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At the Monday, April 8th, meeting of the North Newton School Board, an addendum to the agenda was raised under ‘Action Items.’ This addition was for the elementary mascots which the board unanimously approved.

The proposal was for retaining the individual elementary mascots and colors. The board approved this unanimously. President Mike Russell, commented that it is now officially put to rest.

There were several special recognitions, including the student and employee spotlights and academic accolades. Dominic Hayles, 3rd grader at Morocco Elementary School, is the student spotlight for April. Nominated by his teacher, Mrs. Glennda Sanders, and principal, Mrs. Sherri Cripe, Dominic is very deserving of this recognition. Mrs. Sanders said that, “Dominic is a person of great character. He strives to do his very best and takes pride in his work and achievements. He is extremely motivated and always puts his best effort into classroom assignments. Dominic is an excellent student and a pleasure to have in class.” Mrs. Sanders also praised Dominic’s character, saying that he is honest and trustworthy and can be counted upon to do the right thing. Sanders concluded her affirmations of Dominic by saying he is a true reflection of a student who follows the PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) goals of: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe, and Be Kind. Principal Cripe recognized Dominic for his important leadership role at Morocco Elementary – the Box Tops for Education Assistant. Dominic is responsible for collecting all of the Box Tops at Morocco, where he then sorts them and prepares all of the Box Tops to be submitted. Cripe stated that, “He arrives early to school every Friday and has never missed a day and is always on time. He is extremely dedicated to his Leadership Role and is dependable and conscientious.”

The employee spotlight for April was awarded to Mrs. Debra Bykerk, a special education teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, where she has been a valued employee for the North Newton School Corporation since 1999. Mrs. Bykerk is always willing to help out other employees or students in any way possible. In addition to being passionate about the students she works with in her classroom, she also demonstrates the same care and compassion to all children she encounters. Bykerk is commended for her upbeat, encouraging personality, and her positive, friendly nature which lifts the spirits of those around her. Mrs. Bykerk is a wonderful asset to the North Newton School Corporation, a positive role model for adults and children alike, and very much appreciated.

A special treat at the board meeting was a performance by the North Newton Jazz Choir, under the direction of Mr. Craig Redlin. Members are: Grace Alexander, Maddie Binge, Hannah Cooper, Cayden Coria, Emilia Hodorowski, Kane Jones, Shannon Kucaj, Cameryn Michaels, Tristan Micula, Sara Will, Ryan Williams, and Madison Nilsen. The group recently competed at the ISSMA Vocal Jazz Festival for the first time and received a Gold Rating.

The final group to be recognized for their achievement was the North Newton Academic Team. Members consist of: Austin Belt, Ashley Churchill, Kloe Demopoulos, Maria Espino, Garrett Gonczy, Paige Humble, Kane Jones, Isaac Knight, Shannon Kucaj, Dysen Pufahl, Danielle Spisak, Raymond Tharp, Taylor Walsh, Brendan Whitt, and Braydon Wiles. Academic sponsor is Mrs. Karen Williams. The team competed in the ‘Super Bowl 2019’ Northwest Hoosier Conference meet on March 12th at River Forest High School, placing 2nd overall. Individual squads earning ribbons were: English – 1st, Science – 2nd, Fine Arts – 2nd, and Interdisciplinary – 3rd. All members received certificates for their accomplishments.

Dr. Boyd detailed the school business matters that were pertinent to the end of the year and summer. There were no significant changes to the board policies, just some language updates for cell phones, information acquisition, and extra-curriculars. Mrs. Cripe was instrumental in a Newton County Safe Schools grant for two-way radios to be used in case of an emergency. Also presented to the board for approval was the four day summer work week, where employees would put in longer hours Monday through Thursday, and then be off on Fridays. Approved summer programs were remediation sessions and the supervised agricultural experience (SAE) through the Ag. Department.

Mr. Sammons, financial advisor, was present to field questions about tax increment financing (TIF). Sammons explained that the suggested tax changes were more of an abatement than a true TIF. While TIFs can have a negative impact on schools resulting in a loss of funding, the tax proposal for the school district is a 50% abatement over the next 10 years, with eventual revenues materializing in the 11th year.

Tuesday, April 30th is the day set for screening new superintendent candidates. The corporation greatly appreciates the coverage by Dr. Boyd and assistance by Mrs. Cripe until a new superintendent is found.