ST. LEON – Part of the Sunman-Dearborn Community School Corp. strategic plan is to insure the schools are inviting. At the July 11 board meeting, superintendent Dr. Jeff Hendrix announced that a committee has created a community relations survey for community members, staff and students “in order to gain feedback … on areas that need improvement.”
Different groups will answer questions on separate surveys. Hendrix expects they will be on school Web sites this fall and citizens will be notified.
East Central High School athletic director Don Stonefield reported on how athletes fare in the classrooms. “We have 607 athletes who participate in teams and groups.” Their overall grade-point average is 3.24.
He also compiled team GPA averages. The highs and lows for boys: tennis, 3.79; golf, 2.85; girls: cross country, 3.75; cheerleading, 3.08.
Stonefield pledged to brief coaches on his findings in the fall “to try to make it a competitive contest” to improve grades. Six of 37 student-athletes who were labeled at-risk (2.2 or lower GPAs) have graduated. He will ask coaches of the remaining teens to pay special attention, encouraging them to do well on homework and tests.
Board President Jeff Lyness said he appreciated the director talking with coaches about at-risk students. Hendrix noted, “We actually have student-athletes, not just athletes ... To have successful (sports) programs, you have to have successful kids who get those leadership skills in the classroom and take them to the fields. We should be very proud we have a school system that supports both of these elements – academics and athletics together.”
For both the Indiana High School Athletic Association and ECHS, roughly 40 percent of females and 60 percent of males participate in sports. At ECHS, gymnastics is not offered, but cheerleading is, although that sport is not recognized by IHSAA. ECHS’ male participation declined by 20 and the number of females increased by 32 in the past school year. The numbers “won’t shift much,” because many teams are capped. Trustee Glenn Scholl asked which sport increased its numbers the most. The answer was girls swimming with 18 teammates, up from seven.
Stonefield pointed out the high school opened four decades ago. He proposed marking “40 years of excellence” by creating an Athletic Hall of Fame “to give current students something to strive for.” A committee could be formed to draft guidelines, then area residents could nominate athletes.
The director hopes first recipients can be honored at a spring banquet.
Debbie Blank can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.
• North Dearborn Elementary School principal Jeff Bond asks the board to cancel special education teacher Jamie Oelker's contract. Hendrix reported the board held a conference with Oelker. Trustee Mike Norman made a motion to accept the findings of fact and cancel her contract. Brandon Burress abstained because Oelker is his sister-in-law. The president suggested a roll call vote, which tied 3-3 (Lyness, Norman and Glenn Scholl voted yes and Joyce Huffman, John McKay and Joe Graf voted no), so the motion failed and Oelker kept her job. • Three policies moved ahead. The ALICE (Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate) response option for faculty and students to survive a violent intruder, discussed last month, most likely will be added to the school safety policy. A principal will determine whether ALICE is put in effect for a specific incident. This was its first reading, with final approval possible next month. A criminal history check policy revision was approved. Before new employees had 90 days to undergo a check, which was reduced to within the first five working days. Scholl asked whether the checks could be completed before employees begin working. According to human resources director Mary Ann Baines, "A lot of times people are hired at the last minute" and start working even before the board formally approves them. She reassured, "If something comes back on their criminal history after they've started working, they would be terminated." Advertising on school property will be allowed to provide money for extra programs since funding reductions are anticipated. The superintendent will develop implementation guidelines, trustees decided. • Sunman-Dearborn Middle School book bills will be slightly higher. Trustees voted to add a $5 online writing program fee. • Soon Baines will receive guidance on how to handle implementing the Affordable Care Act at SDCSC. "We have to pay a PCORI (the nonprofit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) fee" to explore comparative effectiveness of medical treatments, which is $984, $1 for each covered employee. • Brenda Osman, who is the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America adviser at ECHS and Sunman-Dearborn Middle School, phoned Hendrix to report the Knowledge Bowl Team came in second in the U.S. at the recent national conference in Nashville. The ECHS team won 14 golds and one silver and the SDMS team two golds and one silver. "This conference has been a great success," she told him. • The board approved personnel decisions. New: Patricia Stenger, Sunman Elementary School food and nutrition services manager; Bridget Wilhelm, Sunman-Dearborn Intermediate School teacher; Amanda McIntyre, SDMS language arts teacher; Doug Dawley, SDMS half-day agriculture teacher; Krista Slayback, SDMS long-term substitute nurse; Joshua Roseberry, SDCSC student data systems specialist; Ronald Lackey, NDES instructional assistant; and William Theising, NDES physical education teacher; increase in hours: Robin Kichler, SDMS half-day to full-day guidance counselor; Stewart Durham, SDMS half-day to full-day math teacher; resignations: Patricia Stenger, SES food and nutrition associate; Meghan Fledderman ECHS teacher; Brian Parido, Bright Elementary School and SES music teacher; Derek Rehage, wrestling head coach; Mary Ann Walsh, NDES teacher; Sam Kohorst, mowing; William Theising, SES instructional assistant; Doug Dawley, SDMS instructional assistant.