Scott E. Miller, Superintendent
Issue 14 - May 26, 2020
Greetings SCH Family,
This past week the Board of School Trustees voted to name our new high school Hammond Central with the mascot being the Wolves! While no name will please everyone, I think the concept of the new school being a central part of the Hammond community is meaningful. The Wolves mascot may have surprised some, but it resonated with the Hammond community as it was the number one choice for both surveys. The colors and exact design will be presented to the Board at the next meeting for their approval. Go Wolves!
Guest Chinese Teacher Program
For the past nine school years the School City of Hammond has participated in the Guest Chinese Teacher Program that provides Mandarin Chinese teachers from China to teach in our middle and high schools. This past school year the School City of Hammond hosted six teachers. Two of those teachers have spent three school years with us and are no longer eligible to return to teach in the United States during the 2020-2021 school year. The Curriculum Department would like to thank Deyu Kong, Eggers MS teacher, and Chen Ting, Clark MS/HS teacher for their three years of service to our district. Deyu Kong will be returning to her homeland of China to teach next year. Chen Ting has been accepted into the Masters in Education program at John Hopkins University in the United States. We would also like to thank Lu Zhengrui, Scott MS teacher and Yin Pan, Gavit MS/HS teacher, who will also be returning to China to teach next year. Fan Yang and Yungfang Zhou will return to Hammond to teach next year and the School City of Hammond has been approved for three new teachers for the 2020-2021 school year.
Area Career Center
Hammond Academy for the Performing Arts
Our Visual Arts Teachers Tina Lazzarine, Thomas Frank, and Tricia Kujawa assisted our wonderful artists in contributing the 46th Annual Tri-County Junior/Senior High School Art Exhibition. This year the entire show is presented online. You will also be able to see numerous works throughout the tri-county area.
2020 HAPA Academy Awards
Lastly, we ended the year this past weekend with our HAPA Academy Awards where we honored all of our students for their wonderful accomplishments during this short, yet fulfilling school year.
If you'd like to see a highlight of our year in review please go to 31:50 to see the presentation.
The Head Start Parent Policy Committee decided to take the annual Parent Survey in a new direction this year. They wanted to know how parents were doing during the pandemic: what resources they needed, what resources they received, were they working, and how they managed childcare if they were working. The survey also included questions about devices, internet access, virtual learning and going to kindergarten. The response to the Google Forms survey was great and provided data that we are using to plan for the fall and future virtual learning. Special thanks goes to SCH Food Service for the meals provided and to the Head Start Family Support staff who shared food-related resource information to parents! The greatest need expressed by parents was food. Thankfully, the greatest reported need met was the access to food.
Covid -19 changed the way we live. As restrictions are lifted and life starts to return to a new and different normal we must remember our pre Covid-19 health needs. Preventive health care is the key to remaining healthy and staying productive and active. Preventive care is advocated as part of a health approach and includes both preventative services and screening tests. It is now time to start scheduling your annual preventive health care screenings.
It is also essential that we continue to follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the spread of Covid-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Use hand sanitizer when unable to wash your hands.
- Maintain social distancing
- Wear a mask to protect others
- Clean common areas with a disinfectant cleaner
- Avoid large social gathering
- Stay at home when you are feeling ill.
- Seek medical care if needed
We Are All In This Together
Wishing a very Happy Birthday to all the staff members who have birthdays this week!
Susan Abbott, Albert Arellano, Michelle Booker, David Borsits, Christine Broomes, Brooklyn Brown, Terrell Brown, Amanda Buckner, Talaiah Chase, Susanne Companiott, Catherine Curtis, Irene Dunbar, Tracy Elmore, Julie Gamaleri, Deanna Geertsema, Johnny Goodlow, Lisa Greenwald, Marcus Griffith, LaShaunda Hammons, Faith Hardy, Adelita Hernandez, Dora Hubbard, Eric Jackson, Peter Kallas, Nancy King, Edward Klapak, Jennifer Klapak, Kyle Kwasny, Bundee Kyles, Debra Lakie, Flors Lilly, Pamela Makiel, Angela McCormick, Stephanie McGilvrey, Daniel Minard, Thomas Orourke, Michele Polarek, James Porter, Alicia Powers-Haywood, Miriam Pressley, Francesca Pupillo, Amy Radolak, Angelica Ramirez, Amir Ransom, Beverly Reese, Tricia Reid, Herbert Rettew, Ruben Rodriguez. Marianne Ryzewski, Sylvia Salazar, Karrie Scheub, Gladys Ullstam. Jessica Umfleet, Darnell Walker, Lindsay Wasowski, Edward Watrobka, Jason Webb, and Kelvin Williams.
Brief Overview: Individualized Education Program (IEP)
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a very important part of the special education process. It is a written contract that ensures that a disabled student receives a free and appropriate education. Although an IEP cannot guarantee success, it outlines certain services and good faith efforts that will provide meaningful educational benefits. The IEP is always a work in progress. It is developed, revised and reviewed at least once a school year.
Sitting in on an IEP meeting (Case Conference) can be very overwhelming. There are specific processes, procedures, and a variety of abbreviations that are often inserted into the discussion without a great deal of explanation. It is very important to ask questions.
In developing an IEP, there are set procedures in the law that every school must follow. This ensures that the legal rights of the family have not been compromised. Everyone in the IEP conference should have an equal opportunity for input, especially the student, if appropriate. It should be noted that students who are eighteen years or older have the right to make their own educational decisions.
An IEP is a legally binding educational map that dictates what services will be provided to increase the probability of future success. An IEP should clarify the following:
- Present levels (Behavior or Academic)
- Data that indicates the progress toward current goals
- Ambitious goals for the future
- Information on how progress toward those goals will be measured
- Services, time, provisions and accommodations
Reminder for Teachers and Staff
Last week you received an important email, the subject line read: “Technology End of Year Stuff”. Please be sure to read it and fill out the Google Forms by the end of the week.
Internet of Things
IoT - "Internet of Things" devices are becoming part of everyone's lives - Google Home Assistant, Amazon Echo, game consoles, "smart" home devices like lights, TVs, and even internet-connected coffee pots and refrigerators. It's estimated that there will be 31 billion IoT devices connected to the 'net in 2020; roughly 4 devices per human. All of these devices can act as a point of entry for the bad guys. How can we keep these devices secure? These steps are a good start:
- Make sure your router and all IoT devices that support it have strong passwords - ones that you have set.
- Don't re-use passwords on multiple devices.
- Only give out your home WiFi password to those you know and trust.
- Never save sensitive information, like credit card numbers, on these devices - game consoles are the prime examples of this.
- Consider changing the "wake words" for digital home assistants (Alexa, Google, Siri, etc.). Nickname your devices something that only you and your family know.
- Make sure everything is up-to-date. Most IoT devices update automatically when connected to the internet. If a TV or cell phone prompt you to update, do it!
As always, stay safe and stay healthy!
Hands Off all Mobile Devices in Vehicles
The Indiana General Assembly recently passed legislation about distracted driving. This law provides that, except in certain circumstances, a person may not hold or use a telecommunications device while operating a moving motor vehicle. This bill was signed into law on March 18, 2020 and will take effect on July 1, 2020. This law does not specifically apply just to school bus drivers, so you should be aware that beginning July 1, 2020 it will be illegal for anyone to hold or use telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle, with certain specific exceptions.
Texting while driving has been illegal for a number of years in Indiana; additionally federal regulations have disallowed a school bus driver, as a commercial motor vehicle driver, to use a handheld telecommunications device (except for a two way radio or similar communications device). HEA 1070 now makes it illegal for anyone to hold, or use a telecommunications device in Indiana while operating a motor vehicle.
An update from the Superintendent is distributed at the beginning of the week.
View previous weekly updates from Mr. Miller here.
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