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April 14, 2015 • Headlines

Employees of Dearborn County Hospital and United Community Bank will go mile for mile in DCH’s first Community Fitness Challenge. Pictured from left kicking off the four-month challenge are E.G. McLaughlin, United Community Bank President/CEO, and Roger D. Howard, Dearborn County Hospital President/CEO. Read the entire story and how the challenge works on page 6 of the Osgood Journal. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Three Jac-Cen-Del students recently served as Indiana House pages during the 2015 session. Pictured with State Rep. Randy Frye are J. Keith Meador, 10th grade; William Meador, 8th grade; and Dustin Meador, 9th grade. Read more on page 2 of the Osgood Journal.
Future classmates enjoyed kindergarten registration held at Milan Elementary recently.
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Kindergarten kick-off
Sign-up is milestone for parents, kid

Mary Mattingly

The parents were worse than the kids. There were tears, shaky, sweaty hands, and fluttering hearts. We’re talking about kindergarten registration, a milestone in a child’s life, and moreover, their parent’s life. “I’ve cried all day. Even though I’ve sent five others it’s not any easier. He’s my baby,” said Stacie Melcher. She’s a stay at home mom, and just registered Luke, her last of six, for kindergarten at Milan Elementary.

JCD kindergarten registration
Pictured left, Jac-Cen-Del kindergarten teacher Leslie Hicks assesses a future student.

Each school district in Ripley County sets aside a day to register next year’s incoming class. It’s important not only to the parent, but also to the school district. “It’s very important to the school for our budgeting process since we are dependent on enrollment for state funding,” South Ripley Supt. Rob Moorhead said. Kindergarten registration is the start of many rites of childhood, from getting your driver’s license to graduation. “It is sad, and exciting too,” said April McQueen. She registered her middle child, Nevaeh at Jac-Cen-Del Thursday. Another mom, Rachel Lewis was there to do the same. “He is excited,” Lewis said of her soon-to-be JCD kindergartener “But I’m not! He’s my baby.”

At Milan’s registration, Mallory Hunter, adorned with her glitter shoes and butterfly bow, was at ease working on a puzzle and playing with toys. “She thinks she’s 16!” her mom Julie of Milan exclaimed. “Yes, this (registration, sending off to school) gets to me, but I’ll be worse the first day of school.” Teachers agree: It’s the parents who struggle that first day, who shed tears, not so much Junior.

During kindergarten registration, students are assessed on basic readiness skills, like letter recognition, colors, shapes, numbers. They are asked to identify body parts, to say their name and address. Teachers can detect speech problems, attention issues, sometimes even social skills, with these assessments. All this helps with placement, according to Milan’s 20 year kindergarten teacher Mary Pat Taylor. Today’s kindergarten is not “old school” when it was more about following rules, sharing, and waiting your turn. It’s all that, and much, much more. “It is not so much just a social experience as it once was. This is much more academics, all according to the state common core standards.

“There is a huge change in academics,” JCD teacher Melinda Carter said. She’s been teaching kindergarten for eight years, when kindergartners used to nap during the day or show and tell was a big part of the day. That’s all gone by the wayside. Today’s kindergarten is equivalent to first grade, maybe even 2nd grade. “They will read by Christmas and do stories,” she said. “For math, they’ll know two and three dimensional shapes.” April McQueen, 28, can attest to that. Her current kindergartener has probably 30 minutes or more of homework a night. “It is very different. They push our kids, and they are expected to know a lot. It’s not all fun and play,” she said.

Milan kindergarten registration
Pictured right, Title 1 teacher Cinda Ahlrich assists a parent in registering her daughter for kindergarten at Milan.

The pumped up state standards, which they will be tested on in a few years, is a main reason schools moved from half day to full day kindergarten. JCD did in 2006. South Ripley did in 2007. Milan did a pilot full day program for their neediest kids 10 years ago. Full day was so much more effective than half day that they moved to full day for all kids within two years. Many of these children have gone to preschool where they learned to sit and listen, to hold a pencil and write their name. There is a push in the state to expand and fund preschool. Research shows kids who go to preschool do better in the long run. Travis Rohrig, principal at JCD, handed out blue and red backpacks to those registering Thursday. The Lions Club had filled them with crayons and flashcards to help with early lettering and numbering. “This is to fill the gap between those who did not go to preschool,” Rohrig commented.

Milan Elementary Principal Jane Rogers noted there is no preschool in her immediate community, and that can be a disadvantage. At Milan, Melissa Lynd’s daughter went to preschool, and she feels she’s ready academically and socially for kindergarten. But Mom, who stood by as her daughter worked a puzzle, admits she is not so sure she wants to let go all day long. “It is a milestone,” she said, teary eyed and smiling. “I’m calm now.” The fascinating thing about kindergarten is the difference from the first day to the last day. Teachers say the kids are like sponges, soaking up everything they are exposed to. Rohrig commented, “There is not one group you see more growth in than the kindergarten.”

Ann Dicken, a kindergarten teacher at South Ripley, says it’s exciting to see the growth in kindergartners. “Some students come in not being able to hold a pencil correctly or know the difference between a letter and a number. By this time of the year most students can write four or more sentence stories and read books. They can add and subtract and problem solve. They basically learn what first grade students learned in the past.” There are field trips and themed units so the kids have fun and don’t even realize they are learning state standards. “They are five years old and this is their first school experience. We want them to love school.”

At JCD’s registration Rohrig, dressed in a suit, greets parents and children as any principal would. But he is in a unique position this coming year. He and his wife signed up their oldest child Thursday for JCD kindergarten. “I get to see my kid every day now!” And he added, ”I’m excited to see the journey. It starts now.”

County preparing to celebrate state’s bicentennial 2016

Noelle Szydlyk, State Director of the 2016 Torch Relay, attended a meeting in Osgood last month to discuss the torch relay and its path through Ripley County. The torch relay will be coming through the county Saturday, September 17, 2016 between noon and 5 p.m. as part of the bicentennial celebration. The path through the county has been set, she noted, however, county coordinators need to talk with local highway departments to go over the route to make sure there will be no construction or other problems. Short deviations in the planned map may be made by June.

Szydlyk explained there can be up to 20 torch bearers in each county. The torch bearers will be chosen from nominations from individuals in the county. Forms will be available May 1-December 31 for those who want to nominate one or more persons. Students at Purdue University, she noted, are designing the torches. They will be designed to withstand the weather, high speed travel, and other obstacles that may come from the different modes of transportation used throughout the state.

The Ripley County 2016 Committee, she noted, will be in charge of deciding which modes of transportation will be used throughout the county. Those present mentioned horses, motorcycles, bicycles, horse-drawn carriage, and others. Torch bearers will be provided special uniforms to wear while carrying the torch, which will take place rain or shine, she said.
Versailles, Osgood, Batesville, Sunman, and Milan are all on the torch relay route. Each of those towns will be asked to do some sort of celebration that day, of their own choice. Sarah Lamping, Batesville’s Community Development Director, noted she would be responsible for coordinating the celebration there. Town officials, or organizations wanting to be involved for the other towns should try to attend a meeting in the near future.

The Legacy Project for the county was also discussed, although there is no project currently being developed here. Katherine Taul, the 2016 Ripley County Coordinator, said some land may be for sale soon near the Versailles State Park, which would be very beneficial and could be part of the Legacy Project.

The state organization is encouraging all large festivals and events in Indiana to request an endorsement from Indiana 2016. Taul noted the One Book, One County Project, proposed by Jerry Wilson, has been funded by the Ripley County Community Foundation. The books, “Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana” by James H. Madison, have been purchased. Wilson will be contacting libraries within the county in the near future to discuss setting up a book club for Ripley County residents to read the book. Each library will receive five copies of the book.

Melissa Burton, with the Batesville School system, agreed to work on developing a program to get local schools involved in the 2016 event. Duane Drockelman, member of the Ripley County Historical Society, stated he is working on a brochure about General Ripley, the county’s namesake. Past committee members have also discussed having a bust or plaque of General Ripley made for the courthouse or county annex.

For more information contact Katherine Taul at the Ripley County Tourism Bureau 812-689-7431.

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

• Dearborn County Hospital and UCB employees face off in fitness challenge (page 6)
• Local students serve as pages (page 2)
• Friends of Versailles State Park plan spring activities (page 2)
• Letter to the Editor: Libraries are more than just books (page 4)
• Lauren Hill's battle with cancer ends (page 3)
• Guest Editorial: Lauren Hill: A story for a lifetime (page 4)
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