April 2015 Mustang Express

April 2015
Corporation Monthly Newsletter for the School Town of Munster
Sowing the Seeds
In this issue:
Math Bowl
FHH Blue
There are two sayings that come to mind this time of year. The first one is: Dr. Jeff Hendrix
“April Showers bring May Flowers!” The second one is: “You reap what
you sow.” As we begin to wind down the school year, each of our School
Town of Munster administrators and staff members may reflect about the impact that they
have had on the learning of our students. There have been many hours of planning for
instruction, creating learning activities, and measuring the success of our students who
experienced those learning activities. The work that our staff and administrators have put
into the education of each child becomes extremely important if that work has had a major
impact on the learning of each child. I know that there is not a moment when our staff is
not thinking about what they do each day that will make a difference in the life of each child
in their care.
How do we measure that impact? The State of Indiana believes that we measure the
impact of our teachers by the performance of our students on the statewide test. I believe
School News that it goes beyond one test. Our staff and administrators are impacting children each day
by caring about children when they are sick, by going the extra mile to make sure that they
get to school safely, by providing them with nutritious meal choices, and by encouraging
children to step out of their comfort zones and try new things. Our staff and administrators
believe that learning can happen at any time, whether it is in the classroom, hallway,
auditorium or on the playing field. We look for those opportunities when they become
available that can become teachable moments. That is why our school corporation is very
special. We have people who truly care about each other and especially about our
As we begin the winding down of the school year, I encourage our students, our parents
and our community to think about the impact that the administration and staff have on
educating students to become contributors to our community and to become life-long
learners. Each of our highly qualified staff would appreciate a note of gratitude or a thank
you for the work they are doing to make a difference in the lives our students who attend
the School Town of Munster. I know that by planting the seeds of gratitude will bring a
harvest of inspiration for all who work for the School Town of Munster. I know how
important that can be because I see the results of their work every day. So let me begin
by being the first one to plant a seed of gratitude by saying, “THANK YOU!” to all who
serve our children in the School Town of Munster.
Dr. Jeff Hendrix
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Super Chat with Dr. Jeff Hendrix
Super Chat with Dr. Jeff Hendrix is a monthly podcast program for the School Town of Munster hosted on the corporation website at http://www.munster.us. The program is designed to provide corporation and school information on events, issues and information that is pertinent to the
School Town of Munster community. Topics for this monthly program will range from finance/
budgeting, academic programs, curriculum, assessment, and instructional practices to student organizations, extracurricular activities and sports. The program this month will feature Dr. Jeff Hendrix speaking about our school’s finances. The show is hosted by Gary Puckett, a national talk
show host and writer. To access the show from the STM website, the listener must click onto the
FlyPod logo, where the listener will be redirected to the podcast page and player. There is also a
comment section on the FlyPod page for community feedback. We look forward to our community’s
responses and ideas for future shows.
West Lake Special Education Cooperative
Special education teachers have spent the school year preparing for a new assessment for our students who participate in the alternative assessment. This year, ISTAR will only be used for Science
and the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) Alternative Assessment will be utilized to assess students in the areas of mathematics and English/language arts. The NCSC was designed to focus on college and career-ready standards for our students with significant cognitive disabilities. For
this group of students, college and career readiness promotes communication, mathematics and reading performance, independent and teamwork skills, social skills, and skills for identifying and requesting needed supports. Special education, like all other areas of education, is moving towards resultsdriven accountability and we are excited for a new opportunity to demonstrate our students’ successes.
In order to prepare for the new assessment, special education teachers participated in a pilot administration in fall of 2014. Teachers were required to complete forty hours of training modules and pass
assessments at the end of each module prior to participating in the pilot. All teachers will complete
additional training before the official NCSC administration during April.
Unlike ISTAR, which was completed through teacher observation of students’ daily work, the NCSC is
an assessment that students have interaction. The test will be administered on a computer. A variety
of options are available for the student to interact with the test questions in order to provide each student with the best opportunity to be successful. The test should take a total of 1.5 to 2 hours per student and can be administered in short intervals of time, if necessary. The NCSC will adapt based on
student-performance to provide an accurate picture of each student’s skills. If your student will be participating in the NCSC, please encourage him/her to do his/her best work on the assessment. Special
education teachers will do their best to minimize the stress on the students as we all work through this
new assessment. We anticipate parents will receive score reports for their children in late summer/
early fall 2015. For further information on the NCSC, please visit www.ncspartners.org resources.ww.ncscpartners.org/resources.
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CogAT Assessment Results
Pursuant to Indiana Code 20-36-2-2, which requires that students be assessed for advanced cognitive potential, the School Town of Munster administers CogAT to all STM kindergartners. CogAT is
a nationally normed test of aptitude designed to measure students’ learned reasoning abilities in the
three areas most linked to academic success in school: verbal, quantitative and nonvbal. Students
scoring at the 96th percentile or above on the verbal or quantitative subtests of CogAT will be
placed on a “monitor” status as a potential high ability student in language arts, mathematics or
both content areas. It is important to note, in kindergarten through 2nd grade, cognitive growth can
be inconsistent and placement may not be permanent. All School Town of Munster students are
reassessed in 2nd, 5th and 8th grades for a possible educational placement in High Ability programming. I encourage you to visit the School Town of Munster website at www.munster.us to review
the High Ability handbook located under the Academics tab.
Students who score between the 90th and 95th percentile on the verbal or quantitative subtests, will
be screened further using SIGS (Scales for Identifying Gifted Students). Prior to the end of the kindergarten year, a committee consisting of licensed (or in the process of obtaining high ability licensure) elementary high ability teachers, elementary building principals, elementary cluster teachers
and the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction will meet to review assessment data for all students in the district. Students meeting the eligibility requirements will be cluster
grouped in one or more classrooms in each elementary school for the following school year. Placement decisions are determined by committee and are based on quantitative and qualitative assessment measures.
Terra Nova Assessment Results
Pursuant to Indiana Code 20-36-2-2, School Town of Munster assesses students in grades 2, 5 and
8 using the Terra Nova/Inview standardized test to identify students that demonstrate superior
achievement and aptitude scores which may potentially result in the child being identified as a high
ability student.
Students may qualify for a high ability educational placement with a CSI score at or above 126 or
with a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning subscale score at the 96th percentile. Achievement scores on the Terra Nova must also be at the 96thpercentile or above. (The 96th percentile is
recommended by the Indiana Department of Education and correlates to the 9th stanine—the highest tier of performance.) Students who score within a Standard Error of Measure (SEM) with a CSI
between 119 and 125 or a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning score between the 90th and
95th percentile (these numbers correlate to the 8th stanine) will be further evaluated using SIGS
(Scales for Identifying Gifted Students). Both parent and class or content teachers will be asked to
complete SIGS. SIGS is used to inform the decision making process, but is not used to determine
placement and as such is not shared between parties.
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CURRICULUM….cont. from page 3
High ability educational program placements are a committee decision and may be based on various assessment measures. Each time the Terra Nova is given (grades 2, 5 and 8), parents will be
notified if their student has qualifying scores. In the event that a student has qualifying scores or
qualifies through the SEM Window in a specific content area but not all available content areas, the
parent will need to complete an appeals form to be considered for the content area in which the student did not qualify.
Please know that there is no longer appeal testing. Parents wishing to appeal placement decisions
must submit an appeal form with supporting documentation to Dr. Gilworth no later than
May 1, 2015. No late submissions will be accepted. Please visit https://www.munster.us/
Academics/HighAbilityProgram.aspx for information regarding the appeal process and acceptable
data to use in an appeal.
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The Munster Police Department and Choice Community Council of Munster will be hosting the 3rd Annual Police & Fire Charity Softball Event on Sunday, June 14th at 1:30PM in Community Park. Tickets
are only $5.00, and all proceeds will benefit the Cancer Resource Centre of Munster which provides resources and support to cancer patients and their families.
This year's event will include combined police and fire department teams from four communities
(Munster, Highland, Griffith, and Dyer) who will play each other in two sets of simultaneous games for
the traveling trophy and a good cause. The event will also include door prizes, DJ music, bouncers for
kids, live announcers, a performance of the National Anthem, police cars, fire trucks, a blood drive, and
To purchase tickets, you can either drop off or mail $5.00 for each ticket to the Munster Police Department, c/o Officer James Ghrist, 1001 Ridge Road, Munster, IN 46321. Please make checks payable to
the Town of Munster (memo: Charity Softball). Your tickets will be mailed to your residence. You can
also purchase tickets directly from any of the participating players.
For more information, please contact Officer Ghrist at 219-836-6639. We hope to see you there!
The Munster Police Department will be holding their next quarterly Munster Crime Watch Meeting for all
residents on Thursday, April 23rd at 7:00PM at the Munster Town Hall (1005 Ridge Road). The meeting
will include information about recent crime statistics and activity in Munster, questions and concerns
from the public, and a presentation by the Munster Police Department's SWAT Team. A representative
from the SWAT Team will be providing information about their duties while also displaying some of their
equipment. A $25.00 Target gift card will be awarded as a door prize at the conclusion of the meeting
and crime prevention materials will be available. For more information, please contact Officer James
Ghrist at 219-836-6639.
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Eads Elementary School
Celebrating Success at Eads
The Carpenters Local 1005, 599 & 1485 invited all Lake, Porter and LaPorte County public elementary
schools to participate in the Kids Caring for the Community project. Schools could participate in a variety of community service projects that could earn money for their school. The Eads K-Kids took the
challenge and participated in this program.
K-Kids is a service organization of 4th and 5th grade students. Meetings are held once a month before
school to plan service projects for the community and our school. K-Kids is under the direction of Mrs.
Harveth and Mrs. Biancardi. The Kiwanis Club of Munster is the sponsor of this unit, and helps to
guide our students to an understanding of what community service is all about.
We are proud to announce that Eads Elementary K-Kids were the winners in the second session
(November-December) of this project. The K-Kids submitted their Veteran’s Day community service
project. The club won $750.00 to put towards something to benefit the school. We are proud of the
leadership skills that our K-Kids have developed.
The Eads Math Bowl Team placed first in their division in the regional Math Bowl which is sponsored
by the Indiana School Principals Association. Mrs. Wendy McCarthy was the academic coach of this
great team made up of 4th and 5th grade students.
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Elliott Elementary School
Elliott Happenings……..
Our teachers were busy with lessons in their classrooms for Digital Learning Month. The students in Karey Shank’s 2nd grade classroom at Elliott learned how to access the public library’s
databases and eBooks from Brittney, a member of the Munster Library’s Children’s Department.
Parents and students learned about the resources available to anyone who has a digital access
library card.
The 5th graders took part in a mission called “Rendezvous with a Comet” at Challenger Learning Center at Purdue Calumet. During the simulation, the students took on the roles of an actual
astronaut aboard a space shuttle and a mission control specialist. Each student was given a
title and was responsible for completing the duties described in the job description for this position as a team member on the mission. Their goal was to plot a course to rendezvous with
Comet Encke. Along the way, the simulation provided several obstacles. The students worked
diligently to overcome those challenges. The experiences that the students enjoyed were “out
of this world”.
Miss Goodman, High Ability Teacher created the Tournament of Books. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th
grade classes are participating in an activity based around the Sweet 16 March Madness. She
picked 16 books that students may or may not have all read. Her language art classes created
summaries that were posted outside the room. The students also created book trailers which
were created using their chrome books and laptops. Each class watched the trailers and/or read
the summaries then filled out a bracket. Each week they will continue to get closer to the winner.
The winner will get a pizza party and the book (book of choice if they already own it).
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Frank Hammond Elementary Notes
FHH Happenings
The FHH K-Kids sponsored an “Author Day” for all students in March! Author and Children's
Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt, shared his poetry and his writing strategies with students during
three entertaining and educational presentation sessions.
During each session, Mr. Nesbitt shared several of his works of poetry and explained how he
develops his ideas. He encouraged our students to become “poetry writers” by coming up with
their own ideas. Students collaborated with Mr. Nesbitt to create an original work of poetry during the presentation that started with their own random ideas. He further demonstrated how important the practice of multiple drafts and multiple readings can be a very critical part of the writing process. Mr. Nesbitt also took time between sessions to meet with individual students for a
book signing session. Mr. Nesbitt has many great ideas and activities for kids on his website at:
On March 31st, the Indiana General Assembly honored FHH as one of the nine Indiana schools
who earned the National Blue Ribbon School status in 2014 with a Resolution during session at
the State House in Indianapolis. Mrs. Ellis and Dr. Hendrix attended the Resolution in Indianapolis. We would also like to thank the Munster Community and FHH Staff for showing their support of FHH’s Blue Ribbon award as well!
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Wilbur Wright Middle School
WWMS Science Olympiad Finishes 8th in State Competition
The Wilbur Wright Middle School Science Olympiad team concluded another successful season by finishing in the top ten at the state competition in Bloomington on March 21. The team, coached by WWMS Science teachers Kym Davis and Rebecca Giffin, continued its strong run in the competition after qualifying
for the state competition by winning its Regional event at Indiana University Northwest. In the 28 events
that make-up the competition, including the six trial events, Wilbur Wright finished first in the Bio-Process
Lab, Meteorology, and Game On events. They also took home third-place medals in the events of Disease Detectives, Experimental Design, Simple Machines, and Invasive Species.
The Wilbur Wright Science Olympiad team has become one of the most successful programs in the state,
qualifying for the state competition each year, attending invitational tournaments, and qualifying for the national competition multiple times in recent years. Congratulations to the team on another top ten finish in
the state this year!
Wilbur Wright Dance Team Celebrates Successes at State Competition
On March 13-14, the Wilbur Wright Middle School Dance Team competed at the IHSDTA State Competition, which included team, ensemble, duo, and solo categories. In the team competition, Wilbur Wright
repeated as state champions in the Pom category and finished second in the state in the Jazz category.
This impressive accomplishment continues the positive accomplishments the team, coached by Ashley
Murphy, has enjoyed in recent years.
In addition to the great success in the team competitions, three soloists placed in the state’s top six for the
solo event. Those students were Isabella Buono, Carolina Garza, and Cecilia Lipschultz. An ensemble
comprised of Jill Cuvala, Cecilia Lipschultz, and Abbey Ruckert also won first place in their ensemble category, while the ensemble of Alina Arzumanian, Carolina Garza, Antonia Linnane, and Alexandra Vjestica
finished third in the state in the same category.
The Dance Team competes in regional and state events, as well as invitationals throughout the year in addition to performing at various WWMS sporting events. Congratulations to the girls and Coach Murphy for
their hard work and outstanding accomplishments this year.
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Munster High School News
A sure sign of spring is the ramping up of our academic team competitions and the individual accolades
our students begin to achieve. DECA recently finished 2nd in the state. We had a strong showing at
this annual event with over 150 students competing in Indianapolis. Thirty-five students qualified for the
International competition in Orlando.
On March 21st, our Science Olympiad team finished in 1st place at the state meet for the third year in a
row. In addition to defending the state title, our team set a state scoring record with an incredible 61
On March 28th, our Speech team endeavored to win their 6th straight title in a row. Our students had a
great showing by winning the AA state championship and finished 2nd overall in the state. We are extremely proud of everyone who competed.
Recently, our Dance team competed at the state meet as well. Our Junior Varsity and Varsity team
won in the Pom division. Ensemble was state champs as well. Way to go ladies!
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Munster High School News, cont’d from page 10
Our Marching Mustangs also represented our community well over Spring Break at the Magic Kingdom. Below you can see our students marching proudly down Main Street U.S.A.
Finally, we have selected the inaugural ten Alumni Hall of Fame inductees. This event is the initial
step in celebrating the last 50 years of MHS having its doors open. We are planning a celebration
with the initial ten members on August 21st, 2015. There will be more details to follow for those who
would want to be a part of this event. Below is a list of the initial ten members who were selected:
Shaun Blue ’00
James Dryjanski ’88
Bob Grand ‘ 74
Dr. Nan Sutter Hayworth ’77
Michelle Kelchak ’83
Hal Morris ‘83
Dr. Blase Polite ‘87
Nicole Rittenmeyer ‘87
Todd Rokita ‘88
John Sullivan ‘70
Mike Wells
Principal, MHS
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Student Nutrition & Food Services
“Feeding the Future
One Bite At A Time”
The Student Nutrition & Food Services Website
The Student Nutrition and Food Services department has
Its own informative website that has a wealth of valuable
Information for students, parents and educators.
This website can be accessed by going to the school
Website at www.munster.us and selecting the Food Service
Department tab or it can be directly accessed at
What Information Can Be Found?
All of the current student menus.
Instructions and link for the convenient Online
Payment System.
Interesting and educational newsletters. Find these under the Menus tab.
Nutrition and Fitness Educational information for students, parents and educators.
This is just a little of what can be found on the Student Nutrition and Food Service website. We hope you
will take some time each week to visit our website for updated information that would be beneficial for students, parents and educators.
before school lets out!
Munster Education Foundation can make your gift giving easier!
Give that special educator an apple!
Make a contribution to the Munster Education Foundation, and an individual
of your choice, affiliated with the Munster schools, will be honored.
He/she will receive a specially designed card, with your name,
your special greetings, and a gold apple pin.
Complete the form below and send your check payable to:
Munster Education Foundation, P.O. Box 3046, Munster, IN 46321
All donors will receive an acknowledgement with receipt for a tax-deductible gift.
Please submit one form per honoree
NAME of Person Being Honored _____________________________________________
School/Building/Bus # ____________________________________________________
Donor Name ______________________________________
Phone ___________________
(Name, as you want it to appear on gift card)
Address _______________________________________________________________________
Email Address ____________________________ Donation Amount Enclosed _______________
Include your special message on a separate piece of paper! It will be enclosed with the gift card & apple pin.
Suggested donation: $15.00 or more
All School Town of Munster students have the skills necessary to participate successfully in a global society.
The School Town of Munster, in partnership with all stakeholders, implements equitable and challenging learning experiences that provide the foundation for independent and innovative thinking.
The success of our school system depends on the collaboration and commitment of all students,
parents, and staff to high quality standards, expectations and performances.
Addressing unique learning styles and needs enables all students to learn.
A safe and supportive learning environment enables continuous learning opportunities for all students and staff.
Students will solve real world problems through the development of creativity, critical thinking, and
communication skills.
The curriculum is aligned both horizontally and vertically with national, state and local standards
and includes a variety of assessment strategies that provide feedback about learning to students,
parents and staff.
Data is used to drive instructional practices and monitor program effectiveness.
Professional development is an integral part of our ongoing plan for continuous improvement in the
use of research based instructional practices.
Diversity enriches our school system through the recognition of various ideas, values and cultures.
Access to and utilization of current technology is necessary for success in an ever-changing world.
All stakeholders have a voice and the opportunity to participate in the educational process.
School Contact Information
Administration Offices:
8616 Columbia Avenue, Munster, IN 46321
Munster High School Office:
8808 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321
Wilbur Wright Middle School Office:
8650 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321
James B. Eads Elementary School Office:
8000 Jackson St., Munster, IN 46321
Ernest R. Elliott Elementary School Office:
8718 White Oak Ave, Munster, IN 46321
Frank H. Hammond Elementary School Office:
1301 Fran Lin Pky, Munster, IN 46321