Principal Seegmiller discusses High School Graduation plans

By ARIANA R. CHERRY
Staff Writer

Board approves to move forward for bids for roof work at AGS, LGS; AHGS approved for boiler replacement

Superintendent Shannon Cheek reported that the district still had not received a transportation payment during his treasurer’s report. He noted that he is still hoping to get one more. Shannon also informed the board that all of the CARES dollars have been exhausted and the grant for the second round is open and available for the school district to start developing a plan on how they will allocate the dollars. The district has until September 2023 to spend those funds. A tentative plan will be brought to the board later to start planning on how those CARES dollars will be used.

“We are looking at a significant amount,” said Cheek. “I am estimating it to be around $900,000. We want to be careful with those funds. I am pretty proud of the route we took with the last funds. We were able to be responsible with the spending and we were also pretty strategic about how we approached it. We need to be even more strategic about how we approach the second round,” stated Cheek.

During his sports report, Athletic Director Nathan Seal reported that the district was finishing up its basketball season and that the junior high was finishing volleyball. Seal complimented all of the coaches and athletes for doing their part in following all of the guidelines. “I feel good that we are participating in all sports and our kids are getting an opportunity to play,” he said.

Principal Steffanie Seegmiller took the floor to discuss graduation – which she informed the board, they’ve been discussing graduation since August. She wants to give seniors the best opportunity possible so that they can have graduation.

“Our goal is to have graduation in person,” Seegmiller said. “I know the situation. It’s not ideal but we are thinking about our seniors. We want this to be about them. Graduation will rock!” she added. Seegmiller also noted that if the IDPH releases more guidelines, it should add more opportunities for the students. She informed the board that a survey was distributed to students to find out what they wanted for graduation and how they wanted to celebrate it- that way they had a voice in the planning process.

“I asked each senior to meet with me during February, so I could learn what was important to them regarding our May traditions. Although all of us long for “normal,” I was extremely impressed with each senior’s response. They were gracious and kind. They so badly want to have a ceremony where they sit with their classmates and have their family watching. The class of 2021 is spot on with their priorities,” Seegmiller said.

Presently graduation plans include having the ceremony outside on the football field. The district is anticipating restrictions to its capacity, so it will also be live-streamed and recorded. With the graduation being planned outdoors, there also will be a rain-date. “We are in uncharted territory, but we promise to do our best to communicate as we know more,” she said. Seegmiller did talk about other events in May such as prom. Presently, the district is not allowed to host prom because of the current COVID19 restrictions. They are hoping to host

Honors Night on May 12 in person. Also because of COVID19 restrictions and Illinois not being in phase 5 as well as Washington D.C. not being in phase 5, sadly there will not be a senior trip. In lieu of paying for the senior trip expenses and activities, there are plans to utilize the class funds to provide seniors an opportunity for final experiences and memories at ALAH HS.

After discussing senior activities and graduation plans, Shannon and the board moved onto new business which included roof work and replacing a boiler at Atwood-Hammond Grade School. “Our amendments went through with no problems and now we are just looking for authorization to go out and get bids,” Cheek stated. “We want to see what is out there in terms of pricing and money so that we can make a decision to move forward,” he added. A motion was passed by the board to approve the bidding process.

The Atwood-Hammond Grade School is in need of a new boiler. The replacement cost for the new boiler is $36,961.00. The district will be hiring Davis-Houck to do the job. “We are confident that we will be able to lower that cost as there is a rebate available for the replacement through Ameren. We don’t have the exact dollar amount yet, but we hope to know soon,” Cheek informed. A motion was passed to have the boiler replaced at Atwood Hammond Grade School.

Board members discussed and approved the school calendar for the 2021-2022 school year. Presently, school is set to start Friday, August 13 and there is a plan to still have the five emergency days for the end of the year. The district is still working with the half day formats.

They do hope to be in-person and back to a regular schedule, but at this time, those decisions have not been finalized.

Cheek informed board members of the current COVID updates. Presently only one staff member was quarantined, but it was only due to close contact and not a positive case. Sixteen students are currently quarantined. The number of in-person learners are 991 with 82 who are full-remote learners.

Toward the end of the meeting, Cheek talked about his celebrations this month. They included students getting to participate in extracurriculars and the things they love, the smooth transition from 1:47 to 2:00 dismissal time, the task force/focus group efforts, Mr Seal doing a great job at handling all of the ever-changing guidelines and rescheduling of events and the flexibility of the administrative staff in covering events as sometimes, they have been doing it five days a week.

Personnel Report

Approval of job description for Director of Student Services/Technology Director

Administrative position

Approval of 3 year contract for Mrs. Amanda Romine as Director of Student Services/Technology Director beginning the 2021-2022 school year

Accept letter of resignation from Judi Funston as Special Education Teacher at LGS effective at the end of the contractual school year

Recommend dismissal/non-renewal of professional educator licensed employee, Lisa Ferriozi

Recommend for hire Saylor Bower for HS Math Position for the 2021-2022 school year

Recommend for hire, Nicole Bracken for JH Scholastic Bowl Coach for the 2021-2022 school year

Recommend for hire, Bradley Rexroad as the Bass Fishing Coach

Recommend for hire, Daniel Ruyle as Assistant Football Coach

Recommend for hire, Bryton Ragon as Girls JH Head Track Coach

Accept letter of resignation from Sage Hale as AGS Principal effective at the end of current contract

Recommend for hire, Tara Hill, Special Education Teacher at LGS for the 2021-2022 school year.

The following teachers are being recommended for tenure, Matt Thomas, Heather Leichty, Ginger Voegel, Ashley Snoddy and Samantha Binion

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