Shiloh schools showcase artistic talent

SHILOH – Shiloh School District 85 hosted their 16th annual art show on May 5. Art teacher Linda Johnson says that there were 1,109 pieces of art in the show, with each student in the district from early childhood through eighth grade contributing at least one piece.

From three dimensional sculptures to paintings, drawings, statues and more, the halls of Shiloh Elementary School were full of art.

Johnson estimates that 790 people attended the show, which also featured more than a dozen hands on creation stations. Families were able to make ID tags, origami fortune tellers, layered sand crafts, bracelets, noodle crafts, animation flip books and much more.

“It was a fun night, and the kids loved it,” Johnson said. The students will begin making art for the 17th art show when the next school year begins in August. (O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Angela Simmons)

O’Fallon, Shiloh students explore career possibilities

BY KATHERINE MURRAY
WEEKLY REPORTER

Eighth graders learn about about the joys of teaching people to cook with Shirley Frost of
Adventures in Cuisine (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Katherine Murray)

O’FALLON – The future was on every student’s mind as eighth graders from O’Fallon and Shiloh area middle schools flocked to The Regency Conference Center for their seventh annual Career Fair. The Career Fair is the finale of sorts for students participating in the Junior Achievement program, Start With The End In Mind.

Prior to the Career Fair, eighth graders from area schools took surveys about what interested them most and what their hopes were for the future. The program is focused on having students consider what interests them most. Based on those answers, students were guided toward four or five career pathways to consider.

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Shiloh District 85

District 85 acknowledges outgoing board members, prepares for annual art festival and PTO carnival

Shiloh District 85SHILOH – At Shiloh District 85’s April board meeting, School Board President Leslie Tesluck-Ecker presented outgoing members Mary Beth Krebs and Marie Berry with plaques to thank them for their time on the school board.

“We would like to present each of you with a token of our sincere appreciation. This says ‘With deep appreciation for your exemplary service, commitment and leadership to the students, staff and families of Shiloh Public School District 85,’” Tesluk-Ecker said as she presented the awards.

During SEA, art teacher Linda Johnson also presented Krebs and Berry with thank you cards from the teachers.

Krebs said “It’s been an honor to serve. I will hold the board in my thoughts and prayers.”

Berry also expressed gratitude and said the experience gave her a new appreciation and understanding of public schools, and she thanked the board for giving her a seat at their table.

Outgoing member Lori Miller was not present at the meeting to accept her thank you gifts.

New board members Holly Keller, Alex Herrell and Kenneth T. Davis along with incumbent board member Phillip Brunner won the four open seats on the Shiloh School Board in the April 4th election, and will be seated in a special board meeting. The board set a reorganization meeting for 7:00 p.m. on May 1st to seat the new board members.

In Other News:

  • Johnson also shared a slideshow with the board to announce the upcoming art show.

“The 16th Annual Shiloh School District Art Show at will be held on Friday, May 5, 2017. The evening’s festivities will begin at 6:30 and continue until 8:30 p.m. The halls of the Shiloh Elementary School will be filled with the creative endeavors of all the students in the Shiloh School District.

The art gallery will feature work created in the art classes throughout the year. Every art student in the Shiloh School District will have at least one artwork in the show. Early childhood classes through the eighth grade have all contributed to the displays. We have two dimensional works as well as three dimensional sculptures. The students have drawn, painted, colored and sculpted creations that will make anyone proud of their accomplishments. At last count, the walls of Shiloh Elementary School will feature over 1000 original art pieces from our gifted students. In addition to the students’ work that will be featured, the art show will host a creative environment for children of all ages (adults too) to make and take art home. The art creative stations will feature activities such as flying dragons, inflatable bubble, stamping patterns, Native American rubbings, VIP name tag design, building blocks, airplane design, animal mask and origami fortune tellers. Participants can make, as many art activities as they would like. Each station has easy to follow directions to assist in the creation. These interactive stations will be in the Shiloh Elementary School gym. This part of the art show has been a favorite of students. They remember the activities year after year and look forward to creating these special activities during the show,” Johnson said.

  • The Shiloh PTO Spring Carnival will take place on Friday, April 28th and will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Shiloh Middle School. The carnival will feature food, silent auctions, games and raffles. Punch cards cost $4.50 if purchased in advance or will be $5.00 at the door.

PTO President Gavin Mattheny said more volunteers are needed and would be welcomed. To volunteer, visit www.tinyurl.com/shiloh2017carnival.

  • A Kindergarten Information Night will be held on April 27th at 6:00 p.m. for all parents who have children that will be five years old before September 1, 2017. The informational meeting will take place in the Shiloh Elementary School cafeteria. Parents will meet the teachers and be asked to fill out pre-registration information for the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Preschool screenings will be taking place on Wednesday May 17th and Thursday May 18th at Klucker Hall for all children from ages three years to four and a half years who are not eligible to attend kindergarten in the fall of 2017. Children must be screened to be eligible. The 20 students with the greatest need will be referred to the Preschool for All class, and an additional 20 openings will be available in the tuition-based preschool classroom, something that Superintendent Dale Sauer noted is new to the district. “We have more students than we have preschool openings, so this allows us to offer 20 more spots,” he said.
  • The tuition-based program will be a full day and are aligned with the Illinois Early Learning and Creative Curriculum themes. Students will have the option to purchase a school lumch or provide one from home, but snacks will be provided. The class will follow the Shiloh School District calendar. Students can attend all week, three days per week or two days per week, and families will be locked into their choice for the year. Tuition for five days will be $620 per month, for three days will be $384 per month and for two days will be $256 per month.
  • The board voted to enter into a new contract with Illinois Central School Bus Company. A 14% increase for the 2017-2018 school year puts District 85’s cost at $311,228.12. There will be 2.5% increase for the 2018-2019 school yer that will raise the cost to $319,008.82.
  • The board approved a measure that allows them to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with Central School District 104. The agreement allows District 85 to share the school bus lot that is located on District 104’s property.
  • SES Principal Lori Murphy will be resigning at the end of her contract on June 30th.
  • The next scheduled board meeting is May 15th at 7:30 p.m. at Shiloh Middle School.

Shiloh Middle School Drama Club presents “Headin’ for a Weddin'”

(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

The Shiloh Middle School Drama Club presented “Headin’ for a Weddin'” on Friday, April 7. The play was directed by Ms. Leigh Meyer.

The play tells the story of a simple country man who is in love with a big-city debutante. He pretends to be everything he is not and he writes her a series of letters, that ultimately prompt her to attempt to find him and marry him. Hilarity ensues as he tries to keep his identity a secret while she gets to know his hillbilly family.

(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

District 85 RIF’s nine staff members amidst budgetary concerns

The Shiloh District 85 Board of Education listens as Superintendent Dale Sauer goes over the district’s finances. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – District 85 made the difficult decision to RIF teachers and staff at their March board meeting. Superintendent Dale Sauer went through a financial presentation prior to the vote on a reduction in force and a vote for abatement of working cash.

District 85’s estimated expenditures are $4,848,710 and their estimated revenue is $4,754,911. Sauer said “We have to stop spending more money than we’re bringing in.” Fighting falling EAV values and proration of state funds amounting in nearly $1,000,000 in loss of funds over the past five years and being in a state that’s gone 21 months without a budget, the district has already done a 12 percent reduction in staffing over the last two years.

The March meeting weighed heavily with Sauer and the school board, who noted they much prefer the summer meetings where teachers that are let go during an RIF are called back.

“It is not easy to sit in front of people that you care about and tell them this, and create the anxiety that it does, and it shouldn’t be. It’s not fair to them, but unfortunately, the state of Illinois has put us in this position. I’ve met with each of these staff members, and they were gracious and understood, and want the best for Shiloh,” Sauer said.

School Board President Leslie Tesluk-Ecker became emotional just before having to read off the staff members being culled by the RIF. “This is always my least favorite board meeting. It’s extremely difficult when you realize we are dealing with real people,” she said.

The RIF included two professional educator licensed teachers including a part time special education teacher and a fourth grade teacher, four professional licensed teachers including an eighth grade language arts teacher, a seventh grade math teacher, a sixth grade language arts, social studies and science teacher, and a seventh and eighth grade science teacher, and three non-certified support staff members.

All motions to approve were made with regrets. Sauer said “We look forward to better financial times and bringing those staff members back to their family here in Shiloh.”

In Other News:

  • The board voted to approve a resolution approving abatement of working cash funds in the amount of $516,503.
  • A second abatement measure passed also, approving a resolution to abate the tax heretofore levied for the year 2016 to pay debt. The $516,503 abated from working cash will make bond payments the district still owes for building Shiloh Middle School.
  • A lease was approved with Capital Leaf funding for new copiers contracted from All Pro Office Technology. The districts current copy machines are over seven years old and have been giving staff problems when they attempt to use the machines.
  • Chris Ryan who was responsible for putting on the Shiloh school reunion has proposed another reunion in the early part of July. Sauer mentioned that more details will be forthcoming as the reunion is planned.
  • Sauer talked about how district staff went through racial harmony training recently. “We have a changing demographic. We are 25 percent or more minority and 40 percent free and reduced lunch. It was a relaxed discussion but we talked about the impacts on our students both in and out of the classrooms,” he said.
  • Sauer and the SEA both talked about the County Schools Facilities Sales Tax. The measure will be up for vote on the April 4 ballot. SEA reps mentioned that they have plenty of yard signs available and sent out mailers before the meeting.
  • SMS Principal Jeff Alt said the school recently participated in an active shooter drill with the Shiloh Police Department. He said “It was one of the first times that every single student and staff member was secure and safe. It was very quick and very smooth.”
  • Both SMS Volleyball teams wound up with a 7-4 record for the season.
  • SES Principal Lori Murphy said the recent PTO fundraiser, a sock hop, went really well and was enjoyed by staff members, students and their families. “I really don’t know where we would be without our PTO, truthfully. They do so much for our schools and really work hard for the good of our students,” Murphy later said.
  • On April 27 at 6 p.m. SES will be holding their informational kindergarten meetings for incoming students and their families to attend and get information about kindergarten and to learn when screening dates are. Attendance is also important for the district to get an idea of how many students may enroll in the fall.
  • Both schools are preparing for PARCC testing to begin this week. Shiloh schools have led St. Clair County in performance the past two years.

Shiloh third graders experimenting with new forms of seating

Some of the alternative seating available to students include beanbags, yoga balls, and balance disks. (Submitted Photo)

SHILOH – A Shiloh Elementary School teacher reached into her own pocket to provide her students with alternative seating in an attempt to help increase their learning abilities. Sara Witte did extensive research, purchased different types of seats and recently transitioned her third graders to the new seats.

Witte, a seven year veteran educator, became aware of alternative seating, also called flexible seating, fairly recently. “Recently, I had a colleague of mine in a different school tell me how she has switched to alternative seating and loves it. I began doing research and reading teacher’s blogs and the benefits include improved behavior and participation, less restlessness, improved core strength and posture, better attention and focus, and better academic performance,” she said.

SES Principal Lori Murphy agreed. “If you look at the research, older kids are getting up and moving at least every 45 minutes when they switch classes. We’re asking younger kids to sit for a much longer period of time. As an adult, I don’t want to just sit down at my desk all day, so I definitely understand why flexible seating works,” Murphy said.

After researching different types of seating, Witte purchased a few different kinds for her kids to try out. “Currently I have three yoga balls, three balance disks, 3 bean bag chairs and 3 wobble cushions. These I funded with my own money,” Witte said.

Using money from her own pocket is something that Murphy said almost all classroom teachers are accustomed to. “It’s really sad, but using platforms like DonorsChoose, GoFundMe and ultimately your own money are how teachers are able to get some of the extras that districts just can’t afford. It’s the position that the state of Illinois has put us all in.” she explained.

Witte also has a GoFundMe set up where she has a goal set of $1800 and in just under three weeks, members of the community have raised $1000 towards Witte’s goal. “The campaign is doing very well. I hope it hits the goal so I can buy wobble chairs, folding bicycles, desk swings, bouncy bands, a love seat and floor pillows. Some of these items are in the pricey range so depending on the amount I collect I will buy accordingly. My goals is to have enough options that each student can walk into my class each day and chose the seat they learn best in,” said Witte. She also is trying to buy seating for 25 students.

So far, she’s already seeing positive results.  “Over the years I’ve had my fair share of ‘wiggly’ kiddos. It’s amazing how a kiddo can be sitting on the floor spinning in a circle or standing at their desk spinning in circles and you ask them a question and they have been listening to every word you said. I’ve always allowed my students to stand while working and this is just an extension of that. One day before I made the transition, I had a balance board and gave it to one of my students. It was amazing how it reduced his calling out through out they day,” she said.

District 85 Superintendent Dale Sauer noted Witte’s efforts with pride. “Our staff is all about using whatever resources they can to take risks to further students’ education,” he said.

For anyone interested in contributing, the GoFundMe page address is www.gofundme.com/MsWitteAlternativeSeating.

Shiloh Elementary students celebrate 100th day of school

SHILOH – Shiloh Elementary School kindergartners and first graders recently held a special celebration for the 100th day of school.

Students made a necklace by counting out 100 pieces of cereal while wearing special crowns. Afterwards, kindergarten teachers Denise Scagliarini and Teresa Beeler took their students into the gymnasium where they performed 100 exercises and played two 100 second rounds of PacMan. Other classes returned to their rooms to continue the celebration in various ways.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Angela Simmons)

Superintendent informs Village Board of Shiloh school district’s financial dire straits

Superintendent Dale Sauer gives a presentation to the Shiloh Village Board about the state of District 85. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – Shiloh District 85 Superintendent Dale Sauer made a presentation to the Shiloh board of trustees and Mayor Jim Vernier at their February board meeting. He presented statistics to the board, such as the district has a staggering 37 percent of students below the poverty line, but strives to help those students with programs such as Weekend Wildcats which sends home backpacks of food over the weekend.

Sauer spoke to the board about the district’s funding, which largely comes from local taxation. Sauer notes that local property owners are faithful at paying their taxes, and the district is thankful. The district has suffered a $1,262,324 loss in the last eight years due to proration of funding.

“We have critically low fund balances and are in very dire straits, to the point where we have done cost containment and reduction of staff by almost 12 percent over the last two years, and have been impacted by the disabled veterans property tax exemption, and yet Shiloh schools continue to offer great education,” Sauer said.

Sauer noted that he was hesitant to speak about the disabled property tax exemption, but did explain that the school would take a loss of 8.5 percent in Equalized Assessed Value, which equates to a loss of $287,000 for the schools. Sauer is working with state lawmakers on legislation that will help lessen the impact of the law, but still allow for it to remain intact.

“I’m from a military family, and I have kids in the military. Make no mistake- I’m in favor of veterans receiving all these privileges. They’ve richly earned them, they deserve them, and I think the exemption is a great idea. Unfortunately because of the way it’s implemented, Shiloh is disproportionately affected because of it’s proximity to Scott Air Force Base, and it’s a community that’s a destination place to retire. Who wouldn’t want to retire in Shiloh and O’Fallon? This legislation that helps disabled veterans actually hurts them, because it hurts the community they reside in. In my opinion, we’re all beneficiaries of the sacrifices of our disabled veterans, and we need to spread that impact out over perhaps our entire state,” Sauer said.

Sauer also discussed the County Schools Facility Sales tax, which would be a one percent sales tax, and he mentioned that 35 percent of all sales taxes collected in St. Clair County come from non-residents. The measure would give an extra $322,594 to Shiloh schools each year, and would be used for things like replacing HVAC units, water heaters, adding a pour and play playground to the elementary school, upkeep of parking lots and more. Using a sales tax would allow for trustees to avoid having to levy a higher tax burden on it’s residents through property taxes. The measure will be on the April 4 ballot.

On a happier note, Sauer also shared the district’s performance scores in PARCC testing, which were the highest in all of St. Clair County for the second year in a row. Along with excellent academics, Sauer highlighted the school’s commitment to service and their partnerships with area businesses like Cedarhurst.

In Other News:

  • A motion to spend $300,000 to begin updating the barn property for a cultural arts center was tabled. Though it was said during the meeting to be tabled for further investigation, Mayor Vernier said “We have some very exciting news coming out in the next couple of months that will make that development and its price tag more palatable. There’s also some design change aspects that could push it past April.”
  • Special events packets will now be amended to allow for more time for completion by Shiloh Village.
  • A measure passed to allow Vernier to sign the Three Springs Lake Trail additional storm water engineering proposal in the amount of $12,000. Though Trustee Kurtz, who was present via telephone, asked if there was not a more financially responsible way to work the proposal, it passed 4-1 with Kurtz as the sole “nay” vote. Trustee Tina Warchol was absent.
  • Vernier is also authorized to now sign the Yorktown lawn care containment engineering proposal in the amount of $11,880. The measure also passed in a 4-1 vote with Kurtz again voting “nay.”
  • The trustees unanimously voted to sign maintenance and construction agreements for Safe Route to School areas in the Central School District, as the Village owns part of the property. O’Fallon will also be pitching in for maintenance.

Shiloh student presents award winning essay about Dr. King’s legacy to Board of Education

Rhylea Johnson, winner of the Award of Excellence for her essay on what Martin Luther King, Jr. day means to her stands with her family and principal. Pictured from left, front row: Jayla Johnson, Erica Johnson. Back row, from left: Shiloh Middle School Principal Jeff Alt, Christi Johnson, Rhylea Johnson, Eric Johnson, and Marilyn Johnson. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Rhylea Johnson, winner of the Award of Excellence for her essay on what Martin Luther King, Jr. day means to her stands with her family and principal. Pictured from left, front row: Jayla Johnson, Erica Johnson. Back row, from left: Shiloh Middle School Principal Jeff Alt, Christi Johnson, Rhylea Johnson, Eric Johnson, and Marilyn Johnson. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – Shiloh’s District 85 school board celebrated Shiloh Middle School student Rhylea Johnson at their January meeting. The seventh grader was one of three area students that was given an award by a committee at Scott Air Force Base for her essay on what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day means to her.

SMS Principal Jeff Alt said “We submitted 150 essays for the contest,, and those essays went to a committee. Rhylea’s was one of the top three essays that they were impressed with.” Alt went with Johnson and her mother, Christi, to the base for the special visit and luncheon.

Johnson stood and read her essay to the board, in which she discussed coming from a biracial home and not having to be ashamed of her skin tone at school were all thanks to Dr. King, and also discussed desegregation of schools, public places and athletics. “He protested and led in the most gracious ways that were nonviolent, and gave great speeches that gave us the feeling of freedom.”

Johnson was applauded by board members, teachers and her family as she then read a poem that she wrote about her experiences on base, including going up in the air traffic control tower, touring the C21  jets that transport generals, and checking out the air medevac unit. After the various tours cam the luncheon and awards ceremony where she was given a plaque, coin and paper award.

Christi Johnson spoke about her daughter, saying “We are proud of her words and her outlook on the significant role MLK, Jr. had in our country’s history. Controversial movements are often violent; too often our young people are negatively impacted by this type of public violence. We are proud of her for acknowledging the impact MLK, Jr.’s peaceful and graceful movement had on our country.”

Superintendent Dale Sauer thanked Johnson for her words and perspective, and said “Rhylea, you’ve made us very proud.”

In Other News:

• An HVAC system failure caused havoc at Shiloh Elementary School. The system is located in the gymnasium, and after it’s failure, the furnace also ceased to work.

Sauer praised the physical education teachers for their ingenuity, as since the gym got down to around 55-60 degrees, the teachers had students wear their coats and “ice skate” on felt squares. A loaner furnace was provided which has allowed the gym to be at a comfortable temperature for students. District 85 filed for emergency health, life and safety funds through the state of Illinois, which was approved both by the state and unanimously by the board. The HVAC and furnace are expected to be up and running soon for what Sauer says is “under $20,000.”

• The Coffee Chat that was canceled due to weather concerns has been rescheduled for Thursday January 26, from 6:30 until 8 p.m. at the Hardee’s in O’Fallon, located in front of Community Park.

• Sauer will be addressing the Shiloh Village Board at their February 6 meeting at 7 p.m. to keep the trustees and mayor abreast of district challenges and achievements.

• The PTO will be hosting Glo Bingo at the Knights of Columbus Hall in O’Fallon on Friday, February 3. Doors open at 6 p.m. and bingo starts at 7 p.m.. There will be a DJ, music, adult beverages and over $1,000 in cash prizes. Attendees are welcome to bring their own snacks, but there will also be a fish fry in the building that evening. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and include six bingo cards, a glow dabber and glow hat. Additional cards will be available for purchase. To purchase tickets, visit the SES or SMS offices, or contact PTO president Gavin Mattheny at (618) 520-7418 or mthgav3815@gmail.com.

• On Saturday, February 11, SMS will have several activities for families on school grounds, including the science fair review, the book fair kick off, and a Savers fundraiser. Ms. Leigh Meyer said “Basically, people bring in junk that they don’t want. People drive up and hand over their old clothes, shoes, accessories, furniture, you name it, and we will pack a truck to take to Savers. Last year, we filled that truck top to bottom and made $1,000.” The donated goods are weighed by the pound at Savers and then sorted and tagged to go out to the floor for public purchase.

“Savers is really nice to work with, and they support Vietnam Veterans. So that people know where the funds are going, the total amount is split 50/50 between the elementary and middle schools, and it goes straight to the activity funds- straight back to the students and their needs.” Donations will be accepted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m..

Local educators presented with Emerson Excellence in Teaching awards

Amanda Mellenthin was recognized by the District 90 Board of Education at their November meeting for her Emerson Excellence in Teaching award. Pictured from left, Carriel Principal Ellen Hays, Mellenthin, and Board President John Wagnon. (Submitted Photo)

Amanda Mellenthin was recognized by the District 90 Board of Education at their November meeting for her Emerson Excellence in Teaching award. Pictured from left, Carriel Principal Ellen Hays, Mellenthin, and Board President John Wagnon. (Submitted Photo)

O’Fallon and Shiloh schools had one teacher from each of the four local districts that received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. The prestigious Emerson Award is given to 100 educators each year in the St. Louis Metro Area from kindergarten teachers to college professors – who are examples of excellence in their field. Teachers must be nominated by their peers or by school administration and the winners are celebrated at a ceremony and awarded a crystal apple made by Tiffany and Company.

“Completed nominations include a narrative outlining the rationale for how this teacher demonstrates “excellence in teaching”. Areas to consider could include: passion and commitment to the teaching profession; tangible evidence of the success of the teacher’s classroom teaching approach; professional growth and development; innovation and creativity used with students; and knowledge of current educational techniques and issues,” said Shiloh School District 85’s Superintendent Dale Sauer.

Shiloh District 85 was proud to nominate Elaine Rockmann.

“We see this award as a means of validating the great work our teachers do developing our students and modeling instruction in their vocation. Elaine Rockmann’s selection this year is an example of that,” said Sauer.

Emerson award winners are nominated by their peers, and Sauer said when asking district teachers for their nominations, he asked them to consider several criteria.

“I asked them to consider passion and commitment to the teaching profession, tangible evidence of success in the teacher’s classroom and their approach, professional growth and development, innovation and creativity used with students, and knowledge of current educational techniques and issues,” said Sauer.

Rockemann teaches second grade and has taught in Shiloh schools for 31 years and was an aide for two years before being a teacher.

Another long time teacher and Emerson Award winner is Michael Day, a social studies teacher at O’Fallon Township High School, District 203.

“Mr. Michael Day has been at OTHS for 23 years as a Social Studies teacher. Throughout all those years he has committed himself to being an excellent teacher and it shows every class period. Mr. Day, along with Mr. Dave Causey, created our Honors U.S. History course through intensive research and initiative. Students actively seek to be in classes that Mr. Day teaches because of his outstanding instruction and the reputation he has created for himself as an elite educator. He is able to bring history to life for his students and is able to help them develop critical and analytical thinking skills so essential to being successful beyond high school. Among Mr. Day’s finest attributes are his enthusiasm for student achievement and his absolute commitment to the highest standards of educational excellence. Mr. Day does whatever it takes, however long it takes, to educate his students in accordance with those standards of excellence,” said OTHS Principal Rich Bickel.

The teachers from O’Fallon’s Central School District 104 and District 90 are still in the early years of their teaching careers but have already made a significant impact.

Amanda Mellenthin is a seventh grade science teacher at District 90’s Amelia V. Carriel Jr. High School. Mellenthin has inspired students to take on large projects outside of school, like her student Braden Gaab who worked with Mellenthin to create the Carriel Monarch Garden, and head’s up Carriel’s Eco Team which focuses on environment related issues with a hands on approach. Mellenthin has said “It’s fun to watch students get excited about science!”

danamueller-resizedThe fourth Emerson winner who also inspires excitement in her students is District 104 Central Elementary School kindergarten teacher, Dana Mueller.

CES Principal Dawn Elser spoke highly of Mueller, who’s favorite character is Dr. Suess, saying “Dana is in her ninth year of teaching kindergarten at Central Elementary School. She is passionate about teaching and strives to make each one of her students successful. Mrs. Mueller instills a love of learning in her students, as you can see the sparkle in their eyes when they come to school each day. She has become a leader in the school serving on committees, lending a hand to assist others and sharing ideas with her colleagues.”

The nominations for the 2017 Emerson award winners have already been submitted, and the winners will be announced next fall.

Shiloh kindergarten students make gingerbread houses before Christmas

img_5127-resized

SHILOH – Shiloh Elementary School kindergartners made gingerbread houses for an activity before heading off on winter break. Teachers Denise Scagliarini and Teresa Beeler, along with Kindergarten parents and volunteers, assisted the students in choosing candy and decorating their houses. The students used milk cartons as the base and graham crackers for the walls. From there, they were able to decorate with icing and candies.

(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Angela Simmons)

Shiloh District 85

District 85 approves FY 2016 tax levy

Shiloh District 85SHILOH – Shiloh School District 85’s school board unanimously approved the adoption of the 2016 final aggregate tax levy of 5.99 percent for FY16.

The board held a Truth in Taxation Hearing prior to the school board meeting, but there were no public comments. In addition to there being no comments during the hearing, Superintendent Dale Sauer noted that no one had come in to view the levy which has been posted in the district office for 30 days.

Continuing to discuss the district’s financial situation, in his superintendent’s report, Sauer spoke about school funding reform and how the district is working with legislators to find a way to offset the Disabled Veteran’s Property Tax Exemption.

“I want to find a way to find a way to help create legislation instead of just letting legislation happen to us,” Sauer said as he spoke of Vision 20/20. Vision 20/20 is an effort among many statewide educational organizations, including Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools and more to come together to create positive, forward thinking legislature for Illinois schools.

“Make no mistake, I am all for veterans receiving the benefits that they so richly deserve. The thing that we’re living with right now in Shiloh and O’Fallon is the implementation of the exemption and not realizing the impact that it has on communities where large portions of the military come to retire. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to retire in Shiloh and O’Fallon? They’re beautiful communities. It does mean that there are a lot of homes that are now exempt. We’ve been talking with legislators to figure our how to make it a little more fair and help the school districts. Through Vision 20/20, the undue impact would be seen as a factor, much like free and reduced students. Our community needs to know about it, and we need to be creative in finding a fix that doesn’t involve taking that privilege away from our veterans,” Sauer said.

In Other News:

• The next Coffee Chat will be Thursday January 12 in the evening at Hardee’s in O’Fallon. This is an opportunity for parents and community members to engage in an informal conversation with board members.

• The board celebrated the success of their Thanksgiving Food Drive and their efforts with local churches to provide gifts to needy families. Staff members Jessica Seger and Maureen Burch were applauded for their efforts in spearheading the successful programs.

• Shiloh Elementary School Principal Lori Murphy said that the theme for the past month is “People coming together to do things for others. Our PTO volunteers have been in constantly to help with Santa’s Cottage, pictures with Santa, and our Weekend Wildcats raised $250 through the blood drive. Everyone has pulled together to make this a better place for our kids.”

• Shiloh Middle School Principal Jeff Alt noted that the Pay to Drive event raised $2,160 that will be put towards school technology. Alt also mentioned that 80 SMS students have partnered with a flight squad at Scott Air Force Base to write essays about what Martin Luther King Day means to them. A committee will choose one student from SMS and the other local middle schools to attend a special luncheon.

Deadline passes for candidates to file paperwork for April election

voteMany positions to see contested races, new faces

O’FALLON – The deadline to file to run in the April 2017 elections came at 5 p.m. Monday evening, setting the ballot in place.

A short objection period is underway for those wishing to contest the validity of a candidate’s paperwork. Barring anyone being thrown off, the ballot has been set with the following candidates running for local office.

City of O’Fallon

Phil Goodwin and Herb Roach both submitted their petitions to run for Mayor.

Former Alderman Jerry Mouser filed to run for City Clerk. Additionally Jude Hopper Sr. filed to run for Clerk and will face off against Mouser. Incumbent Treasurer David Hursey filed to run for another term in his current position and will run unopposed.

In Ward 1, Ross Rosenberg and Dennis Meyleart filed to run.

Incumbent Ward 2 Alderman Jerry Albrecht is challenged by Mark Riley.

Ward 3 will see Vern Malare challenge appointed Alderman Matthew Gilreath.

Ward 4 will see a three-way race between Lisa Harley, Mark Morton, and Nathan Hubbard.

Ward 5 has two seats up for grabs this April. Incumbent Alderwoman Courtney Marsh is running for a standard four-year term and is unopposed. Appointed Alderman Chris Hursey and Andrew Lopinot will campaign for the two-year term created when former Alderman Mike Bennett retired.

Ward 6 incumbent Alderman Ray Holden will run again, unopposed.

Four candidates have filed to run in Ward 7. Jon S. Burgmann, Thomas Mitchell, Robert Murray, and Dan Witt all filed their petitions with the city.

Village of Shiloh 

Incumbent Mayor Jim Vernier will be challenged by Jerry Northway.

Three trustee seats are up for grabs in Shiloh. Newcomers Kenny Bouas and Mark Herrmann filed petitions, along with incumbents Bob Weilmuenster and Tina Warchol.

O’Fallon District 90

Four positions are open on the District 90 Board of Education. Incumbent Board Members John Wagnon and Steve Springer both filed, along with appointed board member Matthew Lloyd. Additionally, Quennetta Chambers,  Curt Iffert, Jason Boone, John Rosenbaum, and John Valentine filed petitions to run putting the total number of candidates at eight.

Central District 104

Four seats on the Central 104 Board of Education are up for grabs. However, only three candidates, Dewonda McComb, Sarah Svoboda, and George Vineyard, filed their paperwork at the county to run.

Shiloh District 85

Shiloh District 85 will see four seats up for grabs in April. Holly Keller, Philip Brunner, Alex Herrell, and Kenneth Davis all filed to run for the positions.

OTHS District 203

Incumbent board members Lynda Cozad, Keith Richter, and Stephen Dirnbeck all have filed to run for another term on the District 203 Board of Education. Appointed board member Brett Schuette also filed petitions, along with Laura Jacobi Van Hook.

O’Fallon Township

O’Fallon Township will see little change following the April elections. Incumbents Gary Ahle, Mark Downs, and Dave Witter filed to run again for Supervisor, Highway Commissioner, and Township Clerk. All three are unopposed.

The Township Board of Trustees will see Jeff Bevirt and Kenny Jospeh leave. Gary Hursey, Doug Scott, and Todd Roach have filed to run for trustee positions. However, there will be an unfilled seat that will be filled by an appointee following the election.

Shiloh Valley Township

Shiloh Valley Township will also see little to no change following the April 4 election.

C. David Tiedemann has filed to run again for township Supervisor, while Brian Ellison has filed for Highway Commissioner. Rhonda Knobeloch will run again for Township Clerk.

Robert Holdener, Alan Knobeloch, Eugene Harris, and Darryl Seibert all filed their paperwork to run for the Board of Trustees.

Shiloh District 85

District 85 discusses district finances, extracurricular transportation

Shiloh District 85SHILOH – Shiloh’s School District 85 discussed a measure at their November Board of Education meeting that will discontinue return trip transportation from extracurricular activities.

School board and finance committee member Mary Beth Krebs said that very few students are coming back to the schools on buses, and the finance committee officially recommended the cut to the board as a way to save money. Superintendent Dale Sauer said that the cut would save roughly one-third of what the district currently spends on extracurricular busing. The cut would start with this year’s volleyball season.

Krebs discussed further financial matters, including that District 85 would be seeking a 5.99 percent increase in their tax levy. Sauer said that a truth in taxation hearing will be held before the December 19 board meeting to allow for public transparency and comment on the levy increase. The board later unanimously approved seeking the levy hike. Numbers will not be finalized until after the EAV is set, and that is uncertain due to disabled veterans’ property tax exemptions.

The finance committee also recommended a two percent retroactive raise for lunchroom supervisors and creative program assistants, a measure that the board also approved.

In Other News:

  • District 85 celebrated their students success in the PARCC results. Shiloh was the highest scoring district in St. Clair County, with Shiloh Elementary School coming in only second to O’Fallon District 90’s Hinchcliffe Elementary School. Sauer attributes the district’s success to the teachers’ hard work, and said there is a dip in fifth and sixth grade across the state. Teachers will soon meet to figure out why that dip is taking place and what can be done to correct it.
  • The district was allotted an Illinois Public Risk Fund Safety Grant in the amount of $3,900. Sauer said “It must be spent on safety. We’re looking at putting up more cameras to finish out the surveillance systems, getting six new two-way radios for use at the elementary school, updating signage at the middle school since it’s so faded, and then the remainder could be spent on trainings in security. Board member Krebs suggested adding signs outside of both schools to declare pick up spots “Cell Phone Free Zones,” something that is already in place, but many parents are on their cell phones when picking up their children.
  • The BEST Committee that joins districts 85, 90, 104 and 203 met and is discussing group purchasing of insurance, as well as group purchasing of transportation services. “Though we aren’t consolidated, we can use our consolidated buying power to get the best deals possible for all of the districts,” Sauer said.
  • Superintendent Sauer will be meeting with four local churches about helping to sponsor District 85’s holiday gift giving program. Sauer is still reaching out to churches and hopes to bring at least three more on board, including the Scott Air Force Base chaplain.
  • The Thanksgiving Feast at Shiloh Elementary School was successful and boasted almost 400 attendees that listened to songs sung by the kindergarten and first graders.
  • SES Principal Lori Murphy and SMS Principal Jeff Alt both said that they are thankful for their hardworking staff, and extremely thankful for all of the help from the district’s PTO. Both cited successful fall book fairs thanks to the PTO. Alt said their goal was to raise $3,000, something that hadn’t been hit in years, and was finally achieved.
  • SMS sixth graders have chosen to go to Six Flags St. Louis for their yearly trip. Alt said fundraising is well under way.
  • SMS Cheerleaders went to the O’Fallon Township High School Cheer Fest and placed second in floor routine and first in stunts.
  • Belle Fair Music Festival will be held at SMS on November 28 at 7 p.m. Bands from around the area will come to participate in a choral, jazz band and band concert.

The next meeting of the District 85 Board of Education will take place on December 19 at the Shiloh Elementary School.

Shiloh District 85

District 85 celebrating Emerson Excellence star teacher and health and wellness programs

Shiloh District 85SHILOH – It was announced at Monday’s District 85 Board of Education meeting that Elaine Rockeman has been selected as the district’s Emerson Award Winner.

Emerson award winners are nominated by their peers, and Superintendent Dale Sauer said when asking district teachers for their nominations, he asked them to consider several criteria.

“I asked them to consider passion and commitment to the teaching profession, tangible evidence of success in the teacher’s classroom and their approach, professional growth and development, innovation and creativity used with students, and knowledge of current educational techniques and issues,” said Sauer.

The Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award is given to 100 teachers in the St. Louis Metropolitan area for exceptional educators. Each winning teacher is presented with a crystal apple from Tiffany’s. Sauer announced it to the board saying “The choice this year was fairly clear. She is very well deserving. Congratulations and thank you.”

Rockeman teaches second grade and has taught in Shiloh schools for 31 years and was an aide for two years before being a teacher.

In Other News:

  • Shiloh District 85’s health and wellness programs are being audited by the state in a routine check. Sauer gave a presentation to the board about the overall picture of Shiloh’s programs, including their food, which comes from the Belleville 118 Food Service. Sauer outlined all the various physical activities the district has to offer that range from individual to team, rhythmical and leisure activities to encourage students to enjoy the activities throughout their lives. Offerings from District 85 include crab soccer, disc golf, zumba and many more. Sauer also touched on their unique programs like Third Grade Swimming and Random Acts of Kindness.
  • Pricing for repairs to the track at Shiloh Middle school comes to $189,000. If everything underneath the surface is sound, and it just needs a top sealant coat, the price would drop to $47,250.
  • The computer in the HVAC at SMS was repaired over the long Columbus Day weekend.
  • The board unanimously voted to approve a resolution “directing the Regional Superintendent to certify to the County Clerk the question of imposing a retailers’ occupation tax and a service occupation tax to be used exclusively for school facility purposes for submission to the electors of St. Clair County at the consolidated election to be held on the 4th day of April, 2017.” Sauer spoke about the one cent county sales tax and said that the board approving the resolution doesn’t mean it’s in effect, just that it’s appropriate to have the voters decide at the polls on April 4.
  • The board voted to approve a change to the health carrier for FY17. It will be switched from Blue Cross Blue Shield to United Healthcare.
  • A two-percent raise was approved for non-bargaining unit employees salaries for Bill Kampmeyer and Lori Murphy.