South Madison adds more AP classes

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PENDLETON — A presentation of academic goals and accomplishments from students at Maple Ridge Elementary, the approval of new classes at Pendleton Heights High School and fund transfers were some of the topics of a recent South Madison Community School Corp. board meeting.

On the classroom front, students at Pendleton Heights High School will have a couple of new classes next year. The administration recommended the approval of the following courses, effective for the 2019-20 school year: Advanced Placement Environmental Science, Advanced Placement Studio Art — Drawing, and Advanced Placement Studio Art — 2D Design.

The board agreed and approved the passage of the classes to start with the fall 2019 semester. The course proposals align with the district’s top goals for the high school improvement plan, which strives to make sure all students will be college- or career-ready when they graduate.

In other board business, district leaders approved the nutrition services contract with Central Indiana Educational Service Center (CIESC) for food purchasing.

On the financial front, the board approved a year-end intra-fund transfer for its school operating funds. The accounting transaction moves account balances or reserves from one account to another within a fund, so all accounts within a particular fund would be solvent at the end of the 2018 budget year.

During the meeting’s Academic Spotlight presentation, Maple Ridge Elementary School Principal John Lord shared the school’s annual academic report as reflected in the school district’s Students First Strategic Plan.

Among the many things discussed was sharing the school leaders’ multi-faceted curriculum. The curriculum is designed to be immersed, focused and timely; utilize technology; provide student incentives; and incorporate specialized individual support where necessary.

School leaders’ goal is to have at least 90 percent of the students pass language arts/math on state assessments, but Lord wants parents and district leaders to know they look at the whole child, not just a test score.

“There are so many things we do at school that are not measured on an assessment test, but count just as much,” Lord said.

One example is a program spearheaded by Dyan Bays, school counselor. It recognizes students building skills that are just as important to being employed and enjoying life as the hard skills of pure academics, Lord said.

The presentation also highlighted many of the programs students and staff take part in with the community, including Holiday Helping Hands, Food Rescue Program, Community Meal Program, monetary donations from Jeans Days, Free Little Libraries and the Veterans Day sixth-grade project.

School leaders said they are grateful to the school board for its continued support to provide the best for their students. The board’s dedication echoes administration, teacher and staff commitment to the children of Maple Ridge Elementary, Lord said.

On the personnel front, the board approved the resignation of support staff members Steven Collins, instructional assistant, East Elementary School; and Cindy James, instructional assistant, East Elementary School.

It also approved the following support staff recommendations: Ashley Millwee, instructional assistant, East Elementary; and Haile Loring, instructional assistant, Pendleton Heights Middle School. Extra-curricular activity recommendations and approvals included Wendy Lane, freshman softball coach, Pendleton Heights High School.