In the Know!

Welcome to the corporation’s new blog site. Follow this page and be “In the Know” and up-to-date with accurate school information. Contact Wes Anderson at wanderson@newpal.k12.in.us with any questions you would like to ask that would also be beneficial information for others to know. Thank you for your interest and support of Southern Hancock Schools.

Board Business: April 2021

This blog post is intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County’s meetings. Please read below for a recap of the board’s three meetings on April 13, 2021.

Monday’s meetings began with a special session meeting for board training. The board receives training regularly from the Indiana School Boards Association. This training is critical in helping our board stay current on issues facing public education in Indiana.

At the conclusion of the special session, Monday’s regular board meeting was held. Two donations were approved at the meeting. A $1,000 scholarship for the New Palestine High School science department was approved in memory of Alex Black from her parents, Thomas and Carolyn Black. They wish this sponsor this scholarship annually. $1,171.67 in contributions in memory of NPHS student Cameron Thompson for the special education department from miscellaneous donors was also approved.

The board approved the 2021-22 support staff handbook. This document is provided to all employees with a number of policies, protocols, and procedures for employees at Southern Hancock.

Fourteen board policies were heard in a first reading. Due to changes in Indiana code or other requirements, some board policies require occasional language changes. The board reviews these changes annually. Policies have two readings before approval. The policy changes will be heard again in a second reading in May before a vote to approve them.

At the conclusion of Monday’s regular meeting, the board held an executive session. This session was held to consider a job performance evaluation for an individual CSCSHC employee. Per Indiana code, these types of meetings are closed to the public.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 10, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at the CSCSHC Administration Office.

Board Business: March, 8, 2021

This blog post in intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County’s meetings. Please read below for a recap of the board’s regular meeting on March 8, 2021.

Monday’s meeting began with a public comment from Southern Hancock parent and community member Jill Jones. Mrs. Jones presented a statement requesting the district reevaluate the COVID-19 requirement for students to wear masks at school. After the statement concluded, the board thanked Mrs. Jones for her statement and informed her the mask requirement in our schools comes from Governor Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-48 requiring all Indiana students in grades 3-12 to wear masks while at school.

One donation was approved at the meeting. Kelly’s Quality Painting donated $375 to be used for unpaid lunch debt at New Palestine High School.

Two field trips were approved. The NPHS cheerleaders will travel to the Purdue University Cheer Camp in June. The NPHS baseball team will travel to Jasper for a tournament in May.

The board approved a date for Commencement for the Class of 2021. Graduation ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 28 at 7 p.m. at Kelso Stadium. Ticket information and rain dates will be shared with seniors and senior parents in the weeks to come.

New curricular resources for Language Arts and additional course offerings from Unified Arts were adopted for New Palestine Junior High School for the 2022-22 school year. Beginning next year, Language Arts programs will use McGraw Hill Study Sync for curricular resources. Nine new Unified Arts programs will be offered at NPJH. Advanced Art, App Developers, Art History, Exploring Music, Exploring World Cultures, Green Architecture, Automatic and Robotics, TV News and Podcasting, and Wellness will all be available to students for 2021-22.

Instructional fees for the 2021-2022 school year were approved by the board. This information will be available on the district website later this spring. 

The board approved a bid for the traffic improvement project at New Palestine High School to create a new entrance and exit from campus to Co. Rd. 450 W. Construction on the new drive is expected to begin in a few weeks.

Finally, the board received its annual update from the Hancock County Public Library. The school corporation is proud to have a great partnership with the library and is grateful for the opportunity to provide every Southern Hancock student with a library card to be used at any county library location.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the CSCSHC Administration Office.

CALL TO ACTION: Parent Toolkit for Legislative Advocacy on HB 1005, SB 412, and SB 413

The Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County has submitted an open letter to Indiana legislators regarding three bills with the potential to negatively impact public education in Indiana. Please see below for information on these bills from the Indiana School Boards Association and a toolkit to help you contact legislators to tell them to vote NO on these bills.

House Bill 1005 and Senate Bill 412 would create education savings accounts (ESAs) that give selected parents who withdraw their children from public school the equivalent of a taxpayer-funded debit card loaded with a share of state per-pupil funding. This money could be spent at the parent’s discretion on a variety of educational services and products, including private school, home school, tutors, and therapy. This would cost Southern Hancock roughly $6,000 per student. 

Indiana lawmakers have also proposed spending more money on the school voucher program to allow upper-class families to send their children to private school at taxpayer expense. Voucher eligibility would expand to cover a family of four earning $145,000 annually (about double the state’s median family income) and a family of five with an annual income of $170,000. 

Senate Bill 413 would also increase school voucher award amounts using taxpayer money. Voucher amounts for some students would jump from 50% all the way to 90% of the per-pupil funding the local school district would have received for the student. Indiana already spent more than $1 billion on the school voucher program over the past decade. 

Our school administration is concerned about the future of school funding in Indiana due to proposed expansions of the voucher program. We encourage our parents and community members to contact legislators and encourage them to stop significant expansions to Indiana’s voucher program.

Tools for Contacting Your Legislators:

Explainer from the Indiana Coalition for Public Education on how vouchers take money from public schools

–   Talking points download from Indiana School Board Association

–   Form letter to send to legislators

–   How to contact legislators by phone or email

–   Text of House Bill 1005

–   Text of Senate Bill 412

–   Text of Senate Bill 413

–   Additional Information on Indiana’s School Choice Program

Board Business: February 2021

This blog post in intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County’s meetings. Please read below for a recap of the board’s regular meeting on Feb. 8, 2021.

Monday’s meeting began with the approval of two donations. John Lytell Insurance Agency donated $1,000 to the New Palestine High School athletics department. R.A. Pritt donated $5,000 to the NPHS softball team.

The board approved the cancelation of any outstanding checks issued more than two years ago. This is completed in accordance with procedures set by the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

The board approved a renewal of the district’s contact with Walker Career Center for Southern Hancock students to receive instruction in Career & Technical Education courses for the 2021-22 school year.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 8, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at the CSCSHC Administration Office.

Board Business: Jan. 11, 2020

This blog post in intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County’s meetings. Please read below for a recap of the board’s three meetings on Jan. 11, 2020.

The board held a special session Monday evening to tour the new construction at New Palestine High School. At the conclusion of the tour, the board’s regularly scheduled meeting began.

Monday’s meeting began with the oath of office for the three board members who were reelected in November. Following the oath, a reorganization of the board was completed, as required by corporation bylaws. Brian McKinney will remain president, Dan Walker will remain as vice president, and Dr. Matt Ackerman will remain as secretary. Mr. McKinney and Mr. Walker were appointed the board’s policy liaisons. Jon Hooker was appointed as the board’s legislative liaison.

Three donations were approved. A $500 scholarship donation from John and Connie Kottlowski was approved. Two donations to go towards outstanding lunch debt were also aproved. $120 was donated from an anonymous donor. Mt. Lebanon UMC donated $125.

Two new courses for the New Palestine High School curriculum were approved. Kyle Ralph’s Advanced Physical Education Course will be split into two sections, an introductory course and an advanced course. These courses will be included in the NPHS curriculum in 2021-22.

Bob Yoder was re-appointed as the district’s treasurer. Ashlie Worth was re-appointed as the district’s deputy treasurer. These re-appointments are required to take place in January of each year.

The board approved a Fund Transfer Resolution for 2021. The district is required by law to end the calendar year with a positive balance in all accounts. This resolution will allow the treasurer to move unspent dollars in certain accounts to zero out accounts with a negative balance.

The Out of District Transfer Packet for 2021-2022 was approved. Information for enrolling at Southern Hancock for the 2021-22 school year will be posted on the district’s website later this winter.

The 2022-23 school calendar was approved by the board. School will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022 and will end on Friday, May 26, 2023.

Following the conclusion of the regular meeting, a special session meeting was held for the Board of Finance. This board is required to convene once per year to review the district’s finances. This includes an update on the district’s investments and fiscal indicators. These indicators are determined by the state of Indiana and include enrollment, revenue, balances in specific district funds, annual deficits or surpluses, and salaries and benefits.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2021 at Sugar Creek Elementary at 6:30 p.m.

Board Business: December 2020

This blog post in intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County’s meetings. Please read below for a recap of the board’s meeting on Dec. 14, 2020.

Monday’s meeting began with recognition for two New Palestine High School teachers. Mark Blachly and Lisa Hardin were recognized by the board for their selection as Indiana Co-Math Teachers of the Year by the Advanced Placement Teacher Investment Program at the University of Notre Dame.

NPHS Teachers Lisa Hardin (left), Mark Blachly (right), with NPHS Principal Jim Voelz (middle).

Six donations were approved. Brandon and Jennifer Wilson donated $500 to various organizations at Southern Hancock. $100 will go the NPHS renovation project, $200 to the NPHS robotics team, and $200 to the NPJH band. Forum Credit Union donated $2,335.10 to the Brandywine Elementary PTO. This donation will go towards the purchase of a SMART board for the BWE Essential Skills class. John Lytell donated $1,000 towards new gymnastics uniforms at NPHS. Phillip and Patricia Kaiser also donated $1,000 for NPHS gymnastics uniforms. Finally, the Capital Group Companies Chartible Foundation donated $300 to NPHS in honor of Jody O’Dell. This money is to be donated to the competitive cheer team. Pak-Rite Rental donated $2,200 to the NPHS athletics department for winter cheerleading uniforms.

As part of the board’s annual required renewals, an authorization was approved for designees from the administration to sign agreements for the placement of students in special or alternate services.

The board approved summer school and summer enrichment courses for the summer of 2021. At this time, the district plans to hold these camps in-person, however this may change due to any applicable COVID-19 restrictions at that time. Further information about summer school and summer enrichment will be shared at a later date.

The board approved a resolution for Assistant Superintendent Bob Yoder to transfer funds from various accounts. The district is required to finish the calendar year with all accounts having a positive balance. This resolution is passed annually and permits the district’s business department to transfer funds accordingly to align the district budget. 

A resolution authorizing the district to advertise for bids on a traffic improvement project at New Palestine High School was approved. As previously discussed during the NPHS renovation project, the district has planned to create a new entrance and exit to the NPHS campus from Co. Rd. S 450 W. This resolution allows the district to advertise the project for bid. The timeline for these improvements is dependent on the progress of the NPHS renovation project. At this time, the district is hopeful to have this project complete by the start of school in Aug. 2021.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 at 6:30 p.m at the CSCSHC Administration Office.

Board Business: Nov. 9, 2020

This blog post in intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County’s meetings. Please read below for a recap of the board’s meeting on Nov. 9, 2020.

Monday’s meeting began with recognition for three New Palestine High School students. Will Au selection as a National Merit Semifinalist was honored. Kendall Mann and Natalle Russell were recognized for being named finalists for the Lilly Endowment Scholarship through the Hancock County Community Foundation.

National Merit Semifinalist Will Au (middle) with CSCSHC Board Member Laura Haeberle (left) and NPHS Principal Jim Voelz (right).
From Left: Lilly Endowment Scholarship finalist Natalee Russell, CSCSHC Board Member Laura Haeberle, Lilly Endowment Scholarship Finalist Kendall Mann, and NPHS Principal Jim Voelz.

Five donations were approved. Central Indiana Communications, Inc. donated $100 to Brandywine Elementary to be used for their student activity fund. Several donations totaling $940.82 to New Palestine Junior High were accepted. These donations will go towards the creation of a social emotional learning zen den at NPJH. These donations came from the following families:  Schneider family, Rickey family, Miller family, Kremer family, Emberton family, Cooper family, Bartusek family, Jen & Kane Myers family, Ransdell family, Kamp family, Dropsey family, Sloan family, Haeberle family, Todd family, Trebley family, Anderson family, and C. Myers family. The Riley Festival Association awarded a $500 grant to BWE music teacher Michelle Epple. Broken Arrow Outreach donated $250 to the NPHS gymnastics team. Paradigm Media Consultants, LLC donated $3,000 to NPHS gymnastics.

Eleven board policies received their second reading and were approved at Monday’s meeting. Policies are updating on a yearly basis due to changes in state or federal law or unforeseen circumstances, such as a global pandemic. Policies are required to have a first reading, which occured in October. After the second reading policies are subject to a vote of approval.

The master teacher contract for 2021 was approved. A public hearing regarding the details of this contact was held at the board’s last meeting in October. There are two important details related to the approval of this contract. First, the board approved an early dismissal from school on Wednesdays beginning in January 2021. The school day will be shortened at each building by 30 minutes. This time will be used to provide more preparation time for teachers. The district has had internal discussions about early dismissal for some time to allow teachers more time to meet and discuss data and curriculum. However, due to the complexities of education during a pandemic, this early dismissal time will be used for additional teacher prep. Second, all teachers will have a “hold harmless” regarding teacher evaluations. Each teacher is evaluated each school year. For this year, teachers will retain their evaluation score from 2019-20. Teachers will have the opportunity to be evaluated to improve their evaluation if they choose.

Assistant Superintendent Bob Yoder provided an enrollment update to the board. As of the first count day in September, the district’s enrollment is down 61 students from the first count day in 2019-20.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the CSCSHC Administration Office.

Board Business: Oct. 26, 2020

This blog post in intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County’s meetings. Please read below for a recap of the board’s meeting on Oct. 26, 2020.

Monday’s meeting contained only one agenda item. A public meeting regarding a tentative contract agreement between the corporation and the New Palestine Classroom Teachers Association was held. Per Indiana law, a public meeting discussing the terms of the tentative agreement must be held prior to the contract’s ratification.

An agenda item including a vote on the master teacher contract will be included in the board’s next meeting on Nov. 9, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. at the CSCSHC Administration Office.

Board Business: Oct. 5, 2020

This blog post in intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Board of School Trustees of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County’s meetings. Please read below for a recap of the board’s meeting on Oct 5., 2020.

An agenda item related to teacher contract negotiations was tabled to a future meeting. Due to new laws passed during the recent legislative session earlier this year, public hearings are required to be held at certain points throughout the negotiation process. This agenda item will be held at a future meeting as the bargaining process continues.

Four donations were approved at Monday’s meeting. Mr. and Mrs. David Post donated $500 to the NPHS robotics team. Mrs. Rikki Goldstein also issued a $500 to NPHS robotics. The National Christian Foundation made a $1000 donation to the NPHS Teacher ECA Fund. Mr. Scott Fulkerson made a $1,300 donation to be evenly divided to the six CSCSHC schools for bullying prevention.

The 2021 board meeting calendar was approved. You can see the schedule of board meetings at this link.

Director of Student Services Katy Eastes received approval for a consultant contract with Dr. Marcia Piercy. Dr. Piercy retired from the school corporation earlier this year. Dr. Piercy will now serve as a consultant to Mrs. Eastes in the Student Services department.

Several routine items related to the 2021 budget were approved. The district’s 2020 budget was approved. The budget was previously advertised in accordance with state guidelines and a public hearing was held at one of the board’s October meetings.

A number of other items regarding the 2020 budget were approved, including a resolution to distribute the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT), a resolution that allows a reduction in appropriations as necessary, and a resolution permitting the transfer of funds between the district’s Education and Operations funds. These resolutions permit the district to balance the budget as the district’s budget year comes to a close. A resolution authorizing the transfer of money to the Rainy Day Fund was also approved.

Eleven policies were heard in a first reading. Many of these changes include updating language due to changes in state or federal law or removing some sections of policies that may be redundant or contradictory with other policies. All eleven policies will be heard again in a second reading at a future meeting before a vote to adopt is held.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Mon., Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the CSCSHC Administration Office.