Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Duneland Schools reentry planning underway

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By LILY REX

The Duneland Schools plan for reopening and bringing back students is in development, and the goal is to have recommendations finalized by mid-July.

Administrators stressed at Monday’s Duneland School Board meeting that the plan is still under development. DSC has formed a reentry committee comprised of all Duneland Administrators and formed subcommittees for school operations, student health, return to instruction, technology, transportation, extracurriculars, mental health, CMS and CHS athletics, and human resources.

Duneland Schools Superintendent Dr. Chip Pettit said Duneland will continue to provide a world-class education to Duneland students and that the final reentry plan will be based on guidance from state agencies, Porter County Education Services, best practices from other reentry plans, and stakeholder input gathered through surveys.

“In the coming weeks, we look forward to listening to your thoughts and ideas for reopening for the 2020-2021 school year,” Pettit said.

Assistant Superintendent Robert McDermott reported parent surveys have been sent, and 1,245, representing over 2,000 students, had already been returned by the time of the meeting Monday.

McDermott shared one highlight from the results so far: “96 percent of those who have responded believe that communication from our administration has been strong throughout the pandemic.”

Strategic Plan

The Board also approved a new three-year dynamic Strategic Plan at its meeting Monday. Education consultants Deb Howe and Brad Balch, of Howe and Associates, gave a presentation on the making of the plan.

Howe, a former superintendent of Tri-Creek School Corporation, and Balch reported a Strategic Planning Team of 54 Duneland administrators and teachers, parents, community members, and students worked well together in spite of it size.

The team worked between Jan. 27, 2020 and May 21, 2020 using a number of reports, longitudinal data, surveys, and site visits to two comparable schools to create recommendations and action plans. They ultimately set goals, established strategies for action, and set timelines for action, in five focus areas: student achievement and growth, culture and climate, human resource development, governance and communication, and finance and resources.

Balch highlighted the 2020 Engagement Survey as an important indicator of Duneland’s bright future. The purpose of the survey was to get a feel for the base of the school climate and culture and how the schools are perceived, he said.

Balch said question after question, the results showed confidence in Duneland. “I’ve not known stronger and more positive results in 20 years of administering this survey than I found in your district,” he said. “It’s just very noteworthy to see very strong feedback across all stakeholder groups.”

Board President Brandon Kroft and Secretary Alayna Lightfoot Pol were excited about the new plan. “We implemented a plan two full school years ago, and to say that this plan and that plan are night and day is an understatement,” Kroft said, and added that the team did a phenomenal job gathering input and staying the course amid COVID-19 restrictions.

“This is the framework for getting our students where we want to be. The beautiful thing about this is we will be reevaluating and pivoting and adjusting as we need to,” Pol said. “I just want to thank everyone for their time and effort. I am thrilled, and I am especially thrilled to see this as a parent of two Duneland students.”

Other Approvals

The Board approved Director of Support Services Greg Lind to start the bid process for parking lot reconfiguration at Yost Elementary School. Lindy says the project will enlarge the west parking lot, which will hopefully make parent drop-off and pick-up more efficient and safer by isolating the drop-off area from the buses for an estimated $140,000.

The Board approved 2020-2021 vendor agreements for milk and dairy, food, and produce. The produce and food agreements are $25,000 and $900,000 investments, respectively, according to Duneland CFO Lynn Kwilasz. Kwilasz reported Duneland participates in cooperative bidding through the Northern Indiana Education Center to get the best prices on such vendor agreements.

Grab and Go meals continue through July 31

Public Relations Director Bridget Martinson reported ‘Grab and Go’ meals will continue through July 31 for all Duneland students, regardless of need. Meals are distributed at Chesterton High School from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and consist of lunch for the current day and breakfast for the next day. On Thursdays, parents can pick up meals for both Thursday and Friday. Vehicles should enter the CHS lot through the entrance by the football stadium, follow signs for curbside pick-up, and exit onto C. R. 1050N.

 

 

Posted 6/9/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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