Board Business: January 2019

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 January 14th, 2019 regular and Board of Finance meetings.

Monday’s meeting began with a swearing-in for the two CSCSHC board members that were re-elected in November of 2018.

CSCSHC board member Brian McKinney is sworn in by Asst. Superintendent Bob Yoder.

This is required at the beginning of each calendar year following an election per school bylaws.

A reorganization of the CSCSHC Board of Education took place, which is also required by school bylaws. Each officer of the CSCSHC Board of Education may only serve a one-year term. The new board officers for 2019 are President Bill Niemier, Vice President Dr. Matt Ackerman, and Secretary Dan Walker. The board must also appoint a policy liaison and a legislative liaison. The 2019 policy liaisons are Brian McKinney and Bill Niemier. The 2019 legislative liaison is Craig Wagoner.


CSCSHC board member Craig Wagoner is sworn in by Asst. Superintendent Bob Yoder.


The board approved a $5,000 donation from R.A. Pritt Electric, Inc. to the New Palestine High School Girls Softball team.

The board also approved two field trips. Mrs. Boehm received approval for the NPHS Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America group to attend the State Star Competition in Muncie on March 7-9 of this year. The NPHS band received approval to travel to New York for an overnight trip from June 4th until June 8th of this year. This field trip will replace a trip scheduled for the same time that was approved at the June 2018 board meeting.

The board approved Mr. Yoder and Ashlie Worth as the district’s treasurer and deputy treasurer, respectively.

The Out-of-District Transfer packet was approved for the 2019-20 year. These packets will be available starting on February 4th on the district’s website. The deadline for out-of-district applications will be July 19th. As always, district administrators closely monitor enrollment numbers and may petition the board to close specific buildings to transfers if that enrollment approaches a capacity set by administrators.

A resolution to transfer funds from the district’s Education Fund to the Operations Fund was approved. Per HEA 1009, which was passed in 2018, Indiana schools now operate with two separate funds for expenditures. The Education Fund deals solely with expenses related to classroom instruction, such as teacher salaries, supplies, and technology. The Operations Fund is used to pay for all other expenses such as utilities, school resource officers, custodial and maintenance staff, and transportation costs. Per HEA 1009, the district must transfer necessary funds for operations from the Education Fund.

Per state statute, the board is required to create and elect officers to a Board of Finance. Upon conclusion of Monday’s regular meeting, a special session for the Board of Finance was called to order. This board is required to meet at least once (during January, per state law) each year. Mr. Niemier will be the President and Mr. Walker will be the Secretary of the Board of Finance in 2019. Mr. Yoder then presented the Board of Finance with a summary of the district’s investments. These investments netted the district $137,000 in interest in 2018. This money will be added to the educational fund.






CSCSHC Holiday Service Projects

As a district, we want to recognize the various ways our students and staff have chosen to give back this holiday season. We believe philanthropy and service projects are an important part of our instruction. We want to highlight some of these amazing efforts so you can see how much work has gone into improving the holiday season for the less fortunate.

Brandywine Elementary

  • Candy Can Food Drive – The BWE Student Council has put on the Candy Can Food Drive for a number of years now. The food drive benefits the Hancock County Food Pantry with the goal of collecting the most needed items for their shelves.  This year, the Candy Can Food Drive focused on collecting jars of peanut butter, which is an item the food pantry needs large quantities of but is rarely donated due to price. During this year’s  This is a very needed item for the food pantry and often not donated because it is a “pricey” item.  This year, the food drive collected 315 jars of peanut butter and 936 other cans of food. 

New Palestine Elementary

  • NPE is a Toys for Tots school.
  • Drew’s Toy Drive – Over the past few years, the family of former NPE student Drew Lapenta has organized a toy drive for the children at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital during the holidays.  This, each NPE student was encouraged to bring $1 to school to contribute to the drive so toys could be bought for children at Peyton Manning.
  • Stacy’s Closet – NPE teacher Mrs. Bancroft has started a clothing closet for NPE families in need. First-grade students were encouraged to bring pajamas, socks, and underwear to help families in need. Stacy’s Closet is launching this holiday season but will be a permanent fixture at NPE going forward.
  • Mrs. Floyd and Mrs. Whitaker’s second-grade classes collected non-perishable items for the St. Vincent dePaul food pantry.
  • Third-grade students provided roughly 100 boxes of cereal for Westminster Neighborhood Services, which is a non-profit after-school program for at-risk youth in Indianapolis.
  • NPE 4th-grade created Christmas cards for veterans who will spend the holiday in the Veterans Hospital in downtown Indianapolis.
  • Kindergartners made a cocoa mix to fill donated Christmas mugs and made placemats for the Kenneth Butler Soup Kitchen in Greenfield, decorations for Springhurst Nursing Home in Greenfield, fleece scarves for the homeless in the Indianapolis area, and potholders to donate to an assisted living home.

Sugar Creek Elementary

  • SCE is a Toys for Tots school. Students are encouraged to bring toys throughout the month of December.
  • SCE student Coleton Watkins is in his fifth year of organizing Coleton’s Toy Drive. Each December, Coleton collects new toys to deliver to Riley so kids staying there can have presents for Christmas. Coleton is a former Riley patient and has chosen this project to help give back to those in need.
  • This year was the second year for SCE Families in Need, a project where the school staff decided to team together as a school and community and to provide families in need with a Family Help Basket. SCE’s students and staff collected enough items to help 20 families have a brighter holiday this year.
  • Each SCE grade also participated in their own service projects, as well. Kindergarten paired with 4th-graders and made cards for the Kenneth Butler Soup Kitchen, Springhurst Health Campus, Hancock Regional Hospital, and the Hope House.

New Palestine Intermediate

  • NPI is also a Toys for Tots school, with students encouraged to bring toys throughout December.
  • Corie McCaw’s class collected toiletries to supplement the backpack program at NPI.  They are collecting toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and new socks. Donations are still welcome.

  • NPI’s Student Council collected canned goods for the NPI Food Pantry.

  • April Manning’s class collected fleece and created dog blankets for a local animal shelter.

  • A group of our 6th-grade students were responsible for the creation of a care package for the homeless. A number of toiletries, non-perishable food, and warm clothes were collected to be distributed.

  • One of the 5th-grade teams created a 12 School Days of Christmas program, where students received a small gift each day while giving a small gift to another student.

New Palestine Junior High

  • NPJH is also a Toys for Tots school.
  • Throughout the year, NPJH is collecting toiletries, non-perishable food items, and clothes for the Dragon Giving Closet. Please feel free to drop any of these items off at NPJH at any time.
  • NPJH students held their annual drive to collect money for the Bebor Primary Schools in Nigeria. In the last 15 years, NPJH/DCMS has donated over $20,000 to this cause.
  • NPJH staff have adopted a community family in need this holiday season, helping them with presents, food, and other needs.

New Palestine High School

  • Ms. Temple’s classes worked to collect money for Caring Place Reach. Each class participated in a different fundraiser. Students also helped at two Caring Place Reach holiday events where families in need were able to receive a Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas gifts for their families.
  • NPHS students adopted seven students from an IPS school and helped make their Christmas wishes come true.
  • Through Mr. Large’s Advanced Business Management class at NPHS, students participate in a number of semester-long service projects. You can learn more about all of these wonderful projects and the causes they benefit on the NPHS Service Learning page.

Board Business: December 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 December 17, 2018 meeting.

Monday’s meeting began with recognition for NPHS teacher Lauren Temple and her students for a large fundraising project for Caring Place Reach, a non-profit organization that works with at-risk children, teens, and their families in the Indianapolis area. Each class held a different fundraising opportunity for CPR.  Students also volunteered at two of Caring Place Reach’s events called The Thanksgiving Giveaway and The Christmas Store. At the Thanksgiving Giveaway, volunteers walk people around collecting free groceries that they can then take home to prepare a full Thanksgiving meal for their families. At the Christmas Store, volunteers walk children through stores to help them pick out toys and gifts for those in their families and even themselves. The board congratulated Ms. Temple and her students on an incredible project for a great cause.

NPHS teacher Lauren Temple (third from left) with NPHS students

Two donations were approved at the meeting. Kroger donated $250 to the NPI Robotics Club. A community member donated $476 to be used for purchasing new books in the NPI library.

Assistant Superintendent Bob Yoder received approval for two financial measures. The board approved a transfer of money within the General Fund. Per state statute, the district must end the calendar year with a positive balance in all accounts. This resolution allows the district to transfer unspent dollars into line items where additional dollars are needed. Mr. Yoder also received approval to transfer unspent dollars in the four main funds (general, transportation, bus replacement, and capital projects) to the Rainy Day Fund for future use. As a reminder, due to the passage of HEA 1007, school finance is changing dramatically in 2019. The district will employ the use of two main funds: the Education Fund (which is “to be used as the exclusive fund to pay expenses allocated to student instruction and learning”) and the Operations Fund, which is essentially a combination of the Transportation, Capital Projects, and Bus Replacement Funds.

Director of Instructional Services Miles Hercamp received approval for the 2019 Summer School programs and Summer Enrichment Camps. The district is proud to offer the following Summer Enrichment opportunities this year: Art, Beginning Robotics, Young Readers and Writers, Bodies in Motion, Spanish is Fun, Cooking Camp, Girls Who Code, Incredible Flexible Kindergartner, Sphero Spectacular, and Outer Space Camp. We’ll have more information on these camps, including registration information, coming in January. Please note that some extracurriculars and athletics will offer their own camps outside of Summer Enrichment. Additional information will be coming in the spring about those camps.

Mr. Hercamp and Curriculum Coordinator Brian Dinwiddie provided the board with an update on the curriculum at both the district and building levels. They shared how teachers in each grade and/or subject matter have been meeting to update the curriculum for their specific students. Mr. Dinwiddie spoke about a number of initiatives within the faculty to improve and align curricula in different buildings and across the district, including the Math Leadership Group, Writers Workshop, and the Literacy Cadre. If you any additional questions about what these groups do or what their goals are, please contact Mr. Dinwiddie at

E-Learning Day Reminders

Here are a few helpful reminders about how to use Canvas to access assignments on an E-Learning Day:
To access Canvas on a home device (laptop, tablet, or phone) other than your student’s district-provided device:
2. Enter the Username and Password:
  • Username: 20XXfirstnamelastname
    • XX = Graduation Year (Example: 19 for Seniors, 20 for Juniors, etc.)
  • Password: DragonsXXXX
    • XXXX = Lunch Number (Students enter this number daily to get lunch. If your child does not know their lunch number, please email your child’s teacher.)
3. Click on the student’s class on the Dashboard and find the lesson posted for students.
Office Hours
CSCSHC teachers will hold “office hours” from 10am-11am and 7pm-8pm, which means they will be immediately accessible by email during these times. You should also feel free to email your teacher outside of these office hours with issues.
If you are having technology difficulties, please call the help desk hotlines from 8am-8pm on eLearning Days:
General Technology Line (Canvas issues): 317-622-0203
Macbook Support Line: 317-620-1794
iPad Support: 317-620-1743

After troubleshooting, if you continue to have trouble accessing Canvas or the E-Learning assignments, please remember that students have one week (or five school days) to complete the material.

Board Business: November 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 November 12, 2018 meeting.

Monday’s meeting began with recognition of six NPHS students for outstanding academic achievement. Luke Horner and Matthew Kelley were recognized for their selection as finalists for the Hancock County Community Foundation Lilly Endowment Scholarships.


Board Recap 1
NPHS Seniors Matthew Kelly (2nd from left) and Luke Horner (far right) with Hancock County Community Foundation representative Susan Bennett and NPHS Principal Keith Fessler.


Cameron Rooks, Jessica Buchanan, David Bogle, and Mary Gunn were also recognized for accolades received from the National Merit Scholarship program.


Board Recap 3
NPHS Principal Keith Fessler with seniors David Bogle, Jessica Buchanan, and Mary Gunn.


Principals from five CSCSHC buildings and Superintendent Dr. Lisa Lantrip were recognized for the district’s designation as a Riley Red Wagon Corporation. Riley Red Wagon status is given to schools that donate $1 for each enrolled student. The corporation is named a Red Wagon Corporation if all school buildings are recognized as Red Wagon Schools.


Board Recap 2
NPJH Principal Jim Voelz, NPHS Principal Keith Fessler, NPE Principal Katy Eastes, BWE Principal Dr. Rhonda Peterson, Superintendent Dr. Lisa Lantrip, Susan Miles from Riley Hospital for Children, and SCE Principal Kari Shelton.


The board heard one citizen formal comment at Monday’s meeting. A local resident and NPHS staff member presented to the board on the potential need for a new high school building. The board and district administration are still weighing a number of potential options and directions for future plans at NPHS. This feedback, along with a number of other community feedback opportunities, will be considered before any decisions are made. It is a top priority for the board and administration to consider student and staff safety during this project while also balancing a fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers.

A number of donations were approved for the NPI Robotics Club, Competition Cheer Club, and Service Learning programs at NPHS and NPI.

The board approved the 2020-21 School Calendar. You can view this calendar here. The 2019-2020 Master Calendar was amended at the meeting. The end of the first grading period was moved back one week to make the period nine weeks in length. The previous version of the calendar had the first grading period as only eight weeks long. This does not affect the start date for the 2019-20 year or the schedule for any breaks during the school year. The board also approved a change from a half E-Learning day each grading period to full E-Learning days. These dates are August 28, 2019, September 25, 2019, January 29, 2020, and February 26, 2020. This change was made to allow our staff time to complete additional training required by the state of Indiana and also to allow more time for important safety discussions and staff training. Student safety is always the district’s number one priority. You can view the amended 2019-2020 calendar here. There are no changes to the current year’s calendar.

Dr. Lantrip received approval to create an NPHS Construction team. This group will work together to advise the board and administration on a number of options for the future project at NPHS. The group is comprised of bond counsel, financial advisors, contractors, and architects. This group will compile information about how this project could potentially be funded and what the project could look like based on a number of different funding options. Again, the district will soon be seeking community input about this project. We’ll share more information on how your voice can be heard in the weeks to come.

NPHS Principal Mr. Fessler received approval to add four new courses to the NPHS curriculum next year. Service Learning, Graphic Design, Aviation Flight, and Aviation Operations will be offered in 2019-20. The two aviation courses are through a partnership with other Hancock County districts.

NPHS Teacher and CSCSHC Energy Manager Mr. Large presented to the board about the district’s energy usage. Through a number of cost-cutting measures, the district added over $300,000 in utility costs back into the General Fund by saving energy. In 13 years of the Energy Savings Program, the district has saved almost $3,000,000 in utility costs.

Community Relations Director Wes Anderson updated the board on a number of projects underway in the Community Relations Department. The district, along with the other three Hancock County school districts, received grant money from the Hancock County Community Foundation to be used for new signs on the district’s borders. You may have seen these signs already up in Mt. Vernon or Greenfield-Central school districts. This grant money will be available to CSCSHC on January 1 and signs are expected to be installed by spring. Below is a rendering of what the district’s signs will look like.

Sign Preview

The district is proud to partner with HCCF and the other districts to create unified signage across all of Hancock County.

If you have questions or concerns regarding Monday night’s meeting, contact Community Relations Director Wes Anderson at



CSCSHC honored to welcome exchange students from China

Southern Hancock is excited and honored to welcome a group of intermediate and middle school students from Guangzhou, China this week.

Guangzhou is a major Chinese city near Hong Kong.

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 7.08.08 AM
Courtesy Google Maps

Ten students and one teacher from the Nan’ao school system in Guangzhou are visiting for the week.

Exchange students with their New Palestine host families

These students are attending New Palestine Intermediate and New Palestine Junior High each day, receiving instruction from our teachers and sitting in classes with our students. They use Google Translate to interact with their American counterparts.

The students have also had opportunities to experience American culture, including attending an Indiana Pacers game, visiting an apple orchard, and experiencing the Halloween holiday by trick-or-treating with their “host siblings.”

Southern Hancock has a sister school in China in the Zhejiang Province, near Shanghai. Administrators from that school district visited CSCSHC last year. NPJH Principal Jim Voelz is among a group of American administrators that have visited Zhejiang’s school district, as well.

We are grateful to provide this unique opportunity and are thankful to our incredible community for agreeing to host these students for the week. Here are a few more photos from our guests’ visit. Welcome to America!

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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:

Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 8.05.41 AM

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

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.