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Val policy to change at S. Harrison

Starting with the incoming class of freshmen next year, there will likely be an increase in the number of valedictorians in the South Harrison Community School Corp.
Jeff Hauswald, assistant superintendent for SHCSC, explained the new valedictorian and graduation honors policy at last week’s monthly board of trustees’ meeting, held at the Edmund ‘Ed’ F. Schneider Administrative Center in Corydon.
Beginning with the graduating Class of 2009, students will be recognized at graduation for having met requirements for graduating cum laude (a grade-point average equal to or greater than 3.5 but less than 3.75), magna cum laude (GPA between 3.75 and 4.0) or summa cum laude (GPA greater than 4.0).
For this year’s senior class and the classes of 2010, 2011 and 2012, the traditional process of selecting the student with the highest GPA for valedictorian and the second highest GPA for salutatorian will be used. And, as in the past, in case of a tie, there will be co-valedictorians but no salutatorian.
As in past years, the welcome address will be given by a graduating student who earns a GPA of at least 3.5. Students interested in giving the welcome address will give their speeches to a screening panel made up of at least three judges from outside of the school district.
For classes 2013 and beyond, a new policy takes effect.
All students graduating summa cum laude will be considered valedictorian or co-valedictorian. Only in the case where one student meets the summa cum laude criteria will the term ‘valedictorian’ be placed on the student’s transcript. Otherwise summa cum laude graduates will be co-valedictorians.
If no student graduates summa cum laude, the student with the highest GPA will be considered the valedictorian and the student with the second highest GPA will be considered the salutatorian.
‘We were getting into a situation where we were having an almost unhealthy competition between students for valedictorian,’ Hauswald said. ‘There were students who had their friendships torn apart over this, which really goes against the spirit of the mission statement for South Harrison Community schools.
‘Also, if a student maybe got a A-minus instead of an A-plus, they would just kind of shut down towards the end of their high school year because they knew they couldn’t become valedictorian,’ he said.
Hauswald pointed out that those who graduate summa cum laude are still the best of the best in terms of grade-point average.
‘Achieving summa cum laude isn’t going to be easy,’ Hauswald said.
The board also heard a presentation made by members of the ICAN (Individualized Classroom Accountability Network) committee, comprised of seven administrators and seven teachers. South Harrison has used ICAN ‘ basically a computer program that tracks student needs, assesses student progress and analyzes student performance ‘ for six years.
One gripe from some parents is there is no letter grade attached to student assessments, which are listed in percentage figures and have classifications for progress such as ‘ongoing’ and ‘demonstrated.’ That will change soon, said Sharon Mathes, principal at New Middletown Elementary School and a committee member. While a letter grade would be presented for sixth graders next year, she said, there won’t be a letter grade on the student’s record as the ICAN system will still be used. There is a proposal to include letter grades for fifth graders in 2011.
South Harrison Superintendent Dr. Neyland Clark reminded board members that ICAN does not own teacher grades and that it’s simply a tool used for student assessment and development.
‘When a child gets an A in sixth-grade math and can’t pass the math portion of ISTEP, there’s a problem,’ Clark said. ‘We need to figure how why that happens and prevent it.’
Mary Mathes, a teacher with 37 years of experience, told the board that she didn’t want ICAN thrown by the wayside.
‘But I’d like a compromise,’ she said. ‘A child may get 78 percent for a C-plus on ICAN, but they could be doing B-grade work.’
In another matter, four bids were opened for video surveillance and structured Internet cabling projects.
Alliant Integrators of Louisville submitted proposals of $281,188 for both projects and $128, 925 for cabling; DataLink of Evansville submitted $238,240.61 for both projects and $18,480 for cabling; Matrix of Jasper submitted a proposal for $134,393 for cabling only; and MetTech submitted a bid of $209,135 for video only.
The board took the bids under advisement.
The school corporation entered into a contract with VersaTrans Solutions for the purchase and support of transportation software at a cost of $33,000. Transportation Director Melissa Foreman said the software would help map routes for bus drivers, give parents of potential SHCSC students accurate information about routes and provide substitute drivers with turn-by-turn directions for their route.
Hauswald told the board that Adequate Yearly Progress reports are still embargoed and will be presented to the public at the May 5 board meeting.
Board member Jeff Brown pulled three items from the consent agenda, all dealing with South Central varsity boys’ basketball coach Rob Murawski. While Murawski’s coaching contracts were renewed, Brown and fellow board member Joyce Bliss voted against the measures. Brown said he believed the basketball program wasn’t heading in the right direction and hadn’t been for the past two years.
Bliss pulled the names of two family members ‘ Kim Briscoe and Elaine Briscoe ‘ from the agenda so she could abstain from the vote.
Several other personnel changes were made. They were as follows:
‘Corporation ‘ Accepted hiring of Wyandotte House tutor Kristin Drummond.
‘Harrison County Exceptional Learners Cooperative ‘ Gave permission to create and post the position of teacher.
‘Corydon Central High School ‘ Accepted transfer of counselor Valerie Prince from Corydon Intermediate School, accepted leave of absence for science teacher Karen Bruce, accepted resignation of 1/2 National Honor Society sponsor Patricia Beddoe, accepted hiring of temporary alternative education teacher Jim Diedrich, approved Elaine Briscoe as volunteer girls’ assistant softball and volleyball coach and accepted rehires (for 2009-10) of varsity baseball coach Zach Sipes, boys’ varsity basketball coach Jamie Kolkmeier, boys’ junior varsity basketball coach, and boys’ and girls’ cross country coach Greg Robinson, activities supervisor, boys’ and girls’ golf coach and varsity wrestling coach Richard Clipp, boys’ and girls’ varsity tennis coach Jeff Smitley, boys’ assistant tennis coach Zach Sipes, girls’ varsity basketball coach Michael Uhl, girls’ junior varsity basketball coach Kevin Nash, girls’ freshmen basketball and volleyball coach and assistant softball coach Michael Emmert, girls’ varsity soccer and track and field coach Kyle Jones, varsity softball and volleyball coach Kim Briscoe, junior varsity volleyball coach Nicole Evans and weight trainer Jason Timberlake.
‘Corydon Central Junior High School ‘ Accepted hirings of health and physical education teacher Darin Ward, football coach and eighth-grade boys’ basketball coach Larry Ragland, assistant football coach Bret Smith, eighth-grade girls’ basketball coach Daniel Waynescott, assistant football coach Tom Brillhart, cross country coach Lori Brillhart and 1/2 wrestling coach Richard Clipp.
‘Corydon Intermediate School ‘ Accepted hiring of fifth-grade girls’ basketball coach Daniel Waynescott, sixth-grade girls’ basketball coach Kevin Nash, fifth- and sixth-grade cheerleading coach Amber Wischmeier and accepted transfer of fourth-grade teacher Sarah Ground from South Central Elementary.
‘Heth-Washington Elementary School ‘ Accepted hiring of sixth-grade girls’ basketball coach Tracey Schwartz and elementary cheer coach Christine Thomas.
‘New Middletown Elementary School ‘ Accepted hiring of girls’ and boys’ fifth-grade basketball coach and girls’ and boys’ sixth-grade basketball coach Corey Faith and elementary cheerleading coach Shawn Huffman.
‘South Central Junior-Senior High School ‘ Accepted hiring of media specialist Carey Sturgeon, junior varsity girls’ basketball coach and sixth-grade girls’ basketball coach Cortnai Boone, junior varsity cheer (dance) coach Wendy Carter, fall conditioning coach Virgil Casper, boys’ varsity tennis coach Casey Hogan, boys’ varsity basketball and boys’ Saturday basketball and summer basketball coach Rob Murawski, 1/2 summer volleyball coach and varsity volleyball coach Patricia Shaffer, boys’ and girls’ varsity cross country coach and freshmen basketball coach Nick Tremain and boys’ and girls’ junior high cross country coach Joanna Weaver.