Back-to-School: What’s new at Baugo Community Schools

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 2:25 PM EDT
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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Students at Baugo Community Schools returned to the classroom on Thursday!

The district has some new resources this school year for both teachers and students.

First off, the district is offering every single teacher affordable childcare on campus.

Seeing a need for affordable and safe childcare, the school district decided to buy a church building that had been sitting empty for a while and the property around it to provide the resource to teachers with kids between the ages of 3 and 5.

“We are going to partner with you, so your kids are getting academics, social interactions, and care,” says Anitra Zartman, preschool teacher and coordinator. “We want to partner with our staff and our teachers to say ‘Hey, we got you too.’

“We have the ability to stay open and cater to them, so if there are parent teacher conferences, we can stay open a little later for them,” Zartman added. “It is affordable. It is safe. We know each other, so they can contact us if they need to.”

It also serves as a learning space for the district’s high school and junior high students that are interested in childhood development.

“The art classes—we are hoping to use them to do some murals or to teach an art lesson,” Zartman says. “Building trades, we thought we might use them for building a shelf or a balance beam.”

Meanwhile, the district now has its very own police department. According to the Police Chief Dustin Sahlhoff, Baugo Community Schools is the third school corporation in Elkhart County to do this.

“I worked for the local sheriff’s office, and then for the past seven years I was assigned to be a school resource officer here at the Baugo Community Schools,” Sahlhoff says. “So, I have had the opportunity to build those relationships, get to know the staff, and the students as well.

“As a police officer, I kind of wear three hats, so to speak,” he continued. “One is a law enforcement officer. So if something dangerous happens or a crime needs investigating, I can go and take care of that. The second is an informal counselor. So, just building those relationships with kids, being a trusted adult here in the buildings. And then the third one is a guest speaker. I can be a guest speaker in classrooms, I can go and teach in government class and help talk about, ‘Okay, you have talked about the Bill of Rights, how does that play out in the real world?’

“I am really excited,” he added. “It is what I love to do. I think it is going to be great for my family, and it will be great for the Baugo Community to have someone here full time.”

Chief Sahloff will be covering all five schools in the district by himself, at least for now.

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