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Clifty Creek principal taking medical leave of absense

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Principal Cynthia Frost shows the location of the wireless setting on a laptop to Haven Eudy, 11, on Feb. 12 in Peggy Scherschel's class at  Clifty Creek Elementary. Andrew Laker | The Republic
Principal Cynthia Frost shows the location of the wireless setting on a laptop to Haven Eudy, 11, on Feb. 12 in Peggy Scherschel's class at Clifty Creek Elementary. Andrew Laker | The Republic

The principal at Clifty Creek Elementary has taken a medical leave of absence and will not return to that post.

The matter will keep Cynthia Frost out of school until fall of 2014, when she will return as a teacher.

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Superintendent John Quick said Frost made a great teacher in the middle schools early in her career and he has no doubt she will do well when she returns to the classroom. He said Frost will be reassigned in the spring as the district assesses staffing.

As for the future of Clifty Creek, Quick and Frost said they are sure the transition will be smooth.

Director of Elementary Education Teresa Heiny will step in until spring break, spending at least a few hours a day at the school. Quick said the district hopes to name a new principal by Thursday.

“Great Clifty Creek staff will take up the reins with the help of administration,” Frost said.

Quick said he does not anticipate any negative effect on ISTEP+ scores, which are especially important for the school this year.

Clifty Creek received an F in the state’s A-F Accountability system for three years in a row, earning it a priority school designation from the state. Priority schools are required to take several actions to demonstrate improvement plans and progress.

GETTING TO KNOW: Cynthia Frost

Hometown: Lafayette

In Columbus: 37 years.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in social studies and communications from Purdue University, master’s in reading from IUPUI, master’s in English and educational leadership degree from Indiana University

Past positions held in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp: Frost originally joined the school corporation in 1986 as a reading instructor at McDowell Education Center. She also has served as an English/language arts teacher at Northside Middle School, reading specialist at Central Middle School, pupil-services teacher and later assistant principal at Clifty Creek Elementary and principal at Richards Elementary

Family: Husband, Gary; daughters, Sarah and Stephanie, both Columbus North High School graduates

Hobbies: Reading, sewing, boating, traveling and learning

By Friday, the district either had to replace the principal or demonstrate to the state the current leader is capable of a turnaround.

Quick said Frost’s medical leave has nothing to do with the state leadership requirement, but he has notified the Department of Education that a new principal will be named shortly.

Other steps have already been taken to improve ISTEP+ scores at the school.

In response to the first F in 2011, the school hired 15 teachers with project-based learning experience, replaced former principal Adam Ulrich with Frost and invested $2 million in technology upgrades.

Heiny said the changes seem to be working because Acuity scores, which measure student progress three times a year and act as a predictor of ISTEP+ scores, are on the rise.

When asked at last week’s board meeting if the school could earn a C and exit the priority school designation, Heiny was confident.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t,” she said.

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