Knox School Board Tours New Elementary Cafeteria

Knox-School-Board-2014The newly completed Knox Elementary School cafeteria and cooking kitchen were a focus of last night’s meeting of the School Board. The board meeting was held in the cafeteria itself. Tours of the cooking kitchen were given by Superintendent A.J. Gappa. He reported the elementary building project is near completion. The new lunch facility has a seating capacity of about 150 students. The school’s enrollment of 450 eat there daily in three shifts. Continue reading

Knox School Board Prepares for Graduation

Knox-School-Board-2014Knox High School’s 112 senior candidates for graduation will complete their high school careers in services at the Weinberg Gymnasium, Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m. Principal Dr. Elizabeth Ratliff also reported to the Knox School Board Monday that seniors will receive their earned honors in a Friday morning program, the 22nd,  at the High School gymnasium. The public is invited to the 8:15 a.m. activity. Continue reading

Storm Water Plans Presented to Knox Board of Public Works


The Knox Board of Public Works discussed plans for a storm water system for the new addition to the Knox Elementary School.

Andy Bearman from Commonwealth Engineers said that the addition will create an additional one percent rain-water run-off as a portion of the ground covered with grass will be dug up for the project. That soft area was able to absorb the extra water so it wouldn’t create any water build up anywhere on the property.

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Enjoy the Sounds of the Season at Knox Music Programs


Annual Christmas music programs are scheduled at the Knox Elementary School starting with 3rd grade students today. The 2nd grade, tomorrow;  1st grade, Wednesday, Dec. 10th; and kindergarten students, Thursday, Dec. 11th. All programs begin at 6 p.m. in the Knox Elementary School gymnasium. A “Book Fair” for students and parents follows each concert.

The Middle and High School Holiday Band Concert begins at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 10th in the Weinberg Gymnasium.

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Knox Superintendent Discusses Proposed Elementary Project


A final public hearing on the renovation and addition project for the Knox Elementary School is scheduled for Monday, November 3rd. Superintendent A. J. Gappa explains the proposed 5,500 square foot addition.

“When the referendum failed a year ago, plan B was as things go along and failed,” explained Gappa. “We had to fix them but that can become expensive in the long run. One of our major perceived needs was our kitchen situation where we have a 60-year-old cafeteria doing all the cooking and then carting the food down for the half of the building at the west end serving and warming the food at that point in time.”

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Knox School Board Considering Elementary School Renovation, Expansion

Knox-School-Board-2014A public hearing was held by the Knox School Board Monday evening for the renovation and addition being planned for Knox Elementary School. The project is designed to expand the kitchen and cafeteria areas by about 5,500 square feet. A final hearing is scheduled for November 3rd.

Superintendent A.J. Gappa presented a detailed summary the 2015 budget, expressing a concern about the effect of reduced revenues on operations. The board will hold the final hearing on that budget on October 20th.

The purchase of a 78 passenger bus was approved, as was the hire of four substitute teachers and substitute personnel for food service and custodial work.

Raelyn Binkley was approved for the position of Middle School Treasurer, effective October 20th, subject to the customary criminal history report.

In the “Spotlight on Success” portion of the agenda, Middle School Principal Josh Pugh and three students made presentations on the successful Manufacturer’s Day event, attended by 7th grade students from Knox, North Judson and Oregon-Davis schools last week.

New Science Club Excites Entire Knox Elementary


Knox Elementary School has a new science club program. Members meet once every seven school days with science teacher Marge Wood. Students get to visit the outdoor lab and see different forms of wildlife in the area. A pond with minnows and frogs is also part of the lab. Approximately 120 kids have signed up to be in the club. Principal Glenn Barnes says the students are really getting into the program.

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Kindergarten Countdown Benefits 20 Students

Kids learned several important skills prior during the Kindergarten Countdown
Kids learned several important skills prior during the Kindergarten Countdown. Photo provided.

The Kindergarten Countdown program held at the Knox Elementary School in June was a success this year.

Twenty children received an early education before they enter Kindergarten this fall. Students who attend preschool often obtain better scores on tests, have better social skills and are more understanding of routines than those who do not attend a preschool program.

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Knox Elementary Hosting Kindergarten Countdown


Knox Elementary School is once again offering a three-week Kindergarten Countdown to help students who have little or no preschool experience get ready to start school in the fall. Curriculum director Peggy Shidaker says it gives youngsters an idea of what to expect.
“They experience the type of class atmosphere and learning that actually happens or will happen when they enter kindergarten. They have an opportunity to ride a school bus, which the kids absolutely love. They’ll eat breakfast with their peers, and they’ll eat lunch with them as well. Since it is actually kindergarten readiness, the students will be immersed in those literacy and math skills to help those students enter kindergarten at the same academic levels as their peers, or at least close to the same academic levels as their peers who have had some preschool.” Continue reading

Starke County Youth Club Prepares for Annual WKVI Radiothon


Starke County Youth Club members and volunteers will take over the WKVI airwaves on Friday to raise money for the nonprofit organization. Executive Director Irene Szakonyi says they provide academic support to 600 youngsters across the county at after-school sites at Knox, North Judson-San Pierre and Oregon-Davis Elementary schools and at O-D Junior/Senior High School. They give students quiet time to do homework, offer one-on-one tutoring in a specific subject and offer a variety of enrichment programs like technology classes, videography and world travel through culture centers. Services are offered each Monday through Friday for three hours after school.

“That is the time when kids are most likely to be the victims of or perpetrators of violent crime. We know that kids who don’t have proper supervision, who don’t have great role models, who aren’t engaged in something productive, make the wrong choices in their lives. So we’re there to provide a safe, engaging and positive environment for kids once the school day ends,” Szakonyi says. Continue reading

State Education Officials Urges Schools To Try Referendums Again

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz
Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz says school districts will have to continue to conduct referendums to seek tax increases until the Indiana Legislature changes the school funding formula. She made the comments during several stops in Lake and Porter Counties. Ritz told educators at the Hammond Area Career Center that “you have to spend money to get money.” She thinks that many voters in areas where school district referendums failed may not have been aware of the issue. The state school superintendent says she encourages the school districts whose referendums did not pass, to try again during the next election. Knox was one such school. Local voters rejected a property tax increase to pay for construction of a new $16 million elementary school wing. The Knox Community School Board has not indicated whether they plan to pursue the issue again during next year’s regular election cycle. In the meantime, Ritz says she will help the schools in any way she can. Ritz addressed members of the Professional Educators Partnership at Valparaiso University.