Chesterton Tribune



Using data: School Board hears statistics from Yost Elementary

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Yost Elementary School Principal Josh Huwig gave a presentation on Yost Elementary School at the Duneland School Board’s meeting Monday night.

Huwig reports Yost’s scores on the new ILEARN assessment--a replacement for the ISTEP+ introduced just this year--were at or slightly above state averages and on par with the other schools in the district. Yost also compared well with a list of similar school districts.

Huwig’s report was heavily focused on data, both sweeping and specific to Yost since the Duneland school improvement team is focused on using available data to find areas of improvement.

Huwig also said Yost has implemented recess before lunch as part of its goal to make research-based school improvements. According to Huwig, research shows that recess before lunch results in kids eating better at lunch, visiting the nurse less frequently, and behaving better. Huwig said disciplinary incidents on the playground and in the cafeteria are down and nurse visits are down since he launched recess before lunch.

Duneland Schools Superintendent Dr. Chip Pettit thanked Huwig and the Yost teachers and staff for their great work with the students. Pettit emphasized the importance of the school comparison data. “When we look at some of these school comparisons, we’re not comparing with state averages, we’re comparing to some of the best schools in the state,” he said. “Another benefit is we can use that data to then create a network to share best practices.”

Superintendent’s Comments

In other business, Pettit recognized CHS faculty, staff, administrator, and student effort in planning and executing the Dunes Day field trip where nearly 2,000 CHS students descended on the Dunes and came just shy of breaking a Guinness World Record for largest field trip.

Pettit said he observed some student activities at Marquette Park and was “extremely impressed with the level of student engagement.” He also thanked partners the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, the National Park Service, Duneland’s HR team, Biggby Coffee, and Val’s Famous Pizza & Grinders. Duneland HR quickly processed over 150 background checks for volunteers, and Biggby and Val’s provided coffee and food for bus drivers.

Pettit also thanked volunteers at the Homecoming Hustle 5K and thanked the Liberty Elementary PTO for donating playground equipment to replace dated equipment at Liberty.

Other Business

The Board approved on final reading a round of policy updates. Board President Brandon Kroft said the changes in each of 13 policies were minor and amounted to updating a word or two here and there.

Duneland parent Joe Dooley asked what Duneland could do about middle school students arriving to school 45 minutes early and having to wait until school starts due to bus routes. Dooley wondered if buying more buses would help.

Pettit and Duneland CFO Lynn Kwilasz reported the problem isn’t just number of buses, but also lack of drivers. Kwilasz said getting qualified people and getting more buses are both concerns because “it’s tough finding people who want that job in this day and age.” Pettit said the concern isn’t lost on the Administration: “Anything we can do to minimize the time students are actually at school just waiting for school to begin is something we’re interested in.”

The Board made the following personnel moves: Faith Burnham was appointed driver, and Michael Rinchak and Tara Sibbrell were appointed custodians, for DSC; Jamie Anselm resigned as seventh grade A basketball coach.


Posted 9/27/2019





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