Celebrating the accomplishments of our students and teachers.

February 2014

Tutoring Program at Mt. Carmel School 

2Rockdale United Methodist Church had a planning retreat early fall, 2012. They broke into small groups to discuss ways to reach out to the community to serve, and it was in one of those that the need for tutoring was discussed.

We began planning the program shortly after.  Once the word was out, people began signing up to tutor and a letter was sent home to offer the free program to students.  The first year we held the tutoring on Fridays after school because that was what worked best for the people doing the tutoring.  Students stayed after school, with parents picking them up at 5:00.  We quickly found that was too long for everyone involved, and the times were changed  to finish at 4:30.  This year it seemed Mondays worked better for everyone involved.

Sessions begin with snacks and time for students to unwind.  The tutors gather and receive a file for the students they will work with.  Students range from kindergarten through junior high.  We try to match students with tutors based on the grade levels where the tutor feels most comfortable and the needs of the children are best met.  When possible, the tutors work with the same children each time.  Tutoring begins about 3:20.  If a student has homework, that is the first thing to be done.  After that, the tutors try to work on the skills the students need most.

3Students are divided into two groups mostly because of numbers.  This year we have had 42 students between first and second semester.  We need to keep the numbers small so that we have a good tutor-to-student ratio. Often the number of tutors available or the number of students who stay varies in spite of our aim for consistency.  One group meets one Monday afternoon and the other the next.  Some tutors come every week and others are able to come twice a month.  This seems to work, but would be better if we had more tutors available.

We began this year meeting in the library and then, after Christmas break, in the larger classroom where Missy Pepper had moved.  Missy serves as a liason between the teachers and the church.  She keeps the records about the students and tries to keep the program running smoothly.  All of her files and materials are in the new space and the room has a bathroom and sink.  There are lots of places for tutors and some students to meet with less distraction.  Computers and iPads are available for students to take reading comprehension tests.

Liz Lane,  the head of the cafeteria at Mt. Carmel, gave our volunteers good advice about the kind of snacks the students enjoy and the kind of snacks we can not bring because of allergies.  The juice, cookies, cheese and crackers, etc. are donated by those attending church.  When the “tutoring snack cupboard” gets low, word goes out and it fills up!  The students usually say “thank you’ for the snacks and sometimes even thank the tutors for working with them.

1Why do people sign up to tutor?  Some say they are retired and often volunteer in other areas; but, tutoring is a priority because it is easy to see the need.  It involves a small investment of time.  Some of our tutors are retired teachers who feel the need to continue serving God through teaching.  One former Franklin County teacher, Mickie Sauerland, answered that question in this way:

Recently retiring from teaching, I was looking for ways to use my gifts (from God) to help others in need. Tutoring after school at Mt Carmel (so close to home) seemed like the perfect opportunity. The students attending need extra help in areas of their academics. Often classroom teachers just don’t have enough hours to provide struggling students with all that they need. Parents are often over-worked, tired and unsure of how to help their own children when their academics become difficult.    This afterschool tutoring may be providing a little of the boost these kids need.  At the very least, it is a positive experience with another adult who values education. We tutors do not have the stress of the current academics that the students’ teachers or parents do! We work with them in areas of their studies in a positive, friendly, less stressful way. Perhaps these kids need just that at the end of their work day. Many evenings it can make academics fun for all of us!”

Another former Franklin County teacher, Linda Sintz, responded by saying:

“Why do the adults in the tutoring group volunteer their time?  As  a former teacher I know how helpful one on one help can be for those students who struggle in certain areas. During the regular school day, teachers don’t always have an opportunity to give that extra help considering they have so many other students.  I enjoy giving that extra help and continue to enjoy working with kids.”

There are 19 people who tutor.  Some are regulars; several are in and out. Two winter in Florida but tutor before and after their trip, and one is on “baby” leave now.  Two  FCHS students come when they are able to help.  One sophomore girl from ECHS comes each week;  she lives on this side of Dearborn County, attends church at Rockdale. Her mother picks her up at school and brings her right to Mt. Carmel so that she can help.  They arrive by 3:30, which is just after we really get started and both jump right in.  One tutor is a mother who homeschools, and one is a retired school nurse from Southwest Local in Harrison.  Another tutor is a local pastor and several people retired from business.   Anyone with a willing heart is able to help in some way.

Rockdale is a small country church and knew from the beginning they could not do this alone.  This is a community effort with tutors from Holy Guardian Angel in Cedar Grove, St. Michael’s and St. Thomas Lutheran in Brookville, Church on Fire in Harrison, and other local churches.  It is driven by a desire to serve the community and the children.

We would like to see this program expand.  The needs of the children would be better met if they could meet every week instead of every other.  The only way that this could happen is if we had more volunteer tutors.  If you would like to volunteer, please contact Missy Pepper at mpepper@fccsc.k12.in.us.

January 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – Franklin County High School senior Autumn J. Riley was awarded with the prestigious 2014 Passing the Torch Award by Indiana Governor Mike Pence Thursday, January 16, 2014 at the Indiana Statehouse during the 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Celebration. Autumn received the award for her winning entry in the Third Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest.

“Autumn’s entry showed incredible creativity and understanding of the March on Washington as well as Dr. King’s life,” said Jamal L. Smith, Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. “We were pleased to honor such an outstanding and deserving young woman.”

Autumn’s entry, titled Guardian, was selected as the winner by a panel of judges who reviewed more than 300 entries for this year’s contest. The theme for the Third Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest was to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

In addition to receiving the 2014 Passing the Torch Award from Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Autumn also received a $500.00 college scholarship from Indiana Black Expo, Inc. Autumn, who currently holds a 3.5 grade point average at Franklin County High School, plans to major in Pre-Dentistry in the fall at IUPUI.

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission enforces the Indiana civil rights laws and provides education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers and visitors to the State of Indiana. For more information visit: www.in.gov/icrc or call 1-800-628-2909.

November 2013

Two students at Brookville Elementary earned a perfect score in Math on the ISTEP+ tests taken in the spring of 2013. Cole Rapp and Alajah Lohrey were congratulated by the Franklin County School Board of Trustees and Superintendent Debbie Howell by presenting them with plaques expressing their appreciation for their hard work. Cole and Alajah, now fifth grade students at BMS, were students in Laura Taylor’s fourth grade classroom. Dr. Howell commented that in investigating it was found that Cole and Alajah were the only Franklin County students to achieve that success during the 2013-14 school year.

Alajah Lohrey
Alajah Lohrey
Cole Rapp
Cole Rapp

October 2013

October 15, 2013:   On Monday, October 14th, 2013, Brookville Elementary staff members were recognized by the Board of School Trustees for earning an “A” accountability grade for the fourth consecutive year.  Mr. Bob Jewell, Board President, presented a plaque to be displayed at the school.  Mr. Mike Biltz, Principal at Brookville Elementary, expressed his appreciation and admiration for his dedicated staff.  Following the meeting Brookville Elementary staff members and Members of the Board of School Trustees enjoyed a cake and punch reception.

photo photo(1)

photo (42)Mrs. Renforth, 4th grade teacher at Laurel School, made a deal with her students last year.  She told them if 80 percent of her students passed ISTEP, she would spend a day on the roof at Laurel School.  On September 25, 2013, Renforth had to “pay up.”

When the school received their data, they found it wasn’t just 80 percent of Renforth’s students that passed, it was 95 percent who passed the English/Language Arts portion of the test, and 90 percent of them passed the Math portion.  These students, who are not 5th graders at Laurel School, along with the other students and staff, enjoyed going outside to witness Renforth on the roof and chatting with her for a few minutes.  Renforth will be the first one to say “It’s all about the kids.”  Laurel School and Renforth would like to congratulate her students from last year.



 March 2012

Laurel School Plans to “Rock the Test”

Laurel School students and staff have been hard at work preparing for the upcoming ISTEP+ assessment taking place between March 4-13 and again April 29-May 10. This year, the staff came up with a program to boost student confidence and improve overall performance on the assessment. The program was titled “Rocking the Test”. Laurel School’s Carol Blake, Educational Interventionist, along with Rod Fuller, Challenge Teacher, spearheaded the campaign aimed at motivating students to perform their best on the assessment.

Over the last several months, teachers have been working with individual students and small groups to focus on English and Language Arts skills, an area where many students underperformed. Concentration has been placed on ISTEP+ vocabulary, understanding text questions and what is actually being asked, Greek and Latin root words, as well as figurative language. Acuity data has also been used to help drive instruction. In addition to the classroom work, teachers implemented a “Problem of the Day.” Each day the previous day’s question is discussed. Students who provide the correct answer are entered into a prize drawing.

Activity is apparent outside of the classroom too. Students and staff have decorated the building with bulletin boards, motivational signs, and student pledges to do their very best. We even had a day in which everyone could dress like a rock star.

Confidence is high at Laurel School that this year we’re going to “Rock the Test!”


February 2012

Music Department Night at the School Boardboard_meeting

It was music department night at the Franklin County School Board meeting Monday, February 11th.  Seventy six students earned gold ratings this year at the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) solo-ensemble festival competition.  Seven of those gold metal students have qualified for State competition.  Three of the State qualifiers performed their solos for the school board; the board members were impressed.

(L – R)  Ellen Goins, piano; Travis Hinkle, voice;
Mitchel Edwards, snare drum

October 2012

BMS Students Nominated for National Young Leaders State Conference

Pictured are the Brookville Middle School nominees for the National Young Leaders State Conference.  These students were selected based upon their demonstration of leadership potential, maturity and academic excellence. 1st Row from Left to Right are Jamie Shields, Brittany Anderson, Autumn McDaniel, Bridget Raible, and Mary Pennington;  2nd Row are Alexa Blessing, Ashlie Raible, Brooke Otto, Dana Branstetter and Nicholas Phelps.

The National Young Leaders State Conference (NYLSC) in Indiana is a unique, life-changing program for students in one of the most critical phases of their lives and of their education. This intensive four-day program, specifically for the most highly motivated students in the nation, focuses on core leadership power tools that provide scholars with critical skills essential for success in life.

NYLSC challenges its scholars to step forward with conviction and confidence, to grasp the concepts of self-awareness, social awareness and self-reliance, to develop strong relationship and communications skills and to understand and practice responsible decision making.

The curriculum of NYLSC is delivered by highly trained and qualified facilitators. Through their insight and guidance, and with the interaction of peers, scholars practice, apply and return home with the keys to help them choose the path toward making a difference in school and in their communities, and toward accomplishing their dreams in the future.  If any individual or business is interested in making a donation to these students to attend the conference, please contact the Brookville Middle School office.

BMS Wins 1st Place in Math

The Brookville Middle School competed in their 1st academic competition this year with five other area schools on Wednesday, October 3rd.  The math team won 1st place ribbons.  Pictured are (1st row left to right):  Daniel Smith, Andrew Lucas, Cole English, Sarah Short, and Alisha Lay.  (2nd Row):  Jake Houchin, Captain Austin Shaw, Dana Branstetter, and Kristin Wilkerson.  The team is coached by Mrs. Beverly Yager.

Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tours FCHS

On Monday, October 8 former Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Suellen Reed, along with the FCCSC Board of Trustees, toured Franklin County High School to see all of the new technology recently implemented there.

The tour began in our new Project Lead the Way lab.  Project Lead the Way is a science, technology, engineering, and math program that engages students in hands-on classroom experiences. Students create, design, build, discover, collaborate and solve problems while applying what they learn in math and science. The lab is designed to provide open space for hands on projects as well as 25 high performance computer workstations.

The tour concluded in a biology classroom where Franklin County High School teachers, Mr. Jeff Mersmann and Mrs. Cindy Andrews explained all of the new technology available in the classroom.  Classroom technology available includes Pole Vault systems, wireless interactive whiteboards (Mobi), wireless student response systems (clickers), and android tablet PCs.

To view a brochure showcasing all of the classroom technology available within Franklin County Community School Corporation’s Schools, click here.

Dr. Grider, FCHS Principal, presents our new Project Lead the Way lab to Dr. Reed and FCCSC board members.
Mr. Jeff Mersmann, FCHS Social Studies teacher, and Mrs. Cindy Andrews, FCHS Biology teacher, explain the new technologies available in the classroom.
Mr. Francis Brumback and Mr. Justin Ward, FCCSC board members, examine the new FCHS data center.
FCHS Athletic Director, Beth Foster, explains the new gymnasium sound system, scoreboard, and electronic message board.


 February 2012

BES Teachers Host an After School “Activity Hour with Teachers”

 On February 21, the third and fourth grade teachers at BES, supported by the school’s PTC, spent time with students and parents in Learning Stations.  The hour was filled with demonstrations of activities parents and children could do at home.  Groups rotated to all four of the stations.

At a Science Station teachers demonstrated how to make a biodome, using 2 liter pop bottles.  Another station featured homemade board games focusing on Language Arts skills.  Participants were sent home with materials and directions to construct games at home.  Family Math Games using ordinary playing cards were demonstrated at a third station.    Each family received a deck of cards and a packet of instructions for the various card games.

A final station gave parents and students hands on time with IPads and Kindles.  Recently, classrooms throughout the county received these technological teaching tools for use in the classrooms.  Teachers took this opportunity to share with parents the many apps and online ebooks available for reading tablets such as Kindles, IPads and IPods.

The evening was a huge success! The teachers received lots of positive comments about Activity Night with Teachers. Wendy Harpring responded to the evening by saying: “I want to thank you for the time spent preparing and putting on Activity Hour. We both learned lots of new things and look forward to trying them out. It was a great opportunity to spend some special time with my son!”


December 2011

ATV Safety Presentation

In the past few years, several students from Brookville Middle School have been adversely affected by ATV accidents.  Dr. Frost believed that students of Brookville Middle School would greatly benefit from an ATV safety presentation.  On Friday, November 6, Brookville Middle School held an ATV Safety Awareness Presentation for 7th and 8th grade students.  Conservation Officers Dan Sprinkle and Brandon Shoultz lead the presentation during Mr. Wewe and Mrs. Rauch’s physical education classes. Several students had the opportunity to wear a helmet and sit on an ATV, practicing how to distribute their body weight while riding on hills and through turns.  The presentation included an ATV safety booklet for each student, a safety video, and ATV safety procedures.  This was the first time an ATV Safety Awareness Presentation was offered for students in Franklin County.

 November 2011

Technology Demonstration

The Franklin County Community School Corporation board room was recently outfitted with new technology that mirrors the technology soon to be installed in Franklin County High School classrooms.  Director of Educational Technology, Toby Witt, demonstrated the technology to school board members and the public during the regular school board meeting on Monday, November 14.  The new technology will be used by board members for presentations and will double as a training room for high school teachers to learn how to use and successfully implement the technology into their curriculum.

Included in the technology package is an audio/video system called Pole Vault.  The Pole Vault system includes a ceiling mounted multimedia data/video projector, control interface, and audio system.

Also included is a mobile interactive whiteboard called Mobi.  Teachers and students can use the Mobi as a digital chalkboard.  The Mobi will allow teachers to record the actions they perform using the device as a video file.  Students can then watch the video on their own time as review.

The final piece of technology demonstrated to the board was a student response system.  The response system will give teachers instant feedback as to what their students understand.

The video below will help you understand how the Mobi and response system will work in a classroom.

October 2011

Laurel School Fine Arts Department

The Laurel School Fine Arts Department held a community and school wide Spring Celebration last May, 2011.  An outdoor school carnival, art show, and music production under the direction of music teacher, Mr. Rohit Menezes and art teacher, Mrs. Mary Sorrells was a success. The Elementary and Junior High Choirs and the Junior High Band performed popular favorites from the 70’s and 80’s like “Lean On Me”, “Jump”, and “Don’t Stop Believing”. Over two-thousand pieces of two and three-dimensional student artworks were displayed in the Laurel School cafeteria.  The “Best of Show” trophy winners for 2011-2012 were as follows:  Kylie Lea, (Grade 1), Brennon Russell (Grade 4), Rebecca Lecher (Grade 6), and Cody Sorensen (Grade 8).

Mrs. Sorrells, Laurel School art teacher displayed over fifty pieces of two and three-dimensional artwork at the October, Franklin County school board meeting.  Mrs. Sorrells commented that the art program has progressively developed at Laurel School over the past fourteen years of her teaching career. Sorrells also stated that her curriculum consists of giving all students exposure to many art mediums while integrating various academic subject areas as well.  Several Laurel School students representing five grade levels showed art their art at the meeting.

Jacob Wilson, grade eight showed a drawing that he had completed of a “dream house” using four drawing techniques with pencil.  He also showed a painting that he recently did of a reproduction of the artist Rembrandt.  The focus on this assignment was to be able to get a likeness of the colors that Rembrandt used in the original painting.  Attached to the artwork was an artist research paper that was written in English class during the first several weeks of the 2011-2012 school year.

Ashton Russell, grade six, showed a sculpture that he had completed based upon the famous assemblage artist, Louise Nevelson.  He also talked about a pointalism drawing that he completed with a still life arrangement based upon the artist, Georges Seurat.  Ashton commented that he would like to be an architect some day.

Brennon Russell, grade five, showed a work of art that he accomplished during the first week of school.  His drawing was an ocean scene with a hammerhead shark colored with marker.

Bethany Raab, grade four, showed a collage that she had finished including a drawing of her school supplies.  Color was added to the drawing using torn tissue paper and watercolor paints.

Jackson Brumback, grade 3, showed a seascape drawing with a ship that he had completed with crayon.

Mrs. Sorrells concluded her presentation at the school board meeting with a three minute slide show which included pictures from the 2010-2011 Spring Art and Music Celebration.   She commented that the 2011-2012 Laurel Art show will be held in conjunction with the Laurel School Christmas program.  The program will begin December 9th at 6:30 p.m.. The student art exhibition and reception will be held in the school cafeteria and the Parent Teacher Organization will be serving Christmas cookies and punch.

September 2011

MCS Academic Team

The 2010 – 2011 Mt. Carmel Vikings’ Academic Team represented the school last spring at Union County Middle School in the Jr. Academic Super Bowl.  There were 13 Jr. High schools that participated at Union County and hundreds throughout the state.  This competition is one of many sponsored by the Indiana Association of School Principals.  The Jr. Academic Super Bowl has categories in English, Social Studies, Math, Science, and Interdisciplinary.  Each category has up to 5 members of the Academic team on each individual team.

The Mt. Carmel team begins the year by inviting new members.  A list is generated by the current team members (the 8th graders who were on the team last year) with the ultimate decision made by the sponsors, Mrs. Karla Ariens and Mrs. Toni Miles.

Meetings and practices begin in December or January after the outline of the Super Bowl topic has been given out to the teams across the state of Indiana.  A list of books, readings, sample questions, outlines including subtopics within the main topic, a list of terms in each category, etc. is sent out to each team.  Students choose the individual team they feel they would be the best: English, Math, Science, or Social Studies.

The students work on their own doing research on their individual topics, doing the readings, and answering the sample questions.  Mrs. Ariens and Mrs. Miles supervise the research sessions which are during lunch and after school.

Approximately three weeks before the Super Bowl, the “real” practices begin.  The students finalize their research, try to finish the readings they have been assigned, etc. and mock Super Bowl’s begin.  At each practice the teams will compete in a different topic.  Just like the actual super bowl, the questions are put up on a screen; the students are timed and come up with a team answer.

At the Jr. Academic Super Bowl in the spring, Mt. Carmel placed first in English and was a top ten scorer statewide.  The team also placed 2nd in Math and Social Studies this year.  Mrs. Ariens and Mrs. Miles were very proud of the hard work and dedication of the team this year.

The team began the year with 20 members.  However, they lost one member, Kyle Kerr, in a farm accident last fall.  Of the 19 remaining members, 15 participated in the Jr. Academic Super Bowl.  Those participating were Logan Catron, Mallory Stewart, Kayla Ward, Alec Tellitocci, Lauren Mohr, Ella Knight, Adam Gabbard, Courtney Steele, Honesty Eversole, Wyatt Dixon, Kessie Miles, Audra Young, Emily Reed, Samantha Barrett, and Madison Payne.  Those unable to participate were Hailey Beneker, Marissa Strittholt, Ashley Beard, and Sydney Browning.

Past Celebrations:

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