Count day for the second semester of the 2023-24 school year has passed, and the numbers were good.
Dr. Rex Ryker, superintendent of Crawfordsville Community School Corp., told board members Thursday during their regular monthly meeting that the district’s enrollment was up 29 students.
“It’s nice to be back to where we were a year ago, and we recouped where we were down in the fall,” Ryker said.
He added that the recent numbers are like the 2015-16 population numbers, and only 80 shy of when the corporation’s population peaked in 2019.
“Not often do you get to come into spring and be up in student numbers,” Ryker said.
Count days are mandated by the Indiana Department of Education and are conducted once in the fall and once in the spring. Schools collect an average daily membership count of their students on those days. The spring date was Feb. 1. The count is necessary because the state funds schools on a per-pupil basis.
According to the latest IDOE reports, enrollment in the fall of 2023 for CCSC was 2,343.
Ryker also reported the initial round of registration for the corporation’s new preschool has almost filled the classrooms.
He added that registration for the newly launched Athens Virtual Academy will soon be open and advertised. The district expects to serve more than 50 students in its first year and anticipates serving 100 students as the program progresses.
Ryker informed the board that the recently awarded state funds for employer-sponsored childcare will help the district create an infant room and a toddler room at Willson Preschool Academy to provide childcare for at least 27 staff members’ children next school year.
Dr. Brent Bokhart, assistant superintendent, updated the board on two emergency response projects under consideration. The first is the possibility of moving to the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) program. ALICE is used by the other two county school districts, which would better streamline protocol for all emergency agencies and responders. Additionally, a school resource officer at North Montgomery is an ALICE instructor.
The second program under consideration would be adding First Alert, a mobile app, to teachers’ devices. The app would allow immediate connection to central dispatch in case of an emergency. The local dispatch department received a grant for this program and initiated contact with the district. The app would be offered at the high school level. Bokhart added that Lebanon High School currently uses the app.
In other business, the board:
• Recognized high school senior Campbell Mason for his selection as the county’s recent Lilly Endowment Scholar. Mason plans to attend Butler University to study finance.
• Recognized Kristy Strickland, the editor, creator, and organizer of the monthly Athenian Oracle, for her efforts to highlight staff and student excellence in each building within the district.
• Approved a CHS band trip to Charleston, South Carolina, for Oct. 19-22. Participating students will tour museums and a college campus and perform on the decommissioned USS Yorktown.
• Approved the distribution of Early Literacy Achievement Grant Funds equally among teachers and instructional coaches in kindergarten through third grade from the 2022-23 school year and who remain employed by the school corporation. The funds were released by the state to reward teachers who have helped improve student reading and literacy skills.
• Accepted an addendum to the West Central Career & Technical Education Joint Services Agreement to allow homeschool students to participate in CTE programs. All three county school districts and Western Boone, which comprise the co-op, agree with the addendum.
• Learned construction bids for the proposed administration building were opened Thursday and tabled for review.
In personnel matters, the board:
• Accepted the resignation of Samantha Cotten, student and stakeholder engagement specialist for CTE; and the resignation of Lindsey Joern, WCISSC school psychologist.
• Accepted the retirements of John Wentland, CHS biology teacher; Kerri Warner, Nicholson ELL teacher; Kim Lawson, Nicholson third grade teacher; and Claudia Toyotome, Nicholson special education teacher.
• Accepted the employment of Ariadna Eufrasio, EL assistant at Nicholson; Maria Angulo, EL assistant at CMS; Donna Harrison, temporary evaluation assistant; Cathie Abston, Adult Ed ELL teacher; Jeremiah Alston, aide at Hoover; and Paige Jennings, Nicholson special education assistant.