2017 has been a great year for the Switzerland County School Corporation. We started two new programs this year: a Pre-Kindergarten Readiness Class at both elementary schools; and also our 21st Century After-School Program.
Our Pre-K is funded through our Title and 21st Century Grants. This year we are servicing approximately 44 four year old students, and our hope is that this program will give students a huge benefit as they begin school. The After-School program is also funded through the 21st Century Federal Grant and provides students with homework assistance, activities and snacks everyday after school. We are currently serving 144-150 students at both elementary schools in this program. The YMCA is a partner with us in this program.
One of the reasons that we are so successful is the support we get from our community. In the past two years, our graduating seniors have received over $ 250,000 in scholarship monies. This demonstrates the hard work and talent of our students and the support we receive from our community. These funds include local service organizations, businesses, industry, our local foundations, military and other benefactors. This does not include the scholarships and assistance our students receive directly from colleges and universities.
Switzerland County students have many exciting opportunities including: dual high school/college credits through Ivy Tech, the Southeast Career Center with programs such as Diesel Mechanics, Welding and Auto Mechanics, Industrial Certified Welding Program through Ivy Tech, Academic Competitions, Robotics throughout elementary, middle and high school, Clubs such as FFA, BPA, Archery, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and more, and many boys-girls athletic teams. Our students have successfully competed this year on the local, regional, state, national and international levels.
We are continuing our 1/1 technology initiatives. We are in the second year of E-Learning Days, which provides opportunities for students and staff to further integrate technology and instruction and gives more time for professional development for staff. In 2018 we will use E-Learning for our three Possible Make-Up Days, if we need to use them.
The School Endowment continues to play a major role in our county. The Endowment has paid the School Debt Service since its inception. This has save Switzerland County Taxpayers over $ 9,000,000.00 since 2001. The Endowment has also paid for student textbooks and fees for several years saving families millions of dollars. This year the Endowment announced that it would pay 80% of textbooks/fees, followed by a 20% decrease over the next three years. The Endowment also pays for the transportation costs for the 8th Grade Trip to Washington D.C. and Gettysburg. This decreases what students have to pay by about $ 200 per student. Another item the Endowment pays for is the YMCA contract. This enables every second grader in the corporation to get swimming lessons each year. Our Swim Teams also practice and compete at the YMCA. We also use the YMCA for many other activities throughout the year.
We encourage you to visit our schools throughout the year. There are many volunteer opportunities and also activities for you to enjoy. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Superintendent, Switzerland County School Corporation
Community Foundation celebrates 20th anniversary in 2017
2017 was the year the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Inc. (CFSCI) celebrated our 20th Anniversary. While being 20 years old is still relatively young in the Community Foundation world, it is still a milestone to be celebrated. Our asset size is now just shy of $12.5 million. And more importantly, we have been able to directly award over $3.2 million back out into Switzerland County for important programs and projects that have helped our community grow. In addition, CFSCI has been able to bring an additional $6.5 million in grant dollars into our community.
2017 started out with grants being paid out from our designated endowments. Over $100,000 in grant dollars was awarded to charitable organizations benefitting Switzerland County as determined by the donors that established the designated endowments.
CFSCI offered three different types of grants program in 2017: Immediate Response Grants, Fixed Cycle Grants and Leadership Training Grants. From these grants programs, 22 grants were awarded totaling $87,876.
At the beginning of June, CFSCI awarded over 70 scholarships to students of all ages pursuing their post-secondary educations. Approximately $50,000 was awarded in total.
In June, the Switzerland County Commissioners held their first Drug Free SC meeting to address the substance abuse problem in the county. CFSCI served as the coordinator for the meetings, which were held monthly throughout the year. From the meetings so far, service providers have been able to collaborate with each other to provide better services for the county. An informational brochure has been created for the general public with information on resources available to address substance abuse and a couple of events have been held to inform the community of the resources available. Drug Free SC is an ongoing effort that will continue its work into 2018.
CFSCI continued to offer programming at Switzerland County High School to encourage students to pursue some type of post-secondary education. In October, a FAFSA Day was held so that students and parents could complete the FAFSA while an expert from the National Center for College Costs helped them to complete the form and help them understand what their results meant. In November, the high school hosted a College and Career Fair. At the Fair, the National Center for College Costs hosted sessions for each grade level and CFSCI staff presented information on scholarship opportunities. In addition to the high school programming, CFSCI pays for any Switzerland County resident to complete a College Costs Estimator and consult with the National Center for College Costs as many times as needed on options of how to pay for a post-secondary education.
At the end of October, Sarah Brichto became the third employee of CFSCI with a title of Workforce Education/Grant Development Director. Her position was created from a collaboration effort between CFSCI, Switzerland County Economic Development and the Switzerland County Commissioners/Council.
On November 11th, CFSCI sponsored the monthly movie "The Blind Side" at Historic Hoosier Theater in celebration of our 20th Anniversary. Roy Leap, president of CFSCI, spoke briefly to the audience about CFSCI, presented four $1,000 field-of-interest grants to local nonprofit organizations, and announced a matching gift program effective immediately until the end of the year. The matching gift program matched all gifts to endowment funds $1 for $1.
At the beginning of December, CFSCI announced that Abigail Dayadharum was this year's Lilly Endowment Community Scholar. The scholarship provides full tuition for four years of undergraduate study leading to a baccalaureate degree. It also covers all required fees and up to $900 per year for required books and equipment. Students receiving the scholarship must attend an accredited public or private nonprofit college or university in Indiana.
CFSCI continued to administer the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in 2017. CFSCI started the program in 2006 in Switzerland County. Currently, there are approximately 300 children between the ages of 0 to 5 that are enrolled in the program. CFSCI and the Vevay-Switzerland County Foundation fund the program locally.
Thanks to a group of concerned citizens, the Keeping Pace Cancer Fund was created at the end of 2016 with a goal of assisting Switzerland County residents that are dealing with cancer. CFSCI administers the fund while a committee of community members oversees fundraising, marketing of the fund and reaching out to individuals with cancer to see how the fund can assist them. In 2017, the Keeping Pace Committee handed out care packages to several individuals undergoing treatment. The Keeping Pace Cancer Fund also financially assisted four individuals and their families battling cancer.
The Women's Giving Circle of Switzerland County continued having an impact in 2017. All women in Switzerland County are invited to these quarterly meetings, which are typically held on the first Wednesday of the second month of each quarter (February, May, August and November). Since the Giving Circle's inception at the end of 2009, almost $25,000 has been granted out from the Women's Giving Circle of Switzerland County Fund held at CFSCI.
CFSCI's donor-advised endowments provide donors with an ongoing opportunity to recommend grants from the fund they establish. There are 13 donor-advised endowments held at CFSCI. In 2017, over $8,000 in grant dollars were awarded from these funds to projects and programs benefitting Switzerland County.
Nancy Craig and Roy Leap, after serving the maximum six years allowed, retired from the CFSCI's Board of Directors at the end of 2017. Both made substantial contributions to CFSCI and both will be dearly missed.
Looking ahead to 2018, CFSCI has a lot to look forward to. Four new board members will begin their terms starting in January: Debbie Allen, Peggy Higgins, Denise Lieland, and Paul Schmitt. Dick Yanikoski will serve as the President of the Board and a board retreat will be held in March so that CFSCI's Board of Directors can determine their priorities for the year. CFSCI is blessed to be able help people do good work in Switzerland County and we will continue on our mission of "Connecting people who care with causes that matter for good forever for Switzerland County."