KENTLAND — Still soaring from South Newton success at the State FFA convention, Mr. Armbruster shared results with the Board of Administrators Monday night. Alex Kindig, Freshman Creed Speaking State Winner, presented the FFA Creed for the Board. Kindig will compete again at the National Convention in October.
Class of 2019 Senior, Wyatt Polen, earned the Section One Star in Agribusiness Award and was a state finalist. Kendell Arseneau, Hayden Berenda, and Kyle Weiss all earned their Hoosier Degrees from the Indiana FFA. Kayla Florian will serve this year as the secretary for District 1. Two Quizbowl teams competed well: Middle School Discovery Team placed 1st in the state (members – Stephanie Berenda, Irma Cruz, Victoria Henriquez-Gonzalez, and Zovco McElroy), High School Chapter Team placed 2nd in the state (members – Kayla Florian, Delaney Smith, Haley Stone, and Whitney Wirtz). Delaney Smith individually placed in two of her events. She was awarded 2nd place for her Horticulture Demonstration, and 3rd place for her Diversified Horticulture Production-Placement/Entrepreneurship Proficiency.
These awards all represent hours and hours of time and commitment not only for the students, but also for the parents, community members, and ag teachers. Mr. Armbruster spent the better part of the weeks between the end of school to convention working with the contestants for their respective contests. Community volunteers came in to critique, advise, and mentor as well. South Newton is proud of all of the members who competed throughout the year.
Mr. Huckstep, High School Principal, added that he was impressed with Austin Berenda and Chyenne Deno, South Newton 2018 graduates and 2018-19 FFA State Officers. He drove to the convention twice to hear their retiring addresses, echoing Mr. Armbruster that they made the community proud.
Prior to the meeting, Huckstep spent the day at a Champions Together Banquet in Indianapolis. 2019 seniors, Jaimie Diedam and Kim Hall also attended the banquet. Newton County raised enough money to earn a banner. Huckstep referred to the Champions Together basketball game that North Newton and South Newton played this past winter, saying that it was a good experience and that the joint effort was nice.
Middle School Principal, Tansey Mulligan, proudly shared that her STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) teachers, Ms. Diedam and Ms. Thomas were accepted into an IDOE (Indiana Department of Education) Stem workshop training. Both teachers will be attending the ‘Integrating STEM in the Environment’ conference at the end of July. Ms. Diedam additionally applied for and was selected by the IDOE for a new six-year STEM strategic Plan initiative sponsored by the Ford Motor Company. Through this program, Diedam will be trained on project based learning for STEM instruction, and she will be certified to train others in STEM implementation. Mulligan is very excited about this and future STEM classes at the middle school.
Elementary Principal, Amber DeYoung, reported that summer school will be complete by the end of the week, and thanked all of the teachers, cafeteria workers, students, and families for a successful summer session. She gave a huge shout out to Mary Glassburn, the IREAD teacher, for all of her time and effort. DeYoung touched on the new state requirement that all students, K-2, be tested for dyslexia and her school’s plan for meeting this criteria. She has already attended training and mentioned that there will be a lot of professional development spent on dyslexia this next school year.
Mr. Cinowski, who will be serving in the military, was sent off with love by the elementary students. President, Amanda Berenda, thought it would be good for students to keep in contact with him. Mr. Ulmer at the high school also joined the military and is currently completing his training.
Superintendent, Casey Hall, updated the board on the construction progress in the high school. The renovations are going well and the new walls and door configurations will not only meet the building code requirements, but also look modern and nice. Hall reiterated how beneficial summer school is for the students and how glad he is that the school can do it. He thanked everyone involved in the summer school programs for their time and dedication to the kids.
The board had several state and school policies to approve, including the updates to NEOLA. NEOLA is an organization that puts together legislative policy language for schools to ensure that the schools are in accordance to the state laws. Candace Armstrong had some questions about the language which prompted a discussion. Each school can tailor the NEOLA wording to suit the school’s preferences to a certain extent. Armstrong also asked for clarification on the financial report trends as the numbers continue to decrease. Her concern is what that will mean for South Newton in the future. Mr. Hall took time to explain the new funding formula and his misgivings over enrollment fluctuations.
Treasurer, Marci Hall, said that appropriations are tighter. Hall stated that some hard choices may come down the line if we want to be fair to our teachers and give them raises as they deserve. South Newton aspires to give quality education to students and provide a supportive working environment for its faculty and staff.