New raise in pay hopes to bring in more interest for subs to the district
At the beginning of the most recent ALAH School Board meeting held on Wednesday, December 15, a couple students from the 4th grade Arthur Elementary showed the board some of their recent products that they created from home while learning about Economics. Students from Mrs. Eads and Mrs. Martinez asked students to use their imagination to create a product that they could market to other students. Students were given the chance to showcase their products in the cafeteria and three people from each class were given the chance to come shop for free. In doing all of this, students also learned lessons about supply and demand. Superintendent Shannon Cheek commented on the talent and creativity from all of the students and also browsed through their “market” that was presented in the cafeteria.
During public comment, parent Sam Miller questioned the board whether there had been any more discussion regarding if masks would be optional in the school district. “At that time, the motion was to see if there were any other options out there,” replied President Beth Wiley. “There haven’t really been any changes at this time. It is something that we will have to discuss as a board to see where we are at this time,” she added.
After public comment, the board discussed and approved the consent agenda and then Cheek shared the Treasurer’s report. He commented that the district had begun tracking the online sales tax (1%) as there has been an increase. “We have been seeing an increase from the sales tax generated from online purchases. I am hoping it is a trend,” Cheek stated.
The district received a total of $16,900 in donations for the month with the majority coming from Master Brand Cabinets. Eight members representing the company visited the school during a special ceremony when they presented the cabinets which were donated. A donation of $200 was given to the Knights Table from the VFW and an anonymous donor donated $300 to five teachers. They were able to use the money to purchase supplies or anything else needed for their classrooms. “We are very grateful to have our communities support what we do in our district,” commented Cheek.
Board members approved the tax levy after the EAV was bumped from 6.25 to 6.3 which would avoid a Truth and Taxation hearing.
Cheek and district principals discussed with the board about the present shortage of substitutes and educators within the area. “We have had to have administrators and other aids subbing in our buildings because of the shortage,” commented Cheek. Principal Andrew Peralta stated that at the Arthur Grade School building there are about four to six subs needed each day, while Principal Marla Graham of Lovington Grade School noted since her school was smaller and had less staff, they had about one to subs a day. Principal Kristin Nall from Atwood shared with the board that her school had about three to four subs a day, as did ALAH High School , which Principal Steffanie Seegmiller informed as well.
The pandemic has also brought an increased need for subs when many of the staff have to quarantine. On any given day, the administration often finds themselves looking for about 12 subs per day for the district. After some discussion, the board approved an increased daily rate to $90 for sub pay for aids beginning January 2022 and a daily increase rate to $115 for sub pay for teachers also beginning January 2022. “This will make us more competitive from a dollar standpoint,” commented Cheek. After some research it was found that most area districts offered anywhere from $90-$130/day with the average being about $95. The new increased rate will make our district reasonably competitive.
During the Superintendent Report, Cheek informed the board that there have now been two community engagement sessions with a combined total of about 80 attendees. “Some attendees have been repeat visitors, but that is okay,” he commented. “It has been going well and we are starting to narrow down our focus a little bit,” he added. In his report, Cheek shared that there has been an increasing popularity in combining the junior highs all into one location. The next community session is scheduled for Wednesday, January 12.
As Cheek shared the latest COVID update, he mentioned that there had been an uptick of cases at the Arthur Grade School over the last two weeks, particularly with one classroom. “We’ve had a lot of COVID spreading through it,” he said, “but there has been an uptick everywhere,” Cheek added. “We continue to work with our health department and we’ve stayed open,” he commented. While the district has been able to stay open despite the recent cases, Cheek shared his concern about it becoming difficult to obtain the number of testing kits that they needed. “There has been a problem getting COVID tests. We’ve been primarily working with the Douglas Health Department for tests, but they have been low too. They’ve been receiving less tests. I am not sure what we will do if we happen to run out of tests. We have been using about 300 tests a week. Not every district is offering what we are offering,” he said. Cheek then went on to praise his nursing staff as well as the administrators and all of those involved helping and going beyond during the pandemic. “This pandemic has created situations where people can get very hostile. We all have experienced it unfortunately. If the ability to test dries up, – fingers crossed – I am hoping we don’t have to experience that… We are trying our best, and we can continue to do what we are doing,” he stated. Cheek lastly added, “ In my opinion, we are doing an outstanding job. We have a lot of people who are doing a lot of things unrelated to education. I appreciate all of their efforts.”
December 15, 2021
Accept Mr. Davis letter expressing his intent to retire at the end of the 2025-2026 school year
Accept Kathy Frye letter of resignation/retirement at the end of 2021-2022 school year
Accept the letter of resignation of Melissa Ashmore as the LGS Social Worker
Recommend for hire Anna Bright as an aide at LGS
Accept the letter of resignation of Amy Nichols as an aide at AHGS
Accept the letter of resignation from Brenda Munds, resigning from Concessions Manager
Arthur Grade School Board Report
1.) K-3 Christmas Concert: Arthur Grade School hosted our first concert since the pandemic last week. We had a big turnout to see our Kindergarten through 3rd grade performers and they did a wonderful job. It was wonderful to see students all dressed up and excited to show off their skills.
2.) ig thank you to Michaela Ponstein, Jill Cohan, Rhonda Rhodes, and Vanessa Davis who helped prepare with the speaking parts, and our music teacher, Mr. McClarey for the performance.
3.) Eco-Meet Champions: Congratulations to the 4th-6th grade Eco-Team at AGS. Emily Keagle, Coewn Condill, Laila Sanchez, and
Faemus Davison competed against 11 other schools bringing home the 1st place plaque. They were tested in the area of Nature’s Toxins, Big Cats, and Invasive Species. They placed 1st in Nature’s Toxins, 1st in Big Cats, and 3rd in Invasive Species. Students practiced the month of October and part of November with Mrs. Eads to prepare.
This was a very tough competition and we are so proud of their efforts.
4.) Market Day – The 4th-grade class hosted their annual Market Day on December 3rd. Students had been learning all about Economics. The students ended the unit with a project. They had to create a product at home and market it to other students in the school. The product could not be store-bought. The students had to use their creativity and imagination to create their products. Students created stress balls, bracelets, door hangers, birdhouses, bookmarks, and slime to name a few.
5.) Orton-Gillingham Training – (From Ms. McGill): “My colleagues and I attended the Intermediate Orton- Gillingham training last week through the Regional Office of Education and it was amazing. The first three days were a quick summary of the comprehensive training which I feel would be very beneficial to our lower grades. We learned drills and strategies to teach phonics that will benefit our students greatly. We also learned drills and strategies to teach morphology to students. These multi-sensory approaches get kids moving. There are chants, lots of repetition, and it helps kids understand why words are spelled the way they are. It will be very valuable for phonics, spelling, and vocabulary for all grade levels.”
6.) Knightly Reading Program – A big thank you to Renee Brown and the Knightly Reading Committee for putting together the Knightly Reading Night. LGS was a wonderful host for the night and students enjoyed food, games, prizes, the bookfair, and the author of “A Boy Called Bat”.
7.) Augmented Reality – JH Stem: STEM classes have been exploring Augmented Reality with CoSpaces and Merge Cubes. Students will be working on designing their own Augmented Reality project.
8.) ALICE Drill – AGS successfully completed our annual ALICE drill on Nov 22nd. Students read
books about staying safe in the event of an emergency, practiced a lockdown, and then participated in an evacuation to the Methodist Church. A big thank you to the Arthur Police Department, United Methodist Church, the Village of Arthur, and our staff for helping this drill to run smoothly.
9.) Successful Fundraiser: A huge thank you to our students and families for participating in our annual Fannie May Fundraiser. The funds gathered in this fundraiser will be used to get tables for outdoor learning spaces, items for a possible sensory garden, books, and items for the library/gym, and possibly an outdoor movie set up to allow for movie nights during warmer weather.
Lovington Grade School
Arthur CUSD #305
1. Student council candy cane sales have been going on all week. In addition to having a table set up each morning as the students come in, the student council members set up at the basketball game on Monday and will be set up at the Christmas program on Thursday! Proceeds will go towards new equipment and backyard games for jr. high recess.
2. The Christmas Program was held on December 9th. We had an amazing turnout and the students and Mrs. Rosenbaum did not disappoint. Great music and memories were made! We even had a surprise visit from Santa!
3. Our students colored 150 boxes that were provided by the Sparrows Unlimited organization.
These were then filled with fruit by Sparrows and distributed to our senior citizens throughout Lovington. We have been receiving thank you cards over the last few weeks and it has been exciting for the students to see the impact they are having in our community.
4. We have been celebrating a “Countdown to Christmas Break” each day of December and having a lot of fun. Our 2nd & 3rd Grade joined forces today to celebrate Grinch Day. We worked as a team to decorate their doors, do fun Grinch activities, and they even drank Grinch Punch. These classes had a blast!
5. STEM room- Our Science Technology Engineering and Math has been a great addition to our space here. Daily there are activities that take place in that space that allow students to have hands-on experiences to strengthen their learning. Here are some snapshots of a few of these:
6. Our PreK classes both made rice krispie treats in their classroom as they learned about cooking.
7. Our students have been doing a lot of writing over here, from our Jr. High friendship projects to our elementary holiday writings, our hallways are lined with amazing writing samples! Be on the lookout for our Santa letters in the News Progress, and Herald and Review.
8. We were also able to display some of the student’s artwork during the music program. Our students have been creating so many beautiful masterpieces!
PBIS: This quarter we focused on being kind and using manners. Teachers observed daily on whether students were being kind and using manners throughout the building. At the end of the day if they had shown these characteristics they brought a marble down to the office. We have almost filled the jar to the goal line! We are planning the 2nd quarter reward party for December 20 and 21. Students will get to join in on some fun Christmas games and enjoy classroom parties!
Reading Challenge: We are in full swing of our reading challenge! The school-wide goal is to read 20,000 books. So far at AHGS we have read 5186. Students also have individual goals for reading throughout the year and have the chance to earn bronze, silver, and gold medals depending on the number of books they read. There are prizes that go with each level as well.
Programs: We were excited to host our Christmas programs in person this year. We have had our Band program and our 3rd-5th grade instrumental program so far. Prek did a Christmas celebration on December 14 and we wrapped up the progams with the K-2 program on December 16. We were also excited to have our artwork displayed during the programs! Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and students enjoyed listening to our kids and seeing their hardwork displayed. We hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.
Student Council: Student council is organiaing a service project for our school. Students will be promoting the Birthday Bag Drive organized by the Beck family here in Atwood. The Becks participate in this project in honor of their daughter, Ainsley. Every birthday bag is donated to The First Baptist Church in Atwood. The bags are passed out during the Eastern Illinois Food Bank Pantry pick-ups each month. The bags all stay local and go to families right here in our community and surrounding communities. The week of December 13-18 each grade level will be designated a piggy bank. Students may put pennies or dollars in their grade level penny bank. The twist is that students can bring silver coins to put in other grade levels piggy banks. The silver coins in a container will subtract from the total amount in the container. The grade level with the most money raised will earn a pizza party. All money collected from the money wars will be used to purchase birthday bag materials that are distributed at the local Eastern Illinois Food Bank.
Staff: It is always exciting to get to celebrate with our staff. The day of recognition is so meaningful to the teachers and staff. They work hard every day and don’t always get the appreciation they deserve. This is a wonderful opportunity to honor our staff! This month we had 12 teachers honored. We were also excited to celebrate Jessica Hopkins and Tim Manselle. For “Giving Tuesday” they were chosen to receive $300 towards their classroom. This was an anonymous donation from a family in the community! We are surrounded by great people!
Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond High School
Arthur CUSD #305
1. Leadership Class is a course that helps our students understand how to be a leader and put their leadership skills to practice. During the first quarter, the group works together to facilitate Pink Week, which raises money for breast cancer awareness. The students worked with other organizations to donate $1000 to Mills Breast Cancer Institute and around $1200 to the Kara Kuhns ALAH Support Fund.
During the second quarter, the class works independently or in small groups to plan and execute an event or activity. Students this semester chose to organize a variety of events.
• Evanger Wiley & Lucy Wilber- Half-Court Shot Contest benefiting Douglas Co. Animal Shelter.
• Melyne Sherwood & Isaiah Sawyer- Socks for Shelters to benefit The Haven in Mattoon.
• Nathan Tighe – Anti-littering poster contest
• Sarah Rogers – “Guess for a Cure” candy raffle to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital
• Kade Herschberger & Cheyenne Chupp – Badminton Tournament to benefit the Arthur
Methodist Church Community Meals program.
2. Our horticulture class has been learning about various evergreen trees and their uses and they have started on their evergreen wreaths. Each student is assembling one, and has made their own bow in class to attach to the wreath.
3. Check out what the yearbook is developing! The Yearbook staff this year has decided to use QR codes as a way to make our yearbooks come alive. If you scan the QR codes throughout the yearbook, you will be able to watch videos taken by the journalism students. Here are two samples from next year’s yearbook.
4. Lake Land College recently released their Annual Placement Testing Assessment Results regarding the Class of 2021 graduates who enrolled at Lake Land College. The report compares SAT scores, required remedial math/English/writing scores, and previous dual credit enrollment from schools across their district. ALAH students had the fifth highest SAT across the schools and was well above the average. The number of our graduates attending Lake Land College consistently rises.
5. In October we gave the PSAT/NMSQT to the junior class in preparation for the SAT in April. This is the third year that we have given this assessment to the entire junior class. Prior to the class of 2021, this assessment was optional for juniors to take. PSAT/SAT Spreadsheet Our School Improvement Goal that we set earlier this fall is 50% for ERW and 30% for math.
Class of 2021 Class of 2022 Class of 2023
949 921 921
1002 1048 975
Students that met ERW
60% 58% 59%
Students that met Math
24% 14% 20%
6. We have three December graduates for the Class of 2022.
7. Course Changes for 2022-2023
New raise in pay hopes to bring in more interest for subs to the district