Board Business – October 15, 2018

This blog post is intended to keep you up to date on the happenings of the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County Board of Education meetings. Please read below for recaps of the board’s two October 15th meetings.

Two board meetings were held Monday night at New Palestine Intermediate. The first was the regular board meeting for October. The second was a special work session for the board focused on the district’s facilities with a special focus on New Palestine High School.

At the start of the regular meeting, the board recognized NPHS Assistant Softball Coach Alyssa Dillard for being awarded the National Fastpitch Coaching Association’s High School Assistant Coach of the Year Award. This award is given to coaches who show tireless dedication to the sport of softball and to the continued education, growth and development of young women, both on and off the playing field. Dillard has been an assistant coach at NPHS for ten years. Congratulations Alyssa on a great honor!

Alyssa Dillard
NPHS Assistant Softball Coach Alyssa Dillard (middle) with NPHS Athletic Director Al Cooper (left) and NPHS Head Softball Coach Ed Marcum (Right).

The board approved a number of donations Monday, including multiple gifts to the NPHS Competition Cheer team and the NPHS Robotics team. Donations to SCE and a $1,000 anonymous donation to NPHS were also approved.

The board approved a field trip for both the Crimson Heat and Diamond Sensations Show Choirs. The choirs will be traveling to Branson, Missouri for performances in early April of 2019.

Board Meetings for 2019 were also approved. You can see them in this chart:

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The board approved the master contract between the school district and the Classroom Teachers Association for 2018-19. This contract is approved yearly and is negotiated by representatives from the district administration and the CTA before it is submitted for board approval.

A number of budget items were approved at Monday’s meeting. The board approved the distribution of this year’s income tax money. The majority of that money will be allocated to the district’s Capital Projects and Transportation Funds. A small percentage will be allocated to the Bus Replacement Fund. Additionally, starting in 2019, changes in state law have required the district to change how the district’s budget is managed. The board approved the creation of an Education Fund and an Operations Fund. New laws require the creation of an Education Fund to replace what was previously known as the General Fund. The Operations Fund will replace the Capital Projects, Transportation, and Bus Replacement Funds. These new funds go into effect on January 1. The board also approved a transfer of money from the General Fund to the new Education Fund effective 1/1/19. Funds from the Transportation and Bus Replacement Funds will be transferred to the new Operations Fund on 1/1/19, as well.

A number of district and NPHS administrators offered a presentation to the board about Graduation Pathways. Graduation Pathways is a change in graduation requirements in Indiana. It will officially go into effect for all students that are currently in the 8th-grade or younger.

The board approved the district’s plan to initiate Pathways. We’ll have more on Pathways soon. In the meantime, if you have questions, please visit the DOE website here or email questions to Community Relations Director Wes Anderson at wanderson@newpal.k12.in.us.

Director of Student Services Miles Hercamp provided the board with a report on the changes to state accountability. This includes the state of Indiana’s decision to move to ILEARN testing for grades 3-8 instead of ISTEP. ILEARN is a Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT). CAT tests are administered on a computer as opposed to with paper and pencil. A CAT test provides the student with questions that are based on their response to the previous question. Over the course of a full exam, each student may see questions tailored to them that are different than those that other students may see. This will provide a better measure of what an individual student knows or can do. The board was also provided with a practice test for what ILEARN may look like. If you would to take the practice test, click here. (NOTE: This practice test works best in Safari or Google Chrome. Once you open this link, please click on a Grade Level and then choose the second item on the left in a particular subject called “Start ILEARN 2018 Grade Level Released Items.”) There will be more information shared about the changes in Indiana required testing, including ILEARN, to come soon.

At the conclusion of the regular board meeting, a special session was held on facilities. The meeting began with an update of recent work done to all CSCSHC buildings. Short, medium and long-term plans for additional maintenance and improvements to those buildings were also discussed.

Assistant Superintendent Bob Yoder, NPHS Principal Keith Fessler, and NPHS Assistant Principal Adam Barton gave the board a presentation about some of the immediate needs at the high school, which will be the next major project that the district and board intend to address.

Immediate needs at the high school include wider hallways and stairways, a larger cafeteria space, additional restrooms, and necessary repairs to HVAC equipment and the building’s roof. Needs for additional classroom space to fit a 21st-century curriculum and additional space for the arts and the NPHS music department were also discussed. The administrators discussed the need for more collaboration spaces, where students may have flexible seating options to work together in small or large groups. Spaces like this help our students become more college and career ready by working together to achieve goals.

The board received information about the age of the building, portions of which date to 1954. There have been nine additions to the building since its original construction. Some of these areas no longer meet modern-day curricular needs. There are additional needs for the building’s footprint, including more and better-designed entrances and exits and parking needs.

The board received information about the number of additional houses estimated to be built in the near future within the district boundaries, which the district is aware will mean a growing enrollment. At least ten new housing developments are currently in the planning stages, which will bring approximately 450 new houses to the school district. Additionally, discussions were held regarding the number of large lots for sale, which may mean additional subdivisions could be built in the near future. This data will help the board and district determine a scope for how large such a project may be.

The board will take all the information provided in this special session and use it to begin initial discussions about what a future project to renovate NPHS might look like and when such a project may begin. It is important to note that these discussions are in the preliminary phases and no decisions about the project have been made at this time. The NPHS renovation project will be a subject of discussion at future board meetings. During these discussions, the board and district administration will be seeking feedback from the community about a potential NPHS project. We will have more information to come about how you can get involved as this process moves along.

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