SCH Digest

Scott E. Miller, Superintendent

Issue 20 - November 2020

Hi SCH Family,

As we move into the holidays, I want to encourage everyone to stay the course. We don’t yet know what 2021 will bring, but we do know that our kids need us now more than ever. Thank you for continuing to give your best in this challenging school environment. Your efforts do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.


Food & Nutrition

Teachers – ISDH Needs Your Input!

About 18 months ago the district was awarded a $10,000 a year (for 3 years) grant from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). One of the stipulations of this grant is that ISDH gets feedback from teachers on physical activity in the district.

We are asking every teacher to please watch this 45 minute YouTube video ( from ISDH (it is okay to have it on in the background if you need to focus on other tasks) and then take this very short survey from ISDH on physical activity in SCH. The link for the survey is:

  • There are a total of 13 ‘questions’ - the first 7 ‘questions’ are your name, school name, school district name, email, grade(s) taught, etc.
  • There are a total of 4 multiple choice questions
  • There are 2 short answer questions
    • What are the greatest barriers and challenges you experience that affects your goal of achieving an active school environment?
    • Questions or concerns? Please list them below!

Please help us stay in good standing with this grant and complete the survey by December 31st 2020

Adult Education

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Area Career Center


State Recognition - Best of the Best in PK-12 Education

Congratulations to our very own Anthony Salinas, Executive Director of Elementary Education, for his recognition from INTESOL as the "Best of the Best in PK-12 Education".

Anthony Salinas has been servicing the community of Hammond for over 20 years. He began as an ESL teacher providing pull out and push in services to EL students and newcomers. He continued his education in Administration and Leadership, as he saw it necessary to serve the greater community at a greater capacity. Anthony became an assistant principal of a predominantly Spanish-speaking school and then principal at Columbia Elementary. After a few years of leadership, he became the director of the English language development program rebranding and restructuring the EL program in Hammond. This was a successful undertaking. He broke down the silo mentality in our district and created a collaborative environment among the El staff teachers and other stakeholders.

He and SIOP coach Lauren Milton, trained over four hundred teachers, instructional coaches, administrators, ESL teachers, and paras in SIOP. Tony as many have come to love him, also trained over 400 teachers administrators, test coordinators and parras in WIDA. Tony led a group of over 20 teachers in coursework to obtain EL licensure through PWL, under Dr. Trish Morita. Since then many of the 20 teachers have continued their education in master´s programs, counselings and administration and leadership.

Tony knew it was important to build a strong bridge between home and school. As director of the department ,he and Title 1 director, Catherine Danko began in adult summer boot camp for the Hammond Community. For five years, he provided ESL instruction to EL parents while their children received thematic and engaging lessons next door. Through this program, the children quickly became ¨proud parents,¨ as they witness their mothers and fathers learn English through song, poetry, skits, and more. The program was very successful and gained momentum. The boot camp was extended year-round. Tony offered parents the opportunity to listen to guest speakers on finance, immigration ,real estate, and more.

Tony is also a member of Hammond Hispanic Community Committee where they host an annual Latino resource Fair. His ideas led the committee to offer parents sessions while the children were in childcare at this one day event. Tony's leadership also gave him the platform to participate and state-level panels and presentations.

Recently Tony saw the opportunity to expand his passion for supporting School City of Hammond families by becoming the elementary executive director. In this position he has been a key member in the decision-making of the district. He continues to flourish and support all School City of Hammond families, students, staff, and administrators.

Secondary Education Grants

The Secondary Department has been awarded the following two grants:


IDOE is the sponsor of the first grant. The PRIME (Postsecondary Ready Investigative Mathematics Experience) Grant will allow SCH to offer a math transitions course to students at Morton and Hammond Central High Schools starting the 2021-2022 school year. The purpose of this course is to reduce the need for remedial mathematics courses at the postsecondary level, thereby ensuring more students earn a degree and are prepared for the workplace.

It is a capacity building grant which will be used for professional development and technical assistance for instructors of the Indiana PRIME math transitions course, as well as graduate level mathematics courses for the PRIME instructor that could be applied towards satisfying the postsecondary dual credit faculty qualifications. Funds will also be used to purchase classroom supplies for the course.


The second grant has been awarded by BP America. They recognize that the School City of Hammond have been making great strides in the STEM arena. With this concept in mind, SCH realizes that the academic environment of our students should mimic those of the real world. In the fall of 2021-2022, the doors of Hammond Central will open to offer a highly charged STEM curriculum and environment.

In order to satisfy the needs of these expectations, the design of Hammond Central will offer STEM workspaces. The funds from this grant will be used to purchase furnishings that will allow our students the freedom to work independently and groups when necessary. In doing so, we will be able to make their STEM learning experiences more relevant and authentic.

School Based Healthcare Solutions Network Grant

Dr. Michelle Rushing is always working very hard to take care of the students in SCH. This work has led to the district being awarded a $250,000 grant from School Based Healthcare Solutions Network, Inc. (SBHSN). The five-year grant will allow SCH to address three components.

  • The first component involves assigning a fully funded mental health professional, directly funded by SBHSN, to provide mental healthcare, care coordination, and academic coordination to students identified as meeting Early Warning Indicators (EWIs) via Telehealth.
  • The second component involves assigning a fully funded mental health professional, directly funded by SBHSN, to provide evidence-based behavioral health and social-emotional support services to students identified as meeting Early Warning Indicators (EWIs) on school campuses once traditional educational services resume.
  • The third component of the grant provides the Grantee with a performance-based grant award to support student service activities on district campuses and assist school districts recover once traditional educational services resume.

Hammond Academy for the Performing Arts

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Head Start

Head Start is partnering with the Ready Rosie program as part of our efforts to encourage family engagement in student learning. The program includes short videos in both English and Spanish that model games and conversations that support what students are learning in class. Parents then do the associated activities with their students at home. Parents also have the opportunity to share comments about the activities they worked on with their students. For example, one of the parents made the following comment about the “Making a Grocery List” activity – “Brilliant! Great with helping him sound the letters to attempt to read. He did well, need to start letting him do this with me when I do weekly grocery shopping.” Over 71% of Head Start families have signed up as Ready Rosie users. Data from the program shows that the Language and Literacy content area has had the most videos viewed with the highest views in the Listening and Speaking and Print & Alphabet Knowledge categories. The top video topics viewed in the Health & Safety category have been Gross Motor, Emotional Self-Regulation and Executive Functioning. Teachers are able to provide parents with video recommendations/”assignments” to support individual student or classroom learning.

Human Resources

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to all the staff members who had birthdays in November!

Christian Allen. Raquel Aranda, Michael Arduino, Maribel Avila-Cervantes, Rocco Ayala, Cynthia Bahena, Wendy Baity, Noemi Barrera, Erica Barrera, Savannah Beeson, Lindsay Berndt, Patricia Bickham, Dionna Biddings, Joshua Blackwood, Sirenna Blas, Howard Burden, Douglas Burian, Julie Burk, Ian Bussey, Caitlyn Byrd, Lorene Campbell, Karen Carlson, Lourdes Carrillo-Pena, Ashley Carroll, Jill Cheek, Ashley Cicillian, Demetris Clarke, Lisa Clavier, Beatrice Clayborn, Isiah Cole, Markeysha Coleman, Janet Colgrove, Alexandra Conners, Beatriz Cook, Nurdes Cordero, Aline Cortes, Susan Corty, Janice Cotton-Golden, Susan Crowell, Daniel Cummins, Donald Curtis, Katherine Davis, Laura Deering, Elizabeth DelMuro, Nancy Denny, Carolyn Dilbeck, Francis Dranchak, Tonya Dukes, Amanda Earley, William Emerson, Jesse Escamilla Jr, Katherine Farmer. Sarah Fezler, Jaclyn Flores, Marsha Frey, Pamela Frick, Lauren Fruth, Kenyatta Fultz, Robert Gardner, Nicholas Gould, Sonja Grant, Elinor Greichunos, Joyce Haas, Stephanie Harris, Susan Hartline, Pamela Hastings, Melinda Hawkins, Sheryl Heller, Angela Herrera, Angelica Hodo, Lisa Hofferth, Roberta Hollis, Britney Hopkins, Brittany Horvath, Kristopher Howard, Michelle Howard, Megan Hughes, Melissa Klahn, Belinda Kovacik, Nicholas Kowalisyn, Elizabeth Kuhmichel, Jacqueline Laws, Leticia Ledesma, Monyette Linnear, Dashunda Little, Kathryn Loomis, Laura Loudenber, Josefina Luna, Vicki MacCartney, Andrea Maldonado, Angelica Mancilla, Leslie Martinez, Christopher Matthews, Maritza Medina, Evelyn Median-Rodriguez, William Metzen, Nathan Miller, Denise Moore, Julieann Moore, Evelyn Morales, Robert Moricz, Iliana Muniz, Katen Muratori, Maggie Neswick, Randal Nisen, Nancy Orourke, Stephanie Pabey, Joyce Pearson, Deborah Peschke, Latonia Phillips, Cheryl Phillips, Shannon Pischner, Marybeth Pivarnik, Rhoderick Poats, Marcus Polk, Anthony Przewoznik, Jo Ellen Raby, Maria Reyes, Emily Ridenour, Mirna Rios, Muriel Robinson, Israel Robledo, Maria Robles, Nicklaus Ronsen, Anthony Salinas, Sandra Santana, Eric Schreiber, Roberta Shanks, Carmen Sida, Matthew Simmons, Jeanna Skierkiewicz, Shelly Smolar, Nicole Sopher, Denise Sorge, Regina Soto, Bradley Stagowski, Thomas Strabavy, Pauline Taliefero-Davis, Gregorio Temores, Arthur Turner, Michelle Udchitz, Julio Vega, Jessica Velazquez, Luzsofia Villa, Cecilia Villanueva, Nayesa Walker, Amy Wilson, Norma Zendejas, and Zhou Yunfang.

Language Development Program

SIOP Model Framework

The Language Development Program is in the process of training 60 additional educators in The SIOP Model Framework. Cohort 6 and Cohort 7 have now been added and are in the process of training! Previously LDP had trained 221 educators! Educators trained in this framework model are provided tools to enhance their lessons making them engaging, interactive and comprehensible to SCH English Learners and all students.

Dual Language Virtual Conference

Several DLI and LDP teachers, staff, administrators, and Superintendent Miller recently attended a one day virtual conference on the topic of Dual Language Programming. We currently have 120 students in grades Kinder - 2nd participating in the DLI Spanish Immersion strand at Irving Elementary. We welcome both English only speakers and Spanish speakers to make up the 50/50 model of our program. If you are interested in enrolling your child (K-2) in DLI please call Irving Elementary at (219) 933-2467 extension 5633. Please share this exciting opportunity with your family and friends! Here is a short video of DLI Kindergarten student Nichole Alvarez sharing her knowledge of how tornadoes are formed.

INTESOL Annual Conference

A team of LDP teachers attended the Annual INTESOL conference and had the opportunity to listen to their dynamic keynote speaker, Dr. Jose Medina and attended sessions on EL strategies and best practices. Every year educators are nominated to be recognized as a leader in EL education by the state of Indiana. This year's Best of the Best in Education Pk-12 was awarded to SCH’s very own Anthony Salinas. Congratulations from the LDP TEAM!!


Save the date for the WIDA ACCESS test window: January 11 - February 26, 2021 - All English Learners will participate in the annual assessment measuring academic English language proficiency in the areas of Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. More information to come...

Leadership Academy

Shoutouts to Denise Geiser, Thomas "Nick" Trottier, Megan Tiscareno, and Melissa Klahn for being the newest additions to our video "Library of Awesomeness" on the Leadership Academy's Resources for Elearning site. We truly appreciate these awesome and inspiring teachers, and their willingness to share their videos of best practices in virtual instruction. SCH Teachers are the best!!

Watch your email for upcoming PD opportunities!

Special Education

Teaching Tip

During this time of Elearning, many parents and teachers are working toward increasing the comprehension skills of students. A simple way to increase comprehension for students is to have them retell the text. After the student reads a passage,paragraph or chapter section, have the student do an oral retelling of the story. Ask the student to close the book and tell you about the story in as much detail as she or he can remember. If a student has difficulty retelling parts of the story or remembering certain details, you can use prompts such as “Tell me more about (character x)” or “What happened after…..”. Have the student tell you about the sequence of events, plot, setting, main ideas, problems and solutions within the story.

If the student struggles with any part of retelling the text, encourage the student to go back and reread that section of the story. As a parent and teacher, it is important to praise this type of behavior. Praise can reinforce a good habit.This simple practice can be a powerful method to develop students comprehension and study skills.For students who struggle with comprehension, encouraging them on how to find the answer is an essential part of developing their study skills and learning habits.


Funding to Reduce Emissions

SCH’s Transportation Department has secured over 350K in funding through the Volkswagen Mitigation Grant and the Indiana Department of Environmnetal Management to purchase propane buses and install a fueling station. The grants were secured through partnership with South Shore Clean Cities, which works to provide alternative fueling options throughout Northwest Indiana.

The VW Mitigation Grant, affords a rebate toward the purchase of more fuel efficient buses and SCH was awarded $325,887 dollars toward the purchase of 10 new buses. The 10 new buses will be fueled by propane, which emits significantly less amounts of carbon emissions than our current diesel buses. The first 8 have been ordered and will be delivered early in 2021. Once the new buses are received, we will then work with our grant partner to destroy the older buses they are replacing thus permanently removing the lesser efficient vehicle from usage.

The IDEM Grant is specific to the purchase or improvement of infrastructure for alternative fueling such as propane or electric vehicles. Our grant award of $40,000 will cover more than half of the total cost it will take to get the new propane filling stations purchased and installed.

The Transportation department would like to thank Superintendent Miller, Ana Lopez, Dr. Greene, the Business department, and the Building and Grounds department for the work you have done and will do in making this a successful project.

SCH Highlights

Clark MS/HS

The PATH program, a Positive Approach to Teen Health, is an educational initiative that teaches 7th graders about self-esteem, the dangers of drugs, unsafe sexual activity and making good choices. They have partnered with middle schools throughout the School City of Hammond (SCH) and present their educational program every year to our students. This year, as a thank you, PATH gifted Clark MS/HS 100 sets of headphones. In addition to Clark sending a personalized thank you letter to PATH and director Keanna Lott, we want to express our appreciation publicly for their generosity. Speaking for the SCH, we look forward to a continued relationship with PATH even after Clark has closed and our staff take their positions in new schools across the district next year. Thank you, PATH, for assisting us in our goal of educating and facilitating the growth of healthy and responsible children in the SCH.

Gavit MS/HS

Congratulations to Gavit High School's Girls Basketball team!

Under the leadership of Mrs. Alana Anderson, the Lady Glads received an Exemplary Report from the IHSAA for demonstrating respectful behavior. This is a true testament to the hard work and dedication that the players and coaches have put forth during this season. Together, Mrs. Anderson and her players have created a family that is truly supportive of one another both on and off the court. Recently, Mrs. Anderson accomplished her goal of running a marathon. When the team found out, they decided to recognize her after the game by presenting her with treats and flowers. It is evident that the girls are inspired by Mrs. Anderson as much as she is inspired by them.

“My goal at the end of the day is to create responsible, educated, compassionate, goal driven young women who will step off the basketball court and be more than ready to take on the world. Take a look at the young women in this photo. They are strong, confident, compassionate, driven young ladies who are your future. They will change the world and I can't wait to be there to congratulate each and every one of them on their accomplishments. Dream big, ladies!” Coach Alana Anderson

Keep up the excellent work! You make Gavit proud!

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Secondary Curriculum

The secondary department joins our parents when it comes to appreciating the work of our teachers. A big "THANK YOU" goes to Ms. Ashley Siegfried who is an 8th grade science teacher at Clark Middle school.

"Thank you so much Ms. Ashley Siegfried for doing an agenda for this class. It is so helpful for [students]. I can print out the slides for the lesson and Ms Stephanie can do vocabulary and key notes for [them]. This is a blessing for her. At least, [she] can keep up with this class since there is an agenda.

Thank you Ms. Siegfried. You are a great teacher!" Helene Sampson (parent)

Stay Informed

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View previous updates from Mr. Miller here.

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