Intermediate Principal Shawn Longacre gave a presentation on Westchester
Intermediate School at the Duneland School Board’s meeting Monday.
Longacre said the
mission at WIS is to become “the keystone to developing successful
students,” and staff accomplishes that at WIS by teaching the whole student
in addition to working toward better standardized test scores.
consistently proven that the biggest factor in school success is
socio-economics,” Longacre said. “All of us need to be approachable. We need
to continue to make Westchester a place where kids want to come to learn.”
Longacre said a big
factor in how WIS staff works is considering how Adverse Childhood Effects (ACEs)
like death, divorce, abuse, and social media are affecting students’
Longacre said many
WIS students are on free or reduced lunch, and an average of 20 percent of
WIS students are on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). In spite of
whatever challenges WIS kids face, Longacre reported WIS performed the best
out of the free and reduced lunch schools in its league of comparable
Indiana schools on the ILEARN test, and work is underway to improve scores.
Since ILEARN, a
completely computer-based test took the place of ISTEP+ last year, WIS
students are now learning with an emphasis on writing across all subjects
and the “whys” behind math concepts. Students are also reading more
nonfiction, learning critical analysis skills, and practicing typing.
says he’s dedicated to improving students’ ILEARN scores and is “one of the
most completive people around,” WIS students will also read a book about
bullying and its effects for their school-wide reading program later this
year. He’s also implemented a system called, “the Longacre Shaker,” where
students with the best essays are rewarded with a handshake and praise from
him--along with some dance moves.
“They know they’re
taking a high stakes test. We track data, and they know it,” he said. “But,
at Westchester, we will continue to teach the whole child, and we always
The Board completed
several of its beginning-of-the-year housekeeping tasks Monday, including
approving annual contracts and board member compensation.
The Board approved
its annual compensation with no changes and approved its 2020 meeting
schedule. Meetings will continue on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m.,
except for July and September, when the Board meets the second Monday of the
month due to holidays.
Duneland CFO Lynn
Kwilasz and Business Manager Mary Jo Brust were reappointed as Corporation
Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer and bonded for $100,000 each. The Board also
reupped its legal services agreement with Harris, Welsh & Lukmann (in
addition to its agreement with Attorney Monica Conrad of Lewis Kappes, who
the Board retains for personnel and student legal matters), then reappointed
John Marshall as the 2020 legislative liaison and corporation delegate to
the Indiana School Board Association.
Director of Support
Services Greg Lindy reported he got four bids to replace one of the three
chillers in the Chesterton High School HVAC system. All three units are near
end-of-life, but bids for replacing all three at once were too
cost-prohibitive, according to Lindy. The unit being replaced has been down
for several months already, and Lindy wants to replace it by the time warmer
weather hits. The Board approved Cryer Olson Mechanical Inc. to do the work
The Board also
approved two rounds of policy updates, one on first reading and one on final
reading, to keep up with legal changes and updates from the Ohio-based
company that provides Duneland’s policies (NEOLA), and make technical
The Board also
approved two new policies on first reading. Assistant Superintendent Robert
McDermott said Policy 2462 dictates the screening of certain students for
dyslexia that is now required by State law. Policy 3431 is related to
administrative leaves of absence/temporary reassignment intended to protect
staff privacy during investigations that don’t result in disciplinary
action. There will be a final reading next month.
Board of Finance
After its regular
meeting, the Board reconvened as the Board of Finance. The Board of Finance
elected Brandon Kroft President and Alayna Lightfoot Pol Secretary.
The Board reviewed
its 2019 investment report and its investment policy and heard a
presentation on the fiscal condition of the School Corporation from Kwilasz.
Kwilasz reported Duneland netted approximately $700,000 in interest on its
certificates of deposit investments in 2019, and DSC as a whole did well in
2019, operating within its budget and maintaining reserves that would
sustain the Corporation in an emergency.
Director Bridget Martinson reported the second grading period ended Dec. 18,
and report cards are now available on Skyward.
Martinson also made
a reminder that there will be no school on Monday, Jan. 20 in observance of
Martin Luther King. Jr. Day. Schools resumes Tuesday, Jan. 21.
encouraged those interested to check out the new Duneland Schools website
and keep an eye out for events from the CHS Alumni Association. The Alumni
Association is planning fundraisers to provide scholarships to graduating
CHS seniors, the first of which will be a pancake breakfast at George’s
Gyros from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 14. The group is also planning its
first annual dinner, where four $500 scholarships will be awarded, on May 7.