By Steve Robinson | July 10, 2019 - 10:36 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, Unit 5

NORMAL – At what will be the only meeting scheduled this month for members of Normal-based Unit 5 School Board, and five weeks until the start of the new school year, District Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel had some reminders for parents during his “Superintendent’s Comments” segment of the session. The meeting was held July 10 at district headquarters on Hovey Ave.

“I just want to remind everyone that the first day of school is Friday, Aug. 16, and it will be here before we know it,” Daniel said. “Parents should make sure their children have their necessary immunizations and physicals to start the school year on time.”

In addition, Daniel informed Board members student registration started on July 9 giving parents the opportunity to use the Infinite Campus system. In December, Board members approved paying $393,000 in installments for the new system which would replace the Skyward Computer System which the district had been using for over a decade and a half. Board members unanimously approved spending the money on a new information system known as Infinite Campus, manufacturer by Greeley, Colo.-based Computer Information Concepts, Inc.

Unit 5’s first payment of $206,000 was made a few days before Christmas, according to the copy of the agreement between the company and the district provided to the media. A second payment of $88,883 was made by the district in March, and was followed by a third payment of $64,326 made July 1. Unit 5 has a fourth and final payment of $34,550 due by mid-August.

“I want to thank the team that is working to make the transition to Infinite Campus as seamless as possible,” Daniel said.

Jeff Miner, a programmer for Unit 5, told Board members that as of that meeting, the number of students registered for fall classes was ahead of the number of students registered under the previous system at this time last year.

Marty Hickman, business manager for the district, reported to Board members the district recently tested the newly-installed Tyler Vision accounting system checking its capability to produce checks. He reported the recent dry run was successful.

Update On Summer School And Autism Camp Given: Board members heard from Ashley Gibler and Chris Ellis who have been among the teachers overseeing the Summer School and Autism Camp, both taking place this summer at Parkside Junior High School. Gibler and Ellis reported a total of 327 students from both inside and outside of Unit 5 have attended summer school this year. Some of the students from outside the district were from El Paso Gridley, they explained. A total of 140 employees were on staff for the sessions.

The Autism Camp, Gibler explained, is introduced to the students prior to the camp date using an open house format to prepare the students, allowing them to understand what will take place at the camp.

Suzi Hesser Introduced As New Principal At Parkside Junior High School: Suzzette “Suzi” Hesser was introduced to Board members as the new principal at Parkside Junior High School. The introduction was made by Dr. Ray Epperson, assistant superintendent. Hesser and her husband, Scott attended Illinois State University 30 years ago and lived in Cardinal Court while starting a family. That family now includes a five-month-old grandson, providing the Hessers to return to the community.

An educator for 24 years, Hesser has taught fifth grade, and been both a principal and an administrator at the junior high level. Her most recent assignment was as superintendent for the Hoopeston Area School District. Her career as a principal and an administrator placed her in the Sterling School District. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University. Her undergraduate major was elementary education. Her Master’s field of study was Educational Leadership. She currently is working toward obtaining a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Aurora University. Hesser has experience as a district administrator because she is the former superintendent of a Vermillion County school system. Unit 5 will pay Hesser $92,500.

With her hiring, Hesser becomes PJHS’ principal on July 1. Hesser replaces Darrin Cooper, who was recently promoted to be Unit 5’s new Director of Teaching and Learning.

Rachael Hernandez Promoted For Double-Duty At Kingsley And Evans Junior High Schools: Rachael Hernandez was introduced to Board members by Epperson as the assistant principal at not one, but two of the district’s four junior high schools. Hernandez will split her time between Kingsley Junior High School and George L. Evans Junior High School. Hernandez graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Science degree having majored in Spanish Education in December 2006.

Her Unit 5 career began as a teacher’s assistant at Cedar Ridge Elementary in 2011. From there, in 2012, she moved to Normal Community West High School where she helped establish the school’s Collaborative Learning Services Room. In 2013, Normal West hired Hernandez as a Spanish teacher. She earned a Master’s degree in teaching Reading from ISU in 2015. Prior to her new assignment, Hernandez has served as Foreign Language Department Chair at Normal West for the past five years.

Hernandez recently completed her Administrative Internship at Normal Community High School and earned a Master’s Degree from ISU in Educational Leadership. Hernandez’s husband, Shawn, attended the meeting to see his wife introduced.

UFEA President Dickinson Recognized As YWCA “Women Of Distinction” Nominee: Daniel recognized Lindsey Dickinson, president of Unit Five Education Association (UFEA) for being nominated among 30 nominees for the 2019 YWCA “Women Of Distinction” Award, an annual honor bestowed on nominated women in the community.

Next Board Meeting On Aug. 14: There is no second Unit 5 Board meeting slated for July. The Board’s next meeting will be on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at District headquarters, starting at 7p.m.

NORMAL – Everyone knows teachers do not do their job for the money, although many people believe they should be paid more for what they do for kids every day. And they certainly do not do it for any type of glory or recognition. Yet, at the regularly-scheduled meeting of Normal-based Unit 5 School District Board members held June 12 at District headquarters, one teacher from Colene Hoose Elementary, was recognized for an honor he received from Illinois Education Association.

Colene Hoose Elementary School teacher Shawn Mann received the Bob Haisman Teacher of the Year Award. Mann has been a special education teacher at Hoose for four years. IEA award recipients were nominated and chosen for their awards by their peers. Shawn’s nomination came from UFEA President Lindsey Dickinson. Mann is part of the school’s Behavioral Emotion Support Team, or BEST. BEST provides intensive behavioral and emotional support for students who have such difficulties.

The school sought recently to expand the building at its eastern end to accommodate students and concentrate services toward one end of the building. That expansion of the building, including an additional driveway leading to the area where BEST students are educated, was completed last fall.

Hearing On Approving Amended 2018-19 Budget Held: By a unanimous vote, Board members approved adopting amending the budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2018-19. Marty Hickman, business manager for the district, said the Board does this annually, reviewing the remaining budget in May and approving in June. In addition, following the meeting, Hickman said it was his understanding the state legislature has added more money for Pre-K through 12th grade education going into the next school year. However, Hickman said, the extra money “will help our budget going into next year, but the new funds will not move the needle on what is our structural deficit in our education fund.”

The structural deficit the district faces is roughly $6.4 million. The district will use working cash bonds to cover some of the deficit for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, Hickman added. He said the district has received three categorical payments from the State for the current fiscal year with one still due to the district for the current fiscal year. “We’re not sure if the last categorical payment will come before the fiscal year ends at the end of June,” Hickman said.

Infinite Campus Coming In July: In his “Superintendent Comments” section of the meeting, Dr. Mark Daniel reminded that the district will be transitioning from Skyward information system to the Infinite Campus information system. Parents will be able to use Infinite Campus in July to register their children for the fall doing so online.

Enrollment For 2018-19 Broken Down: Dr. Ray Epperson, assistant superintendent, presented a breakdown of students per grade level throughout the district to Board members. As of the end of school year 2018-19, the district had 13,034 students attending classes in Pre-K through 12th grade. Board Member Mike Trask, after looking over the graphic showing class sizes, said he could only find one class size of 30 students and asked the district to continue to find ways to continue to keep class sizes low.

“We want to keep these sizes low, and we’re at a very good spot where we’re at, but I want to keep them there,” he said. “But it’s a conversation we’ll have to continue to have to impact what we do going forward.”

Trask brought forward his concern that the district needs to keep an eye on incoming numbers of students going from junior high school to high school, stating the district just graduated 834 students but that Normal Community High School and Normal Community West High School will be seeing incoming freshmen numbering 975 students. Trask added those numbers don’t moderate much in coming years.

“I would call this a tsunami effect,” Trask said when looking at the numbers. “We just have to keep monitoring our population and keep an eye on it.” Such high numbers will have an effect on facilities, Trask added.

Epperson said school principals are already monitoring numbers in terms of incoming kindergarten students because the numbers of those students are “already at the top range of where we want them to be.”

Update On Dual Credit For Students Given: A discussion about dual credit classes for students followed. Dan Lamboley, director of secondary education, introduced Board members to Alauna Akins, associate director of secondary education partnerships at Heartland Community College.

Akins said HCC’s goal is to provide early access to college for high school students within the education district of the state HCC serves, District 540. HCC took its first steps to become part of District 540 in the early 1990s.

Akins said the dual credit program has four primary goals for serving high schools: Increase access to college; Develop pathways to completing college; enhance partnerships and faculty connections; and increase curricular alignment.

Lamboley said Unit 5 high schools entry in dual credit classes is based on work done by national initiative launched by the National School Superintendents Association to introduce new benchmarks to more appropriately assess that students are prepared for college and careers.

Next Board Meeting Scheduled For July 10: There will be no second meeting of the Board in June. The next scheduled Board meeting will be on Wednesday, July 10 at district headquarters, 1809 W. Hovey Ave., starting at 7p.m.

By Steve Robinson | May 23, 2019 - 10:14 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, Unit 5

NORMAL – Normal-based Unit 5 School District Board members heard about students participating in a program which turned them into young authors, and about how a community business is helping students with furthering their education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM. Board members received these details during their regularly-scheduled meeting held May 22 at district headquarters.

“Good News” About Young Authors: Each year, Unit 5 is participates in the Young Authors Program. The purpose of the program is to encourage and recognize student authorship. The district program is part of the statewide effort supported and endorsed by the Illinois Reading Council. The authorship process begins in the classroom and many teachers begin the writing process with their students early in the year.

The process for the students involves brainstorming and information gathering followed by a rough draft version of their manuscript. After revision and editing, a final manuscript is published. Students write fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. In addition to their original writing, students illustrate their text to enhance their work.

Each elementary and middle school in the district is allowed to submit entries to be considered for district level judging. A panel of junior high school student judges selected the winners. The 2019 Unit 5 Young Author winners are: Lauren Brooks, Roman Felix, Joanna Gonzalez, Lacy Hefter, Ishaan Jha, Alina Johnson, Amy Kieser, Sushma Kota, Elleigh Lang, Grant Marvel, Samuel McCoy, Claudia O’Connor, McKenna Phillips, Jonathan Schuller, Justinne Walker, Amanda Warren, Avery Wodika, Mason Wood, and Khushi Singla.

“Good News” About STEM Mentors From State Farm: Board members also heard about the State Farm Enterprise Technology STEM Team. This team is a group dedicated to providing mentoring opportunities to high school students involved in Computer Science courses and the Freshman Computer Science Associate’s Degree Program at both Normal Community High School and Normal Community West High School. Students in these classes benefit from the involvement and commitment of State Farm Mentors.

STEM Engagement Coordinators from State Farm partner with teachers at each school to provide an opportunity for a STEM Challenge Project, whereby the students identify a problem in their school or community, then work throughout the school year in teams to solve the problem using technology. Each student team is assigned a State Farm mentor who volunteers their time during a class period once or twice a month for the school year, leading the students through various facets of the project such as planning, problem solving, and critical thinking.

Generally, this program typically runs mid-September through April, and is supported by State Farm Enterprise Technology leadership. The students then get an opportunity to showcase their work to State Farm leadership, parents, teachers, school administrators and the local community.

Additionally, the State Farm Enterprise Technology Leadership Team also helps to provide volunteers/mentors and subject matter experts needed to assist with STEM activities and events at Unit 5 schools and within the community. A few examples of roles include: Being an event volunteer at one or multiple STEM related events to interact with students from a variety of age groups at events such as “Stemposium” events at the middle schools. The State Farm Enterprise Technology Leadership Team members are: Kevin Reeves, Nancy Smith, Jami Becker, and Julie Smith-Marshall.

Growth At Towanda Elementary Will Require Portable Classrooms: Board members heard from Towanda Elementary Principal Scott Vogel that his school is a little cramp these days. The school, which has 191 students, is experiencing a closed-in feeling and will receive two portable classrooms to try to alleviate the crowding. Joe Adelman, operations manager for the district, explained each portable classroom unit has two classrooms divided by a wall. He added the district is leasing the units for three years at a cost of $26,000 from a company in southern Illinois and that the units will be located on the southwest corner of the property.

Adelman said the district will put out bids for contractors to have concrete laid where the portable units will go, which will be followed by the portables being put in place. Schumer said third grade classes will use one portable and fifth grade classes will use the other portable. Adelman said the new concrete foundation and portables will be in place by late July.

Infinite Campus Update Given: Board members received an update on the Infinite Campus information system the district will spend two years paying for, and will replace the system the district has used over the past decade known as Skyward.

Michelle Lamboley, director of special education for the district, informed Board members set-up took place in April allowing for Infinite Campus to be used to keep track of summer school attendance. In addition, she said, teachers and district administrators were trained that month on how to send and receive messages on the portal. In June, she said, enrollment set-up training will take place twice during the month, and later that month, a refresher on registration of students in the system and report card set-up are scheduled.

Marty Hickman, Business Manager for the district, told Board members parents received an email on May 14 about the district formally switching to Infinite Campus with a link to follow so parents could find it and set new passwords. Parents failing to do this, he said, received a note asking them to go to Infinite Campus so they would be able to reset a password. He added online registration information will be coming to parents in July.

He said parents who had difficulty setting up a password should either call the district at (309) 557-4333 or email to campusquestions@unit5.org.

Social Emotional Learning Discussed: Board members heard from members of a district committee working to help staff as they help students with social-emotional learning skills. Board members heard from three teams of educators working with students, parents, and teachers on this matter.

Schedule B Committee Reports To Board: Until before this meeting, an internal group within the district, known as the Schedule B Committee, which looked at processes within the district, hadn’t met since 2014. But with teacher Gina Tenuta, an 8th grade language arts teacher, and Julie Hagler, vice president of Unit Five Education Association, or UFEA, spearheading its revival, the group is looking to get back to work to help the district.

Among the group’s recommendations were: Add 11 elementary school music teachers to the district payroll. In addition, the group would like to see a consolidation of 22 district chair positions into 11. Hagler said such a move would save the district money. Hagler and Tenuta also recommended the district consider a track coach at each of the district’s four junior high schools. They said there would be a savings in doing both of those for the district.

Board Votes To Abate Fund: Board members unanimously voted to adopt a resolution to abate the district’s working cash fund.

Executive Session Held: Roughly midway through the 3 ½ hour meeting, Board members adjourned to executive session for an administrative matter. That meeting lasted 27 minutes.

By Steve Robinson | May 9, 2019 - 10:53 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, Unit 5

Longer days and impatience on the part of students itching to get their summers started are but two signs the school year is coming to a close. For Normal-based Unit 5 School Board members, hearing an update on the current school year budget from the district’s budget manager can qualify as a sign summer and the end of another school year is fast approaching.

Marty Hickman, business manager for the district, explained earned assessed value of area real estate is being projected to increase .5 percent for levy year 2018. He added the anticipated three fiscal year payments for transportation from the State have been received. However, Hickman said when anticipated Federal starts to come in, it likely will be slightly less than what the district is accustomed to receiving.

The district’s education budget, however, is nearly $6 million overdrawn, Hickman said. The district anticipated spending around $100 million in fiscal year 2019 only to find they spent close to $106 million.

Hickman said the district’s education fund has a structural deficit of nearly $6.5 million. That, he indicated, was the result of a number of factors including increases in salary and benefits to be more competitive with other districts; adding positions to meet multiple needs; and an increase by the school board to the district’s insurance fund.

Hickman did say he anticipated a balanced budget of roughly $12.7 million to the district’s operations and maintenance budget.

First Student Introduces New Location Manager: A new person will be overseeing to it that buses operated by Cincinnati-based First Student Bus Co. will run on time to the satisfaction of the district. Robert Pawlik was introduced as the new location manager for the company, replacing Mark Bohl, who recently resigned. Chris Coyle, area general manager for First Student, introduced Pawlik to Board members.

Like Bohl, Pawlik has a military background. As a member of the United States Air Force while serving in Afghanistan, part of his job being in charge of logistics was to help shuttle Department of Defense personnel to various locations.

With 200 sq. miles to work with, Board Member Mike Trask told Pawlik during the meeting, the communication between First Student, district personnel, and the families whose children attend school in the district and are served by First Student needed to be “rock solid.”

NCHS & Normal West Combined “Good News”: From time to time, Normal Community High School and Normal Community West High School, although rivals in many competitions normally, get to find themselves honored for each contributing to the community in some small way. Board members were informed by NCHS Principal Trevor Chapman and Normal West Principal Dave Johnson that the schools have received national recognition for excellence in global education from Boston-based Education First High School Exchange. The schools each received EF High School Exchange Year Global Education Excellence Award. The award is presented annually to high schools that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to international understanding and global awareness.

Jayme Corcoran, a representative for EF High School Exchange, explained 15 students from Europe and parts of Asia are currently participating in the exchange this year. Corcoran said a total of 1,600 schools nationwide were nominated to receive the award. NCHS and Normal West were among 370 schools who are being awarded the honor as a result of the nomination, Corcoran explained. She further explained the program has students from France, Japan, Austria, Sweden, and Norway, Thailand, and South Korea.

NCHS Reports “Good News” About Student Reporters: Chapman informed Board members that NCHS junior Evie Snoeyink was named to the All-State Journalism Team by Illinois High School Association – a distinction that placing her among the top 17 student journalists in the state. The All-State Team is the highest recognition for Scholastic Journalism in the State of Illinois, Chapman explained. Snoeyink serves as editor-in-chief of The Inkspot, NCHS’ student newspaper. This is the second consecutive year that the Inkspot has had a writer on the All-State team. Chapman told Board members the majority of students on the All-State are seniors making the honor noteworthy. He added Snoeyink was also awarded Honorable Mention for her reporting at the National Journalism Convention earlier this year.

“Good News” From NCHS’ “Not In Our School” Program: Chapman finished up with a report about progress made in the school’s “Not In Our School” program which is used to combat hate and address bullying, while build safe, inclusive communities within the schools. It is based on the Not In Our Town program. He spoke to Board members about NCHS seniors Ajitesh Muppuru and Kavya Sudhir. Muppuru and Sudhir are the co-founders and co-presidents NCHS’ Not In Our School program.

“I have worked with Aji and Kavya on various projects and am continually impressed by their maturity and dedication to fellow classmates and to the building,” Chapman told Board members. Recently, Chapman explained, among many projects Muppuru and Sudhir have taken on as part of their effort, they and other NOIS members worked to recognize 43 school employees from across Unit 5, District 87 and U-High for their work in making their schools more inclusive during an event held at Illinois Wesleyan University.

“Good News” From NAACP’s ACT-SO Program: Board members were informed by Chapman about the winners in the Bloomington-Normal NAACP’s Academic Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) Program. ACT-SO is a yearlong enrichment program designed to recruit, stimulate, improve and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among high school students, which was developed in 1978. The 9th Annual Bloomington-Normal ACT-SO Competition took place Saturday, April 27 at Illinois State University’s Schroeder Hall. Eleven medals were awarded during the awards ceremony April 28. Five gold medalists will travel to Detroit, Michigan, to compete in the 41st National NAACP ACT-SO Competition July 18 – 21.

Students named Unit 5 2019 Bloomington-Normal NAACP ACT-SO Olympians (The categories they were entered in and how they placed) are: Jess Bynum, NCHS Gold medal in Filmmaking); Aniya Thompson, NCHS (Gold medal in Music Vocal Contemporary); Keajia Hardin, NCHS and BACC (Bronze in Culinary Arts); and Aniya Thompson, NCHS (Bronze in Dramatic Arts: Acting).

“Good News” From Bloomington Area Career Center: Board members were introduced to a group of students from the Bloomington Area Career Center (BACC) who recently participated in the SkillsUSA Conference in Springfield. A total of 80 BACC students participated in 22 different competition categories, some of the students taking part in more than one kind of competition.

Nicole Meyer, Business Community Coordinator for BACC, introduced Board members to students who placed in their respective categories. The students (and the schools they attend), their competitions, and how they finished are: Nalley Ortiz (Normal Community High School), Silver medal in Cosmetology; Matthew Kennedy (NCHS), Brooke Porter (Normal Community West High School), and Macie McGinnis (Bloomington High School), Silver medal in Crime Scene Investigation. In that same competition, Haylee Jones (Normal West) and Claire Martens (Heyworth High School) earned a Bronze medal.

In the Health Knowledge Bowl, a team of students from a mix of area schools took home the Bronze medal. Those students (and their schools) are: Matty Wenger (El Paso Gridley), Kylie Cox and Anthony Mason (Bloomington Central Catholic), and Christian Shaffer (Bloomington High School). A quartet of Bloomington High School students teamed up to claim the Gold medal in this event, as well. Those students were Madeline Novotny, Faith Wieland, Piper Seglem and McKenna Groth.

In the T-Shirt Design category, LeRoy High School student Hadley McKenzie took the Gold medal while BHS’ Cindy Phung took the Bronze medal. In the Teamworks competition, a team comprised of Caleb Jacob (NCHS), Zac Nichols (El Paso Gridley), and Chase Ditchen and Wyatt Cotton (both Heyworth High School) won the Silver medal.

In the Technical Computer Applications competition, Normal West student Ethan Ficek claim the Gold medal with EPG student Aiden Mann claiming the Bronze medal. In the Promotional Bulletin Board competition, LeRoy High students Hadley McKenzie, Sarah Welander, and Eli Carroll earned a Silver medal. BHS students Rowan Dzik, Mattea Fry and Grace Marcy took the Gold medal in that same competition.

Two BHS students – Maimoonah Bush and Christian Shaffer – finished earning Gold and Bronze, respectfully, in the Medical Terminology competition.

“Those Who Excel” Award Nominees Announced: In his comments to the Board, Dr. Mark Daniel, district superintendent, announced Unit 5’s “Those Who Excel” Award nominees. The “Those Who Excel” awards are presented in October at a dinner at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Carol A. Reitan Conference Center in Uptown. The award recognizes both educators and non-educators who have made contributions to public and non-public secondary education.

The nominees for classroom teacher is April Schuermann, Normal Community West High School; Administrator nominee is Leslie Davenport, Fox Creek Elementary; Early Educator nominee is Brock Keller, NCHS; Education Service Personnel – Unlicensed nominee is Beth Kelly, Brigham Elementary. The volunteer nominee for Unit 5 is the late Charlie Crabtree.

Other Topics Covered: A first phase of a consolidated district plan and a few public comments surrounding the issue of disciplining children of color were also part of the session.

By Steve Robinson | April 27, 2019 - 10:45 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, Unit 5

NORMAL – Three members of Normal-based Unit 5 School Board who were appointed to their seats to replace three members who had left the community took their oaths of office to begin the Board’s regularly-scheduled session on April 24. Alan Kalitzky, Amy Roser, and Dr. Kelly Pyle recited their oaths to begin the session, although Pyle did so from home via phone due to being ill. State law allows for Board members to participate remotely provided prior approval is granted by the district.

Following the swearing-in, officer elections took place, with Barry Hitchins being elected Board President. He had been vice president when Jim Hayek, Jr. resigned from the Board last year due his employer, State Farm, transferring him to Phoenix, Ariz. last spring. Roser was elected Board vice president, and Kalitzky was elected Board secretary. All three were elected by acclamation. All three will serve four year terms.

Roser assumed a seat on the Board last July filling a seat following Hayek’s exit. Roser works in the office of Illinois State University’s University College division. Kalitzky assumed a seat on the Board replacing David W. Fortner resigned last spring to take a job in Chicago. Pyle assumed a seat on the Board last August, filling a vacancy left by Joe Cleary, who departed for a new job in California last summer.

Two other Board members, Meta Mickens-Baker and Mike Trask, were sworn in to serve two-year terms. Mickens-Baker has been a Board member since being appointed to the Board in 2004 and winning election in 2005. Trask has been a Board member since winning election in 2011. Board Member Taunia Leffler in the midst of a four-year term which began in 2017.

Lunch Price Increases Approved: Using an unanimous vote concerning an omnibus agenda item, Board members approved increases in lunch prices beginning this next school year. Elementary and middle school breakfast and lunches will cost a nickel more, going up to $2.20 at the elementary schools and $2.25 at the middle schools. High School breakfast and lunches will go from $2.20 to $2.25. Adult lunches at the schools will all go up a nickel, too at the schools, to $2.70 at the elementary school, $2.75 at the middle school, and ranging between $2.75 and $3.40 at the high schools.

Board Receives Updates On Infinite Campus And Tyler Visions: Board members received updates on how the district’s new district-wide student information system, known as Infinite Campus, and new financial, human resources, payroll, and reporting system, Tyler Visions, were working out since the district began using them. Michelle Lamboley, executive director for special services for the district, and Marty Hickman, business manager and treasurer for the district presented the brief overview.

Lamboley said training for teachers began on Infinite Campus just before spring break in March. She said the online registration components of the program are being worked on currently so they will be ready for online registration which takes place in July. She said parents will be receiving information in May with details on how they will be able to log into the system.

Lamboley added certified staff were trained by the District coaches on basic navigation, attendance, and grade books. She said more training from coaches will occur at the end of May. Training for special education teachers and district administrators will take place in May and June.

“I think we have seen from both companies that heavily invested in their product,” Hickman said. “It’s in their best interest for us to be successful.”

Heather Rogers Named Assistant Principal At Cedar Ridge Elementary: Heather Rogers was introduced as the new assistant principal at Cedar Ridge Elementary School by Dr. Ray Epperson, deputy district superintendent. She started her career with the district as a 2nd grade teacher at Cedar Ridge in 2012. At the end of the spring semester, she will earn her Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Illinois State University. Rogers has served as interim assistant principal at the school this semester.

Melinda Miethe Named Associate Principal At EJHS: Epperson also introduced Board members to Melinda Miethe, who will become associate principal at George L. Evans Junior High School where she had been serving in that post on an interim basis.

Public Hearing Held: Board members held a public hearing to determine the need to undertake repairs to the bus lane and parking lot at Hudson Elementary School. No members of the public addressed the hearing.

Energy Efficiency Project For Kingsley Jr. High Approved: Board members unanimously approved awarding a contract to Urbana-based A & R Mechanical for work to be done on an energy efficiency project at Kingsley Junior High School. A & R Mechanical was one of three companies which bid to do the project, and submitted a winning bid of $792,000.

Video Highlighting Technology Lab Shown: For his comments section of the meeting, Dr. Mark Daniel, district superintendent, showed a video produced by Sean Mullins, technology coach at Normal Community West High School, highlighting uses of the school’s video technology lab.