NORTH JUDSON – With the 2019-2020 school year already in full swing, North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin reflects on the prior year and discusses some of the things that stood out and what she was most proud about.
“Academically, we had two, I think, significant initiatives going on,” Dr. Zupin began.
The first initiative that entailed having an assessment performed about how to streamline curriculum, instruction, and delivery.
“What they found was that our teachers, they worked really hard and they did all kinds of things to help our students. But in doing that, it wasn’t streamlined,” the superintendent explained. “We limit the amount of computer programs, we limit the assessments we’re doing, and that way everybody can be on the same page talking the same language, using the same analyzing skills.”
This assessment was performed last September, the rest of that year was spent on streamlining those areas.
That process of working, planning, and making decisions is still going on this year, focused around the theme of “Keep it Simple-Get it Right.”
The second thing that Superintendent Zupin is proud about is the advancement in digital devices.
The superintendent realizes that many other schools are already 1-to-1 when it comes to digital devices.
“We have gone slow with that process because we always think that the teachers are the best instructor. We never wanted the device to drive that instruction. So, we were always strategic about it,” explained Dr. Zupin.
She also mentioned that last year the school corporation received a $30,000 grant from the Department of Education due to the fact that the corporation wasn’t 1-to-1.
Dr. Zupin further explained that the funds received from the DOE was to plan to reach the state’s goal of school corporations becoming 1-to-1 with electronic devices.
“So, they helped us visit other schools, do professional development, and also buy some equipment to help get to that.”
The corporation is currently at Phase One of two phases of that project.
Zupin stated that the devices are not on the student at all times. “
They are in the classroom whenever so that the teacher and student can use them when it is appropriate.”
Because of that grant, this year NJ-SP has iPads for each student in grades 4 through 6.
From Kindergarten to 3rd grade, a cart of 30 iPads is shared between two the grades.
In the high school, every English and Math classroom has a set of iPads for the students.
The devices also are not being sent home with the students.
“So, next year, all the classrooms will have them,” stated Zupin.
The superintendent touched upon last year’s sports achievement with the volleyball team winning the state championship.
“That was so great,” she said. “It wasn’t just a volleyball thing. That was a huge community accomplishment. When you heard the girls and the coaches talk about the state championship, they always went back to the support from the community. It was great.”
Looking into the future, NJ-SP looks to continue offering the diverse programs to student despite the lack of funding.
The superintendent stated that the corporation is looking at different solutions to combat the decreased amount of state funding.
“It gets harder and harder,” she commented.
Another future thing students and parents can look forward to is the implementation of a School Resource Officer in January 2020.
This is a cooperative effort between the corporation and the Town of North Judson.
Funding will be provided by both entities, according to Dr. Zupin.
“Knox has been very helpful and instrumental in us planning that,” she said.
Dr. Zupin stated that the SRO should provide another layer of safety to the students.
Prior to this, the corporation hired a part-time social worker.
“If you can get to these kids before their habits, behaviors, and stress levels. And we think that the school resource officer will only be another layer.”
Awareness is something that Dr. Zupin listed as a way for the community to support the corporation.
She wanted the public to know that if they have any questions about something going on in the corporation to ask questions before making assumptions.
The school board meetings held monthly are open to the public.
Dr. Zupin also mentioned that the Verhagen Family has created an endowment with the Community Foundation called “Our Kids Excel” and is especially for NJ-SP students.