Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 11, 2014

Busing changes save Goshen schools $100,000 to $150,000

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
sherry.vanarsdall@goshennews.com

---- — GOSHEN — The recommendations approved by Goshen School Board for changes to the corporation’s busing program for 2013-2014 has saved approximately $100,000 to $150,000 for the first semester.

Business Manager Jerry Hawkins gave the good news to the board Monday.

“It is one of the most exciting thing,” Hawkins said, smiling. “The reduction in routes, the hubs and expanding the walk zones are making a difference and doing better than I expected. It was tough but the changes and cuts have made a difference.”

The estimated costs in savings for the school year amounted to around $350,000, Hawkins added.

In other business, Chamberlain Elementary School has been identified as Priority status as a result from the 2013 ISTEP scores and letter grades for schools.

Assistant Superintendent Tamra Ummel told that officials have been discussing the possibilities for a new direction for the school — expeditionary learning.

“Expeditionary learning offers a different approach to improvement, that engages students to become self-motivated learners and cultivates student success,” Ummel said.

Some of the critical components to expeditionary learning schools include engaging with communities, making learning relevant, supporting students to achieve “personal bests” and solving complex, real-world problems, Ummel added.

“These (priority) schools must develop improvement plans that align with the eight principles of Turn Around Schools,” Ummel said.

The Turn Around principles are school leadership; school climate and culture; effective instruction; curriculum, assessment and intervention system; effective staffing practices; enabling the effective use of data; effective use of time; and effective family and community engagement.

“We have had conversations with Chamberlain staff and the school improvement team is working on articulating how expeditionary learning can support the turnaround principles,” Ummel said.

In other business, Assistant Superintendent Bob Evans gave an update on the textbook adoption that was amended in 2011 by the Indiana General Assembly.

“Schools now have the flexibility to postpone local textbook adoption. The state will no longer determine specific approved books, but will publish a list of textbook reviews so we can select any textbook that fits our needs,” Evans said.

The definition of a textbook now includes computer software as well as digital content and hardware.

“The Indiana Department of Education encourages the use of digital curriculums,” Evans said. “With this in mind, we are in the process of reviewing curricular options for algebra at Goshen Middle School and foreign language materials for both GMS and Goshen High School.”