District 90 Speaker Series kicks off with safety, leadership suggestions

Detective Carl Walker and Alvin Dotson

O’FALLON – District 90 began their Winter Speaker Series on January 30th with a talk by two men that both want the best for district students. Detective Carl Walker presented about making sure students are being safe online, and how to handle cyberbullying and texting issues. Alvin Dotson spoke to parents about the Ticket to Success program and all that it has to offer to give students a hand up in their life journey.

Detective Walker pulled no punches when talking to parents about cyber safety, showing them real conversations from confiscated devices. One such conversation included messages bullying a young teen about her weight and encouraging her to kill herself, going so far as to suggest that even her parents wouldn’t miss her. Another conversation included sharing nude photos of a young girl, and even acknowledged that the teens knew sharing the photos was wrong and something that had been discussed with them at school.

“You would think it’s the high school kids that get my attention, but it’s not, it’s the middle school kids,” said Walker.

Cyberbullying has made sure that bullying is now 24/7, lasts forever, provides anonymity for bullies and allows for a wider audience, often going hand in hand with sexting. “Back in my day, if I wanted to bully someone, I had to go find them. Bullying has become an automated process. A lot of it starts with rumors and then blows them out of proportion, often involving the mob mentality,” Walker said. He mentioned that parents can also be part of the problem in the judgments they make on other parents and children, and that their children can pick up on that.

He gave suggestions for parents to help other parents that may be overwhelmed for any number of reasons, such as having, calling them “ineffective but not bad parents,” and reminding people that they are often times one catastrophic event away from becoming overwhelmed parents themselves. Walker also outlined the legal rights of parents and children, since most kids feel that their phones are private and will not allow their parents to check them. He pushed that these conversations with children are important, and that parents must have them or deal with the fallout when something bad happens.

Walker gave a handout to attendees that gave suggested tools for how to protect children. “Set rules for device use. Children must know what is expected of them before you can hold them to a standard. Know the technology. You must learn it for yourself, what it does and how to use it. If they’re on a form of social media, create an account and keep a presence. Equip your child with the same device that you have so that you only have to learn one type of technology. Know what apps they have and what they do. Research the apps, and make them seek your approval before downloading them. Install cell phone monitoring software like the Phone Sheriff app,” suggested Walker.

He specifically discussed certain apps that are more dangerous when it comes to cyber crimes and have become targets for sexual predators, such as SnapChat, Musically, Kik and even said that Minecraft’s chat function is dangerous.

Walker shared a list of suggested cell phone rules, that include not using the phone as a replacement for face to face time, turning it off at bedtime and storing it in an agreed upon location, always responding to parents’ phone calls and texts, and not taking nude pictures of themselves or anyone else- ever.

The O’Fallon Police Department is equipped to deal with cyber crimes, a specialty of Walker’s as he holds a Masters of Science and Technology in Certified Information Security Management. While technology can be scary, he encouraged parents to get a handle on it and do their best to keep their children safe.

Alvin Dotson also wants the best for O’Fallon youth, presenting the idea of bringing the Ticket to Success program back to Amelia V. Carriel Junior High. The program is operational at Moye Elementary School and at O’Fallon Township High School.

Ticket to Success is a program that strives to re-energize leadership opportunities for youth. Dotson mentioned that presenters for the program have included the president of Fiat Automobiles, who spoke to students about the designs for automobiles and how they are developed, the sports manager for former NFL players Donovan McNabb and Cris Carter, and even members from NASA.

The program would have no cost to students, and would aim to find things that interest the students in the program and try to spark intensity for their interests. The program also utilizes a series of 13 books about leadership and holds discussion panels with students to help further their understanding of leadership and further reciprocity.

Dotson is meeting with parents to determine interest and participation levels and hopes that Ticket to Success will begin holding monthly meetings and activities this spring semester, but really be ready thrive by the beginning of the Fall 2017 school year.

The program started as a way to help African American young men find good role models and gain leadership skills but Dotson spoke of the diversity in O’Fallon, saying “My son looked at his friends, and it was like the UN, a very diverse group, and we wanted to bring them along for these opportunities and give them the same exposure to leadership potential, so we opened the program up,” Dotson said. Girls and boys of all races are eligible to join a their specific age level at the selected schools.

“We’ve given them the opportunity to fly cessnas in Highland, played stock games and given them the opportunity to learn about the market, have race car drivers talk to them,” said Dotson. Many of the speakers and events donate their time and resources to the students, all in the name of encouraging young leadership. Dotson did add that parents of participating children would be expected to be involved with the program in possible fundraising and supportive roles.

The second session of the Winter Speaker Series is Sunday February 27 at 6:30 p.m. at Carriel. Topics include financial responsibility and gun safety education. Question and answer sessions will follow the presentations.

District 90 board to vote on new boundaries in February

At the January District 90 Board meeting, Lex White of CSX Corporation presented the Early Childhood Development Foundation NFP of O’Fallon with a $4,000 check representing a 2016 grant award. CSX has been an ongoing major supporter of this Foundation, which gives scholarships to preschoolers in order to benefit from a quality education. Pictured left to right are: Dr Cindy Doil, ECD Foundation member; Debbie Yaeger, ECD Foundation president; Lex White Jr and Lex White; and Mary Basket, ECD Foundation member. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – After months of discussion and adjusting, the District 90 is preparing to vote on a new plan relating to elementary school boundary lines.

The board heard additional comments related to the three options currently on the table at their January 17 meeting. Option A creates a fifth grade center at Marie Schaefer. Option B redraws the current grade level configurations and boundaries but keeps the same grade levels at the various grade schools. Option C creates an early learning center at Evans, effectively turning it into a pre-school center.

Superintendent Carrie Hruby said the board decided in December to begin to wrap up the process and make a decision.

“The board had said in December that they wanted to give one more opportunity for the community to speak on behalf of some of the options being proposed at the January meeting and then they plan to vote in February,” Hruby said.

While all three options have their supporters and objectors, Hruby said a process like what District 90 is dealing with will never be perfect and will always need to be revisited every so often.

“There are pros and cons to every option. There are opportunities and there are obstacles. So the board is going to have to decide which is the best option for right now for the district. Knowing we’re going to change over time because of development, this is going to be an ongoing concern.”

The board of education does plan to vote on a plan at the February meeting, to be held on Tuesday, February 21.

In other business…

  • Hruby reported the district is watching mandated categorical payments from the state of Illinois. However, she reports that its a concern whether they will receive any from the state this year given the state’s financial condition.

“One of those payments is for transportation. One of the concerns you always have is what if we don’t get that revenue because that is all you have. When it comes short, you have to find ways using working cash or another fund and it can be difficult,” Hruby said.

During the financial report it was stated that the district is running as expected as far as revenue and expenses and is on budget.

  • The District honored its first Teacher of the Month and Employee of the Month at the meeting. The teacher named was Alicia Schur, who teaches as Moye Elementary, while the employee named was Cathy Hamm, who is an instructional aide at Carriel. The two received complementary gift cards to 1818 Chophouse, courtesy of the restaurant.

“It’s nice for the board to be able to do this. One of their goals was to recognize staff achievements and for them to be able to give an award every month will be a nice way to do so,” Hruby said.

A Note from the Superintendent’s Desk – January 25, 2017

Carrie Hruby – Superintendent District 90

This month District 90 partnered with 1818 Chophouse to celebrate staff who dedicate their talents to provide a high quality learning environment and educational opportunities.  1818 Chophouse generously sponsored the January Teacher of the Month and Support Staff Member of the Month awards.  Each building principal nominated one employee per category and the Board of Education selected the finalists.


 

 

1818 Chophouse  Teacher of the Month
January, 2017 

Alicia Schur
Fifth grade teacher,
Moye Elementary School

In their nomination, her principals, Becky Williams and Dan Rudy, shared, “Alicia is a remarkable teacher who strives to motivate her students to the fullest.

Besides being an outstanding teacher, what sets Alicia Schur apart from others is her desire to lead programs at Moye.  Three years ago Ms. Schur developed the fifth grade ambassador program.  Our ambassadors have been very successful and this program gives students the opportunity to step into a leadership role at school.

For the past year, Alicia has also taken on the role of leading the Moye after-school enrichment program. This program gives students opportunities to take classes on a wide variety of topics and interests.

Ms. Schur is an active member and leader on the PBIS Tier 1 Team. Some of the responsibilities she takes on are leading the Boot Camp Refresher and  Moye’s end of the year Fourth Quarter Reward, Minute-to-Win-It. She also volunteers her time to organize and help plan STEM night.

Not only is Ms. Schur a great teacher, but she also goes above and beyond by leading and taking responsibility for several programs and committees at Moye Elementary. I greatly appreciate all of Ms. Schur’s hard work and she makes Moye a better place.”


1818 Chophouse
Staff Member of the Month

January, 2017 

Cathy Hamm
Instructional Aide,
Carriel Junior High School

Principals Ellen Hays and Jeff Brokering stated, “Cathy Hamm has been a District 90 employee for thirteen years.  Currently she serves as an Instructional Aide and does an excellent job in this position.  Her willingness to take on tasks and see them to successful completion never fails.  This is appreciated by all.

Recently Mrs. Hamm was selected by the Carriel student body as the support staff member of the month for our building.  The students wrote, ‘This staff member (Cathy Hamm) is the definition of a hard worker. She makes sure every teacher has what they need and goes above and beyond to make life easier on the rest of the staff. She says, “Hello,” to everyone in the hallway and has a contagious smile. Not only does she support the teachers, but she is always willing to assist with office tasks and projects that support the entire school.’

In addition to her daily responsibilities, she served as an active member of the PTO serving as the treasurer.  Mrs. Hamm is an essential part of the team of educators at Carriel.”

District 90 students take part in BizTown field trip

District 90 fifth graders enjoyed learning about careers on Tuesday when they went on a field trip through the Junior Achievement BizTown program.

According to Junior Achievement, the Donald O. Schnuck JA BizTown is a mini-city in which kids discover how the “real world” works.  Each day, about 100 fifth or sixth graders become JA BizTown “citizens” where they work in one of 17 businesses, make financial decisions, pay taxes, and donate to charity. After four weeks of classroom lessons, students come to JA BizTown for a hands on learning experience. Each citizen has a job for the day, gets paid twice, manages a checking account, shops, gets health check-ups, may be interviewed on TV and much more.

For more information about JA BizTown, visit juniorachievement.org.

Fulton life skills class garden blooms with opportunity

IMG_9231 RESIZEDO’FALLON – The life skills class at Fulton Junior High is helping students appreciate growing and cooking their own food, and helping students to gain knowledge about harvesting seeds for sale.

Teacher Sue Black spoke about the state of the garden at Fulton that spurred her to build it back up. “It was pretty much just weeds and I couldn’t stand it. I have a garden at home and I just started bringing plants in,” she said.

Black decided she wanted to add some vegetables to the garden to give the life skills class some fresh ingredients they can use in their cooking instruction. “I got leftover cucumbers, squash seeds, and tomato plants on sale. They started using these in the kitchen and started thinking bigger, about more vegetables that they can cook in class,” she said. The O’Fallon Garden Club also donated some plants that were leftover from their plant sales.

In addition to the vegetables, the class harvests seeds that they package and sell. The seeds that are sold are from cleome and milkweed plants, which are most well known for attracting butterflies. Students measure out a teaspoon of seeds, about 70 seeds, and put them into packets that the classes make from recycled scratch paper. The packets are one dollar each and the money raised from selling the seeds is used to purchase more garden supplies, such as tomato cages, soaker hoses, more seeds, and more.

“The students plan what they want to garden and harvest and take into consideration germination time. Some of these kids may not reap the benefits when they go to eighth grade, but some of them will get to come back and see what they’ve got growing,” Black said.

Black also mentioned that the students enjoy using fresh oregano and basil and making homemade salsa that comes from garden ingredients, saying “They get a kick out of the fresh smell, and they say that things taste different and better than store-bought. They’re much more excited about vegetables since they watch them ripen and grow.”

The garden is maintained by the life skills class, along with Black and other Fulton staff, and other students. “NHS students come to help every Thursday. Our garden time is part instruction, part time in the garden, so there’s still plenty to do,” Black said.

She mentioned that ultimate plans for the garden include having it plowed and made to be wheelchair accessible. The class would also like to add some fruit trees.

For information about how you can help the life skills class and their garden project, contact Fulton Junior High at (618) 628-0090.

Moye student presented with “Do the Right Thing” award

(Submitted Photo)

(Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – A young O’Fallon resident and student at Delores Moye Elementary School won a regional award that recognizes positivity in area youth. Camden Cox, a fourth grade student at Moye, won the Do The Right Thing award in November.

According to their website, “Our mission is to develop and promote positive choices by the youth of our community. Driven by the collective efforts of police departments in the Bi-State Region, Do the Right Thing of Greater St. Louis opens lines of communication between law enforcement and youth by recognizing kids’ positive behaviors and actions.” Do The Right Thing has several corporate sponsors, including Memorial Hospital, Lindenwood University, the Science Center, the Magic House and more. The ceremony to honor winners is held at the St. Louis Police Headquarters downtown.

Jamie Cox, Camden’s mom, is a third grade teacher at Moye and explained that Camden was one of ten winners across the Metro-East region for the month of November out of over 100 nominations.

Camden was nominated by his teacher, Lisa Poignee, for his actions helping out students that were new to not just Moye, but to District 90 and O’Fallon.

“On the first day of school, Mrs. Poignee asked if anybody wanted to be their lunch and recess buddy. On the second day, she asked for new people to volunteer, and no one raised their hand, so I volunteered again so they didn’t see that no one raised their hand,” Camden explained.

Camden served as a lunch and recess buddy for the new students, showing them the ropes of purchasing lunches, inviting them to sit with him so they weren’t alone, and showing them around the playground and going over routines and rules.

“Especially by fourth grade, some of the groups of friends are already developed, and he’s in class with several of his best friends, so it was nice that he was welcoming these new students into an established group of close friends, and they’ve become part of that circle,” Jamie said.

For being one of the ten winners, Camden won a basket with gift certificates to the Magic House, McDonald’s, a $25 Visa gift card and other goodies.

“He’s always been a very compassionate child and always roots for the underdog. He’s very aware of other people’s needs and emotions. His father, Troy,  and I are very proud, but not necessarily surprised that he would do something like that,” Jamie said, and continued “He said ‘It’s not a big deal, Mom. It’s just what people should do.”

For more information on the program or to look into how to nominate someone, visit dotherightthingstl.org.

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.

EK announces monthly Character Builders

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Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School announced their December Character Builder students. The December word is Caring. The following students have demonstrated this month’s word. In the front row, from left: Cassidy Cyvas, Isaac Mellenthin, Tristan Friederich, Isabella Donze. Middle row, from left: Presley Nitzsche, Michael Summers, Emmett Heller, Jeremiah Hesse, Isaac Wright. Back row, from left: Elise Esposito, Gavin Benedick, Nikia Hall, Tyler McVay, Nick Sheldon, Molly Dallner. (Submitted Photo)

A Note from the Superintendent’s Desk – Carrie Hruby – December 21, 2016

Carrie Hruby - Superintendent District 90

Carrie Hruby – Superintendent District 90

At their December 5 meeting, the District 90 Board of Education heard details of each option still under consideration for boundaries.  Each scenario can be tweaked and adjusted even after one option is eventually selected.  Sample maps and scenarios can be found at the www.of90.net in the December 5 School Board agenda.

The options presented on December 5 were:

  • Option A: Create a 5th grade center at Marie Schaefer, and continue to house some PreK students there as well.
  • Option B: Redraw boundaries, but retain the current grade level configurations.
  • Option C1: Create an early learning center at Evans and redraw K-5 boundaries.
  • Option C2: Create an early learning center at Hinchcliffe and redraw K-5 boundaries.
  • Option C3: House all preschool at Moye, and redraw boundaries to relocate a portion of the current Moye students.

Several months ago, as they were presented with initial information, the Board members identified the following as priorities.  The Board stated that the solution should:

  • Be sustainable for at least 5 years
  • Balance each school capacity
  • Be affordable
  • Reduce the number of students who transfer (by increasing the number of sections per grade level)
  • Lessen need to transfer students due to full sections at individual schools
  • Optimize the socio-economic balance across schools
  • Meet transportation needs of all students
  • Maintain current programs and student services
  • Use contiguous boundaries, where possible
  • Improve opportunities for curriculum enhancements
  • Optimize socio-emotional learning stability and opportunities for students
  • Optimize teacher experience and performance

Recognizing that it might not be possible to have all of the above in any one option, the Board revisited the list on December 5.  At that meeting they narrowed the focus to two top priorities: Reduce the number of students who transfer by increasing the number of sections per grade level, and optimize the FRL balance across schools.

The committee continues to share additional information as requested by the Board.  From the beginning we have suggested the Board not vote on a proposal until all of the options have been vetted and analyzed.  We felt strongly that it was important to be transparent in our work and to address the Board’s questions by bringing back additional ideas or data as requested.

Of the many options that have been vetted, the Board of Education continues to closely study Options A, C1 and C3.  Any change in boundaries will come with pros and cons, and will be unpopular with some families as most prefer to remain in their current school.  The Board of Education will continue to weigh each pro/con in juxtaposition to the future needs of a growing and changing district.

District 90 wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!

Have a question for the Superintendent?

Send your comments and questions to CHruby@OF90.net.

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.

Evans students take part in the Hour of Code

image1Last week students at LaVerna Evans Elementary School took part in the Hour of Code, a one-hour introduction to computer science designed to demystify code and teach kids the basics. The initiative was led by two parents, George Mitchom and Stephen Pipas.

The goal of the program is to show that computer science helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path.

(Submitted Photos)

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EK students race to learn about kinetic energy

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O’FALLON – The fourth grade students at Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School have recently been learning about potential
energy and kinetic energy.

Students have discussed the transfer of energy and how the amount of stored energy relates to the amount of kinetic energy you have after the transfer has occurred.

Each pair of students built a ‘Rubber-band Roller’ using a cup, two plastic lids, a straw, a rubber-band, two beads, and a square piece of cardboard. They measured a distance of eight feet and ten feet from the start line. This two feet range was called the sweet spot. Each pair had to try to get their vehicle to stop in the ‘sweet spot’ in order to achieve success.  The students had to vary the number of times they twisted their straw to change the amount of stored energy that was transferred to kinetic energy.  If their vehicle went to far, they twisted fewer times.  If the vehicle didn’t travel far enough, they twisted more times.  Each attempt was recorded on a lab sheet that allowed the students to try ten times. (Submitted Photos)

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EK names Character Builders for December

img_3025-resizedThe Character Education word of the month at Delores Moye Elementary School for December is caring ~ showing concern and kindness for others. The following students have been recognized for being caring: Fayez Sabrah, Mariyah Washington, Landon Hanson, Chloe Bilbruck, Jaiveon Ceasar, Jacob Franklin, Taylar Weeden, Hadrian Fuehrer, Ja’Zelle Cowens, Adriana Sponseller, Bethany Wessel, Callie Baxter, Kayla Williams, Scott Stoelzle, Madison Moskowitz, Kylie Sparrow, Gavin Vogt, Beau Ensminger, Levi Phillips, Leah Wood, Hannah Robey, Halle Hites, Josie Potter, Kileigh Lawrence, Gabe Reno, Cain Tittsworth, William Dinsenmeyer, Koreyia Johnson, Gabe Fulton, Abby Sarten, Autumn Cox-Arnold (Submitted Photo)

A Note from the Superintendent’s Desk – Establishing Boundaries

Carrie Hruby - Superintendent District 90

Carrie Hruby – Superintendent District 90

At its November meeting, the District 90 Board of Education heard additional details regarding options that were considered by the Boundaries Committee.  In short, one option was to create a fifth grade center at Schaefer, another option was to redraw the current boundaries and maintain current grade levels in each, and the third option included creating an early learning center for preschool.  Each of the options brings change that addresses some of the District’s needs.  Change is inevitable for a growing district, but can be difficult to navigate because of the high satisfaction families feel for their current elementary schools.

During the meeting the Board asked the Committee to continue to study those three options, and bring back more details regarding an early learning center.  The Board will continue to listen to the details of each option at upcoming meetings, and does not wish to rush a decision as important as this.  The Board and several community members present on November 15 praised the work of the Committee and thanked them for being open, committed and transparent.

Following are some questions that have been asked recently:

Can Title I funds be used to build an addition onto one of our schools?

No.  District 90 receives approximately $360,000 in Federal Title I funds each year.  The funds must be used for very specific purposes, per the federal requirements.  The District can use these funds to offer intervention support, hire and train staff, order instructional materials, purchase technology, etc.  The funds must be used to supplement, not supplant, local funds.  That means we cannot use them to cover the salaries of current staff or supplies that the District would otherwise purchase for all students, for example.  They must be used to supplement support to our at-risk students.

The District receives an allocation each Fall, and we are charged with dividing it up according to the federal formula.  There are several different variations of the formula but each are based on the free and reduced lunch ratios at the schools.  If all of the elementary schools are comparable, they each receive a portion of the funds.  If one is not comparable (with a lower FRL ratio) that school would not be eligible for any federal Title I funds.

The very best districts put students first, and that continues to be true of District 90. We feel strongly that it is important to have intervention supports in place for students who are at risk of not meeting standards.   If the District is able to spread the federal funding equitably across the elementary schools, we are able to provide important services to our struggling students in each.

Why can’t we just rent/purchase temporary modular buildings instead of redrawing school boundaries?

The District currently has enough classrooms to meet its enrollment needs.  Because the District has developed more rapidly in its northwest corner, we need to address the number of students that are currently zoned to attend Schaefer.  Also the District does not currently have the funds available to purchase or rent modular buildings.  We feel it is more responsible to focus on improvements to current facilities and programs since we have the classrooms available to meet our current enrollment needs.

Did the Committee consider making
Schaefer a third junior high?

No.  Schaefer does not have the athletic fields, science labs or large common spaces both Fulton and Carriel have.   It would therefore not be comparable to the existing junior high campuses.  Also, creating a third junior high would increase the number of staff needed, as most teach one content area.

The Committee thanks the Board members, staff, parents and community members who have offered constructive feedback and questions.  We will continue to be transparent in our study of this important issue, and are committed to analyzing all viable options.  It is our goal to offer the Board of Education as much data and information as it needs to feel confident in decision making. Regardless of which decision is ultimately made, District 90 will continue to be a desirable school system in a strong community.