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The Versailles Republican

August 7, 2014 • Headlines

 The second annual Jeff Burton ride was held on June 7. For the second year in a row all proceeds were given to Riley Hospital for juvenile diabetes research. Jeff’s son Brice has had diabetes since he was a young child and spent time at Riley.
Corn selected for popcorn from the 400 acre Riehle farm in Sunman. Read the entire article in today's The Versailles Republican.
Lilley Bradley, 2, enjoys the summer weather. Her mom, Anni Bradley, watches her antics in the backyard.
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Milan best in state for improvement; 21st overall
County schools rank high in state for ISTEP

Mary Mattingly

Milan Community Schools is starting the school year with a bang. On Friday, ISTEP+ results were released and Milan place 21st out of 302 school corporations with 86.4 percent of 3rd through 8th graders passing both math and English/Language arts.

Milan Elementary
Kindergartners at Milan Elementary recite the Pledge of Allegiance before heading into the classrooms on their first full day of school Wednesday.

Milan Supt. Paul Ketcham thought they would do better this year. “It’s better than we predicted. We’re ecstatic! It’s a great boost and a great way to start the school year.”

It’s also a big improvement, actually the best in the state. Milan ranked first for the largest jump, at 14.3 percent, from the previous year’s scores.

The scores for the three other schools also in the county were very good. As Jac-Cen-Del principal Travis Rohrig said, “I don’t think there is another county in the state that matches our combined success.” South Ripley, for example, had the best 6th grade English/language arts (ELA) passing rate of 96.8 percent in the state among both public and private schools. The SR corporation passing rate for ELA was 6th in the state, at 92.5 percent. JCD showed big gains in scores, with an 8 percent improvement from last year’s scores.

Ketcham, in his second year as superintendent, credited the staff “for rolling up their sleeves” and working hard for student improvement. “We are taking data and doing formative assessment instead of summative assessment to drive instruction almost daily and weekly. We are using these assessments more effectively to personify instruction,” he said. “Our teachers do a lot daily and now these test scores go along with it. And I also give our principals credit.” Teaching assistants too provide personal attention to students, which helps academically.

He thinks it’s a good precursor to the coveted academic 4 star school award. “I would think this is a good start,” he said. But there are other factors, such as enrollment growth. Last February they were at 1,127 students, and while the numbers are not in, he thinks they’ll have more students this year. Other schools in the area also did well. Batesville, a continual front runner in the state, ranked 12th among all schools with an 88.8 percent pass rate.

Ketcham said all of Ripley County schools outscored Dearborn and Decatur counties, something which bodes well for the entire county. A little friendly competition is not a bad thing when it comes to student success. Batesville sets the standard. He said they actually outscored Batesville in grades 3 and 6. “They have raised the bar and we want to compete with the best.” Some grades were superstars, as he said in certain areas, such as grade 3 in ELA with a 96.9 percent and grade 4 with 97.1 percent, and grade 5 in math for 98.9 percent and grade 6 with 96.1 percent.

South Ripley Community Schools pass rate was 85 percent, ranking it 28th among all schools, Jac-Cen-Del, 83.4 percent, ranking it 51st and both above the state average of 74.7 percent. The state score was a 1 percent improvement from the year before. Among Indiana students, 80.7 percent passed English/Language arts, up from 79.5 percent in 2013. In math, 83.5 percent passed, up from 83.0 percent.

JCD had a good percentage rate of improvement from last year’s scores, at 8.0 percent. And, Sunman Dearborn Intermediate also did at 5.1 percent. Travis Rohrig at JCD was pleased they scored well as a corporation, in the upper 17 percent of the state. He attributes their success to “data driven instruction.” He is glad to see a county school do well, noting Batesville is consistently a 4 Star school, and SR and JCD have both been in the past two years. “We have shared success countywide. We are constantly in communication with one another. We all want what is best for kids.”

South Ripley Supt. Rob Moorhead commented, “It is nice to see how well all of the Ripley County schools performed this year. I congratulate my colleagues from all across Ripley County and appreciate the collaborative relations we have developed.”

Other schools passing rate for both math and English/language arts: Sunman-Dearborn schools, 82.6 percent; Greensburg Community Schools, 82 percent; Franklin County, 70.6 percent; Jennings County, 77.3 percent; Madison Consolidated, 68.2; Southwestern-Jefferson County, 71.8 percent; and Lawrenceburg schools, 74.1 percent.

The top performing schools in the state were Carmel Clay with 93 percent passing ISTEPS, second was Zionsville, 92.8 percent, and third West Lafayette, 92.1. The bigger city schools were on the bottom, such as Gary Community Schools (47.7 percent), East Chicago, and Indianapolis Public Schools.

Glenda Ritz, state superintendent of public instruction, commented, “This year we saw another increase in student performance indicated through ISTEP. I want to congratulate Indiana’s students, parents, teachers and administrators for all their hard work this past year. These increased scores are just one sign of the great learning that is happening in Indiana schools. “

A new standardized test will debut this year which will follow new federal requirements. While the county school scores are good, there is always room for improvement. Moorhead said they have been dissecting the data and “We have diagnosed some areas in which our math performance needs to improve and we will be addressing those areas.”

Versailles Main Street revives ‘Cruising’ events

Do you remember “Cruising the Square?”  Back in the '50s, '60s, '70s and even the '80s and '90s many Ripley County residents were ‘cruising around the square’ to see who was there and to be seen. Simply going to hang out with friends and possibly meet someone new!

The newly formed Main Street Versailles committee will be hosting ‘Cruising the Square’ events to bring back activity to the downtown area.  As a kick-off, they have planned the first ‘Cruising the Square’ event, a “Cruise-in” on Saturday, September 6.  There will be a DJ providing music, a hog roast and other food will be available for purchase as well.  This inaugural event will be held from 3-7 p.m. You can bring your car and park for the ‘cruise-in’ or take a buzz around the square for old times, then stop and enjoy!  Prizes will also be given away throughout the duration of the event. The idea is to revive the downtown area, offer regular activities at the courthouse square and help local businesses, plus gather the community together to just enjoy in some fun, according to Natalie Gilpin, a member of the Main Street Versailles committee.

“Everyone is welcome to attend, young and old alike and reminisce about the old times on the square!” she said.

Pick up this week's edition of The Versailles Republican for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Pop! Pop! Pop! Family growing variety of popcorn in Sunman
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• Indiana joins lawsuit against EPA regulations

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