Chesterton Tribune


Gaston and Grubb among those retiring from Duneland Schools

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Duneland Schools Superintendent Dirk Baer won’t be the only school official bidding adieu at the end of this school year.

Joining him will be longtime Business Manager and Corporation Treasurer Bonnie Gaston who let the School Board know about her plans to retire at Thursday’s meeting.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Business Dave Pruis said he has worked closely with Gaston and they have worked on more projects than he could count, with plenty of disagreement involving some “cussin and discussin” but also have “shared a lot of laughs.”

He said Gaston began in 1968, a total of 45 years ago.

Baer, who has worked with Gaston for 20 years, said teachers and staff came to Gaston with questions “because she was always able to answer them.”

“No one has done more for the Duneland School Corporation than Bonnie,” Baer continued. “She cares so much about our employees.”

Gaston’s last day will be June 30.

But that’s not everybody. Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Monte Moffett announced retirements for seven more teachers and administrators:

Bailly Principal Mike Grubb has also been involved with Duneland Schools for 45 years, first as a fifth grade teacher at Westchester Schools and as a coach. He taught at Bailly and became principal in 2001. In his tenure, he has coached boys and girls basketball and golf. Students may best remember him from his 25 years teaching drivers education.

Chesterton Middle School Media Specialist Mara Becking began working at Chesterton High School’s west library in 1978 and has been a media specialist for 27 years. Becking has been working at CMS for the past eight years and among her highlights is in 1994 when the American Association of School Librarians named the Duneland Media Program as its National Library Media Program of the Year.

Jackson Elementary Kindergarten Teacher Susan DeWitt has also taught first grade for a few years and has served for 21 years total.

CMS Science Teacher Greg Kearney began teaching at Liberty Middle school in 1972 and later at CMS in 2001. He has taught for 41 years.

Westchester Intermediate Fifth Grade Teacher Barbara Schaefer started teaching at Brummitt Elementary when it opened in 1972. She taught fifth grade since 1991 and came to Westchester when it became an intermediate school.

CMS Health Teacher Thomas Shelton began teaching health at Liberty Middle School about 1971 and later moved to CMS. He has coached wrestling and volleyball and also taught drivers ed.

CHS Science Teacher Robert “Ted” Woover has taught for 43 years and came to the high school in 1978 after teaching in other schools. He has coached freshman boys basketball and was the science chair for the past ten years.

Moffett said that when you tally them all up, the seven educators have served 262 years at DSC. He later mentioned two other retirements, CHS custodian Carolyn Francis and Bailly Elementary secretary Donna Grennes.

Board President Mike Trout gave his thanks on behalf of the board.

“Every single one of you will be missed,” he said.

Resigning are two Duneland coaches Ð Kristina Buhring who coached JV Softball at CHS and Rachel Nidelchoff-Henry who coached varsity cheerleading at CHS.

School calendars

In another action on Thursday, the board approved the calendars for the next two school years.

The first day for the 2013-2014 school year will be Aug. 21 and school will let out on June 3. Winter recess will run from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.

For 2014-2015, the school year will begin on Aug. 20 and will let out on June 3 with winter recess from Dec. 22 to Jan 2.

Baer said the dates match up with other school corporations in the county which is important because of vocational classes open to students throughout Porter County.

Parents have inquired about school calendars up into 2015 because they are already planning for what days they can take for family vacations, Baer said.

CMS schedule

There will be some changes particularly to CMS’s calendar next year.

The board approved Principal Mike Megyesi’s request to start the school day at 7:50 a.m., adding five minutes for student resource time which will go into effect at the start of the 2013-2014 school year. SRT time will be 25 minutes as opposed to 20. Director of Transportation Jim Bonfield said school bus traffic and times shouldn’t change because the last drop off of students is already before 7:30 a.m.

CMS will also be reducing the amount of study halls next school year. Megyesi said there are students who are currently taking as many as three study halls and the school will be limiting it to one by adding more rotation to its specials courses.

Added to the rotation is a computer keyboarding class and computer application class which Megyesi said would better prepare students for high school and online testing.

Those classes will be rotated with art, general music and family and consumer sciences classes.

CMS will be able to beef up its class schedules because it will be eliminating teachers’ teaming period where they meet to work on curriculum. Megyesi said a parents’ survey indicated class sizes were becoming too large and so teachers will have an additional period of teaching replacing their teaming period.

Teachers will have six teaching periods and one prep period.

This will take the average class size of 33-35 students to 26-28 students, Megyesi said. He said the school is working on a plan to work teaming in during the school day.

Festival of Learning

A PowerPoint presentation was given to the board by Bailly Principal Mike Grubb on the Festival of Learning which was originally started in 2002 and highlights students abilities in the areas of math, science, music, art, and technology among other subjects.

Grubb said the program has sustained an average participation of 85-100 students over the past eight years.

The next Festival of Learning will be on April 18, from 6-7 p.m. at Bailly Elementary.

WPL board appointment

The board approved Baer’s recommendation of appointing Westchester Twp. resident Katherine Cochran to the Westchester Public Library Board.

Baer said Cochran is a senior director of writing programs at the University of Chicago. She will replace Sharon Robbins on the board.

Driver’s Ed

Also set were the dates and fees for the upcoming summer’s drivers education classes.

Like previous years, the class will have four sessions Ð June 10-19, June 20-July 3, July 5-16 and July 17-26. For the fourth year in a row, the fee will be $375 for those who use the traditional classroom format and $300 for the online classroom with $99 for driving. Out of district students will be charged a $50 fee.

Class times include 7:30-9:45 a.m., 10:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m., and 12:30-2:45 p.m.

Next board meeting

Before adjourning the board set the dates for its next two meetings. The board will reconvene on Thursday, March 14 and again on April 8.



Posted 2/22/2013