Playing host to the
Duneland School Board on Monday, Liberty Intermediate School Principal Greg
Guernsey, along with a few students and teachers, told the board members how
technology has enriched their lives.
The school board
met for their regular monthly meeting in the LIS media center instead of the
Duneland Administration Center. At each board meeting, the board receives a
presentation from a Duneland school. Presenting Monday, of course, was LIS.
what the school has been able to do using Canvas, an online learning
management system. Students can learn from each other using discussion posts
and work collaboratively while teachers can post quizzes, tests, and
homework in one location. LIS recently became a “one-to-one school” where
students and teachers use online platforms to access digital course
materials and keep track of their progress.
“Prior to being a
one-to-one school, it would be so easy for a kid to opt out,” Guernsey said.
“Now, one of the biggest strengths is kids are working at a much higher
level. Kids are so much more engaged. They are learning from each other.”
students Brock Redman and Jersey Gentry said the technology lets them see
different students’ points of view and allows students to work at their own
“You can keep going
if you are slower at one thing and faster at another. It’s a more efficient
use of time,” Redmon said.
The school has used
the programs for Language Arts and Social Studies but one thing it is now
expanding upon is Math and Science in a hand-on way with the new Makerspace
lab, Guernsey said.
“It’s a space where
kids can create. They can make things here,” Guernsey said. The lab opened
this fall at LIS with a $15,000 grant obtained through the Duneland
Fifth grader Marina
Rau told the board how she was part of the two teams that competed in local
robotic building competitions with a type of robot her team made in the lab.
Students are also learning to assemble Rube Goldberg machines which is a
kind of elaborate contraption to perform a simple task such as popping a
balloon, Rau said.
But what Guernsey
said he’s most proud of is “the climate and the culture” at LIS instilled by
his staff. “We work really well together. We’re a family. If you don’t have
a good, positive culture in your building, nothing else can take place.
That’s a fact.”
teacher Linda Scott, who has been at Liberty Schools for about 33 years,
said there are challenges that teachers face every day that go beyond a
teaching degree. There are children dealing with “many exceptionalities”
such as anxiety disorders, mood and behavior disorders but the teachers see
that they are “there to nurture, counsel, discipline, educate and entertain
“We try to use as
much resources as possible to reach these kids,” Scott said. “Our goal is to
get these students to stay in school and feel safe and comfortable.”
Guernsey for his leadership, saying his focus has always been children.
Maticyn Gropper said that she and her peers are “always excited to come to
school” because of the positive reinforcement by the principal and the
“It’s a happy
environment for all students. They make us feel happy and they also make us
feel like we’re valued. They make us feel our opinion is heard,” Gropper
“It’s great to
hear,” said board member John Marshall.
In the business
portion of the meeting, Board President Kristin Kroeger encouraged parents
to participate in an online survey that will help in the board’s search for
a new schools superintendent.
The survey data
collected will build a candidate profile for a successor to the current
superintendent, Dave Pruis, who retires at the end of June.
Parents should have
received a link to the survey by email, Kroeger said. The survey is also on
the home webpage of the Duneland School Corporation’s website, she said.
“The survey takes
five minutes or less. I completed it this morning. It’s pretty quick and
easy,” added board member Mike Trout.
The surveys are to
be completed by Friday, March 17. Those who would rather fill out a paper
copy can do so at the DSC central office at 601 W. Morgan Ave. in
Kroeger said that
the search consultants hired by the board, BWP & Associates, will hold
meetings with community leaders, businesses, parent organizations and
student government on Tuesday, March 14 during the day. Then, at 7 p.m. that
day, there will be a public meeting for all the community which will be in
the Chesterton Middle School Auditorium.
“The purpose of all
those meetings and the survey is to create a profile of a candidate that
would support our objectives for superintendent of the school corporation
and be able to screen resumes and interviews against that candidate,”
The board, in other
new business, voted 5-0 to ratify Pruis’ decision to sign a memorandum of
agreement with all other school superintendents in Porter County to support
the launch of Promise Indiana in the county.
from the Porter County Community Foundation spoke about the program at the
last superintendents’ meeting and are applying for a grant from the Lilly
Foundation, Pruis said.
which aims to provide opportunities for families to save for post-secondary
or college education, was started about four years ago in Wabash County and
since has been implemented in 18 other Indiana counties, Pruis said.