North schools earn gold

North Montgomery superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran announced at Monday’s school board meeting that four of the five corporation schools have received the Gold Star Counseling Award for 2017.

North Montgomery High School, Northridge Middle School, Sommer Elementary School and Pleasant Hill Elementary were selected by the Indiana Department of Education for the honor.

Gold Star schools undergo a rigorous process to raise student achievement by creating local community advisory groups that review student data, set specific student goals and commit to maximizing the time and skills of the school counselor. The official award presentation will be during the Indiana School Counselor Association fall conference at Indianapolis in November.

“We are excited to have four of our five schools selected,” North Montgomery Superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran said. “The only reason Sugar Creek did not receive the award is because it was at the time the school experienced a horrible tragedy and we felt we did not need to put the staff under more pressure.”

Moran expects Sugar Creek to receive the award next year.

North Montgomery schools join more than 200 Indiana elementary, middle and high schools to receive the award since its inception in 2004. Six years later, IDOE, in collaboration with the Indiana Student Achievement Institute, began offering professional development opportunities for schools interested in aligning their counseling program with the Gold Star model. Schools participate in a one-day workshop, followed by a series of monthly webcasts, to help them make the transformation to the Indiana Gold Star School Counseling model.

“Indiana’s Gold Star Schools collaborate with community partners to assist the school counselors in making data-based decisions to ensure that all students are successful,” IDOE School Counselor Consultant Amanda Culhan stated in a press release. “We recognize these schools for understanding the tremendous impact that school counselors can have in helping students succeed in school and also to plan for postsecondary success.”

All Indiana Gold Star schools are eligible to receive the nation’s highest recognition — the American School Counselor Association’s Recognized ASCA Model Program or RAMP Award. The award demonstrates that a school is “committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program.” Indiana is the state with the highest number of RAMP Award recipients in the country.

To qualify for both awards, these schools submitted an online portfolio with documentation that it meets the nine program standards found in Indiana’s Program Standards for School Counseling.

Additionally, North Montgomery personnel Brooke VanScoyoc, Carrie Woolwine, Lindsey Goane and Eileen Bormann participated in training sessions during the school year and learned how to implement the Gold Star School Counseling model. Students, teachers, parents and community members who serve on the local School Counseling Advisory Council also took part in the initiative. This group provided valuable input and feedback as the Gold Star School Counseling initiative was being developed.

North Montgomery school administrators received salary raises at Monday’s school board meeting. Each administrator will receive a $1,000 raise added to their base salary. The corporation also will pay a $1,500 performance stipend.

Classified staff, such as custodians and nurses, will see their pay increase 35 cents per hour if they are paid on an hourly basis. Classified staff members on salary will receive a $600 base pay raise. All classified personnel will receive a $1,000 stipend payable in May of 2018.

The board approved Shannon Joyce as the boys varsity tennis coach and Cat Michie as varsity cross country coach.