Welcome to the 2018 ZCS Yearbook.
Keep reading for a deeper understanding of the school district and to catch of glimpse of 2018 in ZCS. In Zionsville Community Schools, we are always growing.
There is incredible brightness across this school community. There are soaring successes and consistent patterns of student growth resulting in excellent preparedness for life after high school. This annual report is called a “yearbook” on purpose! The wonder and verve that is Zionsville Community Schools warms these pages as we look backward with pride and look forward with important plans.
Our planning is essential to being prepared for sustained enrollment growth. Our purpose of student growth is successful as evidenced by important metrics and thousands of student and family stories. Our resolve exists to sustain ZCS and continuously improve it, too! However, smiling snapshots of great young people in our school settings tell us only so much of the compelling story that is ZCS. Sunny social media posts can mask overwhelming stress and other challenges faced by some of our students.
Our Board leaders have been unabashed in supporting reality-based programming, focus groups, and a counseling emphasis to help our students gain resilience. We are fostering relationships that can make lifesaving differences.
This yearbook is a window into our fine local schools. Look in on us, please. By sustaining our growth in all ways, we sustain school tax rate stability to keep adding value to the community’s quality of life. We sustain our safety and security vigilance for the good of all in our midst. We sustain our listening to student, staff, and parent voices to best serve student needs. We sustain our stewardship through planning.
We use detailed facility, demographic, and financial studies. We meticulously construct and implement balanced budgets, facility repair timelines, and enrollment projections. But we are truly sustained as an organization at the ground level…the classroom level! Our work to recruit and retain caring, bright, and enthusiastic teachers is THE difference-maker for ZCS. This is true for any organization that has “STUDENT GROWTH” as its two-word statement of mission.
We had a fantastic recruiting summer for teaching talent before the current school year began. It was a great year in many other ways, too, and this yearbook will allow you to see a lot of it in pictures. No one person or organization is Strong in Every Way, and so, we aspire as individuals and as an organization to be as strong as possible in every way.
Please enjoy our yearbook, and in so doing, accept our gratitude for being among our school community’s amazing stories.
Scott Robison, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
My Board of Trustees service to ZCS has now spanned 10 years. I remain awestruck a great many times each year by the accomplishment of our students. Their sophistication and vision about working hard, and with integrity, toward productive lives is inspiring. Our community is reflected in our schools. My Board colleagues and I have supported and sustained stewardship of budgets and specific actions to uplift youth. These are also reflections of the prudent, hardworking, and prosperous families our schools serve.
We will soon near completion of this century’s first two decades. As a parent of young adult children, I know the many ways that an initiative like our Strong in Every Way campaign is necessary. Our student outcomes (graduation rate, SAT scores, and other metrics of success) have been exemplary for many years. But the digital age has brought both wonder and woe to young lives. ZCS strives in many ways to partner with engaged parents in lowering student stress, adding to their webs of support, and providing options for in-school and out-of-school counseling. Every child needs and deserves the support of caring adults at home and school.
Our ZCS team works hard to add essential value to young lives. As both a board leader for ZCS and a member of the community it serves, I cheer our students’ successes and marvel at the supports our ZCS team members provide for all youth. Young people of all backgrounds are advantaged for life when they learn that setbacks and striving are key to sustained success.
Thank you for viewing our YEARBOOK about ZCS. Thank you for being involved with this amazing community.
The road through life begins here!
Jane Burgess, President
Zionsville Community Schools Board of Trustees
THE ROAD THROUGH LIFE BEGINS HERE
“Nearly one in three of our teachers is funded by the referendum.”
Zionsville Community Schools serves Eagle and Union Townships and is one of the most rapidly growing school communities in the state. Proximity to amenities of the Indianapolis area allows for easy access to industry as well as to leisure activities including professional sports teams, the arts, theatre and many other entertainment venues. Additionally, Zionsville Community Schools is one of the top-performing school districts in the state and nation. With rapid growth comes increased challenge and opportunity.
Currently, there are more than fifty languages spoken in Zionsville Community Schools. This diversity has allowed ZCS students exposure to cultures from all over the world right inside the walls of their schools. Global exposure has become an integral part of preparing youth for the world they will lead.
Zionsville Community Schools receives the lowest per-student funding in the state of Indiana. Nonetheless, the ZCS budget is built on a solid foundation born of fiscal stewardship and entrepreneurship. We partner with voters* to ensure that our students are provided outstanding opportunities made possible by local referenda. We ensure students in Zionsville Community Schools are afforded the best education.
We value our partnership with the community. We are excited about the growth in the district, and with your support, have built a plan to accommodate enrollment growth. You are an essential part of the success of Zionsville Community Schools. Thank you for partnering with us. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for investing in us.
Together, we are ensuring for students that...
* Every penny of our referendum is used to pay for teachers delivering the core mission. Nearly one in three of our teachers is funded by the referendum.
Zionsville Community High School
Zionsville Middle School
Zionsville West Middle School
Boone Meadow Elementary School
Eagle Elementary School
Pleasant View Elementary School
Stonegate Elementary School
Union Elementary School
Deep study of our demographics, facilities, and the funding situation drives ZCS central leaders to predict that our school district must be ready to open a new elementary school in August of 2022 or 2023. Enrollment growth has been fastest at Boone Meadow and Union elementary schools in recent years, and so, a central location for the next elementary school seems most logical. Fortunately, our Board of Trustees acquired the CR875 campus in 2004, and it was slated for the future facilities needs of ZCS.
I was excited to serve as the facilitator for discussions involving our ZCS elementary school leadership group. Together we forged belief statements that were later refined by faculty, parent, and student feedback. These beliefs will undergird our work with building designers and governing Board members as we make our common vision for all elementary schools in ZCS come to life.
The road through life begins here!
The middle school years are an especially critical time in helping students engage in the guided self-exploration of activities and careers that might be of lifelong interest to them. By the middle level, students are gaining in an understanding of high academic expectations. They are ready for the next level of learning. Middle school educators have a unique challenge before them to educate and nurture children who are growing into young adults. Middle school students are full of energy, curiosity, and creativity as they are just beginning to identify and unleash their unique passions.
Zionsville Middle School embraced the energy this year by involving students in Passion Projects - a curriculum designed to allow students the opportunity to explore their unique interests. We also encourage middle school students to look outside of themselves. The teenage years can be a time when students become very focused on themselves and their individual needs. We strive to help them see the difference they can make in the world. We create experiences that allow students to explore the ways they can influence change.
At Zionsville West Middle School, 8th grade students are participating in the 2018-19 Active Citizen Project. Under the leadership of teacher Tim Yovanovich, students select public policy topics that they desire to work on, to influence, and in many cases to see change made in the world around them through citizen action. Students are responsible for researching and choosing their topic, connecting with expert professionals and authorities in the chosen topic, and developing the action steps they will take toward influencing their world. Standards and expectations require learning about and interacting with government entities, businesses, and other agencies. Students are self-motivated and self-directed while Mr. Yovanovich assesses their learning and progress through regular journal entries and conferencing. Written reports provide an additional tool for assessment, and project goals focus both on process and product. In past years, student projects have resulted in the construction of a new pedestrian walkway (in both Zionsville and Whitestown), planting of trees to “green” our campus and community, and school rule or procedure changes. This year’s projects are underway and we are excited to see what our 8th grade students will learn and do this year as active citizens.
WE KEEP GROWING STRONGER IN EVERY WAY
by Tim East, Zionsville Community High School
Zionsville Community High School (ZCHS) is a premiere secondary school in the state of Indiana and in the nation. ZCHS has been named a United States Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School. With one of the highest Graduation Qualifying Exam (GQE) scores in the state, ZCHS prides itself on offering a quality, highly-personalized, and innovative education.
ZCHS World Language students placed in the top deciles in both the statewide and national academic competitions and the national examinations for world languages.
In 2017-2018, we were proud to welcome exchange students from nine countries and four continents. Students in Zionsville Community Schools have the rare opportunity to not only travel through the foreign exchange program but to experience other cultures through a diverse student population.
ZCHS was named for national recognition by Newsweek magazine, the Washington Post, and U.S. News & World Report in 2018 for having strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) offerings and outcomes and a rigorous curricular program overall.
The ZCHS Class of 2018 sent graduates to post-secondary studies at Purdue, IU, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Notre Dame, Rose-Hulman, Bryn Mawr, Berklee College of Music, Northwestern, Duke, Butler and many more. Three graduates are attending ROTC programs and eight have enlisted in the armed forces.
In Zionsville Community Schools, keeping our students and staff safe is our first priority. School safety is critical to our core mission. We have responded to the increasing number of violent acts in schools around the country by enhancing our safety measures. As the Director of School Safety, one of my key responsibilities is to ensure the district is implementing the highest level of security in our buildings.
We have added police officers in every school building. We have upgraded technologies. We have reviewed and enhanced our safety practices. We know that there is often a pattern of behavior that leads up to a violent act. We have implemented a Dynamic Student Support Team (DSST) to work with children and families on their journeys through Zionsville Community Schools. The DSST adds an additional level of support for both children who may need it and teachers who may need guidance in leading students who require extraordinary support. We know that early intervention can eliminate future problems. The goal of this team is to help establish a positive pattern for every student in Zionsville Community Schools.
Violence prevention is just one part of our comprehensive safety strategy. In addition, our safety plan includes student transportation, facilities, and anything that relates to a safe environment for optimal learning.
Zionsville Community Schools’ athletic teams are among the state’s most accomplished. ZCS students are strong athletes who are not only dedicated to sport but to embracing the true character of a champion. Our program prides itself on teaching our students to embrace good sportsmanship, show compassion, display camaraderie on the field, and nurture friendships off the field. We set the “character” bar high for ZCS athletes. Our coaches are trained in working with student athletes to build character, determination and pride in self and team.
Student athletes are role models throughout the district and community. The community always shows tremendous support for our ZCS athletic teams. ZCS student athletes consistently show that character always wins.
“Since 2012, student athletes are required to pay more than $200 to participate in sports and clubs. Being the lowest-funded school district in the state impacts ZCS families in many ways that are not widely known.”
Studies have revealed that participation in the arts has a significant impact on the overall educational performance of young learners. In ZCS, we guide students on a trajectory that allows for exceptional exposure to the arts and an opportunity to participate in art in its many forms including choir, band, orchestra, fine arts and theatre performance.
With some of the state’s most accomplished leaders of the arts, Zionsville Community Schools has nurtured students who have invested interest and effort. Many of our students have excelled at the highest levels and become accomplished musicians, performers and fine artists.
As part of our Strong in Every Way campaign, and through generous community support, we have been able to afford ZCS students the opportunity to explore the arts in deep and meaningful ways.
Many of our talented musicians have taken the stage in the Zionsville Performing Arts Center, a high-end theatre facility that not only showcases student theatre and musical entertainment, but also serves as the venue for an impressive lineup of professional productions.
Careers have been born in the Zionsville Performing Arts Center. Our hope is that the talent discovered, developed and nurtured here in Zionsville Community Schools returns home to share with the community.
ZCS supports the growth of young artists and has intentionally grown the curriculum to include high-level arts-focused courses that feed the creative soul.
The core mission of Zionsville Community Schools is student growth. In order to maximize student growth, our two academic priorities are focused on social-emotional growth and student agency/empowerment.
We know how to prepare students for academic success, but we have learned that many lack strengths and strategies to cope with the pressures of their daily lives. Coming of age in a world driven by ever-present social media and digital connectedness requires unique skills to thrive, and parents are often not experienced with these challenges themselves, leaving students navigating with less guidance than in previous times. This is why we have intentionally committed to ensure all ZCS students will experience connected, safe, high-relationship learning environments that develop their social-emotional strengths.
Our students come to us ready and very capable. ZCS needs to be a place where we expect them to lead, make choices, drive their own learning, take risks, and build their capacities. Our students’ future success depends on their ability to innovate, communicate, problem-solve, create, defend ideas, lead, and work collaboratively with others. We must give students multiple daily experiences and the support to learn to do these things well. We work daily to provide opportunities where all ZCS students will be empowered to learn in a flexible environment that supports their interests and develops their strengths.
To help support these priorities, we have focused on developing a comprehensive K-12 counseling program. With generous grant funding from the Lilly Endowment, we have been able to implement research-based programs such as Second Step and Preventure. Our counselors provide effective strategies for managing/reducing stress while promoting health and social/emotional development for all students. They work in small groups and one-on-one with our students and families who need additional help navigating the K-12 journey.
Student growth, fostered through social-emotional well-being and empowerment, is what makes Zionsville Community Schools a wonderful place for students.
The budget hearing last fall stated it again, Zionsville Community Schools remains the lowest funded school district in the state and has endured $20 million in tax cap losses since 2008. Despite these financial challenges, the Board of Trustees and leadership team have been committed to addressing the various operational needs around the district while also planning for the future.
The past year saw us achieving great progress on the comprehensive facilities study conducted in 2016. Last January, the Board of School Trustees authorized the repair and replacement and/or upgrade of the heating and air conditioning systems at each of the three secondary schools. These upgrades included new temperature controls as well as new chillers, boilers, and other supporting mechanical equipment necessary to maintain the comfort and safety of these campuses. The Board of Trustees also authorized replacement or repairs of HVAC components in the five elementary schools.
In 2018, the leadership team once again engaged the professional demographers at the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) through the IU-Kelley School of Business. The results of the most recent study were presented in the July public meeting and can be located on the ZCS website for further review. Our 2018-2019 enrollment number differs from what the IBRC had predicted by just three students! The amazing accuracy of this year’s projection underscores our confidence in the IBRC and their fantastic 20-year track record here. IBRC experts’ information about enrollment growth are invaluable strategic planning tools for ZCS.
ZCS will continue with strategic actions needed to address identified facility needs. We must continue to care for our current 1.6 million square feet under roof while planning well for future facilities to serve our growing student population.
ZCS has just 70 percent of the buying power it had in 2008. In 2019, the difference between the lowest funded (ZCS) and the highest funded Indiana school districts is $2,140 per student. This represents more than $15 million ZCS could get in per pupil funding if not for the funding formula’s Complexity Index disparity.
The Indiana General Assembly has made major changes to the school budget fund structure for 2019, and even with the changes, Zionsville Community Schools will continue to have a balanced budget despite increasing enrollment and receiving the lowest level of per student funding in the state.
The state has eliminated the former General Fund and will now put expenses into two funds: Education Fund and Operations Fund.
The ZCS financial position remains dependent upon future versions of the state funding formula and continued community support in operating referenda. The ZCS property tax rate is expected to remain steady.
STRONG IN EVERY WAY
Community Challenge 2018
The inaugural ZCS Community Challenge kicked off the new school year in August. Students, staff, families and community members came together in the spirit of fun. Teams competed in a variety of activities including DanceFit, cornhole, kickball, volleyball, inner tube relay and tug-of-war. Each team was encouraged to complete a community service activity as part of their registration. The focus of this year’s event included building adult supports for our students, promoting wellness, and fostering community pride. We hope this event will continue to grow as we model for our students what it means to be as Strong in Every Way as possible.
Eagle Recreation and Enrichment
Zionsville Community Schools offers enrichment classes and sports camps for our students in elementary, middle, and high schools. ZCS also offers some courses for adults. These classes and camps are proposed, created, and taught by ZCS faculty and staff as well as some outside professionals who wish to offer a unique course for students or adults. During the school year, these courses are offered at many locations around ZCS. As our student body continues to grow, more and more classes are being offered each year.
Universal Preschool is designed to provide enriching and engaging experiences in an inviting preschool setting. Preschool enrollment in Zionsville Community Schools is fully subscribed very quickly each year. As enrollment grows, we continue to add preschool classes in an effort to accommodate as many young “Eagles” as possible. Even so, some facilities (Boone Meadow and Union) have grown in K-4 enrollment so quickly that some or all of our preschool space will be displaced until a new school facility can be built.
The Zionsville Education Foundation partners with the school community to instill in students a lifelong desire for knowledge.
The mission of the Zionsville Education Foundation is to serve its school community by providing funds that promote academic excellence.
Many thanks to all who donate to the Zionsville Education Foundation. Your donation allows ZCS educators to invest in resources that otherwise would not be available. Thank you for
investing in our youth. Thank you for investing in our core mission.
We value our partnership with you.
The ZCS Board of Trustees consists of five (5) elected members serving four-year terms in seats based on geography, though all seats are voted upon by all engaged, registered voters of Union and Eagle Townships of Boone County. Pictured from left are: Debbie Ungar, Board Secretary (At-Large, elected 2014 and 2018), Joe Stein, Board Vice President (Union Township, elected 2012 and 2016), Jane Burgess, Board President (Eagle Township, elected 2008, 2012, and 2016), Shari Richey, Member/Past President (Union Township, elected 2010 and 2014), and Jim Longest, Member/Past President (Eagle Township, elected 2006, 2010, and 2014).
Mrs. Ungar was re-elected for a second term and two new members joined the ZCS Board of Trustees as of January 1, 2019. Retiring member and past president Shari Alexander Richey (Union Township) has been replaced by Michael Coussens, a mechanical engineer and father of four children attending or graduated from ZCS. Retiring member and past president Jim Longest (Eagle Township) has been replaced by Michael Berg, a licensed mental health counselor and father of three children attending ZCS.
Cultural understandings are critical in our quest to help every ZCS student be as strong as possible in every way. High school and middle school students from across the district were given a rare opportunity early in the 2018-2019 school year to hear the harrowing concentration camp story of Holocaust survivor, Mrs. Eva Kor. Mrs. Kor told about her powerful journey toward forgiveness of her captors and torturers, too.
ZCHS student Sophie Quick was determined to bring Mrs. Kor to ZCS as part of her Girl Scout project and because she knew the event would mesh perfectly with our Strong in Every Way human capital campaign. Sophie spoke with me last spring, and I jumped at the chance to fund half of the effort from donated funds. The young leader went to work.
Sophie’s commitment to bringing this experience to her peers blossomed into a major community event. Nearly 3,000 ZCS middle and high school students and more than 1,000 community members were able to hear Mrs. Kor’s amazing story first-hand. The impact was profound, as captured by WFYI-TV, the local PBS TV affiliate, in a pre-show filmed largely at ZCHS to run before the documentary about Mrs. Kor’s life.
Mrs. Kor’s powerful story of hardship, will to survive, and ultimate journey to forgiveness is accessible at https://www.thestoryofeva.com/about-eva/.
The Eva Kor presentations in our community were powerful on the basis of Mrs. Kor’s story and her related expressions of great wisdom. The presentations were also a perfect showcase for how youth leadership can impact our community. One brave and resilient young person’s “passion project” provided a unique way to highlight that the need for cultural understanding is not new and not important to just our community and our time.
I was ecstatic about how many people were reached through the presentations. I am so proud of Sophie Quick, and I am grateful for her vision and leadership. In the three years that we have been producing events across the three domains of Strong in Every Way, this was the single best cultural understandings opportunity available to the entire community.”