Lincolnwood Principal Ken Schuster provided more details for the credit recovery template that he and his leadership team have been working on during the Panhandle School Board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 17.
Schuster said that the goal is to provide some basic policies and procedures for parents and students who may need to utilize a method to regain credits lost. Among the approaches for regaining those credits is to retake the course, to take a 60-day online course or to attend the new ROE 3 alternative high school in Raymond.
Schuster said that the alternative high school is sometimes a better fit for juniors and seniors as it offers a quicker recovery setting to get those students back on the path to graduation.
Parents and students must meet with school administrators in order for a student to participate in any of the credit recovery programs and certain criteria must be met.
The students also sign an enrollment contract setting forth what is expected of them. Schuster said that the recovery courses can not be used to get a better grade in a course the student has already passed.
Board member Linda Brown said that the alternative school seemed to focus on high school students and asked about options for sixth through eighth graders. Schuster said that there is an alternative junior high option as well, but unlike the high school, most of those students go back to their home schools after one year.
Board member Dana Pitchford asked if the alternative school is needed if a student is failing just one class. Schuster said other options would probably be better in that case, but for students with multiple failed classes, the alternative school may be a better fit.
Pitchford also asked who was overseeing the need for credit recovery. Schuster said that he and guidance counselor Caleb Kirkpatrick are involved in those decisions, with input from the teachers.
"Everyone is working to identify those students," Schuster said.
Pitchford also asked if these procedures are already being used. Schuster said they are, with several students utilizing the alternative school.
Superintendent Aaron Hopper said that a lot of the protocols were already being used at Lincolnwood, but the new procedures formalize the process.
Hopper would also discuss the district's continuing efforts to provide more dual credit classes to its students. He said that Panhandle and seven other districts are currently in talks with Blackburn College regarding some options, including classes in computer science, marketing and teaching.
Hopper said that the district is also working with Lincoln Land Community College regarding some other options for students. He added that you'll be hearing a lot about "educational pathways," some of which will start as early as seventh and eighth grade.
Schuster said that he recently met with seniors about their concerns regarding college and future plans and finances are a big concern. He said that a dual credit option could be big, with those classes ranging from $150 to free. He added that there has also been talk about additional tech and vocational options.
Hopper said that he will be meeting in October with other area schools regarding different options and will also be attending a seminar in Fayette County about making college affordable for rural students.
In other business, the board approved the consent agenda, the school library per capita grant and the FY2019 district audit after a presentation from Jenna Andres of Scheffel Boyle CPA.
Andres told the board that their financial profile score fell in the "review" category, which is the second highest category. Recognition is the highest category, one that Panhandle obtained last year, but Andres said review was still good due to a number of unexpected expenditures the district had.
Andres said that the audit found that the district spent over budget in three areas due to these expenditures, but were rectified with a budget amendment.
She added that the district finished in the black for the second year in a row and had 163 days of cash on hand at the end of June 2019.
Andres said that the average daily attendance for the district was 437, down 13 from 2018, with a cost to educate of $9,800 per student. She added that there were no issues in conducting the audit, except a few reclassifications to meet ISBE standards.
Andres said overall, the state has started to catch up on categorical payments and something to look for in the future was the increase of the base teacher's salary to $40,000 by 2023-24. Hopper said that the board has already been working on that with the last round of teacher negotiations.
In his report, Schuster touched on athletics at the junior high and high school, touching on Sam Herman representing Lincolnwood at the state golf tournament, the volleyball program reaching the 900 win plateau and the junior high girls basketball program winning their first game.
Schuster also mentioned that Madison Krager was student of the month for early childhood and education at the Capital Area Career Center, that the attendance rate is 94 percent and that student and teacher spotlights are helping the school get to know students and teachers.
On Sept. 27, the Lincolnwood student leadership team presented a program to the junior high students on how to build trust between each other and teachers. The group will also be leading our Red Ribbon Week activities from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1.
Schuster also touched on Mr. Kirkpatrick's efforts with FAFSA completion and college fairs for the students. His report ended with accounts of the Lincolnwood FFA program's recent success, which included the junior high team placing first in their division contest, the greenhand team placing second in their contest and the varsity team placing second as well.
In his report, Farmersville Grade School Principal Chris Paproth noted that the kindergarten and preschool students visited the Farmersville Fire Station as part of Fire Safety Week. Also in the report was mention of the annual fall festival on Oct. 10, parent teacher conferences on Oct. 23-24 and Red Ribbon Week starting on Oct. 28.
Paproth noted that guidance counselor Taryn Markezich has been presenting a series of social/emotional lessons to kindergarten and first grade students during her weekly class visits.
Also, the Panhandle Preschool for All Program was one of 142 public school based early childhood sites to receive the Gold Circle of Quality in fiscal year 2019 through ExceleRate Illinois, the state's system for supporting continuous improvement among early learning providers. Gold Circle programs have met the highest standards for quality in learning environment, teaching, administration and training and education.
In his report, Hopper also mentioned Fire Safety Week at Raymond Grade School and the fall festival, with parent-teacher conferences also scheduled for Oct. 23-24.
Hopper noted that ROE Attendance Specialist Kate Wagahoff talked with Raymond Grade School third graders about the importance of good school attendance and mentioned that ISBE will release district and school report cards on Oct. 31.
Also of note, the Panhandle Veterans Day Breakfast is planned for Friday, Nov. 8, at 9 a.m. at the Lincolnwood gym, with the assembly beginning at 9:30 a.m.