KNOX — The 2019-2020 school year started off a little bumpy for Knox Community School Corporation (KCSC). On the morning of one of the first days of school a driver backed out of his driveway and bumped into a KCSC school bus. Other than the bus suffering a few scraps, everyone was fine.

“Getting kindergarteners and everybody on the right bus is always challenging,” said Dr. Reichhart in regards to the first couple days of the new school year. “And we seem to be doing really well with that.”

Reflecting on the first day of school, the superintendent called it a “smooth day.”

When asked to reflect on the past school year, Dr. Reichhart touched upon some of the corporation’s highlights. 

“I think one of the biggest changes for us was at the elementary. Mrs. Tarnow and Mr. Mason came up with a new way for parents, a safer way, to pick up their children after school,” he stated. The new method involves ID tags inside the parent’s vehicles. Students also have the corresponding ID tag placed on their backpacks. At the end of the day, parent’s pull up to the pick-up spot and then the student is matched with the correct ID. This allows for a safer and more convenient way for parents to pick up their child.

“The traffic flow is much better and parents don’t have to get out of their car like we used to. When it was raining we had parents standing out in the rain,” Dr. Reichhart said.

Another major accomplishment the superintendent talked about was the completion of the Redskin Academy’s first year. One hundred and thirty students graduated last year. Thirteen of those students were from the alternative learning program.

The Redskin Academy offers alternative education for students that require a different environment than the traditional classroom. The program is for those in the high school level. Students work at their own pace using a digital curriculum called APEX. The program is designed to the student’s learning style. The academy also provides students with the skills and mindset that impact decision making for their future. 

“Really a huge success and that continues to prosper. We have 30 kids enrolled in it already this year. And that is huge for us as well,” he said.

Safety received a boost last year with the addition of Safety Resource Officer (SRO) Travis Schieber. Last year, the Knox Police Department and KCSC collaborated in order to assign Officer Schieber as the SRO for the corporation.

An SRO is a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority who is also an employee of the Knox Police Department. The goals of the SRO program include providing safe learning environments at KCSC, providing valuable resources to the staff members, fostering positive relationships with the students, developing strategies to resolve problems affecting youth, and the protection of all students.

“That has gone extremely well,” stated the superintendent. “Travis has just done a great job for us. He’s giving us tips on how we can improve some things on campus.”

Some of those tips included the installation of additional security cameras, and an upcoming check-in system. 

While KCSC has improved the physical security of their students, they have also worked on improving the mental health of its students. Porter-Starke is working with the corporation to offer students Mental Health Programs. 

“We’ve had a lot of good success with that already in helping kids who have some issues, whether it’s family issues, school issues, or just drama issues that we’re trying to help them with so that they can be a good student while they’re with us,” said Dr. Reichhart. 

As far as the future is concerned, parents and students have a lot to look forward to. The new building project, which will cost roughly $20 million, will see the elementary school receiving a major upgrade. Another thing to look forward to is the introduction of new staff. 

“Those are always good challenges for us to have in trying to find people that will help us in the future going forward,” stated the superintendent.

When asked about how the public can show support for the corporation, Superintendent Reichhart stated that “they already have.”

“The best thing is we’ve got this $20 million bond that we can apply for to improve our facilities which is really going to help our kids. Not only at the elementary with the new addition but also at the high school as we have that multi purpose room and a new culinary arts kitchen for our students who are enrolled in that program. Parents can expect the campus to be safe. Safer than what we’ve had in the past. We’ll do our best to help kids mature and become young adults as they get ready for that next step.”

For more information about KCSC, visit them at www.knox.k12.in.us. You can also follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Knox-Community-School-Corporation-157271664307105/

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