TVSC Receives Grant Funds for Boomerang Backpacks and Project Lead the Way

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Cargill Animal Nutrition in Mentone, IN recently donated Cargill Cares grant funds totaling $4,500 to the Tippecanoe Valley High School (TVHS) Boomerang Backpacks program and $6,000 to the Tippecanoe Valley Middle School (TVMS) Project Lead the Way program.

The first picture shows the check presentation to TVMS Project Lead the Way.  Pictured, left to right, are Neil Kaiser of Cargill, Bob Scherer of Cargill, TVMS Assistant Principal Cory Cooper, TVMS Project Lead the Way Teacher Allen Utter, and John Klonowski of Cargill

The second picture shows the check presentation to TVHS Boomerang Backpacks.  Pictured, left to right, are Miles Fowler, Floyd Bradley, TVHS Life Skills Teacher Emma Coppes, Kim Backus of Cargill, Zachary Wagoner, Robert Williams, Charles Sparks, TVHS Instructional Assistant Brenda Alderfer, Kyle Perry, Bob Scherer of Cargill, Sarah Shumacher, Gloria Tiaxcalteca, John Klonowski of Cargill, DaNae Norris of The Bowen Center, Ashlynn Kolesiak, and TVHS Instructional Assistant Kendra Kimes.


Cargill Donation to TVHS


Akron Elementary School to Conduct Groundbreaking on May 18th

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Groundbreaking for the new Akron Elementary School will be held Wednesday, May 18, at 1:30 p.m., on the school’s west blacktop. The public is invited to join the students and staff of Akron Elementary School in celebrating the start of a multi-phase renovation and new construction project that is scheduled for completion in December 2017.

The new Akron Elementary School will consist of the complete renovation of the existing 1987 classroom wing. All other areas of the current building will be demolished and replaced with a new office area, classrooms, cafeteria, stage, gymnasium, supporting areas, and playground. The school will be anchored by a central courtyard allowing natural light to fill the interior of the building.

The new west-facing office and main entry area pays tribute to the original school by reusing existing engraved limestone as a new entry focal point. A new covered entry to the cafeteria and gymnasium honors Akron’s past by salvaging existing limestone and coursing it into the new masonry wall for permanent display. Hardwood from Akron’s own Pike Lumber Company will be featured throughout the new building.

Inside the school, shared student breakout space is intermingled throughout both classroom wings, allowing small group opportunities out of the classroom. The stage is centered between the cafeteria and gymnasium and opens to each side allowing for a variety of functions including presentations, performances, plays, and other events.

The design of the educational space looks to the future and includes interactive digital teaching boards, wireless connectivity, sound reinforcement, and flexible instructional space. The building design includes energy saving features such as LED lighting with occupancy sensors and mechanical heat recovery systems.

Akron Project - Entry Akron Project - Floor Plan

Tippecanoe Valley Honors Staff Members

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Pictured left to right are Matt Cavender, Aggie Prater, Inga Omondi, and TVSC School Board President Dave O’Brien.

During the March meeting of the Board of School Trustees of the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, three staff members were honored. Akron Elementary School Instructional Coach Inga Omondi was the recipient of the World Class Teacher Award.  When asked to offer a few words about Mrs. Omondi, Akron Elementary School Principal Chrissy Mills stated, “Inga Omondi is a very dedicated instructional coach for students and staff at Akron Elementary. She works hard in making sure teachers get the professional development and materials they need to be successful in their classroom programs such as Readers, Writers, and Math Workshop. I greatly appreciate the dedication Mrs. Omondi has for Akron Elementary.”

Mentone Elementary School Instructional Assistant Aggie Prater was the recipient of the Pillar Award for Outstanding Support Staff.  When asked about Mrs. Prater, Mentone Elementary School Principal Randy Dahms offered, “Aggie Prater works at Mentone Elementary school as an instructional assistant (paraprofessional) in a first grade classroom.  In working at Mentone these last few months, I have been surprised at the commitment level of this particular staff member.  On her own time, Mrs. Prater takes the time to organize Mentone’s entire PBIS System.   Friday Morning Live is a monthly program where students are rewarded for exhibiting characteristics of being respectful, responsible, and safe.  The students are awarded Bulldog Bucks and are honored on a monthly basis.  Mrs. Prater has organized and run this entire program….Keeping track of data, making sure the students certificates are ready, contacting outside individuals, organizing and running the Bulldog Bizarre where students get to spend their Bulldog Bucks, and doing a wonderful job in the classroom with the students and teacher she works with on a daily basis.”

“Every successful organization has a collection of committed individuals who go the extra mile.  Mrs. Prater is a very important staff member at Mentone Elementary School who is deserving of this recognition.”

Matt Cavender, head custodian of the Burket Educational Center and a member of the T.V.S.C. maintenance staff was also honored with the Pillar Award for Outstanding Support Staff.  When asked to make a few comments about Mr. Cavender, Burket Administrator and T.V.S.C. Director of Special Services Meagan Wilks stated, “Mr. Cavender takes great pride in the care and appearance of the Burket Educational Center.  He also has strong people skills and is welcoming and friendly with the Burket staff and visitors.  He strives to build positive relationships with the Burket students.  Mr. Cavender goes above and beyond to show the public the Burket Educational Center is a great place to be.”

According to T.V. S.C. Director of Maintenance Todd Glenn, “Mr. Cavender consistently displays a ‘can-do’ attitude.  He works well with everyone – teachers, administrators, and co-workers.  Mr. Cavender represents himself and Tippecanoe Valley very well.  He has taken a lead role in implementing several energy saving projects which will save the school corporation thousands of dollars for years to come.”

Each was presented with a framed certificate of appreciation and a gift card.

High Ability Learners – Challenging Every Student’s Potential!

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Meagan Wilks - Picture 3-15-16 (2)VALLEY INSIGHT by Meagan Wilks, Director of Special Services at Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation

In today’s classrooms teachers address an extreme range of learning needs. Typically, much emphasis is placed on the needs of students who struggle academically. There are many resources and specific programs within schools designed to help these students make gains and maintain success in school.  While providing remediation services is extremely important, we must also place an importance on High Ability Learners who need accelerated instruction and enrichment opportunities as part of their curriculum.

According to the Indiana Code, a High Ability Learner is one who “performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one domain when compared with other students of the same age, experience, or environment; and is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interest in these areas” (IC 20-36-1-3).

High Ability Learners can have many unique learning needs.  These learners are often creative, curious, observant, and have extensive vocabulary background knowledge.  They learn new ideas quickly; in fact, it typically only takes 1-2 repetitions of instruction for a High Ability Learner to master a new concept compared to 7-8 for an average learner.  High Ability Learners also tend to have long attention spans and want to work independently.

High Ability Learners may also have different social and emotional needs than the average learner.  They may have a more heightened emotional sensitivity to criticism, fear of failure or perfectionism and place unrealistic high standards for performance on themselves.   Anxiety, frustration, and self-blame may occur for a less than perfect performance in class or on a test.

At Tippecanoe Valley we strive to address the unique learning needs of High Ability Learners.  Much time has been devoted to creating a High Ability Program Manual to ensure that a plan is in place to provide appropriate identification procedures, training, and differentiated instruction and curriculum to these students. The key goals for our High Ability Plan include:

Goal #1 – High Ability Students in grades K-12 will be identified regardless of gender, race, age or socio-economic background, with a multifaceted assessment plan.

Goal #2 – School Staff will be provided professional development to understand the needs and characteristics of students with High Ability.

Goal #3 – TVSC will provide challenging, differentiated curriculum and instruction for High Ability Learners.

Goal #4 – The High Ability Program will be evaluated to make changes and improvements.

During the 2015-2016 School Year, TVSC has focused attention on goal # 2 – Professional Development.  Throughout this year our building-level high ability coordinators, teachers, instructional coaches, counselors and administrators have participated in professional development opportunities relating to characteristics and social emotional needs of High Ability Learners.   We have also focused some professional development on curriculum and higher level thinking concepts and instruction.

As the High Ability Coordinator for TVSC, it is my responsibly to provide teachers with the knowledge and tools to address the needs of our High Ability Learners.  Instruction should be rigorous to provide challenging learning opportunities for these students.  By providing these challenges for High Ability Learners, we are demonstrating one of the TVSC core beliefs – We believe in challenging every student’s potential!

Tippecanoe Valley Encourages Literacy at Every Level

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tippecanoe literacy May 2016 (2)Tippecanoe Valley High School Junior and KEYS member, Aerin Shewman, reads to 2nd graders at Akron Elementary School during the Read Across Kosciusko County event sponsored by KEYS to promote literacy. Each 2nd grader received a book to take home. The book’s author will return to the school before the end of the year to talk to students about the writing process.