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Tour of ALAH High School Greenhouse Given at May Meeting

Board approves COVID Sick Days regardless of vaccination status

By ARIANA R. CHERRY
Staff Writer 

The Arthur School Board met on Wednesday, May 18. Following the opening, members of the board, public, and guest were invited on a tour of the high school greenhouse. There were projects inside they had been recently working on and the horticulture class was also working on the flowers for graduation.

During the treasurer’s report, Superintendent Shannon Cheek stated that he was anxiously waiting what the Evidence Based Funding (EBF) money will be. “It has been pretty consistent, but we won’t know until about August,” he said.

PRINCIPAL REPORTS
Lovington Grade School

We are making plans for a fabulous field day on May 25. We will have a variety of carnival games, and a 60’ inflatable obstacle course. We are also inviting parents to join us for “Lunch on the Lawn” which is something we are hoping to offer a few times throughout the year next year as well. I think this will be a great way to get our families involved in our building.

Our Scholastic Bowl team ended their season strong! They were in the top two teams in our region! Finals from the scholastic bowl regional tournament: Game 1: Lovington 160 Windsor 55 Game 2: Lovington 80 Decatur Catholic 160 Not enough to get to the championship but we had a good run anyway.

We celebrated Teacher appreciation week with a Survivor theme. Each day staff could spin the wheel and earn beads for various challenges. We also had a daily challenge that teachers participated in. The PTCO brought in lunch from Panera on Wednesday and my staff loved the donuts that the district office sent over. We also had the staff snacks stocked up and a snack cart every afternoon. We have an amazing group of people over here in Lovington.

We had a very talented display of musical skills by our 4-8th grade students under the leadership of Ms. Rosenbaum. We had a good turnout, and the students did a superb job!

We are all set to go for the Dessa SEL screener. We have been working with Carrie Houge all year (ROE 39) through a federal grant targeting social emotional concerns post Covid. Through this work we were able to secure grant money to fund all of our buildings (K-12) with a screener that will help us provide targeted interventions to all of our students. This grant also works in conjunction with the Community Partnership grant that Amanda Romine shared about earlier this year.

Earlier in the year I shared with you our “Stronger Together” compilation of various “Aha” moments and insights we have had. The teachers have continued to contribute to this and I thought you might be interested in reading through some of the additional words of wisdom, Stronger Together.

Arthur Grade School
Andrew Peralta,
Principal

End of Year Celebrations

As you can all guess, students and teachers alike are looking forward to summer. With the change of weather, it has only upped the ante on summer fever. Our students and teachers are still working very hard on academics, but also planning for end-of-the-year festivities. On the last day, we are planning on having bounce houses, Kona Ice truck, and games for students to play. A few of our parents are taking it upon themselves to help organize treats for the students for their classroom parties. We look forward to sending our students off for a safe and fun break.

Special Olympics

AGS celebrated one of our students, Lucas Colter as he participated in the Special Olympics this month. Lucas did wonderfully and finished 2nd in the 100 m and 1st in the softball throw. The school came out to wish him good luck and to encourage him to do his best. Thank you to all the teachers, students and parents who helped make this a special day for this young man.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week was the first week of May and was celebrated within AGS. Staff received treats, cards, and enjoyed a staff barbeque. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the AGS staff for their consistent effort and passion towards our community. They have been a pleasure to work with.

Reading Goal – 25000 books

Back in August, AGS set a reading goal of 25,000 books. As of Friday, May 12, students in grades K-6 read 25,128 books! We reached our goal and are very proud of our students. Also, 80 students have earned their gold reading badges.

Amish Graduation

Amish Graduation will be held at the Otto Center on May 28 at 11 am. We will be celebrating our graduates, Kaitlyn Kaufman and Jenna Diener as they move on from their time at Arthur Grade School. They will be missed but we are excited for the opportunities in their future.

Promotion

Please note that promotion will be held on Thursday, May 26 at 6 pm. The promotion ceremony will be held at Wilson Field (the Football Field) at Arthur Lovington Atwood-Hammond High School. The rain date will be on May 28, 2022.

Landscaping Day

AGS will be hosting a clean-up/flower planting/landscaping day on May 20 after school. Families were encouraged to give flowers, materials, or their time in helping to clean up the school grounds. A big thank you to Emily Kauffman for organizing both last years and this year’s event.

Kindergarten Celebrations:
At our end of the year testing ALL kindergarten students know ALL letters and sounds! Kindergarten is doing an end-of-the-year ABC countdown until summer. We have a different letter theme each day that the kids are really enjoying.

Thank you

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the board for allowing me to lead Arthur Grade School. It has been a wonderful experience and has allowed me to push myself professionally and personally. Thank you for the tireless work and dedication to the

Arthur Grade School families, students, staff, and community. We look forward to doing it again next year. Thank you to the Board of Education for their kindness and support over the past year. It is truly appreciated by myself and the staff at AGS. Go Knights!

ALAH High School

Honor’s Night was held on Wednesday, May 10 in the West Gym. Forty-one seniors and five juniors were invited to receive scholarships and awards totaling $794,893. More than 40 scholarships were given out to students who applied. Some scholarships are merit based while others are based on financial need.

We are grateful for the wonderful support our community provides for our graduating seniors.

2022 ALAH Prom, Enchanted Garden, was attended by 165 students and 7 chaperones. Prom was at The Devon Amphitheater, which is part of the Decatur Park District. The photo backdrop was created by Designed with Detail from Taylorville, the music was provided by DJ Big Daddy Frank from Decatur, and the blankets were made by Custom Screen Printing in Arthur. Many very generous parents of the junior class donated snacks and drinks for the event. The prom court included: Delaney Gillis, Alexa Miller, Sarah Rafferty, Kaitlyn Zander, Max Allen, Reggie Edmonds, Jace Green, and Trey Wardrip.
Jace Green and Delaney Gillis were crowned this year’s prom king and queen.

National Honor Society (NHS) inducted 11 new members this spring. They are Logan Beckmier, Ava Binion, Kendall Burdick, Chloe Franklin, Delaney Gillis, Mallory Nichols, Kailee Otto, Nolan Schrock, Clairece Seal, Chase Tendick, and Kaylee Thompson.

Service is one of the four pillars of NHS. This year, a new initiative asked NHS members to complete 6hours of community service each year as a part of their membership in this organization. As of May 10, the 22 NHS members have completed over 450 hours of individual community service, and this does not include hours from our new inductees. They also completed their service project, which collected donations to help supply the churches and organizations that support our communities. We collected over 100 bags and $80 to be used to buy items to be donated to these organizations. Beyond that service project, Emma Sausman worked with the school counselors to develop mental health baskets for the different schools.

Emma Sausman, a senior at ALAH High School, presented the idea of Mental Health Boxes for each school in the CUSD 305 district to Ms. Russell, the school counselor, in late January. Emma’s goal is to provide students with an alternative to dealing with their emotions with stress-reducing activities that they can access at any time throughout the school day. Emma and Ms. Russell developed a proposal for this project that was later approved by administration, as they also received funding through the District 305 Foundation Grant. Mental Health Boxes can be found at each school in the district at the beginning of next school year.

Our Broadcasting class has been finishing up the year by completing a 2-episode podcast project. The other project that we are finishing up is the live streaming project where students must live stream something so that they can demonstrate their understanding of live streaming using the equipment we have. Live streaming projects range from grade school music concerts to sporting events to a fake newscast. Students will demonstrate the setup, production, and postproduction skills necessary to live stream an event. Students are learning the difficulties that can happen when they attempt to live stream and will demonstrate their ability to find possible solutions.

With help from the family of Debora (Dearnbarger) Holt, Arthur Class of 1969, FACS classes were able to make 33 Fleece Tie-Blankets as their “April Make a Difference” project. Mrs. Voegel’s EIU Student Teacher, Rachel Lehigh, delivered the donations to the Crisis Nursery in Urbana last week. Extra fleece from this donation will be used next year for animal shelter donations.

Congratulations to our 2021-2022 Class Officers which were recently elected. Student Council Officers will be elected before the end of the semester. Student Council is planning a summer retreat to plan for the 2022-2023 school year.

Class Officers/Student Council:
Seniors – Class of 2023
Class Sponsors: Darcy Singer and Janelle Rafferty
President: Brady Moore; Vice President: Ashley Seegmiller; Secretary: Charley Condill; Treasurer: Josie Hale
Student Council Representatives: Brady Moore, Ava Binion, Chloe Franklin, Wyatt Hilligoss, Nolan Schrock

Juniors – Class of 2024
Class Sponsors: TBA
President: Claire Seal; Vice President: Evanger Wiley; Secretary: Sarah Rogers; Treasurer: Jesus Corona
Student Council Representatives: Claire Seal, Kendall Burdick, Colton Taylor, Noah Shoemaker, Kaylee Thompson

Sophomores –
Class of 2025
Class Sponsors: Kendall Huffman and April Hart
President: Layla Deel; Vice President: Ryan Appleby; Secretary: Emmalee Nall; Treasurer: Mitiku Appleby
Student Council Representatives: Layla Deel, Maggie Benedict, Calahan Binion, Mackenzie Condill, Skyler Vorck

Freshmen – Class of 2026
Class Sponsors: Chantell Benedict and Kayla Huckleby
President: Cruz Hale; Vice President: Halle Wardrip; Secretary: Kimberly Krutsinger; Treasurer: Cash Hale
Student Council Representatives: Cruz Hale, Olivia Binion, Lily Vanda, Ruby Burton, Grace Romine, Skyler Graham, Will Hilligoss

Summer Driver’s Education class will be May 31 through June 10, 8:00 am to 12 noon each day with the exception of June 7 when there will be no class that day. We anticipate having approximately 34 students in the class.

Summer School dates are June 6 – June 24, 8 AM – 12 PM. Rosters for these courses are currently being finalized. We will be offering a direct instruction course for English and other courses through APEX in order for students to have the opportunity to make up credit.

In Marketing class this semester, four groups came up with a product and a marketing plan to sell their products. Emma Sausman sold $750 worth of slugs for a profit of $600. The other groups sold Knights foam fingers, lanyards, and wristbands. All of the groups made a profit except for one. We still have products left to sell that will be taken to ball games in the fall and offered for sale. That money will also be donated to the mental health boxes. The class made a profit of $700 on their marketing projects. After taking the class out for a nice steak lunch, they were able to donate $396 to the mental health boxes that will be in all of the school offices.

During Principal Seegmiller’s report she introduced two student guests to share a project/program that had recently been created. Senior Emma Sausman and junior Miah Malin presented “Backstory Boxes.” Sausman is the founder of the program. She is a survivor of abuse and trauma that she experienced throughout childhood. The “Backstory Boxes” are painted with colorful abstract visuals and hold a variety of items for calming, playing and self-soothing. She is giving all the schools in the district a box. By doing this, Sausman would like to bring awareness to childhood mental health. Since Sausman is graduating, she is passing down her role as program coordinator to 2023 senior Miah Malin because she has been very involved with the program since day one. Backstory Boxes also received a grant to build and stock the other boxes.

After the principal reports, Cheek presented his superintendent’s report. The first item of discussion was the approval Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for COVID sick days.  The MOU agreement is related to the COVID sick leave the governor recently signed into law. The law states for any fully vaccinated school personnel that had to miss school due to a COVID related issue while under the governor’s emergency order, the school districts should credit those staff members their sick leave, which reverts back to March 2020. This will also include if a staff member had COVID, if they had to be at home with their child who had COVID, or if they were quarantined due to close contact with COVID. The ALAH school board agreed to extend these benefits to all staff members regardless of their vaccination status. Cheek commented, “Some of our teachers and staff went above and beyond during COVID.”

Cheek gave an update on the professional development plan. He stated, “Some of the goals that were set were very ambitious. We want to commend the staff for their willingness to participate. We were asking them to accomplish a lot. I am proud of our district, teachers, and our administrators for what was accomplished this year. Some of the goals that were established included developing a scope and sequence for each grade level and develop a pacing guide to give to new teachers. Considering the teachers had not met as a district to discuss curriculum prior to September 2021, the faculty accomplished a tremendous amount of work.” Cheek concluded, “It takes time to establish norms and get comfortable with the process. This will set the foundation for more to be accomplished in the future.”

Showing his appreciation to all the teachers and staff in the district, Cheek plans on having an “End of the Year” ceremony in the old gymnasium on Thursday, May 26. Breakfast will be served at 8:00 am and followed by a ceremony at 8:30 am. There will be a recognition for years of service and for those who are retiring.

Cheek’s report ended with a few accolades. He commended the high school teachers, staff, and students for their efforts on the senior trip. He stated, “The senior trip was fun to watch from “afar” with all the photos and videos. There is a lot of planning that goes into this, and the staff has to take time off to go.”

Cheek also mentioned the high school staff and Principal Steffanie Seegmiller needed to be recognized for Honors Night as well. “A lot of work was accomplished in a short amount of time. I would like to recognize our generous communities as well. A total of $815,000 was awarded in scholarships,” he stated.

“Last of all, I’d like to recognize our administration team and all they do. They do a lot and I’ve asked them to do more. There has never been any hesitation,” Cheek concluded.

Personnel Report:

Certified:

Recommend for hire Ethyan DeLaughter for Band.  Ethyan has been student teaching under Mr. Wood and is graduating from Millikin University.  Side note- Ehtyan attended Lovington Grade School through 6th grade before moving to Decatur

Recommend for hire, Jenny Moore for summer school Driver’s Ed.

Recommend for hire, Stacey Bryson for JH Science at LGS

Accept letter of resignation from Grace Hartrich from AHGS

Accept letter of resignation from Kaitlyn Bright as Counselor at AHGS

Accept letter of resignation from Kelsey Betz as 1st grade teacher at AHGS

Recommend for hire, Wendy Wallace for the JH Math position at Atwood-Hammond Grade School. Wendy is an Atwood native and is now living in Tuscola with her husband and children. She has been teaching math for the past 20 years. Her experience includes JH math, mathematics at the collegiate level (Parkland College), and most recently high school math at Tuscola High School. We are excited to bring Wendy onto our team

Non-Certified:

Accept the letter from Melissa Nichols resending her original letter of resignation

Extra-Curricular:

Accept Kendall Huffman’s resignation as the Play Director.

Recommend for hire Jerry Lane for the JH Softball Coach

Recommend for hire Stacey Bryson as the JH Assistant Girls Basketball Coach

Accept Sarah Bailey letter of resignation as Junior Class Sponsor

Accept Ryan Wood letter of resignation as Junior Class Sponsor

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