SCH Digest

Scott E. Miller, Superintendent

August 2021

Greetings SCH Family,

I hope you have enjoyed the much-needed summer break and are staying healthy. On behalf of School City of Hammond, I welcome you to the 2021-2022 school year.

The district has worked hard to prepare for the return of students to our classrooms, and we look forward to the first day of school.

Teacher and Administrator retreats

Our leadership team worked hard to establish a day of professional development for our administrators on August 4 and two days of professional development for our teachers on August 10-11. Topics included project/problem-based learning, SEL, strategies for ELs, Promethean panels, conscious decision making, promoting student success, and more.

COVID-19 Policies - Employee Guidelines

School City of Hammond's primary goal is to have a safe and productive school year. The new Delta variant has altered the previous guidelines.

Based on the most recent CDC and Indiana Department of Health guidelines, SCH has the following requirements:

  • All employees should wear a mask around children or in groups or common areas, regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Unvaccinated employees must wear a mask at all times when in an SCH building.
  • Vaccinated employees may remove their masks if maintaining 6 feet of social distancing from other students and staff.
  • Face shields without a mask are not acceptable face coverings.

Growing Our Team

I am thankful for our dedicated staff, who will ensure a school year filled with learning, engagement, and success for our students. Along with returning staff members, the district has hired many talented educators to our family. Please do everything in your power to make them feel welcome and loved.

Have a fantastic first day, and I can’t wait to see you and the kids tomorrow.

- Scott

Welcome: District Office Positions

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Hammond Arts and Performance Academy

We are pleased to announce our upcoming season:

Akeelah and the Bee will be our first-ever Theatre for Young Audience Program, traveling to elementary schools throughout our district as a community extension between our high schools and younger performers.

Evermore is a fully student-driven production, and 110 stories is a community initiative to honor the anniversary of 9/11. Visit for additional information.

Head Start

Parent Survey Results

Head Start's recent spring Parent Survey provided data to inform future family access to needed services and virtual learning. 46.4% of respondents reported working during the pandemic. The gap between needing and receiving employment indicates additional focus is required.

Parents reported that the resources/services/programs/assistance most needed during the pandemic were:

  • Food (31.9%)
  • Internet access (21.7%)
  • Employment (20.3%)
  • Childcare (17.4%)

The percentage of parents receiving resources/services/programs/assistance in these areas was:
  • Food (44.9%)
  • Internet access (42%)
  • Employment (15.9%),
  • Childcare (21.7%).

When asked about virtual learning, parents noted their children liked the interaction/engagement and one-on-one learning opportunities with the teaching staff. Parents said they liked the team best and that their greatest challenge was child attention/focus.

Many thanks to the SCH Food Services and Technology departments for their efforts in helping meet the needs of Head Start families!

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Head Start Welcomes New Assistant Director

Head Start welcomes Patti Richardson as its new assistant director. Patti has been a teacher with SCH Head Start for six years, beginning at Irving and then at O’Bannon, where she was the teacher in the Inclusion classroom. She was a teacher with Geminus Head Start before coming to Hammond. Her new role will include Head Start PLTW trainer and conscious discipline coach.

Patti transitions into the position as Arcy Ramirez is preparing for her retirement. Arcy’s story is an example of Head Start’s design to provide personal and professional growth opportunities for parents of Head Start students.

Arcy began as a Head Start parent volunteer, became a teacher assistant, continued her education, became a teacher, and then moved to Assistant Director. Arcy’s over 36 years with the program have been a labor of love and commitment to the students, families, and staff of SCH Head Start! Thank you, Arcy!

Fall Enrollment Happening Now

Head Start is still taking applications for the 2021-22 school year! Head Start provides preschool/pre-K services for children ages 3-5. The child must turn 3-years-old by August 1. Apply now!

Language Development Program

This summer, the Language Development Program offered Adult ESL Bootcamp at Irving Elementary. In its sixth year of programming, students participated in both summer sessions intending to acquire a new level of English proficiency. These students were ready to learn!

The Adult ESL students intensely worked on developing their four domains of language acquisition. They studied and practiced the following topics: formal and informal conversations, articles, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositions. Students had fun reading alliterations, reader’s theatre, and non-fiction texts about the U.S.

The adult ESL students navigated through homophones, homographs, and homonyms and dove deep into the world of short and long vowel words spelled in various ways. The students practiced their writing skills with daily prompts and practiced their speaking domain with engaging and interactive SIOP activities.

These students also researched and presented on Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Another highlight of our program was a weekly self-care session presented by Dr. Yanina Gómez. Many of the sessions included activities focusing on goal setting, self-care, growth mindset, and reflection.

LDP and our adult ESL teachers would like to thank the administration office and Irving administrators and staff for supporting our vision to provide this opportunity to our Hammond English learner community. Our adult ESL students were extremely grateful for the opportunity and are eager to return to class!

We are thankful to Cristina Sanchez, Greg Ruiz, Martha, Jose Zepeda, and Leticia Garcia for creating a welcoming, engaging and supportive environment where our BookCamp adult ESL parents learned English as their children attended summer school.

English Language Development PD: The SIOP Model

We are happy to announce that SCH teachers and administrators are training in the SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) instructional framework. We are currently preparing our 8th cohort, totaling over 315+ SCH educators.

Our new SIOP trainer/presenter, Erin Milam, kicked off the week by training 30 LDP teachers and instructional paraprofessionals in Developing Academic Language, which focuses on increasing student academic vocabulary through engaging classroom activities.

The SIOP Model of instructional framework centers around 30 practical instructional features and is organized under eight components. These components are proven to bring about statistically significant academic content and language growth. The elements and characteristics align with our current NIET rubric.

Teachers leave the three-day session with a wealth of information, which will support our English learners and will benefit all SCH students at the same time. Academic language is a second language for all our students. Our goal is to continue to offer these valuable and practical training sessions to additional SCH educators this school year!

We want to thank all the teachers and administrators who took time out of their summer break to attend!

Leadership Academy

Curriculum Map Updates

We're in the process of updating our Math Maps! Invites have already gone out to our Math Curriculum Mapping Teams with Google Meet links. We'll continue working with EES Consultants to update the maps based on our first year of implementation and teacher feedback.

If you previously served on the Math Curriculum Mapping Team and have not received an invite to attend the meeting, email Lynn Lange. ELA Map Updates are pending the adoption and receipt of ELA Materials.

Special Education

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) consulted with multiple education and special education stakeholders to bring special education licensure into compliance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations. IDOE proposes the following steps:

  1. Due to federal law, cease issuing emergency permits in special education areas after the 2021- 2022 school year.

  2. For the 2022 school year and after that, the Educator Licensing and Special Education offices will develop and issue a “Special Permit” for special education teachers participating in alternative route special education licensure programs. This “Special Permit” will include standards that address the licensing requirements outlined in federal law, providing an opportunity for compliance through alternative special education licensure programs.

  3. IDOE will partner with teacher preparation institutions to offer a grant program to defray the tuition costs of students accepted into special education preparation programs, leading to permit holders achieving full licensure within three (3) years of permit issuance.

  4. IDOE will work with entities providing alternative Transition to Teaching licensure programs in special education to ensure those programs comply with the IDEA provisions.


Passed with Flying Colors

SCH completed its annual bus inspection on July 30. This marks the 30th consecutive year in which Hammond earned a 100% passing rate for all buses. Indiana law requires state police to perform an annual inspection on all buses and a semi-annual inspection on buses at least 12 years old to ensure safe operation.

While all school and multiple-function school activity buses require regular maintenance, ISP inspection procedures cover specific safety-related systems common to most school buses and multiple-function school activity buses, regardless of manufacture. These procedures help provide the safest mode of transportation for students, help prevent crashes and injuries, and hopefully lower the cost of operation and maintenance for those school systems governed by this program.

To better understand the methods and procedures used to determine compliance with the State School Bus Committee standards, download the 2021 School Bus Inspection Manual. The program publishes school bus inspection records online, making the safety status of school buses and historical documents available to parents throughout the state.

To check the safety status of your child’s school bus, visit this website.

Around the District

Harding Elementary School

Harding Elementary thanks all its staff, students, and families who helped make summer school sessions such a success! In June, summer school teachers did a great job teaching math and practicing reading with PACT 5th-grade students.

Support staff helped out in so many ways during summer school, with a big thank you goes to Ms. Garrison, Ms. Frey, Mrs. Pieta, Mrs. Lenzo, and Dr. Eisman for helping during these weeks!

Another thank you goes out to our 15 Harding staff members who participated in the annual ISTE conference online this summer. These staff members had the opportunity to watch and interact with so many great presenters about integrating technology, increasing student motivation, and improving learning environments! Harding staff is excited to share learnings and information with the rest of the team at the start of the school year.

We can’t wait to implement much of the technology to help all students grow next year and beyond!

Hess Elementary School

Hess Elementary thanks its teachers and staff who have participated in summer school! The time and effort teachers and staff put into ensuring students receive the best education possible is greatly appreciated. And thanks to all SCH principals - with a special shoutout to Mr. Liskey - for hosting summer school in their respective buildings!

Welcome New Staff Members

Join us in welcoming some of the new staff members who will be joining the Hess Elementary family during the 2021-2022 school year:

  • Joy MacDonald, 6th Grade
  • Tina Meece, 6th Grade
  • Kristen Mitcheltree, 6th Grade
  • Kathleen Jazyk, 6th Grade
  • Melissa Medina, 4th Grade
  • Salina Tejeda, Mild Disabilities Teacher
  • Jennifer Novosel, 3rd Grade

Morton Elementary School

Morton Elementary is proud to introduce our brand new Instructional Coach, Samantha McGuire!

Mrs. McGuire has always been a Lil’ Governor. She has previously served as an intermediate mild intervention teacher but now has the opportunity to spread her awesomeness in a different capacity. She's driven, passionate, and dedicated to enhancing instruction at Morton Elementary.

We look forward to learning from you and seeing your awesome ideas come to life!

O'Bannon Elementary School

On August 3, the O'Bannon staff held its Back-to-School Retreat at Hammond Central High School. This retreat focused on co-teaching models, self-care for educators, and team-building activities.

We’re refreshed and ready for an amazing 2021-2022 school year!

Scott Middle School

The Scott Student Support Team (SSIT) worked with its Student Ambassadors to address issues they felt needed to be discussed in school throughout the school year. These issues included racial bias, the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ issues, and so much more.

To help with this work, Scott partnered with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and began implementing their No Place for Hate program. NPFH is a nationwide, student-centered program that works to help combat bias and bullying at over 1600 schools across the United States.

To be recognized as a No Place for Hate School, several things must occur. First, a student committee must be formed and meet regularly. In addition, a pre-survey is completed, a pledge signed by more than 70 percent of the student body, and students must complete several No Place for Hate lessons and activities.

In a virtual setting, this proved to be a challenge. However, Scott's students and staff working together made this goal a reality, and Scott Middle School was officially recognized as a No Place for Hate school for the 2020-2021 school year!

Scott was one of only five schools in Indiana to receive this recognition. In addition, student Ambassadors recorded videos discussing their experiences and were featured during an event hosted by the ADL. Congratulations to all for this recognition!

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In the News: Scott Middle School

Thousands of Kids Lost Parents to COVID-19. Schools Must Prepare to Help the Grieving

Wallace Elementary School

Because the 2020-2021 school year was like no other, Wallace Elementary held its first Virtual Awards Ceremony, recognizing students for unique achievements, such as "Never Gives Up" and "Technology Guru." Wallace also recognized over 100 Bobcats who had Perfect and Excellent Attendance (95% or above) for the entire school year!

During the ceremony, two of our 5th-grade students were presented with the “Sam and Babe Sax Summit Award.” Since 2006, this special recognition has been given to two students who overcome an obstacle during the school year.

The award is presented by Stuart and Kathy Sax, in loving memory of their parents, Sam and Babe Sax, in conjunction with the Hammond Education Foundation.

Mr. and Mrs. Sax were community volunteers at Wallace for many years, and their love and support of our students continue with the award in their name.

Our two Sax Awards recipients for the 2020-2021 school year were Barbara Ward and Arthur Olvera, whose names will be proudly displayed on a plaque in the school trophy case. Both students also received a gift card and certificate. Congratulations to them both for their accomplishments!

We are so proud of ALL of our Bobcats. They have shown us that we are #BOBCATSTRONG!

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