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May 26, 2016 • Headline News
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Versailles Lions fish fry is Saturday

On the opening day of the Versailles Farmers Market, the first annual Versailles Lions Club fish fry will be held Saturday, May 28 from 11 to 2 p.m. at the courthouse square. The Lions will serve fish, cole slaw, baked beans, and drinks. Cost is $9 for adults and kids under 12 $6. Proceeds benefit the Ripley County Relay for Life.

South Ripley Junior High School named Four Star School again

Mary Mattingly

South Ripley Junior High ended the school year on a very positive note. For the fourth consecutive year, SRJH was named a Four Star School. A total of 287 schools received the award throughout the state. In order to achieve this designation, a school must be in the top 25th percentile of schools in two ISTEP-based categories. Additionally, a qualifying school must have earned the highest designation in the state’s accountability system and be accredited by the Indiana Department of Education.

South Ripley Junior High School Versailles IndianaMARY MATTINGLY PHOTO
Left, back row, SR Supt. Rob Moorhead, State Rep. Randy Frye, Shirley Wright with the Indiana Middle Level Educators, SRJH Principal Destiny Rutzel, State Supt. of Instruction Glenda Ritz, board members Jeff Cornett, Robert Garcia. Front: students Abby McCarty, Lilly Hilton, Lane Sparks and Dakota Day, and board member Becky Turner.

Supt. Rob Moorhead commented, “It is a big deal. You are being recognized by the state for your ISTEP performance, and being in the top 25 percent of schools. It validates the work the students are doing in the classroom.” The status is based on the 2014-15 ISTEPs, the same year when the state standards were made more rigorous. He noted the award also means “We’re not just a flash in the pan. We’ve sustained this for four years and it’s a challenge to do so.” The only other school in the county that received the status was Batesville High School. Oldenburg Academy in Franklin County was also named a Four Star school for the sixth time. East Central High School also received the award.

Moorhead believes their attention to individual students is the key to success. “I’ve always said success is due to the study of individual student data.” Acuity tests are given four times a year, and teachers track the progress of students, honing in on where they might need help. “It gets into the real story of the student,” Moorhead said. They are doing similar data studies at the elementary school, and trying to at the high school level as well. Credit is also given to the strength of the instruction at the elementary level. “We wouldn’t get this award if not for the preparation at the elementary level,” the superintendent added. He credited the junior high staff, but “most important are the students,” he said.

Principal Rutzel was proud of her students and staff. “We expect our students to rise to the occasion each year and they always show up and prove that they can achieve anything!   It has been a successful year at our junior high, being named an “A” rated school, a Four Star School, and we were designated as a 2016 School to Watch. I always tell our students and staff.... If we all work together, support one another, and believe in our ourselves, there is no mountain to big for us to climb. “ 

The prestigious award also helps these days when schools are competing for students. A Four Star banner hangs in the gym with a sign out front recognizing the special status.

Schools to Watch
The junior high also celebrated a special recognition on May 19. The school was just one of 14 middle schools in the state to be named in the national program “Schools to Watch.” South Ripley is one of 394 in the United States to be recognized at the national convention in June. The program was launched by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform in 1999, and identifies schools that are academically excellent, developmentally responsive and socially equitable. They also have a sense of purpose that drives every facet of decision making. Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, along with Indiana Legislator Randy Frye were part of the celebratory program. Ritz told the students who had all gathered in the auditeria that not all schools have what they do with Chrome books, and she’s impressed with their project based learning, rubric models and individual approach. “Your community has invested in you to make sure you are prepared when you leave.” Supt. Rob Moorhead, an alum of South Ripley, also complimented the “fabulous students. Our success is because of our people not our programs.” South Ripley Junior High School Principal Rutzel will attend the national forum in DC.

Local Bulletin Board

Deadline: June 10
Entries for farm award
Indiana Landmarks and Indiana Farm Bureau welcome nominations for the 2016 John Arnold Award for Rural Preservation. The award recognizes the preservation and continued agricultural use of historic farm buildings in Indiana. Anyone, including farm owners, can submit a nomination for the Arnold Award. Read rules and more details on page 2 of the Osgood Journal dated May 3.

Deadline: Friday, August 5
Tyson Fund grant applications available
It is almost here! What you ask? Many years ago, before Jim Tyson passed away, he wanted to set up a system to perpetually assist the residents in Versailles with things that might otherwise increase their taxes. He decided that he would set up a trust so that groups that are nonprofit and hold an IRS 501c (3) or (4) exemption could request funds to help them out with projects that would otherwise fall on the taxpayers in the Versailles area! Each year about this time, an open application process is offered so that the Tyson Fund Trustees can decide what projects will benefit from this year’s trust distribution. To qualify for the funds you must be from/in the Versailles area. Must be nonprofit and must hold an IRS 501c (3) or (4) exemption. To learn more and find out how to apply pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican dated May 26.

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