O’FALLON – District 203 Superintendent Darcy Benway announced that following a recent hearing the district has been granted permission to leave the Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative (BASSC).
The district has been going through the withdrawal process from BASSC for nearly a year, stating it can provide students with special needs the same level of care and education BASSC is providing while, at the same time, saving the district millions of dollars. Benway said that while there will be some changes, much of the work servicing students with special needs has already been taking place at OTHS.
“Right now, we are primarily providing most of our special education services already. Out of the nearly 300 special education students that we serve today, only 14 are served in BASSC classrooms. So what we’re really talking about is bringing those last 14 students back home,” said Benway.
According to Benway, OTHS will create three new classrooms at the school next year. Two of those classrooms will be for emotional and behavioral development, and the other will be a cross-categorical with an autism emphasis.
Benway said that from the beginning the whole reason OTHS opted to withdraw from BASSC is because they feel they can care for and work with their students better than anyone.
“OTHS is very student focused and this is what is best for our students. It’s an interesting process as we’ve been bringing students home and bringing programs back to OTHS for years, and we’ve never had to go through anything like this. But when you bring that last student home, all of these requirements fall upon you and you have to put all of those checks and balances in place. We’ve been doing this for a while now and its really about bringing home those last 14 kids,” Benway said.
The district’s split with BASSC will be effective July 1, 2016, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.
In other business…
• During his portion of the meeting, Principal Rich Bickel reported that OTHS Yearbook was awarded first place by the American Scholastic Press Association. Additionally, the OTHS Yearbook staff was honored with third place recognition in “Layout and Design” and “Photography” in the 2015 Illinois Journalism Education Association Yearbook Contest.
• Bickel also reported the following students were selected as Illinois Music Educators Association “All State Musicians”.
• Drew Bailey – trombone (band)
• Bianca Castillo – clarinet (band)
• Kayla Curry – flute (band)
• Bryson Hartman – clarinet (band)
• Elizabeth Lemieux – flute (band)
• Daniel Risberg – euphonium (band)
• Anne Speight – clarinet (band)
• Daniel Dowling – percussion (band)
• Brandon Seaborne – percussion (orchestra)
• Claudia Beck – bassoon (orchestra)
• David Lewis – French horn (orchestra)
• Emily Reuther – flute (orchestra)
• Stephen Rhodes – clarinet (orchestra)
• Lilly Schmidt – flute (orchestra)
• Cameron Bopp – Bass I (Chorus)
• Heidi Buch – Alto I (Chorus)
• Kristen Lintvedt – Soprano II (Chorus)
• Maddie Stacey – Soprano II (chorus)
• Luke Meidel – Bass (Vocal Jazz)
• Teague Phillips – Alto (vocal jazz)
• Kent Rousseau – Tenor – (vocal jazz)
“This is the highest honor a high school musician can earn in the State of Illinois,” said Bickel.
• Head Football Coach Brandon Joggerst was selected by the United States Marine Corps and Glazier Clinics to be presented the Semper Fi Coach Award. This award is presented at each Glazier Clinic to a coach who models the Marine Corps leadership values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. The honor will be presented to him Saturday February 20th at 8:30 am at the Glazier Clinic in St. Louis, Missouri.