District 321 formalizes improvement team

Marianne Gillespie

Strange weather did not derail the Sept. 9 Illinois Valley Central District 321 school board meeting at Chillicothe Elementary Center.

In the wee hours that morning Superintendent Chad Allison made the call to suspend school that day after a storm with straight line winds hit mainly the north end of town. Trees and their limbs, power lines and roads filled with water were affected.

Two of the four district schools had power, but for some to be able to get to them was yet another obstacle.

The emergency day was “the first one I’ve ever called off in September,” Allison said.

For those attending Mossville School, the day allowed them to do what they wanted as they were not affected by the storm. That, however, has not been the case for Mossville School this year as students and faculty have dealt with a couple power outages since the beginning of school.

A vehicular accident nearby left the school without power only a couple days after the start of school, which prompted sending the children home after lunch. To permanently fix that problem, the students were without power yet again.

“By this time, the teachers and students are getting pretty used to it,” Allison said.

With everyone rolling with the punches, the board tackled its work at CEC, which did have electricity by the time of the board meeting. The board meetings relocate to a district school building throughout the year so administration can highlight what is going on at the school.

CEC is focusing its theme for the year around “Be TRRFCC.” Additionally, an anti-bullying campaign is in the works.

On the district side of things, a district improvement team is being assembled. Looking at the board’s goals, strategic planning and state mandates, the district will use the online tool called Rising Star through the State Board of Education. The system uses 104 specific indicators to show “this is what a good school looks like,” Allison said.

The tool allows officials to re-evaluate after goals are met and continually reassess the district’s progress. Each school individually uses Rising Star and this move for the district “formalizes the process,” Allison said.

Comprising the district’s team will be one teacher and administrator from each of the buildings as well as one or two board members.

In the district’s personnel report, resignations included Eric Horack as IVCHS girls’ sophomore and assistant varsity basketball coach and Jean Razo as CEC speech coach, both effective immediately.

Under personnel contracts, hired are Josh Clarke as head girls’ basketball coach at CEC, Morgan Watson as speech coach and Scholastic Bowl coach at CEC, Laura Kolb as head girls’ track coach at Mossville, all for the 2014-15 school year.