BLOOMINGTON – If area high school basketball fans were looking for a little post-Thanksgiving excitement during the annual Boys Intercity Basketball Tournament, they found it quickly if they attended Normal West High School’s showdown against Bloomington Central Catholic on Friday, Nov. 29 as the Wildcats clawed their way through triple overtime before dropping an 84-75 decision to the Saints before 750 enthusiastic fans.

West senior forwards Evan Hutson and Max Ziebarth opened the fourth quarter with a deuce each to help pull the Wildcats within two of BCC, 50-48, prompting Saints head coach Jason Welch to call time with 6:58 in the fourth quarter. Following the time out, the teams would see the score seesaw again, to a Wildcats 52-50 lead with 5:19 left, prompting West first season head coach Ed Hafermann to call time.

Coming out of that time out, a trey by Ellison put the Saints up, 53-52, but was countered by a deuce for West from Ziebarth, putting West up, 54-53, at the 4:25 mark. Back-to-back fouls committed by West junior forward Corey Walker’s foul put Davis on the line where he made two shots each time, giving BCC a 57-54 lead with 1:46 left. A deuce from West senior forward Cole Hernandez helped trim the lead to one, 57-56, prompting BCC to call time with nine seconds left.

But Davis was fouled shortly after coming out of the time out and made two free throws, putting the Saints up, 59-56, and prompting West to call time. The two sides would call another timeout each in the waning seconds before play would resume and McGinnis would find an opening and hit a trey to tie the game, 59-all, as the final buzzer sounded, forcing overtime.

A Seesaw 1st Overtime: BCC junior forward Sam Tallen opened the first overtime by fouling West’s Ziebarth who hit a pair of free throws, putting the Wildcats up, 61-59 with 3:47 left. But a trey from Davis just seconds later gave the Saints a one-point lead, 62-61. Hutson countered with a trey putting West ahead by two, 64-62. With three minutes left, Saints junior guard Andrew Hinderer’s trey put BCC up by one, 65-64, followed by two free throws by Hinderer being fouled and hitting two free throws with 3:40 left, giving the Saints a 67-64 lead. West called time with 26.2 seconds left and the Wildcats tried keeping their distance from the Saints waiting for the right shot with junior guard Colton Cassady the last man with the ball and hitting a three with 2.2 seconds left.

West was quick to call time and coming out of that timeout, BCC couldn’t maneuver to the basket forcing double OT.

BCC’s Ellison’s Trey Ends 2nd Overtime: West was quick to jump out to a 71-67 advantage to start double overtime thanks to a deuce from Ziebarth and a pair of free throws from Ziebarth, having been fouled by Tallen at the 1:08 mark in the second overtime. That prompted West to call time. Following the timeout, BCC’s Davis fouled Ziebarth, who sank both free throws, giving the Wildcats a 73-67 lead.

But a trey by Davis with 20.4 seconds cut West’s lead to three, 73-70. That was followed by West’s McGinnis going to the line having been fouled by Saints junior guard Casey Crowley. But McGinnis missing both free shots. BCC tied the game at 73-all on a buzzer-beating trey from junior guard Jayden Ellison, forcing triple OT.

Tallen, Davis, Ellison Baskets Push Saints In Front: The first two minutes and 10 seconds of the third overtime was a defensive effort for both teams with no scoring, but Tallen managed a deuce at that point, putting BCC up, 75-73. Cassady countered with a deuce for West with two minutes remaining to tie the game, 75-all. But that didn’t hold long courtesy of a Davis trey with 1:53 left, putting BCC up, 78-75. Tallen fouled West’s Ziebarth, but the 6 foot-4 sophomore couldn’t convert the two needed free throws. Another BCC trey from Ellison pushed the Saints’ lead to six, 81-75, with 1:05 left. BCC earned another point, going ahead 82-75, when Crowley hit 1-of-2 free throws after being fouled by McGinnis. BCC called time with 52.5 seconds remaining. Following the timeout, Davis added two more free throws, having been fouled by West’s McGinnis, resulting in the final score.

Scoring Leading Up To The Overtimes: A pair of threes from senior guard Cole Davis and junior guard J. T. Welch helped push Central Catholic (1-2 following this game) past Normal West, 14-11 to close out the first quarter. During that quarter, Wildcats fans saw their team jump to a fast 4-0 start with back-to-back deuces by junior forward Corey Walker and a trey from senior forward Evan Hutson.

Ziebarth’s basket at 3:49 in the second quarter helped Normal West (1-1 following this game) tie the game in the second quarter, 17-17, before Ellison’s bucket put BCC in front, 19-17. The game would be tied one more time, 19-all, and a Hutson deuce would put West up by one, 22-21 at the 3:21 mark, before a trey by Tallen would give the Saints a 24-22 lead that would be the start of a chase for West to keep pace with their opponents.

BCC would own a 34-26 lead at the half and 50-44 advantage highlighted by a pair of third quarter threes each for West from senior guard Alec McGinnis and for BCC from senior guard Cole Davis.

West’s Ziebarth, BCC’s Davis Were Lead Scorers: Davis and Ellison led all scorers in the contest as well as led BCC’s charge, with 31 points and 20, respectfully. Tallen was the only other Saints player to reach double-figures, with 13. Ziebarth led Normal West’s scoring with 21 points. He was followed in double-digits by 16 from Walker, Hutson’s 12, and McGinnis’ 11.

“West is skilled and they’re big,” stated BCC head coach Welch. “We never felt comfortable, and certainly, I don’t think West felt comfortable. The reality is it was two good basketball teams going at it in November and there really isn’t a winner or a loser because both teams got better.”

Welch credited his players with not letting West catching up to them deflate their momentum during the contest.

“That was a battle and we have talked about resiliency with our team this year,” explained Hafermann. “We were down 12 at one point in the third quarter and talked to the boys about not panicking. We talked about battling back.”

“Both teams were playing with no fear,” Hafermann added. “They were just out there competing. What more can you ask of 16-, 17-year-old kids in front of a very large crowd in a really intense environment?” He noted McGinnis’ trey, which came as the buzzer sounded the end of regulation, was “a really tough three” and that the 5 foot-10 senior never came out of the contest.

“I know people will talk about Alec’s missing those two free throws toward the end of the second overtime, but I want that kid on my team every single time,” Hafermann said. “You love to win but you want to learn from your losses.

By Steve Robinson | November 25, 2019 - 4:15 pm
Posted in Category: ISU Redbirds, The Normalite

NORMAL – With his team’s road loss at Youngstown State still weighing on his mind through most of Saturday, Illinois State University head football coach Brock Spack admits that he didn’t even start to address whether his 8-4 team would be considered for 2019 FCS playoffs until he woke up Sunday. When he and his team gathered in the Hancock Stadium Club Room, they found out within the first 15 minutes of the broadcast which would announce the teams which qualified to extend their seasons.

ISU, with an 8-4 record, did qualify, leading to cheering from the team and those fans and supporters, numbering around 35, who anxiously awaited word on the subject. As a result, the Redbirds will be the visitors when they take on Southeast Missouri University Saturday, beginning at 1p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3. A total of eight teams received byes from the selection committee. One of those teams, Central Arkansas University, received an 8th seed, and would be the Redbirds’ next opponent should Spack’s troops emerge victorious Saturday.

Two other Missouri Valley Football Conference teams earned high seeds and byes courtesy of the selection committee. North Dakota State, at 12-0 overall and 8-0 MVFC, earned the top seed in the FCS playoffs. South Dakota State, at 8-4 overall and 5-3 MVFC, earned a 7th seed.

Redbirds players sat quietly waiting for the broadcast to start but cheered loudly along with those fans who came to check out the results when ISU was announced as one of the teams in the brackets.

Following the announcement, Spack reminded reporters, “We’ve built a pretty good road team this year and we’ve been a pretty good road team in the playoffs. So, we’ll see. SEMO has a very good football team and a good program, so we’ll have to play well.”

The 11th season head coach will be taking the Redbirds into the playoffs for a fifth year, which includes to the FCS Championship against North Dakota State to close out the 2014-15 season.

“We’re just excited to be in the playoffs, whether on the road or at home,” Spack said.

“We’re excited about getting a bid in the playoffs since it has been a couple years where we haven’t been in,” said Spack’s boss, ISU Athletic Director Larry Lyons. “You know what? Someone gets to host and someone gets to go on the road. We’ll go down to SEMO and we’ll do our very best to win that game, and then it looks like it could be a rematch with Central Arkansas in the second round.” Lyons was quick to remind the Redbirds and the Bears met in FCS play a couple years ago.

“I think the kids and the coaches are very excited to be back in the playoffs,” Lyons said. On the way back from Ohio, Lyons added, “I still felt confident we had the resume to get a home game. The committee didn’t see it that way.”

Redbirds Injury List: For ISU, getting into the FCS playoffs is the good news. But looking at their injury list, they will take on the Redhawks of the Ohio Valley Conference while missing some key players and playing a team that seems to know how to handle MVFC teams. Among ISU’s injured: Senior offensive lineman Gabe Megginson, out for the year; Junior quarterback Brady Davis, who was injured in ISU’s game against Missouri State game and is out for the year; Junior backup running back Jeff Proctor, injured in Missouri State game and gone for the year; Sophomore wide receiver Taylor Grimes, a starter on the team who was hurt in ISU’s game against Northern Arizona and is gone for the year); And redshirt freshman wide receiver Eric Rogers.

The Redbirds did get two other key players who just came off the injury list. Sophomore starting wide receiver Andrew Edgar, a 2018 freshman All American who was out for 8 weeks and returned last week at Youngstown State; And junior starting fullback Tim McCloyn, who saw limited duty for a month due to a hand injury but is back in time for the playoffs.

Familiar ISU Foes Lost In Cape Girardeau: If you want to know if or how SEMO did against other MVFC teams, all you need to do is look at their schedule. SEMO, members of the Ohio Valley Conference, played host to and defeated Southern Illinois to open the season in August, 44-26. Eastern Illinois, an OVC member who often plays ISU, also fell victim to the Redhawks this year, two weeks ago, 26-12.

By Steve Robinson | November 17, 2019 - 10:42 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, U-High

NORMAL – It wasn’t the finish University High School’s Volleyball team sought, but the Pioneers did exit Illinois High School Association State Volleyball Tournament at Redbird Arena Saturday with something to add to their trophy case. After a two-set loss to LaGrange Park-based Nazareth Academy, 25-21 and 25-22 at Redbird Arena, the Pioneers placed 4th and added a seventh Volleyball trophy for the school.

Game one had scoring going back and forth between the two sides for a 5-all tie before U-High (33-7) moved in front 8-5 with senior outside hitter Alyanna Crabtree serving, a ball-handling error by Angels junior outside hitter Isabel Decker and kills from U-High senior setter Isobel Schaefbauer and freshman outside hitter Lily Barry. The Pioneers managed to stay in front of the Angels, 12-8, as a result of kills by Schaefbauer and Barry, before turning the serve over to the Angels on a Schaefbauer service error.

U-High was up, 14-12 when Angels middle hitter Elizabeth Sandt’s serving ace and a kill by sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Hurta tied the game. The Angels took a 15-14 lead courtesy of a Sandt kill, and the game would knot at 15-all on a kill from U-High sophomore middle hitter Chloe Clayton. But a Burk service error from the Pioneers would give Nazareth Academy a 16-15 lead upon which to build on toward their first victory. The Pioneers would come within three, 23-20, thanks to a Schaefbauer service ace and a Hurta attack error, but a service ace from junior outside hitter Allison Surowiec and an attack error from U-High’s Barry would seal the first win for the Angels.

With Decker serving, game two started with Nazareth Academy(28-8) owning a quick 4-0 lead before U-High scored their first point thanks to an attack error by Hurta. Two straight attack errors by Crabtree pushed that lead to 6-1 before Pioneers Head Coach Mike Bohuis called for a timeout. But even after that, the game was a chase, with the Angels maintaining their lead while the Pioneers were in pursuit.

A service ace by Crabtree brought the Pioneers as close as two, 18-16, and a pair of Schaefbauer kills, got U-High within one, 19-18, before a kill by Decker started the Angels off toward a final scoring streak to take the match and claim third place.

At her team’s postgame news conference, Nazareth Academy head coach Melissa Masterson gave a nod to U-High’s one of tallest players for her performance against her players saying Pioneers junior middle hitter Maycie Wellborn, at 6 foot-3, made sure the Angels team would know who was trying to make their attempt to win third place difficult. The other six foot plus players on green and gold are 6 foot-2 Crabtree, 6 foot-1 junior middle hitter Jaelyn Sorenson, and 6 foot junior setter Kendall Burk.

In the two-game match, U-High registered 25 kills to Nazarene Academy’s 23, with Schaefbauer’s 12 leading the way. She also had 33 take aways and 8 assists to lead the Pioneers. Sandt and sophomore middle blocker Gillian Grimes led the Angels’ defense with 15 and 12 digs, respectfully. Crabtree scored two serving aces for the Pioneers. Decker and Hurta led the Angels in kills with 11 and 10, respectfully. Defensively, Crabtree and senior middle blocker Logan Murray led U-High in digs with 13 and 11 respectfully.

“I just wanted to have fun with my teammates seeing as it was our last game,” said Angels junior outside hitter Isabel Decker.

Bohuis had a brief meeting with his team following the loss and told reporters, “We just got done talking about how our season isn’t defined by going 0-2 at State, but that it’s defined by ownership, and we’re hoping the team owns the entirety of the season more so than trying to own these last two matches.

“It’s a challenge making it to State,” Bohuis said. “It’s not just easy. So, the fact they were good enough to make it here says something special. It’s a journey and we’re just proud of how they went about that journey. It’s something to bring home a 4th place State trophy.”

Bohuis said with his seniors leading the way, he was proud of how his players conduct themselves, not just in game and practice situations, but in their classwork and in respecting fellow students, as well.

Bohuis credited Decker and Hurta with “doing a good job and the job they did defensively. “I thought that was the hardest we’ve had to work offensively trying to score against them.”

Pioneers Lose Close Matches To Joliet Catholic In Semis: The Pioneers found themselves in the 3rd place game after finding themselves having to pursue Joliet Catholic throughout the semifinal against the Angels, who won the contest in two games, 25-23 and 25-20. In game one, the teams exchanged points, tying the score at 11-all. But from there with Burk serving, U-High pushed ahead 14-11 thanks to a kill by Crabtree and an attack error each by Joliet Catholic senior middle hitter Bella Ray and outside hitter Riley Hungate.

That scoring surge prompted Joliet Catholic head coach Christine Schiebe to call time. Following that timeout, a kill by Ray and a pair of Pioneers attack errors tied the game at 14-all. From there, kills from Schaefbauer and Clayton and a service ace by Crabtree pushed the Pioneers in front, 17-14. The Angels responded in kind with a pair of kills from junior outside hitter Julian Gray, a service ace from senior setter Erin O’Grady, pushing Joliet Catholic in front, 18-17.

A kill by Gray got the Angels serving serving again and the Angels were able to add points as a result of another Gray kill and a trio of attack errors committed by Barry, Schaefbauer, and Clayton. That gave Joliet Catholic a 22-17 lead. A kill each by junior middle hitter Emily Surin for Joliet Catholic and Schaefbauer for U-High kept the Angels lead up, 23-18, before a trio of attack errors from Gray aided the Pioneers’ efforts, allowing U-High to come within two, 23-21. Another Gray attack error allowed U-High to come within one, 23-22, before a kill each from Barry and Gray led to the final score.

Game two was a tight contest at first, with Joliet Catholic holding off the Pioneers, 9-7 before going on four point run thanks to a pair of attack errors by Schaefbauer and a kill for Joliet by senior middle hitter Bella Ray and service ace by Surin, putting the Angels up, 13-7. The Angels also held off the Pioneers with another scoring run featuring as kill by Ray and attack errors by Joliet to stay in front of the Pioneers, 16-10. A kill by Welborn assisted by Schaefbauer, helped U-High close within five, 16-11.

Kills by Burk and Crabtree aided in U-High coming within four, 17-13, and attack errors by the Angels helped U-High come within three, 18-15, before Pioneers attack errors and a service ace by Gray helped Joliet Catholic aim toward a 22-16 lead.

Kills by Surin and Hungate were surrounded by Pioneers errors in the final moments of the contest led to the final score.

During the two set match, U-High registered a total of 23 kills, 23 errors, and 80 take aways. Joliet Catholic registered a total of 21 kills, 13 errors, and 80 take aways.

The loss put the Pioneers in the third place game with a record of 33-7 while Joliet Catholic advanced to a 26-14 mark.

As a result, of the win, the Angels will take on Joliet Catholic, the team they lost to at State last year. “Obviously, our goal was to get to the State Championship, and now our goal is to play our best and do our best to win that match,” stated Angels Head Coach Christine Schiebe, adding her team lost last year in two games to the team they would take on for the title, Sterling High School. “I think we’re ready and prepared as we can be for that match.

Schiebe admitted she didn’t “intentionally over-scout” the Pioneers prior to the match. “I just gave the girls very few basics of what would happen on the court. I didn’t want to overload my girls with ‘this is what they are doing here’ and ‘this is what they are doing there.’ I just wanted to go out and play our game.”

“I’m proud of how my girls played throughout the entirety of that match,” U-High’s Bohuis said. He added the team talks numerous times about maintaining composure throughout a match, whether things are or aren’t going well. He said he thought his girls did well in that respect during this contest. “The contest came down to a couple of service runs they went on, a couple rotations. The game was a credit to Joliet Catholic. I thought they played great defense. They made things tricky for us offensively.”

Of his players, Bohuis added, “Experience is a big factor here. But our girls came out and they were playing hard and in the right way from the very beginning, so, I am proud of them for that.”

Despite the outcome, Schaefbauer echoed her coach’s comments about how well the girls did not letting Joliet’s leads get to them. “We still have another match Saturday and ending your season on a win is a lot better than ending it on a loss. I think that’s something we’ve reminded our teammates about, and hopefully we can remember that going in that game.”

Burk summed up what the team as a whole had in mind as they got ready to face the Roadrunners. “Obviously, it was very hard losing this match. But tomorrow, we want to go out and win it for our coaches who have put so much into our season. We want to win it for our seniors and win it for each other.”

Depending on the family, sometimes, a certain type of bond will run through from generation to generation. There may be generations of doctors or lawyers or other professions that run through a family. The same can be said of families where athletics becomes central to their lives: Parents who played sports in high school and college may see their offspring continue the tradition once they reach that age. Our area has one family who is bearing witness to that sports tradition now.

If you were a fan of University High School’s Volleyball team this season, you got to see the Pioneers team make it all the way to State, finishing 4th after losing to a two-set match to LaGrange Park-based Nazareth Academy, 25-21 and 25-22 at Redbird Arena. Among the six seniors on head coach Mike Bolhuis’ team was 5 foot-9 setter Isabel Schaefbauer.

That last name should ring clearly for many an Illinois State University men’s basketball fan. Isabel’s father is Skipp Schaefbauer, who played guard for East Carolina after high school in 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons before transferring to play for the Redbirds in 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons under then-head coach Kevin Stallings. He sat out the 1995-96 season to meet NCAA transfer requirements. Stallings’ team made it to the NCAAs in 1998 and 1999.

Now employed by the Bloomington Fire Department, married to his wife, Nicole, and a father of two daughters, Schaefbauer was playing the role of spectator this past weekend, taking in how the Pioneers did at State from the comfort of the new seating just installed at the arena this past summer. But no doubt, the athlete in him could relate to every successful kill made, every missed ball, and every point scored as he and his wife watched their daughter and her teammates vie for a shot at a State championship.

Isabel will attend college and play volleyball for South Carolina-based Winthrop University. She said she did look at and consider other schools closer to home such as DePaul, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois before settling on playing for the Eagles. “They are big on undergrad research,” she said. “I’m hoping to go into Biology for my major.”

She has her educational goals set and is even going to graduate from U-High in time for Christmas. “I’ll be starting classes and training with the team in South Carolina in January.”

One would think parents of a graduating senior who would be leaving home ahead of schedule would be anxious and concerned because the usual parting and watching your child go off into early adulthood would produce such emotions. But her mother, Nicole, a former athlete herself who was an athlete at Princeton High School as well as in college, explained both she and Skipp “were both really happy for her because, as Isabel said, she found her perfect fit for college. The volleyball program she is going into is up and coming. They finished their regular season schedule undefeated. It’s a program that will start taking off and it will be fun for her, her mother explained.

The Schaefbauers were happy to hear that Winthrop’s head volleyball coach, Chuck Rey, showed concern “on not only building a good volleyball player, but also a good person,” according to Nicole. When Isabel leaves for college, the Schaefbauers will get to rehearse being empty nesters because they have an older daughter, McKenna, who is already at the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy at Hilton Head, S. C.

“Tonight, I looked at her while she played with a lot of pride,” Skipp Schaefbauer said about how his youngest daughter did at State. That’s understandable because any parent with a daughter who had achieved with her teammates what the Pioneers did would be right to feel that way. Here’s hoping Isabel’s college experience gives her and her family more reason to be proud, on the volleyball court and in classrooms and labs.

By Steve Robinson | November 14, 2019 - 10:48 pm
Posted in Category: Unit 5

NORMAL – There was plenty of recognition to go around when Normal-based Unit 5 Board members held their regularly-scheduled meeting at district headquarters Nov. 13. Veterans, the girls’ cross country team from Kingsley Junior High School, an honor bestowed onto Parkside Elementary School, and even Board members themselves received honors at this meeting.

Veterans Day Remembered: In the first of four “good news” reports presented to Board members, district superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel informed Board members and an audience of about 20 people that throughout the day, district schools hosted “dinners, assemblies, classroom visits and parades” to recognize veterans. At the meeting, Daniel added, “Tonight we want to honor all of our employees who are veterans, past and present, whose service and sacrifice enable us to enjoy peace and freedom every day.”

At this meeting, Daniel honored Shane Hill, associate principal at KJHS who had just returned from a recent tour of duty at Bagram AFB, Afghanistan. There, Hill served as with the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing as chief of public affairs. “Capt. Hill is representative of our many employees who selflessly serve our country,” Daniel told the gathering. “We want to thank you for all your service.”

Hill responded by saying, “On behalf of all my family, Unit 5 is an extension of my family and while I was gone, I received over 500 letters from grade schoolers, and junior high and high schoolers. That was awesome.” He presented Daniel with an American flag which was flown over Bagram AFB to recognize all those at Unit 5 who showed support for his family.

Kingsley Junior High’s “Good News”: Dennis Larson, assistant principal at Kingsley Junior High School, introduced the next “good news” report which featured members of the school’s Cross Country team. On Saturday, October 19, the team, aided by the guidance of their coaches, finished 4th in the Illinois Education State Association Girls’ 3A State Meet. The Cross Country Team is coached by Amanda Robison and Shelby Wall. Runners on the team are: Ali Ince, Addie Snoeyink, Maya Lanier, Kaitlyn Ringler, Makayla Jackson, Ryann Bossard, Carly Gorman, Lana Alcorn, Maddie Chapman, and Lydia Plattner.

Parkside Elementary’s “Good News”: Board members next heard about Parkside Elementary School having been named one of just four National Unified Champion Schools in the State of Illinois, celebrating the honor at an assembly in the school gym on Oct. 24. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is an all-ages based program supported by the Federal Department of Education. A primary goal of the program is to motivate young people and give them tools, skills, and opportunities to help change their schools to have a genuine culture of inclusiveness, according to the national office of Special Olympics.

Unified schools have three main goals as set by Special Olympics: Inclusive sports; Youth leadership and advocacy; And Engagement in the program on the part of the whole school. At this assembly, Parkside Elementary was awarded a banner signifying the school’s commitment toward those goals.

Parkside Principal Chris Ellis introduced Kathy O’Connell, the school’s adaptive physical education teacher and Nancy Wojtanowski, a special education teacher whose students, many of them, are part of Special Olympics. “Together, these two ladies, honestly, have pulled this program together and made it one that is respected in our building and in our district.”

Board Members Honored On Their Day: The State has set aside a day to honor school board members for the work do and hours they put in. Illinois Association of School Boards designated Friday, Nov. 15 as Illinois School Board Members Day. Honored this year were Board President Barry Hitchins, Vice President Amy Roser, Secretary Alan Kalitzky, and Board members Dr. Kelly Pyle, Mike Trask, Meta Mickens-Baker, and Taunia Leffler.

Hitchins and Leffler were recognized for having completed IASB courses related to Board membership. Hitchins completed work related to earning a Board Member Level II designation while Leffler completed work related to earning a Board Member Level I designation and Leadershop member designation.

Curriculum Update Presented: Board members heard a presentation from Dan Lamboley, director of secondary education concerning curriculum updates planned to start in the 2020-21 school year. A new course in cybersecurity for high school students is among new offerings planned by the district, Lamboley said. The one credit course would be available to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Another course dealing with the subject is Project Lead The Way, which he explained offers students benefits to students such as fostering interest in the subject, and acts as a springboard for students to have more opportunities to interact in computer sciences.

Also being planned in an internship in education for seniors for either one or two credits building on knowledge and skills learned in another course, Introduction To Education. As part of this course, Illinois Professional Teaching Standards will be used to guide course curriculum. Necessary career skills will be correlated with soft skills and academic skills in a project-based format. The student will participate in an unpaid internship with a mentor teacher in a community school. Students are required to provide their own transportation for this component.

These two classes are among eight the district is adding to help spark students’ interest. The others are Transitional Math, Pre-Advanced Placement World History and Geography, Transitional Math which includes Statistics, Robotics and Engineering, taught through Bloomington Area Career Center, and AMPED 1 Algebra. AMPED stands for Algebra 1 in Manufacturing Processes, Entrepreneurship and Design). Dual credit courses conducted in conjunction with Heartland Community College are also part of the new offerings.

Tax Levy Filing Deadline Approaches: Board members heard from District Business Manager Marty Hickman concerning filing the tax levy by the Dec. 31 deadline. Board members will consider adopting the levy at their next meeting Dec. 11. The County Clerk’s office will verify the levy in March or April and collecting the tax will begin in May or June.

Hickman said tax levy dollars account for nearly 65 percent of money used by the district, with State and Federal revenue, as well as other sources making up the rest of the money used by the district. The percentage taken in using property taxes for Unit 5 is $71.4 million. Federal revenue accounts for 7.54 percent, or over $8.3 million; State revenue accounts for 21.52 percent of what the district gets, or over $23.9 million, and 6.64 percent comes from other local sources, or over $7.3 million.

Next Board Meeting Dec. 11: Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no second Board meeting in November. The Board’s next meeting will be on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at district headquarters, 1809 W. Hovey Ave., beginning at 7p.m.