By CHRISTY JANKOWSKI
As with everything COVID has left its mark in changing the way things are done. Bement School District will host a virtual open house, with each teacher completing their own video.
The Sangamon Valley CEO program kicked off its second year, and the students are meeting at Top Flight Grain for the first quarter. They are able to meet adhering to social distancing guidelines. Principal Doug Kepley states in his report, “is off to a very good start.” There are blank students in the program. (list students)
Each year the New-Gazette out of Champaign sponsors a “High School Confidential” with this year’s student being from Bement. Hailey Gadbury will report weekly.
Bement School(s) Superintendent Sheila Greenwood states in her report that school is going well, “Teachers are doing an excellent job of getting the kids up and moving and getting them outside for extra mask breaks. The students and staff are doing a great job of following our safety protocols and their excellent work is paying off as we have been in-person instruction for 5 weeks.”
She went on to add that remote is going well for the most part, “We are working this week to make connections with our remote only learners just to let them know that we appreciate them, miss them and that they are still very much a part of our school. We have heard mostly great things from our students and parents regarding remote learning. The one complaint that we have heard is that it is harder than last Spring’s remote learning.”
“We knew that would be the case because last year, we were not allowed to do very much in the way of teaching new concepts and assessing students. Everyone is getting used to it and have found the resources useful when needed. It is challenging and that is what we wanted for our students both at home and at school.”
Greenwood states the district will be using three transitional planning days next month to prepare for the possibility of full remote. “ These days help us to be prepared just in case we have to go full remote either long or short term. The staff has been doing an awesome job with creating generic lesson videos and practicing video-streaming so that if they need to, they are ready for synchronous and also asynchronous learning/teaching.”
As well as some students attending virtually and preparing staff for the possibility of virtual for all, the professional development courses are offered virtually for teachers. Greenwood thanked Andrew Brown and Linda Taylor for their aid with technology and remote learning.
“Andrew Brown and Linda Taylor continue to be instrumental in our success in regard to technology and remote learning. They have spent countless hours planning, preparing and teaching staff different platforms and strategies.”
The district received $20,000 from Dan Brue. Greenwood stated, “We can at least close that financial chapter. The wrongdoing chapter is still open and still feels fresh to me.”
Brue served previously as Superintendent for the Bement School District and was charged with embezzlement (look up date)
Greenwood is disappointed with those not taking advantage of the free breakfasts and lunches. “ Only 6 students requested meals to go out this week for our remote only Students. Out of 63 kids on remote only, I expected to have at least one half, if not more, taking advantage of it. We are also not seeing as large of an increase in the in-person number of free meals as I thought we would see. She added the meals include milk, fresh fruit/juice, vegetables, meats, bread, and packaged breakfast items
After the Storm damage from straight line winds, the district’s deductible went from $2,000 to $50,000 states Greenwood. She stated they are looking for a new provider and their agent, Bill Bell, is aiding in the process.
Greenwood states the majority of the CARES money has been spent. The district used the funds for cleaning supplies, materials, teacher trainings, and technology equipment for the district. “We still have around $10,000 remaining. We have until next September to spend the money, and that won’t be a problem.”
The CARES funding was granted to each district during the beginning of the COVID crisis with the intention that districts would use the funding where needed for their own needs during a pandemic.
The REAP grant came in higher than expected stated Greenwood at $24,470. This is a grant made accessible only for rural school districts, and the district applies annually.
Bement plans to continue with teacher evaluations, just completed in a different manner considering circumstances. “ We will be conducting our non-tenured teacher evals as long as we are in-person this fall.” Adding that if the need for remote occurs, changes will be made, and if in person next semester “business as usual.”
“We all understand and appreciate the value in teacher evaluations, but we are also trying to be realistic as this time.”
Important Upcoming Dates:
•Picture Retakes October 20
•Video/Phone Parent Teacher Conferences October 6 and 7
•FASFA Virtual Meeting October 7
•No School October 9 and 12
•SAT’s October 14 for Seniors