Chesterton Tribune



Principals plan breathalyzers for CHS homecoming dance

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Chesterton High School’s new administrative team is expanding the breathalyzer pilot program to include this weekend’s Homecoming dance.

CHS principal Jeff Van Drie, with assistant principals Rob Blumenthal, Judy Malasto, and Josh Huwig, gave the Duneland School Board a presentation Monday.

The principals propose turning last spring’s breathalyzer pilot program for school dances into firm policy.

Van Drie and Huwig said the first try of the pilot program was a success during this year’s prom where 600 attendees and guests all submitted to a mandatory portable breath test as part of admission to the dance.

No one tested positive for alcohol, Van Drie said, and the process itself was “simple” enough that they were able to move the lines without any trouble. It also affected the attitude of the students positively, he added.

“Even the flavor of the dance changed because of the (breathalyzers). It was happier, more upbeat,” said Van Drie.

The pilot program will be utilized at this Saturday’s CHS homecoming dance. Attendees will be reminded on the ticket.

Should an attendee test positive, he or she will be escorted by a law enforcement officer to a private room for a second test. If the student tests positive a second time, they will face school disciplinary action, ticket costs will be forfeited, and parents will be notified, Huwig said.

Four or more PBT machines will again be borrowed from Chesterton Police Department.

Van Drie said homecoming is CHS’s most highly attended dance, but he and former principal Jim Goetz, who is now assistant superintendent of instruction, said they would expect the line at homecoming to move at a steady pace.

“It’s such a quick endeavor, we only had to use four machines (at prom),” said Goetz.

Meanwhile, Huwig, who previously was Dean of Students at Lake Central High School which has implemented mandatory PBT tests at its senior banquet and prom, will be working on a permanent policy to present to the board at a future meeting.

“We expected a little bit of negativity but there was none whatsoever,” said Van Drie.

“We actually had some kids thank us,” Goetz added.

Huwig said the mandatory PBT policy will be only for school dances, leaving out other extracurricular activities, for which some schools in Indiana test.

As it is planned, Huwig said the policy would require students to sign an agreement form when purchasing tickets, which will also list other expectations such as appropriate dress. He would like a way to make tickets available for purchase over the internet, possibly through the new Skyward system.

The board took no action on the policy recommendations Monday, but member Ron Stone asked the administrators if they should add something to address what to do if an attendee refuses to take the breath test and leaves the dance.

Huwig said he will try to word the policy recommendation in response to Stone’s question.

It’s not known when the board will vote to adopt the policy, but Van Drie said he anticipates having the policy in place before the CHS winter formal dance in January or February.

Five and Under Club

Malasto told the board about a new enhancement to CHS’ “Five and Under Club” to professionally support a large population of newer teachers.

A little less than one half of the teachers at CHS have been with Duneland for five years or less. Many are in their 20’s and 30’s, Malasto said.

The “Five and Under Club” has been around for a few years now but CHS is adding a new feature to help members be more motivated in their teaching, Malasto said. With the “Monday Morning Minute,” everyone in the “Club” will receive a piece of motivational information, a serious thought, a quote, a humorous quip or a link to a useful website.

Malasto said the thought behind the effort is to help build character in teachers, which in turn would affect students and the community at large.

“It impacts the students and in the end we are happy to be a part of it,” Malasto said.

Swimming Coach honored

The board gave a public pat on the back to Kevin Kinel, who has been a celebrated swim coach at CHS for 33 years, recognizing his many accomplishments.

CHS Athletic Director Garry Nallenweg said that in his career Kinel has achieved 40 team titles in the Duneland Athletic Conference (20 for boys and 20 for girls), 38 team sectional titles (20 for girls, 18 for boys), three team state titles for boys, 45 individual relay state championships, 13 state high school records, three national high school records, 32 top ten state finish results (17 for girls, 15 for boys), has coached four Olympic trial swimmers, earned 29 awards as sectional coach of the year (18 for girls, 11 for boys), been four times the Indiana High School Coach of the Year and, most recently, this summer Kinel was named Coach of the Year for boys swimming by the National High School Coaches’ Association.

Despite all the accolades, Kinel was humble and thanked the Duneland administration, the CHS principals and the community.

“The big thing for me is all the support I’ve had,” Kinel said. “I’m still having fun doing what I am doing.”

Board member John Marshall said as a swim parent it’s a pleasure to travel to competitions and hear others say, “You guys got a great coach.”

Enrollment/Wellness Center

Schools Superintendent Dave Pruis reported that enrollment is holding steady since the start of the school year and attendance for the student count on Friday, Sept. 13, will be “hopefully slightly above” last year.

The attendance number on that day will determine Duneland’s average daily membership, which the state uses to compute the amount of funding for a school district.

Also, Pruis said the employee health and wellness center, at 411 S. 5th St. in Chesterton, opened last week.

The center’s hours are Monday 7 - 11 a.m., Tuesday 7 a.m. - 1 p.m., Wednesday 12 - 6 p.m., and Friday 12 - 4 p.m., providing access to primary and preventive care, medications and lab services at no cost to Duneland employees.

Pruis said staff may also use the Novia clinics in Griffith and in Knox.

Personnel report

As usual, Assistant Superintendent Monte Moffett reported on the latest appointments and resignations within the Duneland Schools.

Kathryn Ahrendt will be a long term substitute at Bailly Elementary.

At Brummitt Elementary, Jayne Korpak will work as an RtI aide.

Two new lunch aides will be in the kitchen at CHS, Stephanie Rutkowski-Clark and Stephanie Demkowicz, and two more in the CMS kitchen, Andrea Persuhn and Amber Erazo.

Liberty Elementary welcomes new lunch aide Michelle Merceir and new custodian Kyra Nuce.

Also, Tracey Dibble will assume an instructional aide position at Westchester Intermediate. Helen Dzomba will be an instructional aide at Yost Elementary.

As for resignations, the list includes Liberty Elementary lunch aide Shannah Wilson, CHS hall monitor Tracey Dibble, CHS access control greeter Dave Adkins, and CMS custodian Arbie Taylor.

Next Board meeting

The next board meeting will be the public hearing for the 2014 advertised budget on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m., in the Duneland Administration Center.



Posted 9/10/2013