Duneland School news for parents, students and teachers

Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021 Vol. 56 No. 7


TONIGHT: CHS Homecoming Block Party for the Community

The Duneland School community is invited to participate in the annual Homecoming Block Party sponsored by the Chesterton High School Student Government on Thursday, September 9, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM in the CHS Main Office Parking Lot near Front Entrance Door 1.

There will be various games and booth activities. Tickets may be purchased for games and events at $3 for 5 tickets or $5 for 10 tickets.

Big picture

CHS Announces Selected Homecoming 2021 Candidates

Big picture

Photo above: This year, Chesterton High School has nominated eight student candidates for homecoming royalty. Front, left to right, junior Gretta Burke, senior Serena Workman and junior Olyvia Clark. Back row, senior Dylan Leavitt, senior Mark Jewison, junior Aidan Torres, senior Luke Stento and senior Clayton Dye. (DSC photo by Bridget Martinson)

Eight candidates have been chosen for the 2021 CHS Football homecoming royalty. The candidates are:

Gretta Burke is studying in the CHS International Baccalaureate program. She is active in Debate, Advanced Orchestra and Girls Tennis. In addition, she gives tennis lessons and tutors students of all ages. She will be escorted at the game by her parents Sean and Linda Burke.

Olyvia Clark is active on the CHS Dance Team. She will be escorted at the game by her parents Wade and Nicole Clark.

Clayton Dye is currently studying automotive tech at the Porter County Career Center. He will be escorted at the game by his parents Susan and Tracy Dye.

Mark Jewison is active in Debate, Speech and Varsity Tennis. He is currently serving as a CHS student intern at Smith Legal Group. He will be escorted at the game by his parents Tom and Mary Jewison.

Dylan Reed Leavitt is a four-year member of Chesterton High School’s Speech and Debate team, qualifying for the National Speech and Debate Tournament for two years in a row. In addition to Speech and Debate, she is also heavily involved with music, having participated in Orchestra from 5th grade up until now, performing in CHS’s annual school musical, and performing at open mics locally and in Three Oaks, Michigan. She aspires to pursue a career in professional songwriting and sound engineering. She will be escorted at the game by her mother Deborah Leavitt and uncle Michael Willey.

Luke Stento is active in CHS Football, Wrestling, Track, and Lacrosse and is a member of National Honor Society. Outside of school he is involved in Boy Scouts. He will be escorted at the game by his parents Bernie and Kim Stento.

Aidan Torres is active in Chesterton Wrestling. He will be escorted at the game by his parents Leelo and Jennifer Torres.

Serena Workman is active on the CHS Dance Team. She will be escorted at the game by her parents Dee and PJ Workman.

Parade route and crowning of Royalty

The CHS homecoming royalty will be chosen on Friday, Sept. 10 at halftime at the homecoming football game against LaPorte that begins at 7 p.m. Prior to the game, the homecoming parade will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10 from the Chesterton Middle School Pool parking lot, Porter Ave to Calumet, Calumet to Broadway, Broadway to Sixth and back to CMS.

Chesterton High School Homecoming Dance

This year’s CHS Homecoming dance will be held on Saturday, September 11 from 7:00 to 10:00 PM. Tickets may be purchased through Friday, September 10 for $10 per person and can be found via student email. Please note that there will be a $0.85 processing fee along with the expected $10 purchase.

Student IDs are required for entry at CHS, though formalwear is optional. Upon arrival, students will be separated by grade into their respective dances-- Freshmen and Sophomores will be stationed in the Fieldhouse, while the Juniors and Seniors will head to the Cafeteria. No outside dates are permitted into the dance. This is a CHS student exclusive event.

Due to COVID-19, there will be cautionary measures taken. There is a possibility the dance itself will be postponed to Saturday, November 6. In this instance, families will be informed and tickets acquired for the September date will be honored for the November rescheduling. Refunds will be available at all times.

THIS SATURDAY: CHS Senior Finalist in Hoosier Star Event

Chesterton High School senior Jayne Bartlett has been selected as a finalist for the 16th Annual Hoosier Star event on Saturday, September 11 at 7 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium in LaPorte.

Jayne will competing with four (4) other youth finalists for the title of Hoosier Star and will be soloing with the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra.

Chesterton High School has been very well represented the past two years with Rebecca Lane winning the Youth Division in 2019 and Julia Larson winning the Youth Division in 2020.

Jayne has performed in the CHS productions of ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Chicago’, and ‘Mamma Mia’. She is a member of the advanced Camerata Choir and is a former show choir member. As a soloist, Jayne has twice won gold at ISSMA competitions and was crowned champion of the 2019 CHS Variety Show.

Help cheer Jayne on at the Hoosier Star event on Saturday, Sept. 11. Balcony ticket purchases can be made at: https://lcso.net/events/hoosier-star/

Balcony tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for ages 12 and under. Tickets will be available at the door as well.

Big picture

Never Forget: 9/11 Memorial Tradition Continues at CHS

A traditional, yearly memorial the Duneland community has come to love and appreciate, will again be altered this year due to COVID-19.

Each year since 2007, Chesterton High School students and staff members have continued the tradition the O'Keefe family began of placing 2977 small U.S. flags in the grassy area in front of the CHS Stadium along 11th St. in Chesterton. Each flag bearing the name of a soul lost on Sept. 11, 2001 in the tragic attacks on America.

“Unfortunately, the placing of 2977 small flags commemorating individual victims, takes many hands and bodies close together to accomplish the display," said Mary Beth Whitmer, CHS support staff member and yearly 9/11 organizer.

This is the second year in a row the display has been changed. “I wanted to find a way to make it a little more meaningful because it's the 20th anniversary,” said Whitmer. “Due to this weekend’s Homecoming festivities, I’m hoping that more people will have an opportunity to see it and reflect on the impact 9/11 had on our nation.

Whitmer would like to stress the importance of taking a moment to reflect on the 9/11 tragedy despite the current events we are facing. “We should remember how this event brought us together and we must never forget,” she added.

This year’s 9/11 memorial will be displayed in front of the CHS Stadium throughout the entirety of the homecoming weekend beginning on Friday, September 10. The display will feature two large flags alongside a banner adorning each individual victim’s name and will be illuminated throughout the evening.

History of the Flag Setting Commemoration at CHS

Kathleen O’Keefe (2008 CHS Grad) started the first commemoration. At the time she was a charter member of the CHS Conservative Club and was assisted in part by her sister Colleen O’Keefe (2011 CHS Grad) and several other volunteers. Together they approached businesses and individuals to donate money to purchase the flags and secured permission from school administration. Colleen would continue the tradition every year thereafter, coordinating volunteers and working with the school planning the event. In 2012, their sister, Kasey O’Keefe (2015 CHS Grad) took the mantle in coordinating the event, approaching students and faculty for volunteers, gaining administration permission and serving as public relations officer. Several volunteers gave their time and energy to this memorial, including her sister Hayley O’Keefe. Hayley continued the tradition until 2016 when she also graduated from CHS.

A Story of Flags

There are 2,977 flags placed on the grass of Chesterton High School. Each flag carries the name of an individual who lost their life in the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001.

September is Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month. The goal of the annual suicide prevention month is not to prevent suicide on a specific day, week, or month, but rather to encourage wide participation in educational activities that draw attention to the problem of suicide and advocate for prevention efforts. Over the past two decades, suicide rates have risen dramatically across all age groups and in nearly every state, including Indiana.

DSC Teachers Participate in QPR Suicide Prevention Training As Part of Suicide Prevention Month

In order to implement more comprehensive approaches to suicide prevention, DSC partnered with the QPR Institute in a Train the Trainer program where twenty-six staff members completed coursework to become certified QPR trainers. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer - the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Under the guidance of QPR trainers, all DSC teachers received their QPR certification by attending a training session on August 9th. DSC will continue to train other employees on QPR strategies throughout the school year.

By providing a special month dedicated to awareness, DSC hopes to amplify the message that it is okay to reach out for help.

DSC Requires Masks To Reduce Close-Contact Quarantines

On Wednesday, Governor Holcomb released Executive Order 21-24 which directed the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to modify quarantine requirements for K-12 schools who mandate masks. The new guidelines indicate that when all individuals are masked, students and staff who are close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual do not need to be quarantined unless experiencing symptoms. Instead, close contacts will monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days while they continue to attend school.

Reducing the number of quarantines is essential to preserving 5-day per week, in-person learning and co- and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic. Since school started, over 450 students have been in quarantine (3,600+ days of missed school). At this pace, DSC will quarantine more than 4,800 students this year (38,000+ days of missed school).

In an effort to keep schools open and minimize learning disruptions related to mandated quarantine rules, the Duneland School Corporation will move to the “Quarantine Caution” level in the DSC COVID-19 Response Plan and require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status for all students, staff and visitors, effective Tuesday, September 7, 2021. The goal will be to remove the mask requirement as soon as it is plausible to do so.

This change follows an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the school community and a significant increase in the number of students placed in quarantine. DSC schools are required to follow quarantine protocols established by the ISDH as outlined in the Governor’s executive order. By requiring masks, DSC looks to eliminate quarantines which will increase the likelihood of preserving 5-day per week, in-person learning and co- and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic.

Staff will provide students opportunities, as is allowed by state health protocols, to remove masks at appropriate times when eating, when 6-feet of social distancing is possible and while outdoors, as well as when participating in athletics.

The DSC COVID-19 Response Plan will remain a fluid document and can and will be changed as new information becomes available during the pandemic. DSC administration will continue to consult with Porter County Health Department, monitor active cases and adjust protocols as necessary.

Big picture

COVID-19 Dashboard

The DSC administration has established a COVID-19 dashboard that can always be found on our COVID-19 Support Center webpage. The COVID-19 dashboard (below) will now be updated once per day with all active cases reported, and/or will include cases removed from active status (conclusion of the 10-day isolation period). Daily dashboard emails will not be sent to families and/or staff members this school year. Below is the COVID-19 Dashboard with the latest update available at time of this publication. Please visit the COVID-19 Support Center for the most up-to-date posting.

Big picture

DSC COVID-19 Support Center

Duneland families can access our COVID-19 Support Center by visiting our website at www.duneland.k12.in.us and clicking on the COVID-19 INFO link at the top of our website. This link is also available on each of our school's websites in the same location.

DSC Response Plan 2021-2022

The 2021-2022 DSC Response plan was adopted to reflect the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and will serve as a guiding document for school operations. Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, this document is being revised and updated on a regular basis. The most recent UPDATE was 8/18/21. Please consult the DSC Response Plan for details.

Long-Term Capital Improvements

At the August 9 school board meeting, Gibraltar Design updated the school board and public regarding the preliminary plans for the new Yost Elementary School building to be constructed on the current Yost site. They also gave an update on the grades 5-8 buildings as they work through the planning stages and site development.

Community members may review the Long-Term Capital Improvements information that will be continuously updated on the DSC website.

DSC Strategic Plan Timelines

The Duneland School Corporation Strategic Plan provides the focus and alignment for the school district over the next 3-4 year. These timelines were revised as of June 2021 to reflect the necessary adjustments to the plan.

Important Information Parents Need to Know

Safe School - TIP LINE

Do you have a safety or security concern at Duneland that you'd like to make us aware of? Please contact us by email or phone (contact information below), or use our anonymous tip line. Use our Anonymous Tip Line

Parent Observer Account

Parents are encouraged to set up their Canvas observer accounts to monitor their students' progress.

Parents can click this link to view how to set up their Parent Observer Account

Link to the Canvas Log In



Due to ongoing effects of the COVID Pandemic, many industries are suffering from labor shortages which is causing disruptions and shortages in the food chain. At present, Duneland School's Child Nutrition Department is experiencing unprecedented food order shortages causing many last minute changes to the breakfast and lunch menus. In an effort to communicate these changes to families in a timely manner, we ask that you please check this website daily for any changes to the menu.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these setbacks!

Visit the DSC Child Nutrition page


Student Fall Pictures for Grades K-8

BA - Sept. 17 https://inter-state.com/order Use order code: 60028H

BR - Sept. 15

JA - Sept. 30 https://inter-state.com/order Use order code: 60705JB

LES - Sept. 23 https://inter-state.com/order Use order code: 60497TB

YO - Sept. 23 https://inter-state.com/order Use order code: 60501W

LIS - Sept. 9 https://inter-state.com/order Use order code: 60182BA

WIS - Sept. 9 https://inter-state.com/order Use order code: 60183YB

CMS - Sept 3 https://inter-state.com/order Use order code: 60170XB

CHS - LINK TO ORDER PHOTOS: https://inter-state.com/FlyerEntry/60114T

Trojan Virtual Academy (TVA) Oct. 4 from 2-6 p.m.

Red Cross Blood Drive at Yost Elementary on Oct. 14

Yost has hosted multiple Red Cross Blood Drives over the years. Yost was recognized by the Red Cross for their efforts. The next public drive is Oct. 14 from 3:00-8:00 p.m.
Big picture
Big picture

2021 Hall of Fame Nominations

The Chesterton Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the 2021 Alumnus, Teacher, Administrator, and Support Staff Hall of Fame. Plans are to honor recipients at an annual Alumni Association Dinner Banquet in May 2022.

“Many accomplished and dedicated individuals are not necessarily in the public eye; they are the unsung heroes and quiet warriors among us impacting students and staff every day,” said Jim Hall, CHS Alumni president. “The 2021 recognition committee invites alumni, community members, parents and others throughout the Duneland community to submit their nominations.”

Please consider nominating a candidate for Alumnus, Teacher, Administrator, and Support Staff based on the following qualities:




Exceptional Contributions


Giving Back


Courageous Acts


The CHS Alumni Association is accepting nominations for 2021 year through Wednesday, December 15 at 3 p.m. Those that wish to submit one nominee for each category must use separate nomination forms.

Nomination forms will also be available for pick up at the Duneland School Corporation Administration Center, 601 W Morgan Avenue, weekdays from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Completed nominations may be submitted electronically to CHSalumniassociation@duneland.k12.in.us; by mailing to CHS Alumni Association,

PO Box 1063, Chesterton, IN 46304; or by dropping off the at the Duneland Administration Center, 601 W Morgan Avenue, Chesterton.

Link to fillable nomination form (Just fill-out and print)

Link to Printable form

DSC Now Hiring..

The Duneland School Corporation is seeking candidates for the following positions:


Child Nutrition associates provide nutrition services to students and staff. Benefit-eligible positions available. Apply online at Click to apply online


Duneland School Corporation Transportation positions (Bus Drivers, Sub Bus Drivers) require eligible persons to operate all school vehicles or (Sub Bus Aides) to assist in the transportation of all special students needing additional attention. These positions are highly responsible roles in transporting and dealing with students and staff on a regular basis. Transportation personnel interact with individuals both inside and outside of the corporation and therefore, must have the ability to present a professional and organized image at all times. Benefit-eligible positions available. Click to apply online


Duneland School Corporation Custodians are required to clean and sanitize all corporation facilities. This position has a highly responsible role in providing custodial services and dealing with students and staff on a regular basis. Custodians interact with individuals both inside and outside the corporation and therefore, must have the ability to present a professional and organized image at all times. Custodians may be required to work in other Duneland School Corporation facilities. Benefit-eligible positions available. Click to apply online


Seeking substitute teachers for all grade levels. To apply for a substitute teaching position, please apply in person at the Duneland Administration Center, 601 W Morgan Ave. in Chesterton to complete an application.

Ready, Set, Kindergarten Registration for 2021-2022

Internet Connectivity

Families without internet due to financial hardship have access to programs from two local providers.

Comcast Internet Essentials:

  • Families that qualify for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI and other programs may also qualify for the Internet Essentials program from Comcast.

  • This program offers internet for as low as $9.95 per month.

  • Additional options and services are also available

  • More information is available at this Comcast link

Frontier Lifeline Program:

  • Families that qualify for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI and other programs may also qualify for the Lifeline Program from Frontier.

  • More information is available at this Frontier link

Contacting IT Support

The Duneland School Corporation IT department is committed to making hybrid and remote learning models as successful as possible. To get your problems solved as fast as possible:

  1. Open a new Freshservice ticket:
    1. AV number is typically located on a sticker on the back/bottom of the device
      1. Serial number is also acceptable
  2. Open a Freshservice ticket by sending an email to: helpdesk@duneland.k12.in.us
    1. Please be sure to include email address, student or staff name, and a description of the problem
  3. Please use the above best methods to contact the DSC IT Department.


Mrs. Bye, TVA'S administrative assistant, can assist TVA students with technical issues during the school day. Please email jbye@duneland.k12.in.us or call our new line at 219-983-3743. Mrs. Bye will answer and then work with the IT Department to find resolution.


District Events are available on the Duneland School website at www.duneland.k12.in.us. Click on CALENDAR at the top of the page for a month by month calendar. You can even customize the calendar to see events for the schools your students attend.


Dunes Learning Center Programs

On May 7, 2019, residents living in the Duneland School Corporation boundaries voted to continue a twenty-two cents ($0.22) tax levy originally approved in 2012, for the purposes of maintaining the current educational and operational programs of the Duneland School Corporation. This general operating referendum will expire in 2026. Each month, the DuneNews will highlight a different initiative or program being funded by referendum dollars. The Duneland School Corporation thanks the community for their support, and in turn, pledges to be innovative and responsible stewards. This month, DSC highlights our Dunes Learning Center Programs.

Each year, Duneland Elementary 4th grade students embark on a learning experience called Frog in the Bog at the Dunes Learning Center with their teachers. In addition, the 3rd grade participates in the Winter Program. These unique learning opportunities are made possible through a partnership between the Dunes Learning Center and the Flora Richardson Foundation. Dunes Learning Center programs utilize a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach offering outdoor experiences and minds-on discovery to engage a variety of learning styles. The learning adventure begins at school with materials and activities provided by the Dunes Learning Center. At camp, students explore a classroom without walls where lessons come to life in nature. Follow-up activities allow students to transfer their experiences back into their studies, school and community.

For more referendum information, visit: https://www.duneland.k12.in.us/domain/367

NorthShore Clinic for ALL DSC Students located at CMS

Big picture

Duneland School Corporation has partnered with NorthShore Health Services to establish a school-based health clinic that is now located in Chesterton Middle School.

This partnership will provide access to healthcare for ALL Duneland School students.

Some of the services include:

  • Strep Throat
  • Ear Infections
  • Immunizations
  • Sports Physicals
  • Treatment for pink eye
  • Rashes
  • Behavioral health services and referrals

Duneland parents interested in using the school-based clinic for their child will need to have a signed consent form on file. Consent forms are available from your Duneland school nurse or can be obtained at the NorthShore clinic where the visit is scheduled.

Currently Open:

Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Call: 219-983-3776 x7020 to schedule an appointment

Pictured at right is nurse practitioner and Chesterton resident Shawn Kroft taking a student's blood pressure at the clinic.

Duneland Schools Spirit Store

Did you know that Duneland Schools has an online Spirit Wear Store where you can buy your Duneland spirit wear?

Purchase your CMS/CHS student P.E./Strength Training uniforms (shorts and t-shirts) online and arrange to have them delivered to your home or pick up at the store.

Big picture


Big picture


The DuneNews is the Duneland School district newsletter. This newsletter has important information from the district, including messages from the Superintendent. Please read this publication to stay informed about things happening in the district.

The DuneNews is emailed each Thursday afternoon to all Duneland families through their school related email address. It is also posted on our website at www.duneland.k12.in.us/dune-news along with all archived issues; and on the DSC Facebook and Twitter. If you are not receiving your emailed issue of the DuneNews each week please email Bridget Martinson.