said that they have a difficult time at their businesses finding potential employees who have trade skills such as carpentry and electric.

“We are hoping that kids go on to college and come back to be vital community leaders, but we are literally having to give up business because we cannot find skilled workers to do the work for us,” Marshall said.

Moffett said the counselors are “definitely making sure” that the students know those opportunities are there for them as well.

LES helps improve lives of cancer patients

Meanwhile, students and teachers at Liberty Elementary gave a presentation of their own on how they took a few days to bring awareness to pediatric cancer.

Students Laylani Ortiz, Chamiya Powells, Liam Gray, Peyton Ostertag, Ruth Ridley, Braeden Walker, Alise Rodriguez, Ashley Stasny, Jaxson Schultz, Karleigh Pawlyszyn, and Clayton Valdez talked about the four themed days of special activities hosted at the school, leading up to its Walk-a-Thon event.

Day 1 was Superhero Day, Day 2 was Baseball Day in honor of Rusty Schultz, Day 3 was Crazy Hat Day, followed by the Walk-a-Thon on Day 4 which raised $3,143.31 for pediatric brain tumor research at Riley Children’s Hospital.

The students got further into the spirit of raising awareness by making posts, cards and gifts for children who are fighting cancer.

LES Principal Christy Jarka said this is the eighth year the school has hosted the walk-a-thon and thanked the students, parents and teachers who participated.

Superintendent’s Comments

Later in the meeting, Duneland Schools Superintendent Ginger Bolinger lauded the six CHS seniors who were named commended students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program -- Aaron Brookhouse, Laura Estridge, Joshua Guzek, Jason Hebblethwaite, Tanaykumar Murarka and Andrew Smenyak.

Bolinger also gave kudos to the Trojan Guard which advanced to ISSMA State Finals and for earning a gold division rating in the Class A preliminary competition this past Saturday in Fort Wayne.

Also, Bolinger encouraged the community to participate in Chesterton Middle School’s 5k for Veterans on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 9 a.m., which will benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Personnel Report

The board voted 5-0 to the consent agenda including approval of the school corporation’s personnel report.

Bus aides include Jessica Leach, Kimberly Waymire, Diane Palko, Kathy Clemons, Ann Boggs, Jean Orlowski, Sheree DeLache, Joan McKee, Judy Hewitt, Sherrie Dobrowski, Sarina Niforos and Jodi Craig. Kim Burton will be a bus driver trainer. Other hires are Jackson Elementary instructional aide Carrie Sabinski, custodian Kristene Childress, CHS instructional aide Jill Palmer, Westchester Interme-diate recess/cafeteria aide Darcie Rogala and Michael Kellems who will be a safety and security consultant for the school corporation.

Resignations this month include bus driver Vickie Geressy and route coordinator Shelley Blanche.


Posted 10/12/2017




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