Many cheers will be heard this week at Thursday’s Chesterton High School
graduation, and the Duneland School Board began celebrating a few days early
hearing end-of-the year highlights from Superintendent of Schools Dave Pruis.
The 25th annual 5 Percent Club Banquet, which honors the top five percent of
the senior class, saw 26 students at the Water Bird Inn and Spa, said Pruis.
Each student got to bring a teacher who inspired them in their educational
careers. The event was underwritten by the Duneland Education Foundation.
Also, departing teachers and staff were given a celebration at the
Administration Center. Retirees have a combined total of 715 years served at
“That’s an awful lot of experience leaving us this year,” said Pruis.
Student achievements included the CHS Fine Arts Academic Team placing second
at the state competition losing in a tie breaker with Center Grove. The team
consisted of seniors Ben Moy and Jonah Pruitt and junior Alisha Dziarski.
Westchester Intermediate School raised $700 for the American Heart
Association last month in the Hoops for Heart event, Pruis said. Related
events like the Heart Walk and the Jump for Heart events helped bring the
total to about $3,000 raised for the AHA this year.
Pruis also praised efforts of CHS junior Natalie Petro who organized a 5k
run/walk at the high school on May 17 in order to promote starting a local
chapter of Making Advancements for the Autistic Population, which would
raise funds for autism outreach. Pruis said Petro was named MAAP’s first
Director of Youth Activities and she continues to look for ways to educate
students about autism.
Also, the CHS Sandscript received an honor from the Women’s Press Club of
Indiana, Pruis said.
Duneland School Board President Ralph Ayres added that the Chesterton boys
volleyball team won the Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association State
Championship, beating out the No.1 ranked team. That’s impressive, he said,
considering the team’s only been organized for three years.
Lastly, 504 diplomas will be handed out during Thursday’s graduation
ceremony, CHS principal Jeff Van Drie said. The ceremony will be outdoors,
weather permitting, or in the gymnasium in case of rain.
Van Drie said that 303 scholarships have been given out so far to the senior
class and just 11 of them have been for athletics. The rest have been for
Ayres congratulated students, staff and the supporting taxpayers on a “very
successful 2013-2014 school year.”
Ayres also reminded folks to be cautious of the changing traffic patterns
now that school is out for the summer.
Policy changes approved, 4-1
During the business portion of the meeting, a split vote of 4-1 added
updates to Duneland policies to comply with the new regulations from the
Indiana General Assembly.
These include an updated definition of bullying, policy on employees in the
military, prohibiting the promotion of religion in class, grant funds and
service animals on school property.
Dissenting was Ronald Stone, Liberty Township, who said after the meeting he
would not vote for the policy as a whole, disagreeing specifically with the
state’s changes regarding open enrollment.
He said he wishes the school corporation would have closed enrollment to
keep class sizes smaller, as was promised during the school tax referendum,
and to keep out students who may be a bad influence on those already
attending Duneland Schools.
“The way I see it is we’ve got to make sure we can take care of our own
kids,” he told the Chesterton Tribune.
In other actions, the board unanimously accepted two resolutions regarding
investment of funds. The first was an approval to authorize the school
corporation to invest funds with banks outside its boundaries. The second is
to allow the corporation to have interlocal agreements for the investment of
its public funds.
Two other resolutions were tabled while changes can be made. Chief Financial
Officer Lynn Kwilasz said the state now allows the school board the
authority to invest public funds for at least two years but no more than
five up to 25 percent of its portfolio.
Board member Kristin Kroeger argued for changes to the investment policy
which says school investments must have a stated maturity of not more than
Ayres said the school administrators will work with the board members to
make the changes and present them at the next meeting.
In another matter, the board approved amendments for the set 2014-15
Earlier this year, the board had added President’s Day as a snow make-up day
and will do the same if needed next year. That means Friday, Feb. 13 and
Monday, Feb. 16 will be reserved for make-up days. A third make up day will
be Friday, April 24.
The first day of school for students will be Wednesday, Aug. 20. Graduation
next year will be on Thursday, June 4, with June 3 being the last day for
New teachers welcomed
After saying goodbye to retiring teachers and staff, Duneland welcomed new
faces to its 2014-15 team on Monday night.
Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Human Relations Monte Moffett
announced six new teachers, many of whom were sitting in the audience.
Three of the teachers will be at Yost. Andrea Levrio, a CHS and Purdue
University graduate, will teach 2nd grade. Valparaiso HS and Butler
University graduate Mary Moats will also teach 2nd grade. Thomas Santonyo
will be the new music teacher at Yost.
Teaching 5th grade at WIS next year are Kathleen Maple and Lindsey Darnell,
both CHS and Purdue University grads. This will be Maple’s first year
teaching while Darnell has worked as an RtI aide at WIS.
A Purdue Calumet grad from Lake Central, Elizabeth Coutroubis will teach
math at CHS.
In other announcements, CMS teacher Ian MacLaverty will move to CHS to teach
business. Karla Allmon is moving from CMS to CHS to teach Math.
Cynthia Hesemann will be the Natural Helpers sponsor for next year.
One more retirement was announced Ð Duneland Media Processor Karen Ressler
effective Sept. 2.
Resigning are CMS attendance secretary Toni Biancardi, Brummitt
remediation/ESL aide Jessica Koziatek, CMS health/PE teacher Jane
Schlichting, CHS alternative class placement supervisor Andrew Prater, CHS
utility aide Jen Drlich, CMS cross country and wrestling coach Adam Schultz,
CHS JV Basketball coach Doug Uehling and Yost 3rd Grade teacher Megan Irwin.
The board approved the dates for the two upcoming school board meetings Ð
Monday, June 23 and Monday, July 14.