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Arthur BOE Approves Cheek to solicit bids for roof work at AHGS and pavement work at LGS

By ARIANA R CHERRY
Staff Writer

The Arthur School district continues to focus on the needs of its facilities. There are some places on the roof of the Atwood-Hammond Grade School that have significant leaks. Superintendent Cheek had noted at January’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting that he wanted to get ahead of things before they became a problem.

At the most recent meeting on February 21, the BOE approved Cheek to go ahead and solicit bids for roof work to be completed for summer 2024 at A-HGS. The estimated cost is $200,000 to $240,000. The Lovington Grade School is also in need of pavement work, in which the board also approved Cheek to solicit bids. The estimate of cost for that project is $410,000. Principal Andrew Peralta and his students at the Arthur Grade School are excited for restroom repairs to begin in the near future as some of the classrooms have already begun their plans for moving class until the renovations have been completed.

With many repairs to the district’s facilities, there has been some discussion about the possibility of interviewing construction managers to handle all of the upcoming projects but at the moment, no final decisions have been made. Cheek and the board are also trying their best to put out more information regarding the needs of the district to the public in hopes of another resolution being put on the upcoming ballot. Through social media, public meetings, news articles and the new podcast, Cheek hopes to spread more awareness and th goals of the district to its surrounding communities.

Along with giving Cheek permission to solicit bids for roof and pavement work, the BOE also discussed and voted on other items.

Cheek shared a spreadsheet showing district fees across the last few years and how they have been consistent. He compared the costs of our district with 28 other ones. Cheek mentioned that there may be a need to increase the price for school lunch with the rising costs of supply. He said he would bring back some recommendations at the next meeting regarding price increases.

The district had a total of $12,191.24 in total donations recently. Shawnee Communications donated a total of $9780.00 to the LGS Backpack Program. Steve & Joyce Jurgens donated $1,050 to the LGS Backpack Program. Dave & Carol Crist and Mark & Connie Kroll also donated $200. Mr. Jesse Burnett donated $311.24 to ALAH Athletics. Everyday Needy Fund and Atwoods Women’s Club donated $650 in various items such as clothing and other accessories.

Amanda Romine reported that the district is currently serving 39 students through the Mental Health Partners Grant. The RISE Organization has been sending two therapists one day a week- one to the high school for half a day and the other to the Arthur Grade School for half a day.

A few changes were made to the 2024-2025 school calendar. Professional Development Day will be October 11 and spring break has been scheduled for a week later. The district has also decided to take MLK Day off instead of Columbus Day for next school year.

Cheek wanted to give a shout out to the Broadcasting Class, Mark Smith and Doug Davis for their work on the podcast. He has looked forward to the recordings and mentioned he would be doing a podcast with students where they could ask him questions. A future episode about the library is also coming up. “It has been a lot of fun and has had a good run,” he commented.

The total of all funds in the Treasurer’s report was $14,588,845.25. The Education Fund was 1,818,241.58, Building Fund: $1,085,902.71 and the Transportation Fund was $117,028.10.

Personnel Report
February 21, 2024

Certified:

Consider accepting Trisha Sluder’s letter of resignation for her teaching position at the high school.

Non-Certified:

Recommend for hire, Hannah Swarms, as a paraprofessional at AHGS

Recommend accepting letter of resignation from Erin Davis as a paraprofessional at AHGS

Extra-Curricular:

Recommend for hire, Sarah Reed as a volunteer HS Cheer Coach

Recommend for hire, Austin Romine as the JH Assistant Track Coach

Consider accepting Trisha Sluder’s letter of resignation for the position of Division Chair for the Math Department

Consider accepting Trisha Sluder’s letter of resignation for the position of Student Council Advisor

Arthur Grade School Report
Andrew Peralta, Principal

Spelling Bee: On February 14, our AGS sent our spelling champions to the Douglas County Spelling Bee. Competing in the bee were Trinity Schrock, Daxton Stutzman, Natalie Peralta (Noah Kellogg was alternate). Natalie Peralta tied for second in the competition. We are so proud of our students participating in the event.

100 Day: Kindergarten classes celebrated at AGS with the celebration of our 100th day of school. Students keep close track of the dates with their daily calendars. In the cold of winter, it was wonderful to have our celebrations throughout the building.

8th Grade Promotion: The 8th-grade graduation is scheduled for May 23 at 7 pm at the ALAH football field.
Committee work updates

Reading Committee: Our work in our reading committee focuses on examining student data, discussion of current pilot and implementation of the pilot, along with the creation of a common graphic organizer to work on IAR writing, acknowledging this is a weakness of ours. Ms. Ponstein has been leading our efforts in this regard.

Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) Committee

Our most recent PBIS Meeting included Sarah Teeter, from Midwest PBIS, who helped coach us through our systems and give us some ideas of how we can tighten up some areas. Jessica Clarkson chairs our committee and we are lucky to have her leading the process. Much of this work centers around examining our systems to better train staff on handling situations.

Math Committee Currently, our Math Committee is examining our IAR writing/simulation and the implementation of our Bridges Mathematics program. A big thank you to Melissa Hopkins, Rhonda Rhodes and Whitney Wynkoop for their work on this important project.

School Improvement Team: Along with an examination of our most recent STAR data that was presented in the last report, our school improvement team is working hard to examine the overall direction of all of our committees and the distribution of our state grant. They are also revisiting our school improvement goals that were delivered earlier this year to the board to make sure we are following through on our action steps.

Upcoming ALAH Literacy Night: Arthur CUSD #305 is hosting a Family Literacy Event on Thursday, March 7 in the Atwood-Hammond Grade School Cafeteria. Mark your calendars and get ready for an evening filled with reading, crafts, and games, all steeped in literacy!

Scholastic Bowl: The AGS Scholastic bowl has begun with 15 students who are studying hard. We have students working to master Algebra 2, Geography, History, and anything under the sun. We look forward to seeing their success.

Important Dates:

March 7 – Family Literacy Night

March 14 – Early Out: SIP Day

Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond High School Report
Steffanie Seegmiller,
Principal

1. On Friday, February 16, Mr. Stinebring took 16 of his physics students and students from science club to Bridge Bust, an annual bridge-building competition at Purdue University. Students have been researching, designing, building, and will present, and “bust” their bridges, to earn scholarships. Students’ bridges will be judged on their appearance, their presentation of their research and design of their bridge, and the amount of weight their bridge can support before it breaks. The top 3 students in each category will receive scholarship money. While students are not presenting their bridges there will be booths from the College of Engineering for students to visit to learn about different engineering majors. The Bridge Bust is a great opportunity for students to practice engineering skills, learn about different engineering majors, and visit one of the best engineering schools in the county.

2. The high school Biology and Survey of Science classes attended the 2024 Science FebFest at Eastern Illinois University on Friday, February 16. This is the first time since Covid that EIU will be bringing this yearly trip back into being. Mrs. Benedict and Mr. Thomas took nearly the entire freshman class as well as a few sophomores to a day in which they get to experience college classes on a college campus with EIU professors and students.
Each grade level will be spending their day going from class to class where they will get to experience hands-on learning opportunities. Some students will get to explore their genetic history with DNA testing, while others will visit the cadaver lab and get to experience first hand human anatomy with actual human specimens. There are also classes about fish identification, Herpetology (Reptiles and Amphibians), medicinal plants, and brain anatomy. They will also compete against
other schools in a chant competition and try to bring home a traveling trophy.

3. FFA has already had a packed year:

• They participated in the public speaking and job interview contests.

• Adyson Hopkins and Jorja Lebeter competed in the FFA Creed Contest.

• Evanger Wiley competed in the Job Interview contest where she placed 5th out of 10.

• At the beginning of February, fourteen first year FFA members attended the FFA Ground Zero conference in Springfield. These students spent two days learning more about FFA and developing their leadership skills while meeting FFA members from across the state.

• Next week is National FFA Week. Activities include dress up days, a breakfast for faculty, competing in a volleyball tournament with other FFA chapters in our area, Ag Olympics with the school on Friday and the week will round out on Saturday with the FFA Alumni breakfast which will be held at the United Methodist Church in Arthur from 7-10.

• Coming in the spring they will have livestock judging contests, Ag Legislative Day, and our FFA Chapter’s birthday coming up.

4. This spring the ALAH High School Drama Club is putting on The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical. This show follows young teen Percy Jackson as he learns that he is a “half-blood” or half-human, half-Greek god. He goes on an epic quest with his friends Grover and Annabeth to return Zeus’s lightning bolt and prevent a war between the gods.

Auditions were in December and students have been rehearsing since the start of January. They have 15 actors, many of whom are playing multiple roles throughout the show. Behind the scenes they have 11 crew members bringing the total to 26 students participating in the musical!

Of those 26 students, 4 are first time actors for our drama club and 10 are new to drama club.

Mr. DeLaughter has volunteered to be the music director and senior Chloe Schable is the student choreographer. The cast and crew have been working hard to bring the mythical world of the Greek gods and monsters to life by building cardboard swords, the wings of a Fury, a Minotaur head and even a pair of goat legs.
They are excited to be performing this show for our community this spring and we will even be going to each of the grade schools to give them a sneak preview of the show on March 6. Thank you for your support!

5. IMEC, Illinois Music Educators Conference, was held January 24 – January 27, 2024 We had two seniors who qualified for the event:

• All State Choir: Sara Rogers

• Honors Choir: Evan Fowler

We have received a letter from Wesleyan University that Sarah Rogers will automatically receive a $15,000 scholarship each year for four years if she decides to pursue a music major degree there. They are awarding this to her because she passed the audition to sing in the ILMEA All

State Choir. Evan Fowler passed the audition to sing in the ILMEA Honors Choir. He has been awarded a scholarship of $25,000 each year for 4 years if he decides to pursue a vocal music major. These are just two examples of the opportunities participating in this event brings to our students.

6. Mrs. Voegel and three members attended the IL FCCLA Section 7 Winter Rally in Charleston, IL on Wednesday, February 14.

• Perla Juarez-Cuevas completed her term as the IL FCCLA Section 7 Vice-President of Publicity–she and Mrs. Voegel had a part in planning this event

• Perla Juarez-Cuevas also competed in the Career Investigation STAR Event project and received a Silver Medal rating plus advanced to IL FCCLA State Competition in April

• Perla Juarez-Cuevas was elected as the IL FCCLA Section President (her term began upon election & ends next February)

In honor of National FCCLA Week the ALAH FCCLA provided lunch for the staff on Thursday,

Upcoming Dates:

• March 5 – Juniors take Illinois State Science Assessment

• March 5 – All school assembly provided by Connie Gyorr with Tim Ryan @ 1:30 p.m.

• March 8, 9 and 10 – High School Musical, The Lightning Thief

Lovington Grade School
Marla Graham, Principal

1. Kindergarten and 1st grade celebrated 100th day on January 29! 5th grade celebrated 1000 day because it was their 1000th day of school in their lifetime!

2. We have started piloting 95% core and UFLI for ourphonics instruction, Wit and Wisdom for our instructional piece, and Simplified Writing for the writing. We will pilot a total of 8 weeks before meeting to discuss and make a recommendation.

3. Upcoming assembly with AGS students will split up between LGS and AHGS to attend the assembly. It is on Feb 26, 8:30 AM at LGS 10:30 AM at AHGS. Mr. Wilhelm is a three-time X Games Medalist, World Championship Silver Medalist, two-time United States National Champion, and Guinness World Record Holder. To topics he will address with our students are: Bullying Prevention & Kindness, Growth Mindset, and Resilience.

4. Here is an update on our Sip Goal Updates

a. Goal #1: For the year 2023-2024, LGS will increase the percentage of students who completed the year above the 50 percentile on the STAR Math Screening Assessment by 7 percent. This would bring us from 34% of students proficient to 41%. At the Winter benchmark, we hit 46%

b. Goal #2: For the year 2023-2024, LGS will increase the percentage of students who completed the year above the 50 percentile on the STAR Reading Screening Assessment by 7 percent. This would bring us from 22% of students proficient to 29%. At our Winter benchmark, we hit 30%

c. Goal #3: For the year 2023-2024, LGS will increase the percentage of students who completed the year above the 50 percentile on the DESSA Screening Assessment by 10 percent. This would bring us from 40% to 50%. At the Winter benchmark, we were at 45%.

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