- Hazel Dell Elementary
State of the Schools 2020
Noblesville Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Niedermeyer presented the annual State of the Schools address at the October Noblesville Chamber of Commerce luncheon, covering a wide variety of topics ranging from how the district has tackled challenges associated with COVID to ongoing construction plans.
Niedermeyer kicked off the presentation with an overview of the district’s COVID response, including how the district completely redesigned school systems to ensure that learning was not interrupted by the pandemic.
COVID-related highlights include:
- Return to school plan & communications that have been benchmarked & used by other districts across the country
- Higher rate of in-person student return (90%) than neighbor schools
- Creation of six different online, in-person & hybrid instructional models, none of which the district had ever done before
- 100+ direct COVID communications, in addition to 32-page plan & online resource portal
- Staff, student & parent input gathered through survey, Q&A event, COVID task force & approximately 25 teacher meetings
- 53 positive cases of COVID to date among 11,700+ students & staff
- Fewer direct contacts & quarantine disruptions than some other area schools thanks to health protocols
Niedermeyer reported that the district has spent over $1.8 million on COVID-related staffing and purchasing expenses, while losing more than $800,000 in state funding due to lower than expected enrollment numbers.
The district also stands to lose almost $5.5 million if the state legislature does not fully fund students attending virtually in the February 2021 student count. While COVID has been a tough hit to the budget, Niedermeyer said that finances overall are stable thanks in large part to the community’s passage of the 2018 operating referendum.
Also thanks to the referendum, Niedermeyer shared that the district has implemented (50) different school safety measures and (25) mental health initiatives since their May 2018 school shooting.
Another piece of creating an environment where all students and staff feel safe & respected has been the district’s strong focus on diversity, equity & inclusion. Niedermeyer explained work that’s been happening in this area, such as leadership trainings, curriculum reviews, changes in recruiting practices, and the creation of a “think tank”.
Updates on several construction projects were also covered, all of which will be funded through bonds (loans) and will not use referendum dollars or raise the tax rate.
- New stadium behind Noblesville High School will be 50% larger and is expected to open in 2022.
- Noblesville Schools Community Center under construction next to the new stadium is on track to open in February 2021 and will house an alternative education program, adult education classes, community events and more.
- The expansion of the district’s oldest and smallest school, North Elementary, will be complete in the summer of 2021 and will provide students with adequate room for lunch, physical education and music programming, as well as restroom renovations.
- Growth on Noblesville’s west side has driven up enrollments at Noble Crossing Elementary, creating a need for additional classrooms and cafeteria space that will be completed by July 2021.
- The district’s solar initiative, expected to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings a year, is almost fully complete and in addition to cost savings, will create student learning opportunities and reduced environmental impacts.
- Updates to roofing, HVAC, LED lighting, Hazel Dell Elementary, maintenance storage and soccer facilities have also been recently completed or are in the works.
The address wrapped up by honoring the (25) distinguished community members selected as Noble Millers for the district’s 150th anniversary and by celebrating the following Noblesville Schools accomplishments:
- A-rated district
- National recognition (top 1%) for K-12 STEM
- National recognition for Advanced Placement (AP)
- National recognition for Music Education
- State and national recognition for robotics, band, choir, theater, speech, journalism & color guard
- State, regional & sectional championships in girls & boys soccer, swimming, girls & boys golf, & boys cross country