Past NACS, current problems, future solutions
District relieves crowded buildings with new elementary
January 21, 2020
7825 elephants stacked on top of one another reaches about 86,075 feet tall. These elephants, laid out one by one, can wrap around the earth about six times.
7825 students go to the Northwest Allen Country School District, but it is definitely less packed than if elephants went to the schools in the district.
While elephants may take up more space than students, it can seem packed in NACS sometimes. As startling as it might be, there used to be a lot more room in the district.
In 1965, the first idea of a new school district was developed by the Eel River-Perry Consolidated School and the Lake Township School. This idea was put into motion in 1967 when Carroll High School was first built.
Just a few years later, in 1971, social studies teacher Mr. Rollie Clements graduated Carroll. Only 18 years later he started coaching, and in 1992, Mr. Clements began to teach. All from the same school.
When he was going to high school, the class sizes were a lot smaller, with more emphasis on learning, and less on testing the students.
From the 2014-2015 school year to the 2018-2019 school year, according to the Indiana Department of Education, there has been an increase of about 700 students enrolled in NACS, and while that may not seem like a huge increase, with that same rate continuing, the student congestion would become even more severe.
Steps are already being taken to help expand and make sure more students can fit into the growing school district. New buildings are being built and classrooms are moving outside.
Secretary Jami Campbell knows of some of the changes that have been made to help the growing population.
“Several of the elementary schools are now using portable classrooms to accommodate their growing population. The addition of the new elementary school [Aspen Meadows] that is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020 will help with the growth at the elementary level,” said Mrs. Campbell.
Clearly, elementary schools aren’t the only ones that are gaining students. The kids go to elementary school, then middle school, and then high school. More kids mean changes other than buildings need to be made.
The changes to the school’s schedule for lunch and even classes have also helped students’ lives go more smoothly.
“The addition of a modified block schedule on Wednesdays and Thursdays, along with the addition of zero-hour has helped with their daily schedule and opportunity for learning,” said Mrs. Campbell.
This wasn’t the first time students had to be moved around to incorporate new and growing populations.
Former art teacher Debra Kindness remembers a time when the now full elementary school of Oak View only had the grades of kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
Before this, around 15 years ago, Mrs. Kindness’s class sizes were only about 18 students per class. On the contrary, there are currently usually up to 30 or more students in each elementary class.
As the class sizes started growing, the expansions began their process into the modern situation of grade levels.
“Oak View was kindergarten through second grade. Grades three through six were at Perry Hill,” said Mrs. Kindness.
From 1987 to 2004, Carroll Middle used to be the freshman center with grades six, seven, and eight. That got too packed, so in 2004, a new building was completed with the same name. It was modeled exactly like Maple Creek middle school. It may be confusing, but growth can be a puzzling time.
Just like Carroll high, Oak View has had to have expansions to help with the growing student population, especially to their gym and music room.
“They added the music room, the whole gym, and reading readiness down at the other end. I think that is the only school they added onto. A lot of the other schools had their gym and they had a cafeteria, and our cafeteria was our gym and it was getting hard to schedule when we had the rest of the grades,” said Mrs. Kindness.
As these buildings get older, renovations become necessary to keep the buildings up to good standards in the near future, there are plans for a new and better sports facility for the high school.
“I am looking forward to the site improvement plan for our outdoor facilities here. The improvement includes a much-needed resolution to some of our traffic flow issues with student drop off and pick up, student parking, faculty parking, and bus drop off and pick up,” said Mrs. Campbell.
With more students comes the need to make changes to accommodate those students. New technology is one of those examples, along with – of course – expansion.
When Clements was in school they didn’t have computers or phones for everyone. A calculator was big news when he was growing up. As technology became even more available to the public, the schools started to gather this technology and make it more available to students.
In the 2016-2017 school year, NACS took the step to give all of the students in grades 6-12 personal laptops.
Mrs. Campbell approves the idea of giving students their own technology, especially laptops.
“The students haven’t changed a lot, but technology has definitely changed education. Technology has enhanced the learning opportunities for teachers and students of all levels – kindergarten through grade 12,” said Campbell.
Since then, the technology students have access to has gotten more and more sophisticated and this trend will most continue.
Speaking of learning opportunities for students and teachers, according to niche.com, NACS is ranked at eight out of 291 school districts in Indiana for best school districts overall. This stems from the 77% of students being proficient in reading and 70% of students being proficient in math. 99% of students from NACS graduate, which is significantly greater than the state average of about 88% of students.
“I think that the current students at CHS have great opportunities to learn and focus on their specific abilities and interests – the variety of programs available to students are amazing not only in the classroom but extra-curricular activities as well,” said Mrs. Campbell.
This support for school activities is only possible because of the great staff and students, according to both Kindness and Mr. Clements.
“I loved the kids no matter what grade I was teaching, kindergarten through sixth. They were always respectful and compliant. I always enjoyed being with them and teaching them. All of the teachers enjoyed teaching. They loved their students and that was reflected in how the teachers taught,” said Mrs. Kindness.
“I’ve always felt that the strength of Carroll is our great kids and the strong families and community that supports us and that hasn’t changed,” said Mr. Clements.
NACS seems to be only improving with better education, better staff, and better accommodations for the students.
“We are also very fortunate at NACS to have faculty, staff, and administration who truly care about the students – their education and their well-being. Decisions are based on what is best for the student,” said Mrs. Campbell.
With the addition of laptops, new buildings, and even new activities, one thing has stayed the same: excellent students.