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4/20/2017 5:49:00 PM
Huntington County schools discuss possible elimination of valedictorian status

Jennifer Peryam, Herald-Press

The Huntington County Community Schools Board of Trustees held a special work session Monday and covered topics such as marketing, facility needs, high ability classes and valedictorian and salutatorian status.

The board discussed the possibility of whether or not the high school should eliminate the valedictorian and salutatorian status.

Randy Harris, superintendent, said the corporation began discussing the possibility last year.

“We are finding out because of the designations there are decisions students are making based on the status that is hurting them,” Harris said.

He said there was a student this year in the senior class who chose to not participate in the band program because they want to be valedictorian and wanted to take weighted classes, but band is not a weighted class.

“Music helps students to be better creators than just math and science,” Harris said.

He also said students are not taking business classes because they are not weighted and say they might hurt their grade point average.

Harris said he has looked at other schools to see what they are doing to use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for marketing.

“I will be meeting with three marketing companies to find out pricing and services for marketing and we need to create a survey to determine what the public knows about our schools and what they would like to know so we can market that,” Harris said.

“We are great at athletics and academics, but need someone who has marketing expertise.”

He said he also will talk to city and county economic development officials to determine how to incorporate what they are doing with what the school is doing.

Reed Christiansen, board member, said the board needs to decide how active it wants to be in marketing the corporation and whether or not they want to hire a public relations firm or do it in house with hiring a marketing employee.

“We could set up standards of practice and could create a team, one in each school who could oversee the marketing,” Christiansen said.

Jon Bennett, assistant superintendent for business, said the corporation is trying to brand itself as a “technology leader.”

“We could do a survey about what people think about technology and use that to market the corporation,” Bennett said.

He said another option would be training staff on how to market the corporation.

Bennett discussed facility needs and said the Riverview Roof needs replaced.

“The stucco has not been repaired and the building is showing its age,” Bennett said.

He also said carpeting at Andrews Elementary School needs replaced and has adhesive issues.

“I think the carpet is a safety issue and it is a priority and needs to get taken care of,” Christiansen said.

Other things needing to be fixed are the chiller at Horace Mann and the air condition at Crestview Middle School.

Another topic discussed by the board was creating high ability courses, with Harris saying that he has been approached about creating a classroom area for high ability students at Salamonie Elementary School.

“We would create a four star school if we created a high ability program at Salamonie and also create a drain on other schools that have high ability schools,” Harris said. “If we created the program and took kids there we would be pulling kids from all of our elementary schools.”

Bennett suggested talking to teachers to see what is being done for students with high abilities at each of the other schools.

Kevin Yarger, board member, suggested the corporation could partner with Huntington University to allow students to take field trips there.

“We can utilize what we have in our back yards for high ability students,” Yarger said. 

Copyright 2017 The Herald-Press

Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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