Fulton Jr. High students named national finalists in the Bright Schools Competition

Lambda 450, from left: Milee Patel, Connor Fortenbery, Joshua Werner, Samuel Becker (Submitted Photo)

Lambda 450, from left: Milee Patel, Connor Fortenbery, Joshua Werner, Samuel Becker (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Cameron Shelton, Ryan Schmidtke, Cale Holan, Walter Thomas-Patterson (The LEDs) and Milee Patel, Samuel Becker, Connor Fortenbery, Joshua Werner (Lambda 540) along with Ms. Victoria Taylor, of Fulton Junior High School, were recently named national finalists in the inaugural Bright Schools Competition. The competition is a collaborative effort of the National Sleep Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association that encourages students in grades 6-8 to explore the correlation between light and sleep and how it influences student health and performance. The LEDs and Lambda 450 were two of the of 50 national finalist teams, chosen among 170 teams, made up of nearly 550 students from 63 schools.

The LED’s winning project, entitled “The Fight for Light,” is an awareness campaign that highlights the need for natural light during the day and minimal artificial light before sleep. The team built a website that shares research and pictures, stressing the impact light has on someone’s daily routine.

Lambda 450’s winning project, entitled “Blue Light Screen Protector,” was a proposal for a simple dual-layered screen protector that is able to filter out blue light. Team-member Milee Patel describes the two layers of the protector, “The first layer consists of PMMA that had been ethylinacally treated with yellow dye to produce a material capable of blocking blue light. The second layer was comprised of positive-negative junctioned sheets of graphene semiconductors. When the light reached the graphene, the top sheet became cooler than the sheet below, allowing it to transfer energy efficiently and allowing it to be used for battery life later.”

The LEDs, from left: Walter Thomas-Patterson, Cameron Shelton, Ryan Schmidtke, and Cale Holan (Submitted Photo)

The LEDs, from left: Walter Thomas-Patterson, Cameron Shelton, Ryan Schmidtke, and Cale Holan (Submitted Photo)

“The National Sleep Foundation is encouraged to see so many students interested in how light directly affects their sleep and academic performance,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “We congratulate the finalists on their innovative ideas and thoughtful projects. These students, teachers and parents will help bring about change in the way institutions view lighting and overall health.”

Under the mentorship of an adult coach/teacher, teams of two to four students identify, investigate, and research an issue related to light and sleep as it pertains to their community and/or young adolescents. Using scientific inquiry or engineering design concepts teams develop a prototype, create an awareness campaign, or write a research proposal for the competition. Each team then submits a written report detailing their project along with a three-minute video showcasing their investigation. Projects are evaluated on the basis of several criteria, including scientific accuracy, innovativeness, and potential impact.

“Congratulations to all of the national finalists who competed in the competition this year,” said NSTA Executive Director Dr. David Evans. “We are extremely impressed with the quality of work and innovative ideas these students have exhibited as they explored science and found ways to benefit their communities and society as a whole.”

More information about the competition is available at http://brightschoolscompetition.org/.

State Budget Crisis

Illinois passes stopgap budget, schools and road projects funded

State Budget CrisisSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois legislature passed a six-month stopgap budget on Thursday, providing a bit of relief to local schools.

The bills were negotiated between the governor and four legislative leaders and includes money to fund state services for the next six months. The bills also reportedly include a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, as well as funding for colleges and social service providers.

The agreement also includes some state funding, $215.2 million, for pension payments for Chicago school district teachers. One bill of the legislative package allowed the city of Chicago to increase property taxes to pay for its teacher pensions.

State Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) said the money for Chicago pensions will only be released once a pension reform is agreed upon.

“They will only get that money once there is a signed pension reform bill on the governors desk and no sooner,” said Meier.

Had these bills not been approved, local school districts would have been hard pressed to keep their doors open during the 2016-17 school year. District 203 Superintendent Darcy Benway said at the recent Board of Education meeting that OTHS can keep its doors open until the end of May if it uses all of its reserve funds. According to a report issued by the Illinois State Board of Education released this week, District 90 can last 169 days while Shiloh District 85 can last 226. Central District 104 can reportedly last throughout the entire school year.

The stopgap measure also allows for the Illinois Department of Transportation to continue to work on construction projects after tomorrow. This was a major concern due to roundabout construction at Milburn and Simmons that have caused traffic issues at the intersection of Lincoln and State.

Both the House and Senate passed the legislative package and the bills have been sent to the Governor for approval, which is expected. Today was the last day of the state’s fiscal year.

These bills however should not be confused with a full state budget, meaning lawmakers will have to take up budget discussions again in January, following the November elections.

Carriel Junior High School Graduation 2016

Graduation ceremonies held for Carriel and Fulton eighth grade students

Fulton Junior High Graduation 2016

A group of graduates at Fulton Junior High School. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Carriel Junior High School Graduation 2016

A portion of the graduates from Carriel Junior High School (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Jon McLean)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Wednesday evening, both Carriel Junior High School and Fulton Junior High School held graduation ceremonies for their eighth grade students. The eighth graders will move on to the O’Fallon High School Freshman Campus on Milburn School Road this fall.

   The following students graduated from Carriel Junior High School in 2016.

Davin Isaiah Asberry

Austin Brennan Balabas

Paul Michael Barnett II

Hannah Michelle Bennion

Makayla Esther Best

Nevan Christopher Bickel

Paige Marie Bickers

Brianna Grace Bierly

Rakia Janea Blue

William Michael Bardwell Boddy

Oscar Bossart

Kyle Anthony Boyer

Allison Karen Brantley

Alexander James Brown

Ayanna Cherie Brown

Isaac JT Brown

August Christine Burkett

Liana Janet Burkhart

Lluvia Rae Carpenter

Matthew James Carter

Morgan Renee Cates

Tyshira Tiara Ceasar

Jaylah Denise Chambers

Jematur Phoebe Chepkoit

Sophia Noelle Cherry

Noah Wesley Claghorn

Grace Anne Clinton

Jourmon Maurice Coleman

Carter Gedson Collins

Courtney Renee Conrad

Sarah Ann Cooley

Rayven Alexis Cornish

Benjamin Kelly Crockett

Adrian E Croissant IV

Claire Ann Crook

Madisyn Elizabeth Crouse

Jillian Justine Crowder

Noah Jeffrey Cutter

Madison Katherine Dalonzo

Kaitlynn Renee Danielson

Kimberly Rand Davenport

Shelby Elisabeth Davinroy

Jordan Gregory DeBourge

Jacob Riley Denley

Austin Andrew Dichsen

Sarah Elizabeth Diessner

Brenton Tyrone Armand Diggs

Denika Ashauna Dinkins

August E Doan

Chloe Jennifer Dobecki

Silas Latvelle Donaby

Jacob Mikel Douthit

Ashlee Faith Dunks

Kaitlyn V Dunn

Emma Kay Ellington

Danielle Alexa Elliott

Gianni Christian Falconer

Kelsey Lynn Farmer

Cale Emery Faulk

Anthony Joseph Federico

Bryan Robert Flowers

Sierra Amethyst Fowler

Cameron Patrick Frailey

Lillian Marie Franks

Thomas Joseph Fulford

Braden Martin Gaab

Brenden Tyler Gaines

Vincent Xavier Garcia

Leah Marie Geis

Grant Alan George

Blaine Michael Gittner

Jeremiah Lanard Glenn

Joshua Bernard Glenn

Isabella Claire Goerke

Clara Jayne Greenstreet

Delaney Shae Greene

Elise Renee Greer

Thomas Josef Grinnell

Jenna Delle Grissom

Kaylie Anne Grout

Taylor Arianna Guy

Thomas Glen Guy

Benjamin Eugene Haerr

Alaina Lucia Hager

Celena Joezelene Haight

Benjamin Allan Hall

Emilee Cathryn Hamm

Jonathan Michael Hardy

Makenna Beth Harris

Jordan Ann Heien

Braden Tyler Henson

Jonathan William Hentzel II

Deja Celeste Holloway

Ty’Rez Jerrel Holman

Jacob William Hopkins

Maalik Jacob Hopkins

Jordyn Lynn Hunter

Zechariah Nathaniel Ingram

Devin Anthony Isom

Elijah Mykal Jackson

Madeline Nicole James

Mikayla Ediger Jassem

Britney Nicole Johnson

Jaylon Malik Johnson

Katelen Rae Johnson

Kathryn Elizabeth Kalkwarf

Daniel Patrick Key

Evan Sinclair Kieser

Dabin Kim

Maisy Jordan King

Rayshawn King Jr

Sydney Reagan Kirchoff

Austin Wyatt Klemp

Ruth Nicole Lambries

Matthew Richard Lane

Logan Laut

Kiera Marie Leahy

Anthanie Nicole Lewis

Brianna Ashley Lindsey

Jacob Andrew Lipe

Juel Thomas Little

Nathan Shelby Lumas

Hayden McGwire Lundy

Rebecca Grace Lunn

Macnea Mackey

Sean Patrick Mahan

Rachel Nicole Mann

Marco Joseph Marchese

Jayden Lyn Martin

Jonathan Brett Mason

Serenity Ann McDonald

Zoey Taylor McDonald

Madeline Jordan McKittrick

Payten Lee McLean

Erin Sylvia McNary

Kayla Jean Miller

Seth Haydean Miller

Ian Andrew Mitchell

Brandon Michael Monson

Gwen Elizabeth Musenbrock

Madison Janae Muzzarelli

Nathaniel Thomas Nadler

Terrence LaVelle Nash

Hayden Dean Naumann

Lily Nguyen

Seth Steven David Nichols

Paige E. Nowak

Deanna Nicole Palmer

Vonner Mikeal Panek

Jordan Russell Peacock

Treyvoyn Perkins

Emily Rose Ping

Makenzie Jewel Pitts

Jonathan Judah Price

Mark Vidal Prozinski

James Xavier Pruneau

Wynne Victoria Radcliffe

Derek Edward Raschen

Grace Elizabeth Rauscher

Alicia Louise Reed

Nicholas Tyler Rice

Devin Cade Richardson

Rachel Patricia Roberts

Madellyn Grace Ruttenbur

Noleka Morgan Sandlin

Nicolas A Santillan

Steven Timothy Schaeffer

Catherine Rose Scherschel

Kendall Rose Schieppe

Drew Alexander Schoendienst

Erika Lynn Schuardt

Logan Michael Schweigert

Carolyne Paige Scrivner

Lesley Louise Velasco Sebree

Elijah David Sewell

Jacob Wesley Sexton

Makayla Louise Sharpe

Madison Olivia Signore

Daniil Alexandrovich Smirnov

Chasity Marshae Smith-Pedersen

Evan Hugh Smith

Regan Lizbeth Sparks

Melanie Elizabeth Spinnie

Jacob Michael Stallard

McKenna Rayola Stamper

Roman Han Steele

Emilee Elizabeth Steinkamp

Cleveland Stewart-Goodwin

McKayla Renae Stone

Tyler Jeffrey Stosberg

Mallory Elizabeth Stroud

Grayson Joel Stutzman

Camden William Suddarth

Cassandra Nichole Surrey

Mia Victoria Torres

Bryan Scott Trelow

Kaylynn Sierra Trice

Justin Stephen Turner

Nathan Alexander Vazquez

Rebecca Adali Villagran

Brock Wade

Hannah Elizabeth Wagnon

Jeremy Joseph Walker

Kaitlyn Rebecca Walker

Zoe Michel Wallace

Andrew James-Harold Walters

Chloe Nicole Watson

Kevin Latrell Watson

Kiera Nicole Webb

Makayla Marie Weiss

Bruce Alexander White

Kai McKenna Williams

Amarey Jacob Wills

Kevelle D Wilson

Jackson Douglas Winkler

Sofia Grace Wojtal

Ian Lawrence Wright

Kyle Christopher Yates

Tyler Jackson Young

Natalie Natasha Zaman

Mike Bushra Zamel

Nadia Nicole Zuniga

   The following students graduated from Fulton Junior High School in 2016.

MaaLik’ Abdus-Salaam

Alena Ackerman

Seth Aldrich

Mar’Nequa Allen

Aviana Arnold

Mason Baker

Ashijane Barlow

Chloe Baron

Kamiya Barron

Haley Bartimus

Cody Bauer

Elliana Beard

Kyleigh Beebe

Dionre Berry

Sophie Bitner

Christian Blue

Grace Braswell

Semaj Brown

Anteco Bryant

Emmett Burse

Julian Cabrera

Camden Capplletti

Michelle Chaplin

Logan Charbonneau

Alyson Clayton

Madison Closs

Cash Coffman

Jordyn Comeaux

Anna Correale

Brendon Creek

JacobDarnell

Joshua Dela Cruz

Caleb DiLoretta

Teonna Driver

Jonathan Faust

Ailayna Gaffney

Amber Germuga

Kale Gibson

Lucas Gilmore

Ebony Gipson

ElyseGordon

Kayla Gordon

Luke Goss

Austin Griffith

Riley Grissom

Baleigh Hall

Clayton Harris

Morris Harris, III

Brayden Hartmann

Natalie Helme

Dylan Hites

Peyton Hobart

Sydney Hobart

Cale Holan

Madison Holbert

Angelia Hooker

Matthew Hosman

Joseph Howell

Haley Hughes

Kaleb Humbert

Alec Jenkins

Deeona Jimerson

Kailey Johnson

Lucas Johnson

Jayden Jones

Heidi Kassab

Kelly Keirstead

Hayden Kingdon

Cole Klinger

Dylan Klomps

Benjamin Koenig

Natahn Kolb

Matt Kopp

Kendall Kreidell

Michael Laguna

Adria Lang

Daniel Larsen

Jessica Larson

Molly Ledford

Sarah Lewis

Alex Lieb

Alec Lightle

Danyale Lockett

Simoriah Longhorn

Conner Lynn

Yousef Mahmood

Adian Malloy

Achton Marable

Kaitlyn Marrs

Brooke Mason

D’Montae Mason

Stephen Mathews

Conner McGinnis

Brittney McHenry

Joshua McIntyre

Maydson McKethen

Calen McKinney

Grace Meade

Joseph Medley

Ethan Miller

Noah Miller

Alexis Mills

Grant Miner

Cimone Mitchell

Macyn Monegain

Sydney Morgan

Kyle Morrison

Connor Morton

Robert Palus

Milee Patel

Briana Pflugradt

Felecia Phelps

Cameron Prindle

Caelan Quick

Karmeron Rachell

Juhari Raines

Ian Ratajczyk

Keith Rice, II

Ryan Ritchie

Arienna Rogers

Jacob Samuelson

Johanna Sandheinrich

Ryan Sarten

Ryan Schmidtke

Ellie Schur

Ellie Schur

Cameron Shelton

Christopher Smith

Jaedyn Smith

Isabella Staley

Grace Stamps

Elizabeth Stater

Isaiah Steward

Jada Strong

David Tady

Madison Tallman

Mackenzie Taulbee

Janiece Taylor

Jameson Thibodeaux

Brooke Thomas

Walter Thomas-Patterson

Cameron Thrapp

Ethan Tinarwo

Hannah Tole

A’Niyia Tutson

Megan Vacarelli

Kristin Vallem

Jewell Vickers

Bethany Vivienti

Jacob Voelkerding

Devin Welch

Christopher Wichlac

Sophie Wichlac

Max Wiggins

Tyreace Wilbourn

Cole Williams

McKayla Williamson

Raigan Wilson

Aidan Wiltshire

Hyokun Yi

Dyontae Young

Jennifer Zhao

Michael Ziegler

Paige Zywicki

   The following students were named as class Valedictorians at Carriel Junior High School.

Austin B. Balabas

Liana J. Burkhart

Grace A. Clinton

Sarah A. Cooley

Madisyn E. Crouse

Noah J. Cutter

Kaitlynn R. Danielson

Austin A. Dichsen

Kaitlyn V. Dunn

Braden M. Gaab

Grant A. George

Blaine M. Gittner

Isabella C. Goerke

Kaylie A. Grout

Celena J. Haight

Emilee C. Hamm

Makenna B. Harris

Madeline N. James

Mikayla E. Jassem

Ruth N. Lambries

Brianna A. Lindsey

Madeline J. McKittrick

Seth H. Miller

Brandon M. Monson

Deanna N. Palmer

Vonner M. Panek

Mark V. Prozinski

Wynne V. Radcliffe

Rachel P. Roberts

Melanie E. Spinnie

Emilee E. Steinkamp

Hannah E. Wagnon

Makayla M. Weiss

Sofia G. Wojtal

   The following students were named as class Valedictorians at Fulton Junior High School.

Haley Bartimus

Baleigh, Hall

Cale Holan

Simoriah Longhorn

Milee Patel

Ryan Schmidtke

Sophie Wichlac

Estelle Kampmeyer Students

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary names Citizenship winners for 2015-16 school year

Estelle Kampmeyer Students

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School recently named its Citizenship winners for the 2015-16 school year.  Isaiah Spires, Landen Stawarski, Jillian Clark, Matthew Weisenbach, Grace Harris, Rigo Sanchez, Kaila Patterson, Joey Goersch, Mikayla Ellington, Diego Rosade, Meredith Smith, Emily Markova, Emily George, Merrick Buckingham, Kamrynn Bugger, Logan Thomas, Ashley Smith, Ryan Myers, Kailee Hubbard, Aden King, India Eastern, Abram George, Dana Kim, Nathaniel Ellington, Hannah Gulbronson, Austin Walraven, Jordyn Lochmann, Ben Baldwin, Morgan Minar, Christopher Lichota (Submitted Photo)

A Note from Carrie Hruby – District 90 Superintendent – Congratulations to Carriel and Fulton graduates

Carrie Hruby - Superintendent, District 90

Carrie Hruby – Superintendent, District 90

On May 18 District 90 celebrated our eighth grade graduation ceremonies for Carriel and Fulton Junior High Schools.  I was honored to provide a few closing remarks that night.  I shared a quote from author Fred Devito who said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”  His quote reminds us that challenges can help us become the best versions of ourselves.

I encouraged our junior high graduates to consider this quote when looking forward to their high school years.  There will be challenges.  From the first day, as they make their way around a new school campus, to the new friends they will make as they find ways to fit in, to the final exams for which they will study.  These challenges, and even the times they feel they may have failed, will help them grow if they focus on growing and learning from each challenge.

Devito’s quote is a good reminder to us all.  Challenges help us grow if we are able to reflect upon the situation and use it as rung in our ladder to success.  As long as we remember to celebrate success along the path, we can always find ways to turn our challenges into opportunities.  Made popular by author Carol Dweck, this type of growth mindset teaches us that every mistake we make is progress.  Growth mindset allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

As I drove home from two wonderful eighth grade graduation ceremonies that night, I thought about Devito’s quote and how it applies to the challenges District 90 faced in the past.  The District grew from some tough financial times, and has since exceeded expectations.  Our curricular and extracurricular programs continue to have outstanding reputations, but we have also tightened our belts financially and begun to rebuild fiscal health.

Not a day goes by that I don’t feel overwhelming gratitude to be here, in this community, with this District.  There will always be challenges.  How we approach them and what we do after we face them is our choice.  The only person we should try to be better than is yesterday’s version of ourselves.

We congratulate our graduates on their many accomplishments, and wish them the very best!

District 90 Check donation

District 90 Board of Education increases school lunch price

District 90 Check donation

During the meeting, Brian and Brad Kreisler of Warma Witter Kreisler & Associates presents District 90 with a check for $6,444.66 to pay for a full cart of Chromebooks to be used by students at Fulton Jr. High in the classrooms. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – After several years with no increase, the price of a lunch in District 90 will be going up this August when school resumes.

The Board of Education voted to approve an increase that will cause the price for a student to increase by 35 cents to $2.65. Lunches for adults will cost $3. According to Superintendent Carrie Hruby, most school districts normally enact small incremental increases, but District 90 hadn’t done so in a number of years, making the increase seem significant.

“Typically what happens is you make small changes. Five cents or ten cents each year. We hadn’t done that in a number of years and so we’re looking at a bigger increase because the time had been missed,” Hruby said.

Hruby explained the increase had to happen as a result of a mandated equity tool that looks at how much a school district spends on lunch programs from federal funds and from local funds. Because the district hadn’t made any increases, the federal government essentially said the district is too reliant on federal funds and they needed to collect more locally.

In other business…

The Board of Education recognized the various District 90 staff members who were retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year. The following teachers and staff members were honored:

  • Debbie Hargrove, 4th Grade Teacher, 19 years
  • Carol Hauer, 4th Grade Teacher, 16 years
  • Jaye Coers, Social Worker, 23 years
  • Cathy Kasson, 6th Grade Science Teacher, 28 years
  • Bonnie Harper, Individual Care Aide, 12 years
  • Marcia Kempton, Before and After Care Caregiver, 11 years
  • Maria Murray, Noon Hour Supervisor and Before and After Care Caregiver, 26 years

During the committee updates, the Board discussed its special education programs. The board had decided to establish a committee to review the dsistrict’s special education programs after District 203 began to withdraw from BASSC.

“The committee looked at the data to see what services we’re providing, details of what we’re providing and what BASSC is providing, and they also analyzed the cost of each of those and what the future looked like for our needs as a district. This isn’t necessarily to decide whether or not we’re going to pull out of BASSC, but its just to study and see, overall, what our costs are,” Hruby said.

Following a presentation by the special committee, the Board of Education opted to keep the committee together and continue analyzing the district’s options going forward.

Pachyderm Club

Pachyderm Club provides eighth graders with copies of the Constitution

Pachyderm Club

Members of the Pachyderm Club present copies of the United States Constitution to Carriel Junior High School Principal Ellen Hays. The club members then gave a short presentation to the eighth grade students and passed out copies to each of them. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Members of the Metro East Pachyderm Club spent time last week educating eighth grade students at Fulton and Carriel Junior High Schools about the United States Constitution and providing them all with a copy.

The donation was the brainchild of members Steve and Robin Springer. Steve is a member of the District 90 Board of Education and Robin is the president of the Pachyderm Club. The club describes itself as a political club patterned after civic clubs with programs centered on government and politics.

“I learned that District 90 didn’t have hard copies of the US Constitution, either in textbooks or other forms.  Part of the Pachyderm Club’s mission is to further education in the community and we thought this would be a great opportunity to do so,” Steve Springer said.

Pachyderm Club

Pachyderm Rick Van Etten passes out copies of the United States Constitution to eighth grade students at Fulton Junior High School. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

The club purchased 400 pocket booklets that contain the the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to present to the students at the two O’Fallon junior high schools to use and study from.

Springer and other club members said they wanted to give the students the Constitutions so they had it going into high school.

“There’s a lot going on in our world. You hear about the presidential election every day in the news. All of it is governed by and should be in accordance with the Constitution. And we want [the students] to have it so they can reference it and know what it says,” Springer said.

District 90 Superintendent Carrie Hruby was on hand at Fulton Junior High School and said she and the district really appreciate the club’s generousity.

“The District is grateful for the donation of copies of the US Constitution for each of our eighth grade students. It is important that our students learn about the Constitution and have the opportunity to read it in full text. This allows them to use a primary source document to learn about the pillars on which our nation was built.  Our students are the nation’s future leaders so their understanding of the Constitution is vital,” said Hruby.

Moye Elementary School Spring Fling

Scenes from the Moye Elementary School Spring Fling

Moye Elementary School Spring Fling

O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller

A Note from Carrie Hruby – District 90 Superintendent – Eighth grade students take part in annual career fair

Carrie Hruby - Superintendent, District 90

Carrie Hruby – Superintendent, District 90

This year marks the 6th annual O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, and Scott Air Force Base STEAM Advisory Group Eighth Grade Career Exploration Fair.  It was held on April 28th at the Regency Conference Center.

It is really quite a sight to go into the conference center during this event.  Throughout the day, 620+ eighth graders from across O’Fallon-Shiloh public and private schools attend the fair.  Each student spends about 1.5 hours at the fair talking with role models from over 70 careers.  Both the students and the role models are fully engaged so it’s quite noisy!

This fair grew out of an idea from the Chamber’s Education Committee.  This committee, made up of school superintendents from across O’Fallon-Shiloh, wanted to find a way to expose students to a wide-variety of possible career paths.  Why eighth graders?  They are given an interest survey which measures not only interest, but ability and aptitude as well.  The timing of the fair is perfect as it occurs after eighth graders have taken the survey and selected their ninth grade school schedule.  If a student has a real “change of heart,” they can work with counselors after the fair to modify their schedule.

IMG_7124 RESIZED   New to our area, District 90 Superintendent, Carrie Hruby, was very impressed with the career fair.  “Mentors from a wide variety of careers gave students personal attention and answered their individual questions.  The eighth grade students were professional in their appearance and interactions with the mentors.  It was a terrific opportunity for eighth graders to make decisions about future career choices.”

There is some preparation built into the eighth grade curriculum with follow-on work built into the ninth grade curriculum.  The 70+ role models give up a full day of work to come out to the fair and speak with the students about their professions.  Chamber Executive Director Debbie Arell-Martinez believes that’s because local businesses know these students will be part of the workforce in a few short years and want to give the students every opportunity to find out about as many opportunities as they can before they have to make lifelong decisions.

Shiloh School District 85 Superintendent, Dale Sauer, believes, “What has been created through the partnerships and collaboration of many, led by our Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement, is a remarkable opportunity for our students entering into their first year of high school.  The chance to interact with over 70 professionals in various occupations is not available through any other venue.  Shiloh students and staff are grateful.”

Dave Hopkins, First Bank, is the Chairman of the Chamber’s Education Committee. Dave feels it’s equally as important to expose students to careers they are interested in as well as careers they’ve never considered.

IMG_7195 RESIZED   This fair has allowed the area educators to work closely with the business community as well as with Junior Achievement.  Junior Achievement has been instrumental in sustaining this event.  Carol Bouche, Junior Achievement, says, “So many of the business role models commented on how they wished they would have had this opportunity in school. This event has become a tradition for so many involved and I look forward to many more successful years.”

Chamber Director Debbie Arell-Martinez tells us, “This career fair wouldn’t happen without the partnership between the business community and the local schools.  Together we really can make a difference.”

Many thanks to this year’s sponsors:  Scott Air Force Base STEAM Advisory Group, Junior Achievement, First Baptist Academy, LF & Son Construction, Schaefer Autobody Centers, TheBANK of Edwardsville, American Eagle Credit Union, Olson Orthodontics, Adventures in Cuisine, Right from the Start Pediatrics, State Farm – Elisa Hager, Bella Milano, and the Hilton Garden Inn/Regency Conference Center.

Delores Moye Elementary names Character Students for May

May Citizenship RESIZED

The Character Education word of the month at Delores Moye Elementary School for the month of May is Citizenship ~ making your community a better place to live by being a person of character.  The following are students who are being recognized for being good citizens. Eli Young, Khalil Slaise, Jakob Hendricks, Hazel Fruend, Noah Wicks, Mae Naveira, Zander Hong, Kellen Gass, Scott Stoelzle, Connor Unterseher, Raichyl Smith, Kylie Guetterman, Dillon Cutter, Maddie Best, Nate Hoover, Audrey Lewandowski, Alec McKittrick, Mason Cornell, Dureau Stevenson, Gabe Reno, Jackson Glover, Maddie Hoover, Drue Steder, Juanito Barragan, Logan Kampmann, Alex Haynes, Baylor Kingston, Aaron Fowler, Natalie Jones, Hunter Bindrim, Jaden Marble (Submitted Photo)

EK announces April Character Students

IMG_2348 RESIZED

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School has named their Character Builder winners for the month of April. Front row, from left: Isaac Mellenthin, Layla Singleton, Andrea Hodges, Morgan King, Aryanna Kendall, Natalie Neeley. Middle row, from left: Kaden Schaefer, Alli Hamm, Imani Ellis, Keyaun Anderson. Back row, from left: Alana Jarrett, Amani Barker, Mia Thomas, Sam Fulton, Connor Leveling. (Submitted Photo)

Carriel drama club performs Enchanted Sleeping Beauty

Princess Briar Rose, played by Emma Ellington, and Prince Alexander, played by Nevan Bickel. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Princess Briar Rose, played by Emma Ellington, and Prince Alexander, played by Nevan Bickel. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Queen Elanor of the kingdom of Never Nod, played by Jenna Grissom, tells the assembled about the princess. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Queen Elanor of the kingdom of Never Nod, played by Jenna Grissom, tells the assembled about the princess. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Evilina, played by Hannah Bennion, is upset she didn't receive an invitation to the Princess's birthday party. Also pictured is the Cat, played by Noelle Rousseau.

Evilina, played by Hannah Bennion, is upset she didn’t receive an invitation to the Princess’s birthday party. Also pictured is the Cat, played by Noelle Rousseau. (O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

Evilina, dressed as an old crone, tempts Princess Briar Rose to prick her finger on the spinning wheel's needle. (O'Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

Evilina, dressed as an old crone, tempts Princess Briar Rose to prick her finger on the spinning wheel’s needle. (O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

A Note from Carrie Hruby – District 90 Superintendent – So much to be grateful for, despite state budget issues

Carrie Hruby - Superintendent, District 90

Carrie Hruby – Superintendent, District 90

For most of my adult life, I have tried to always focus on the many things for which I am grateful.  I know what the research says about focusing on gratitude and letting it be the focus.  I keep a gratitude journal on my desk so I can find the positive in any situation and record it.

Recent news regarding funding for public education has been negative, so negative that it is difficult to find points of gratitude.  School leaders are troubled by the State’s lack of a fiscal year 2016 budget, ten months into the year.  While K-12 education received a funding line item this year, we continue to hear we may not be as fortunate next year.  We fear the State of Illinois may withhold General State Aid funds and leave us in a similar situation as the state universities.  Leaders fear we may be forced to burn through reserves in order to keep doors open if the General Assembly doesn’t pass an FY17 budget.  Doing so would have a ripple effect that would be difficult from which to recover. On top of all of that, we heard this week that the State overpaid Corporate Property Replacement Taxes which must now be repaid.  Fortunately District 90 was only overpaid $18,000 but some districts were overpaid $200,000-$1 million.

In spite of all of this negative news, there are still many things for which to be grateful.  District 90 has embraced many improvements this year.  Our financial outlook has improved, as illustrated by the upgrade of our ISBE Financial Profile Score and credit rating from S&Ps.

The District 90 Board of Education successfully negotiated contracts with both of our unions under reasonable terms that are fair to all.  More importantly, the process illustrated the positive working relationship between the District and the staff unions.  Those relationships are critical to the organization’s success, as the staff are the most important influence on our students’ experiences at school.

The Board recently collaborated to define their goals and priorities which will be used to guide future priorities.  The process culminated with a new logo and tagline for District 90.  Committees of parents, staff, administrators and community members researched and collaborated to find excellent solutions to several issues, including the reduction of extra-curricular fees.  The recommendation was approved by the Board as it is fiscally responsible and also fair to parents who will pay those fees.  Another committee continues to study the issue of boundary lines.  While their work is not complete, the progress thus far has been impressive.  An additional committee of staff and parents studied the District 90 grading scale and made a strong recommendation that will more closely align our scale to that of OTHS.

Not only must we be grateful for the internal work being completed, but also for the external partnerships that improve the District and community.  The District has a strong relationship with the City of O’Fallon.  The City’s GIS staff went above and beyond to share information and data with the Boundaries committee.  We’ve been very impressed with the skills they bring to the discussion and their willingness to help us gather important data.  The City also recently shared plans to improve O’Fallon by extending sidewalks around the schools, which will provide safer routes for students who walk or ride their bikes.  The O’Fallon Police Department has been a strong partner in our conversation about improvement of safety and security.

There are many other partners who also reach out to support our work.  District 90 received a generous $10,000 donation from CSX for innovative programs, and a few days later received another generous donation of $6,500 from Warma Witter Kreisler for Chromebooks that will be used to engage students in 21st century learning. The O’Fallon Weekly is also an important partner as they share information about the District with the community.  We are grateful for these partnerships and our partnerships with the area districts and the community.  The local school districts work closely to find efficiencies and to collaborate on initiatives.  Recently a large group of community members have had productive conversations about a potential county-wide revenue stream for facility improvements.

While improvements to communication, policy and fiscal accountability have taken the spotlight, every day there are also incredible things happening in classrooms.  Teachers and support staff create positive learning environments where students excel.  It’s no wonder the District continues to be a very desirable location for families. For example, the District 90 junior high symphonic band was recently named All State, which means they are in the top ten of all bands in the state, only two of which are outside the Chicago area.

This list takes up several pages in my gratitude journal, but it is not exhaustive.  O’Fallon is a dynamic community and a wonderful home to families. In spite of the frustrations from the State, we continue to improve and grow.  We do so because we recognize our third graders only have one third grade school year, for example.  Therefore we promise to make it the best it can be.  We owe that to our students, and are grateful to be entrusted to provide it.

Have a question for the Superintendent?
Send your comments to chruby@of90.net

CSX District 90 Donation

District 90 receives a credit rating upgrade from S&P

CSX District 90 Donation

District 90 received a $10,000 grant from CSX that will be used to offer innovative social programming for students with special needs and their neuro-typical peers at the recent Board of Education meeting.
(Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Members of the District 90 Board of Education learned their efforts to tighten their financial belts has paid off and resulted in an improved credit rating for the district.

Standard & Poor’s has upgraded the district’s credit rating from an A with a negative outlook to an A with a positive outlook. According to Superintendent Carrie Hruby the improvement is because of the district’s careful budgeting and reduced spending.

“We’ve reduced expenditures and really tightened our budget and the board is starting to build back some working cash. That was all seen very positively. When you go through that rating call from S&P they want to know about the stability of the area, what employers are in the area, where the district’s revenue to expenditure is at, where your reserves are, and what budget strategies you’ve taken and continue to take to reduce debt down and live within your means. They were really impressed,” Hruby said.

Additionally, the district received credit for improving their financial situation while in the middle of an uncertain situation as it relates to state funding.

“To improve your credit rating during a fiscal crisis like we’re seeing in the state of Illinois, to do this during this time is really a big pat on the back to the district. Even though there is a lot of instability at the state level, we, in spite of that, have managed to improve our credit rating,” Hruby said.

In other business…

  •    The board voted to approve the issuance of general obligation bonds totaling $5.22 million to pay for the second phase of environmental upgrades to district buildings. Specifically, this second phase will pay for improvements at Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School.
  •    The board heard a presentation about the district’s current grading scale. Prior to the meeting, the cutoff for an A was 93 percent and many said the scale was too strict. After much discussion, the board decided to approve a new ten-point grading scale, effective next school year. Under the new scale, an A will run from 100-90, a B from 89-80, a C from 79-70, a D from 69-60, and F 59 and below.
  •    Lex White of CSX presented a grant for $10,000 to District 90 to help pay for social programing for students. CSX has given to District 90 over the past five years to help the district develop programs which promote the integration and understanding of students with special needs.
  •    Moye Elementary fifth-grade student Morgan Foster and Matt Weld won the district’s logo and tagline contest. They both received new Chromebooks as a prize. Weld will be auctioning his Chromebook back to raise money for the Fulton Junior High Art Club.
  •    The Board of Education took a moment to recognize the Carriel and Fulton bowling teams, who were finalists in the state tournament. Only one pin separated Carriel student Jordan Peacock from the state champion. The Fulton girls team, made up of Elly Gordon, Carliegh McFarlane, Grace Braswell, and Natalie Heltne, won third place.  The Carriel boys team, made up of Jeremy Walker, Tyler Stewart, Benjamin Hall, and Jordan Peacock, took fourth. Individual winners were listed as follows: Jordan Peacock (2nd), Natalie Heltne (7th), Grace Braswell (9th), Makayla Mersinger (10th), Claire Crook (14th), and Caleb Horton (15th).
EK Family Night

EK Elementary School holds family education night

EK Family Night

O’FALLON – Estelle Kampmeyer School recently hosted a Math, Science and Tech night. Dinner was provided to students and their families, who then had the opportunity to browse the book fair and participate in multiple activities. The school also displayed art projects from all grade levels that students completed through Get Smart With Art.

EK Family Night

Third grader Gavin Closson proudly points to his art project.