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  • Fairbury News staff

Assessment scores encouraging

Dr. Jenifer McGowan, K-6 director of curriculum and instruction, presented early assessment scores to the PC school board at last Thursday's regular meeting.

Curriculum updates were presented to members of the Prairie Central Board of Education during the group’s regular October meeting in Fairbury.

Dr. Jenifer McGowan, K-6 director of curriculum and instruction, presented early assessment scores for grades K-8 through AIMSWeb and STAR. These results paint an encouraging picture of where students are starting the school year compared to where they started last year.

The growth shown in a year is impressive and the end of year data will eventually be presented to the board.

Brian Quam, director of curriculum, instruction and technology K-12, Focus 7-12, updated the board on efforts with the Livingston Area Career Center.

“We are looking to find different creative ways to use them,” he explained.

A satellite campus is possible for the welding program and the district is trying to get creative on how to bring some programs here.

Quam also outlined several changes to the high school curriculum to be approved in November. This includes the addition of Veterinary Science and Pottery II courses, an updated course description for English IV and updates to the dual credit biology course description to meet the needs of Heartland Community College.

“Pottery seems to be one of those classes kids enjoy,” added Quam.

An “Educator Rising” course has been added in an effort to recruit future teachers from the student body. The dual credit “Intro to Education” course accompanies the new teacher recruitment pathway.

The high school’s block schedule continues to be assessed, as requested by the board. Teachers were given a survey regarding the effectiveness of the schedule. Staff members are pretty supportive of the current schedule, according to Quam. He will meet with every department and look at survey data.

During her superintendent report, Paula Crane discussed the Illinois School Report Card, which will be released Oct. 27. More detailed information will be announced at the next board meeting.

“It was good news for us,” Crane said.

Crane gave an update on maintenance projects, including completion of high school windows and near completion of the high school gym roof and the boiler at Prairie Central Primary West in Chenoa which has been turned on. Work on the boiler controls is underway and company representatives will be around for several days to get everything adjusted. Many are glad the building has warmed-up.

“It was about 55 degrees,” stated Crane.

There is a preliminary drawing for the high school agriculture and industrial technology addition. The architect is working on updated project cost estimates and soil borings will be done at the high school to determine what is under the addition’s footprint. The district is still waiting on poles for the football field lighting project.

Under old business, the board decided not to move forward on opening fuel bids at this time after discussing fuel prices. Crane has been working with two architectural firms regarding a facilities study. She will meet with both firms soon to work out details on how they can work together to divide tasks of facilities assessment and community engagement. Cost estimates will be provided in November for approval.

For new business, the board approved the FY22 audit and annual financial report. The audit produced no findings or discrepancies. Crane reviewed the value of general fixed assets, current bonds and long-term debt allowance. The district spent more than it took in for transportation. PC has historically spent less per pupil than the state average. Crane noted the auditor trusts those working in the district office.

Overnight trip requests were approved. These include the FFA attending national conference in Indianapolis Oct. 25-29 and wrestling trips to Springfield (Dec. 29-30), Litchfield (Jan. 27-28) and the state tournament in Champaign (Feb. 15-18).

Following an executive session, the board:

-Appointed Barb Cook bus monitor, Olivia Weber as auxiliary high school girls basketball coach, Dawn Hamilton as café worker and Jaye Meyers as bus monitor.

-Approved leaves of absence for Blayne Dixon, Laura Johnson and Kelsey Wenger.

-Authorized the “E-Learning for Emergency Days” memorandum of understanding with the

Prairie Central Education Association.

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