Unit 40 Board Hears About Testing Changes

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Published on August 27 2012 9:34 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham Unit 40 Curriculum Director Michelle Beck Monday told school board members that work continues to make the change from No Child Left Behind testing guidelines to what is termed Common Core Standards.

Beck said a big change will be in monitoring student growth as well as college and career readiness.  Common Core standards are being implemented in Math and Language Arts and are expected in Science.  Common Core is to be in place for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Board heard from Business Manager Rem Woodruff, who invited members of the maintenance staff to be recognized for the work completed this summer around the district.  Projects featured were undertaken at EHS, the junior high school, Central including a new roof, and the Early Learning Center.

Woodruff also reported on the district's finances, saying the balance in all funds is down from last year, but the balance in operating funds is actually up from a year earlier.  Superintendent Mark Doan said the operating funds balances are due to changes approved by the Board over the past several months.

Woodruff and Doan both discussed the start of the school year, which was hampered by the departure of several employees, necessitating some last-minute switches in assignments.  The startup of the transportation of students is improving from the first few days, officials said, and discussed a student that had to be located in the transportation network Monday, saying the new communications equipment in district buses helped with locating the student.

As for the personnel changes, here's the rundown:

those hired...Cathy Funneman as a third grade teacher at Central...Todd Venters as an English teacher at the junior high school...Jennifer Fruchtl as a junior high guidance counselor...Michelle Hartke as a cook at the high school...Megan Jackson as an English teacher at the high school...Lisa Pals as an English teacher at the junior high school...Kyle Stortzum as a maintenance staff member...Jordan Jaspering as a paraprofessional...Tami Higgs as a nurse paraprofessional...Ellen Meinhart as a cafeteria monitor at the ELC...retired Business Manager Dean Keller as a temporary business consultant...Lindsay Francis as junior high head softball coach...Whitney McWilliams as volunteer junior high assistant softball coach...Sara Johnson as volunteer girls tennis coach...Missy Fehrenbacher as junior high Mustang Outreach coordinator...and Megan Jackson as high school junior class sponsor.

Resignations were received from Shae Schuler as a third grade teacher at Central...Ruby Allen as a cook at the high school...Stephanie Gannaway and Molly Braun as high school English teachers and Braun as high school basketball cheerleading coach...Stacey Macklin as a paraprofessional...Kim Case as a cafeteria monitor at Central...and Amber Goeckner as junior high cheerleading coach.

Leaves of absence were granted Jennifer Patton beginning in mid-January...Stephanie Fox beginning in February...and Leah Colclasure beginning in October.  The Board also approved the retirement of EHS teacher Mike McDonald after the 2015-2016 school year.  McDonald is also head football coach at the high school.

The Board also approved the transfers of Diana Brown from nurse paraprofessional to paraprofessional...and of Josh Robison and Rebecca Mitchell from the junior high to the high school English departments.

Board members heard from Beth Baker, who is a parent of an 8th grade and a 5th grade student in Unit 40.  Baker said she disagreed with a new practice that has students sitting in a specified section and not up and walking around during football games.  The policy has not yet been reviewed by the Board.

Doan reported that he will serve on a state committee that will help implement the licensing of state employees, and said Unit 40 enrollment is about the same; 10 or fewer more this year than the preceding year.

Unit 40 Foundation Director Todd Schuette said the Foundation will participate in the EHS Homecoming Parade on September 26 and reported that the EHS Class of 1962 has a presentation planned at the October 12 football game as part of their 50th Class Reunion.  Schuette also reported that current Foundation Board members John Collier, Kelly Ronan and Jim Siner have agreed to serve an additional three-year term and that Laurie King will serve as the next Foundation Board president, but that additional individuals are being sought to fill spots on the Board.

Speaking of filling spots on a Board, it was announced that petitions for seats on the school board will be available beginning in September at the Unit office.  The seats now held by Brian Wick, Galen Altman and Brad Meinhart will be filled in next April's election.  The Board also appointed Carol Ruffner as the Board's representative on the Illinois Association of School Board's Wabash Valley Division governing board.

The Board approved new leases with Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education for use of East Side School and with CEFS Head Start for use of West Side School.  The tentative budget for the coming fiscal year was placed on file for public inspection.  The measure anticipates a loss of $750,000-$800,000 in general state aid and another $115,000 in personal property replacement tax revenue.  Also okayed were a switch in personal evaluations from three levels to four levels and an organizational chart for the district.

Board members approved hazardous transportation routes, which allows the district to bus students living less than 1-1/2 miles from schools; and also approved a reduction in force for JoAnn Haarmann, who had been head custodian at West Side when it was being used by Unit 40.  Haarmann will work as a custodian elsewhere in the district.