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Success is a byproduct of excellence

Squire talks this year’s goals

Principal+Sandra+Squire+takes+part+in+the+opening+day+festivities+in+the+main+gym.+Squire+is+entering+her+seventh+year+as+principal+at+Ben+Davis.
Principal Sandra Squire takes part in the opening day festivities in the main gym. Squire is entering her seventh year as principal at Ben Davis.

Principal Sandra Squire takes part in the opening day festivities in the main gym. Squire is entering her seventh year as principal at Ben Davis.

Tom Hayes

Tom Hayes

Principal Sandra Squire takes part in the opening day festivities in the main gym. Squire is entering her seventh year as principal at Ben Davis.

Anna Eggers, News Editor

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Recent year’s successes have been quite monumental for the Ben Davis community.

Not only has our Ben Davis University been able to achieve 100 percent graduation rates for more than seven years, Ben Davis itself is leading its way in the state in terms of graduation. We also house students among the highest ranked in sports, show choir, video, and paper journalism, as well as business professionals, speakers, and debaters. Looking onward to a new school year, principal Sandra Squire has big plans.

Many students were aware of the renovations occurring in S Hall over the summer. The speech, debate, health, WBDG, and BDTV rooms all received some pretty massive makeovers. Throughout recent years, we’ve seen the commons get updated furniture, carpet and wallpaper replaced and general updates to older parts of the building.

Being a big hallway for media, S Hall had some unique changes that included opening up closets and walls for more spaces for production and creating windows into production rooms for a more positive mood.

“We are in a year seen of a 10-year construction plan so we will continue to lay a new floor and update other areas of the school,” Squire said.

By the end of this 10-year construction plan, the school will see vast improvements.

When it comes to graduation rates, Ben Davis does a fairly good job already. According to a Wayne Township graduation report published in 2015, Ben Davis stacks up to be tied for third in the state for percentage of students following through graduation. We have a whopping 93 percent amount of students who achieve their goal of graduating. Squire’s goal for this new school year is to improve even more.

“We are shooting for a 95 percent attendance rate. We will believe our IMPACT classes helped us raise one percentage point in attendance last year as every student has a champion and mentor teacher.  This personalized attention helps our students want to come to school more often,” Squire said.

IMPACT classes were a huge deal when they were first introduced only a few years ago. Despite its critics, many students enjoy having a period of time to break up their day and allow them to study or seek the individualized attention they need.

As the school looks forward to the Distinguished Graduate program which honors not only high academic students but students who are well rounded in activities, IMPACT will continue to look like a time for uplifting support and inspiration for our futures.

Although IMPACT helps encourage students to be present and advance their studies, Squire also stresses the importance of taking part in remediation programs with teachers if needed.

“We have what we call DMR (decision making for results) teams that have been working hard for three years analyzing our test scores and making suggestions for how to improve.  As you know, test scores are the results of many years of education, but we have begun some remediation plans that are very helpful,” Squire said.

In spite of the slightly low amount of students who have achieved passing Math and English ISTEP as sophomores during previous years, the school has been working extremely hard to create a culture of skill-based learning. After school study tables focus on targeting the areas a student needs the most growth in and aids them to success. As this year goes on, goals are high for students doing well.

Given the massive wins by our football and basketball teams in recent years — both winning state — goals are set high for them too. The recent transfer of previous football coach Mike Kirschner shocked many, but new head coach Jason Simmons will hopefully create lots of success with these athletes as well. As for the basketball team, new coach Don Carlisle is bound to set lots of high expectations.

Not only do our students harbor multitudes of success, our very own principal does as well. Squire was named the Indiana Association of School Principals’ 2018 High School Principal of the Year for Marion County. An award ceremony taking place in November will reveal who won overall for the state. Ambition is high for this upcoming year to see what other great teachers and administrators will be recognized.

This upcoming year at Ben Davis is destined to be the best one yet. As all students begin to make their social, academic, and extracurricular goals, they’ll be able to do it knowing that our school is doing everything in their ability to help us achieve them and prove that there is a reason they call us Giants.

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About the Photographer
Tom Hayes, Advisor
After 20 years of covering sports in the Indianapolis area, I found myself teaching high school journalism in New Castle, Indiana. That was a decade ago. This is my eighth year at Ben Davis, and I love the creativity displayed by the students here. Teaching newspaper, yearbook and photography is the culmination of a 30...
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