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Yost School program receives $2,500 from Town of Porter RDC

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Duneland School Board thanked the Porter Redevelopment Commission for granting $2,500 towards the Second Step program at Yost Elementary.

The board unanimously approved accepting the donation at its meeting Monday.

“We’re very excited about the Town of Porter getting the grant done,” said Board Vice-President John Marshall, who is also a non-voting member on the Porter RDC. “We really appreciate everything the Redevelopment Commission member did to take that step moving forward in supporting programs at Yost.”

The RDC back in February voted to prepare a resolution for a $2,500 contribution which comes from revenues within the Town’s tax increment finance (TIF) district. RDC President Elka Nelson asked her peers to consider the donation after she heard from Town Council President Greg Stinson that the Second Step program needed funding.

Second Step is a school counseling program designed to help students with social and emotional learning. Minutes from the Feb. 28 RDC meeting indicate that several speakers talked about the benefits of the program, teaching students how to empathize and communicate with each other in healthy ways.

State law gives Redevelopment Commissions the ability to grant a percentage of its revenues to schools or educational programs that help prepare a workforce, resulting in economic benefit.

On another note, Board member Mike Trout also thanked the Town of Chesterton for waiving $21,000 of building permit fees for projects this summer.

“I thought we as a board would like to acknowledge we appreciate the response,” Trout said. “It all helps and it shows that we all like to work together.”

High ability

In other business, the board received a presentation from students and leaders of the High Ability program.

Five 3rd Grade students -- Caden Koedyker, Turner Enderle, Han Phan, Ella Taylor and Lauren Yarosz -- told how they worked together this year to construct a paper yeti, or what is sometimes called the legendary abominable snowman of the Himalayas.

Yarosz said they studied a whole unit around the yeti and decided to make one to scale. Phan said they concluded that the yeti was twice their size and that is how they decided the measurements for the yeti.

With all the body parts assembled, the team named its creation “Eddie the Yeti,” said Enderle. The students then put full-size Eddie together for the board.

K-4 Program Director and Liberty Elementary Principal Christy Jarka, accompanied by High Ability teacher Holly Koedyker, showed the board where information about the program can be found on the Duneland Schools website with specific sections on the K-4 program as well as the program in intermediate, middle school and high school levels.

There is also a resource page for parents and a blog that the teachers write entries for.

Jarka said the curriculum used this year was drawn from “Mentoring Mathematical Minds” by Kendall Hunt Publishing.

WDSO anniversary

Next, CHS incoming senior Eli Ontiveros introduced himself as the program director for the WDSO 88.3 FM radio station and presented to the board copies of a resolution that was made by the Indiana House of Representatives honoring the station marking its 40th year on the air. The station’s first broadcast was on Nov. 24, 1976.

State Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, sponsored the resolution which he introduced before the House, along with local State Reps. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, and Mike Ayleworth, R-Hebron. Senate sponsors were Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, and Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso.

Ontiveros said eleven students involved at the station were present on March 14 when the resolution was passed. Accompanying them was Station Manager Matthew Waters and CHS Assistant Principal Robert Blumenthal.

Those named in the resolution included Waters, Station Operations Manager Michele Stipanovich, station staff, Schools Superintendent Pruis, Assistant Superintendent Jim Goetz, and school board members.

“Thank you for your support of our station,” Ontiveros told the board and administrators.

Technology funding

The board voted 5-0 in favor of allocating $890,000 in the schools referendum fund for instructional technology, following a public hearing.

Pruis said the goal is to move the schools closer to becoming a “one-to-one” environment where each student can use an iPad or tablet device to enhance their learning.

The hearing and vote for the allocation was needed because the 2017 budget for the referendum fund did not earmark the funds for technology, said Pruis, who noted that the funds are already in the budget.

No one from the audience spoke during the public hearing.

Meal charge policy

Also, the board unanimously agreed to adopt the Meal Charge and Meal Debt Collection policies required by the federal government under the National School Lunch Program.

Duneland Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz developed the policy along with Food Service Director Kay Nallenweg, Business Administrator Mary Jo Brust and Director of Support Services Greg Lindy.

The schools have had a meal charge policy since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, but there hasn’t been a policy for collection of delinquent meal debt, Pruis said.

Nallenweg told the board that the current positive balances in the meal collection significantly outweighs the negative balances and that “we do not have issues with this in our school corporation.”

However, the board needs to approve the policy because it is required to have a policy in place, Nallenweg said.

Textbooks

Based on recommendations by Goetz, the board voted to adopt new textbooks for Health and Science as well as the 2017-18 textbook rental fees.

The grand total of textbook rentals and instructional fees for next school year in grades K-6 will be $117.92 for kindergarten, $166.92 for 1st Grade, $138.39 for 2nd Grade, $138.02 for 3rd Grade, $123.79 for 4th Grade, $125.10 for 5th Grade and $140.99 for 6th Grade.

 

 

 

Posted 6/7/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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