Preparing for 2017-2018


This is the time of year we begin looking at what we need to do to prepare for the next school year. It doesn’t seem possible that it is time to begin looking ahead. We have experienced steady enrollment growth in our school corporation. We have seen the start of new neighborhoods, the expansion of existing neighborhoods and students who are coming to us from outside of the district lines.

With the growth in student enrollment, we have been able to add staff members, lower class sizes district-wide and add academic programming at certain grade levels. Several years ago, when the economy saw a drop and student enrollment declined, Southern Hancock Schools had to evaluate district needs and declining funds. We had to reduce staff and cut certain programs. It is exciting to be in a position to be adding staff and programs back into our school.

We have, on average, the lowest elementary school class sizes district-wide than we have seen in several years. Most of our elementary classes are now averaging about 23-24 kids. There are a couple of grade levels that are being monitored closely, and staff will be added when growth dictates the need.

One of the most common questions we get in the district office is regarding our plans to open the “old Doe Creek”. We remain steadfast in our answer. We will open the old Doe Creek building when our enrollment growth provides the necessary funding. As our student population grows, we are closer to being in a position to open that building. We hope to see continued student growth.

That said, on February 6, our new out-of-district transfer packet will be posted. A review of applications will begin on March 6. Placement of out-of-district students is first-come, first-serve and students will be placed based on class size and capacity. We will accept students until we are at grade level capacity. Last year, we closed the out-of-district transfer process before school started. We reached capacity quickly. We re-opened the process in October, but only in certain grade levels where space had become available.

We intend to monitor this process closely as we did last year. Our goal in this process is to welcome students into our district when space is available. We will not compromise the size of our classes.

Many are interested in our school district. We are an excellent school corporation with a reputation for strong academics, competitive athletic teams and a commitment to the arts. We focus on educating the “whole” child and are dedicated to student success in all areas. We have much to be proud of, and it is exciting to see the growth in enrollment!

Communication at Southern Hancock Schools


This year, we have focused on increasing communication with families in an effort to foster the partnership we have with the community and to build on the trust we have with our parents to be transparent and share pertinent information as it directly relates to them.

Sharing information doesn’t mean that everyone district-wide will receive every communication. When situations arise that are building-specific and only impact families in that particular building, we will direct our communication to the affected families. When there is an event that affects students and families district-wide, there will be a district-wide notification.

Today, there was a situation that affected New Palestine High School. After reviewing the details of the event, we determined that in order to stop rumors with our high school families before they started, we would be transparent and share that there was a situation in the afternoon that required attention. We chose to share first-hand with high school families so there was reassurance that student safety was never at any point compromised.

In this particular instance, the goal with our communication was to help parents understand that anytime an idle threat is made, there are serious consequences. Even if kids are simply being irresponsible in conversation, the consequences are the same. We will not tolerate such behavior and swift action will be taken.

At no time today was student safety ever compromised. The events of today did not affect families district-wide. It was a building-specific event and we made a conscious decision to direct the communication to our high school families. Safety is our top priority at Southern Hancock Schools. Anytime there is a concern regarding student safety, please let district officials know immediately.

We received some calls this afternoon seeking more information and curious as to why only high school parents were notified. When we launched the blog, we promised to address concerns as they came to us and answer questions to the best of our ability, thus tonight’s blog post. You can rely on us that when you ask, we will deliver. It doesn’t mean the message will change, but we will always explain the reason behind our choice of action.

We appreciate the questions so that we can answer them first-hand for you. Thank you for entrusting us with your child. We value the partnership with all of our families.