What’s New at ECS?
Doors are open, kids are learning their ways to their new classrooms, and we’re all finding our rhythm of the new school year. So, what’s new at the district for 2018-2019?
New course offerings for 2018-2019 high school students: Advanced Life Science, Finite Math, Sports Officiating, Mechatronics, Film Literature, Intro to Computer Science, Peer Tutoring, and a new Biology dual credit course with Ivy Tech. In the elementary schools, Tools of the Mind has now been incorporated into all kindergarten classrooms at all 14 elementary schools. Throughout the district, we are moving closer to a PLC (Professional Learning Communities) culture, as an additional 300 teachers/staff members attended PLC training this summer. Learn more about PLC here (link to our article about PLC).
Technology: Per Wes Molyneaux, Director of Technology Integration
The first week of school, 2,600 iPads will be distributed to Elkhart Central and Elkhart Memorial students. Additionally, Pierre Moran students will have 1:1 devices at the start of school, with North Side and West Side to have full 1:1 implementation by October 2018. Learning in a 1:1 environment with iPads creates opportunities that would not be possible without technology. To be success throughout school and beyond, students must increasingly collaborate with others, communicate effectively, think critically, and be creative in solving problems. Putting devices into the hands of students allows them to access a world filled with information, far beyond Elkhart. See our 1:1 Technology page for additional information, including insurance.
Online Registration: Per Anthony England, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services
Elkhart Community Schools is excited to launch district-wide online registration for all new and returning students for the 2018-2019 school year. Accurate, updated information for students and guardians ensures we can reach the right people in case of an emergency, and also ensures important mailings are sent to the correct address. For returning students, online registration can be completed through PowerSchool (Returning Student Registration). For new students, online registration can be completed through the New Student Registration link on our district website.
Schedule: Per Phil Lederach, Director of Secondary Education
The biggest change in schedule will be the early release day. On Mondays, all ECS students will release 40 minutes early (previously Wednesday was the early release day). At the high school level, Elkhart Central and Elkhart Memorial will be going to block scheduling. Students will have eight total classes. On Monday, students will have all eight classes. On Tuesday/Thursday, students will have four classes, and on Wednesday/Friday, students will have the other four classes.
Co-Curriculars: Per Rod Roberson, District Director of Co-Curricular Programming
New to our co-curricular offerings this year: archery as a club sport in high schools, continued growth of eSports as a club sport in high schools, boys volleyball will be expanded to our middle schools. Last year was the first year for boys volleyball (elementary only), which was well-received with a high level of participation. We’re continuing it in the elementary schools and expanding it to middle schools this year.
Construction: Per Tony Gianesi, Chief Operating Officer
At Elkhart Memorial, we have updated finishes (carpet, paint, light fixtures, etc) in some classrooms and updated an existing collaboration space. During this school year, additional renovations will be started at Elkhart Memorial to prepare for the single-campus high school. Throughout the summer, the Elkhart Education Foundation has generously provided a number of improvements in our schools, including learning gardens at Monger and Hawthorne, and library renovations at Pinewood and Osolo, which will increase learning opportunities for our students. A new turf field at Rice Field and video scoreboard at North Side Gym were installed over the summer, courtesy of generous donations from our community.
Food Services: Per Pam Melcher, Director of Food Service
Using the Price Adjustment Calculator as provided by the USDA, we are required to adjust our weighted average lunch price by ten cents. Full pay school breakfast and lunch prices will increase by ten cents in 2018-2019. This is the first year parents/guardians can apply online for free/reduced lunch at http://www.lunchapplication.com. Food Services will start a new process of automated calls to inform parents when a student’s balance is starting to get low ($5.00 for full-pay; $2.50 for reduced-pay). Elementary students will have IDs for the lunch room to improve efficiency, allowing students more time to eat. Beginning August 16, elementary students will have an option of choosing the main entree or a sandwich. Then starting September 4, elementary students will have an option between two main entrees or a sandwich. Fresh fruit and vegetables will be standard options every day. Once a month, students will be able to “pack their own bagged lunch” by selecting from a variety of options. Our Food Services department has also recently launched a new website: ECS Food Services.
Book Fees: Per Kevin Scott, Chief Financial Officer
Elementary book fees are unchanged for 2018-2019. Secondary costs will see limited and modest adjustments driven by consumable material updates.
Security: Per Jamie Snyder, Director of Safety, Security, and Risk Management
Every year, we engage in learning opportunities related to school security and safety. We continue to work collaboratively with our local law enforcement and the Indiana Department of Education. Additionally, we have received two grants that will provide added resources to enhance our safety through the use of technology.