Posted on

NHCSC begins ’23 with new education plans

NHCSC begins ’23 with new education plans NHCSC begins ’23 with new education plans
By Kristen Cervenak, Editor, [email protected]

The North Harrison Community School Corp. had its first meeting of the year Jan. 12 to discuss officer elections and upcoming news for graduates.

The board meeting, which took place at 7 p.m. in the North Harrison Middle School cafeteria, began by welcoming new members Josh Bowen and Chris Lasley, who were sworn into office at the courthouse on Dec. 5. The board also welcomed back Kristina Gunter, who was sworn into the courthouse on Dec. 8. In attendance was superintendent Nathan Freed, assistant superintendent Dr. Stephen Hatton, legal counsel Marcus Burgher IV and board members Kerry Ingle, Eric Stroud, Kristina Gunter, Bowen and Lasley.

Following the call to order was the reorganization of the board. The first presidential nomination went to Ingle, followed by a nomination for Stroud by Bowen.

“I think both Kerry and Eric have been on the board for several years,” Bowen said. “They can both be good leaders. I’ve seen things from both of them. I want to give Eric an opportunity to be the president of our school board this year.”

However, with a 4-1 vote, Ingle was elected as board president. Stroud was elected vice president after a nomination for the role by Gunter, a second from Bowen and an overall vote of 5-0. The role of secretary was a closer call for Bowen, who was elected by a 3-2 vote.

A presentation was given by North Harrison High School principal Matt Kellems and school counselors Miranda Kellum and Renee Eckart, both from NHHS, that discussed new graduation requirements for Indiana students based on a series of three buckets.

The first of which is diploma type, in reference to the Core 40 diploma, Core with Academic Honors diploma and Core 40 with Technical Honors diploma.

The second bucket refers to employability skills. In order to meet the requirement, students can achieve this by one of three options: project-based learning that currently uses a prep for college and career course to help determine their pathway and classes, service-based learning regarding a student’s involvement in a sport, club or organization, and work-based learning involving paid jobs and paperwork provided to the counselors.

The third and final bucket refers to post-secondary readiness, including the completion of an honors diploma, SAT and ACT scores, advanced placement and dual-credit courses, career and technical education concentrators, a score of 31 on the ASVAB military entrance exam (which is administered twice a year at North Harrison) or an industry certification, something North Harrison has a goal of having in the next few years.

The presentation also provided attendees and the board with additional information about the SAT that is now given to juniors, paid for by the state of Indiana. The SAT is given each March, which saves students approximately $60 when taken with North Harrison. The school corporation is only allowed, by the state of Indiana, to offer it during a student’s junior year in order to provide students with scores they may need for college and scholarship applications. If a student is unsatisfied with their score, they are still able to take a Saturday SAT elsewhere.

Under the Perkins V Pathways, students were required to take two classes as a cluster or a “pathway.” Pathways include agricultural pathways such as animal science, agriculture power and horticulture/landscaping, business pathways such as accounting and office management (with plans to expand into finance and investment due to student interest level), health science for athletic training, human and social services, IT such as computer science and cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing.

Kellems said one goal is the development of capstones and work-based learning in the field of the student’s interest and the addition of dual credits.

“As we develop those pathways and get into capstones,” he said, “that is a chance for us to keep more CTE (career and technical education) money here in the North Harrison school system.”

Another goal is to encourage North Harrison alumni to “stay in our community and work in our community,” Kellems said. “We really wanted to expose them to a lot of businesses and things we have going on here.”

One of the steps taken was applying for a grant to help with CTE, which they will find out later this month if it will be received.

Kellems said they also had a meeting with the director of Prosser Career Education Center, Dr. Kyle Lanoue, who is also the district CTE director, to share their vision.

“By no means do we ever want to compete with Prosser,” Kellems said. “They have a great thing going there. We just want to focus on some things that maybe our community is strong at.”

Also this spring, the school will look for local business owners, community members, parents and students to form a community advisory committee to come together with a common goal, providing a mutually beneficial relationship between business owners who could train students and students who could become potential employees for them down the road.

Kellems included the goal of entrepreneurship wherein some classes could produce goods to sell and bring back into the program and put money into students’ pockets as well.

“It’s going to be important to build those relationships, make those connections and see what we can do,” he said. “Beyond that year, we want to continue to grow other pathways (with the addition of an education pathway starting next year). We just want to continue to explore the credit certifications, but, more importantly, we want to use these pathways to continue to build and foster local relationships with our community and business leaders.”

The school will have a pathway exploration night featuring visitors from multiple colleges, businesses, local agencies and military branches on Thursday, Feb. 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the high school gym.

The board expressed gratitude for the information.

“I would like to thank the community of voters for allowing me to serve on the school board for the next four years. I greatly appreciate the support,” Gunter said. “I would also like to welcome Mr. Bowen and Mr. Lasley to the school board. I look forward to working with them. I’m very excited about what we have started and what we have planned for the school.

She continued, “I also want to thank Mr. Kellems, Mrs. Eckart and Mrs. Kellum for your presentation. I’m very excited that our students have options in choosing their pathways in life. My husband taught careers class for several years, and we discussed quite often how college was not for every student and that they need to know that they have other choices. Our mission is not only to educate the students, but help them be productive members of society. That presents a lot of opportunity, and I am thankful that you’ve gotten a step up on this and are doing this a year ahead of time, so thank you very much.”

Bowen and Lasley agreed with her statements about how one predetermined avenue for students is not always a perfect fit. Bowen also shared that he recently attended his first high school wrestling match in more than 30 years on Jan. 3 when senior managers Amara Black and Lily Pavey were recognized.

“I saw a female wrestler on our team wrestle,” Bowen said. “It was a really powerful event, and there was a lot of excitement in the crowd. It was really cool. Hats off to the wrestling team.”

Freed provided one additional piece of news for the school corporation after receiving word from Ivy Tech Community College. He explained that the school has many opportunities for dual-credit classes to give students a chance to earn college credits, occasionally enough to go into a sophomore year. He explained that in the past the cost of that program was approximately $3,600, regardless of class size. Freed said they had received an email from Ivy Tech stating they were going to have to change the process and each student taking dual-credit classes would have to pay the tuition as if they were taking the class on campus.

“Obviously, that would have been a huge increase for our kids,” he said. “The county superintendents — Mr. (Steve) Morris, Dr. (Mark) Eastridge and myself — got together with the (Harrison County) Community Foundation and expressed our concerns and basically drafted a letter to the Community Foundation asking them if they would help and support and basically bear the cost increase next year of that change from Ivy Tech.

“I heard back earlier this week, and the Community Foundation had a board meeting and they did vote to approve that they would cover that cost,” he said. “That is just wonderful news. So, I wanted to give a shout out to our Harrison County Community Foundation for not only supporting our kids at North Harrison, but all kids in the county.”