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  • Fairbury News staff

Curriculum update given

A curriculum update was given to members of the Prairie Central Board of Education during the board’s regular February meeting.

The board meeting summary provided by Superintendent Paula Crane indicated Tonya Dieken, director of curriculum/instruction/technology, reported on the K-1 reading pilot program known as Wonders. This is expected to be fully implemented during the 2021-22 school year as the staff is in favor of adopting the curriculum.

Dieken also described new legislation which will impact schools and curriculum. The Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA) creates challenges for teachers experimenting with new software. To avoid liability, teachers must have all software programs approved by the district. Research needs to be done before software program approval to ensure a program is SOPPA compliant.

Since Prairie Central teachers use almost 300 software programs, the district will have to establish that many contractual agreements with various companies which will take a large amount of time and require cooperation from the entire staff.

During the Building and Grounds Committee report, board president Mark Slagel reported the fuel tank was fully removed from the old Meadowbrook Elementary site in Forrest for a cost of over $45,000. This was more than the initial estimate of $25,000 but the removal work was more difficult than expected. Also, work on the Upper Elementary roof is planned and specs are being finished so bidding can start.

A high school athletics update was given as it appears all sports will have a chance to play.

“Rules continue to change, but we are adapting as we go,” an update from PCHS Athletic Director Austin Wenger said. “Spectators are allowed at games but still at a limit of 50.”

Senior night for basketball was scheduled early to be sure the seniors are honored with the boys senior night February 23 and the girls March 1. Other sports are having contact days and gym space is scheduled to accommodate everyone.

PCHS Principal Brad Allen said the high school credit recovery program has been successful after only a couple of weeks with one Saturday school. The goal is to have the number of students with failures down to 100 by the end of the third quarter and the number is already down to 127 after starting at 197.

Superintendent Crane noted funds from the ESSER/CARES grants must be used by September 2022 which gives the district time to plan for helping students catch-up and remain successful. She also reported on a very thorough fire marshal inspection which found several citations. The district will review the citations and decide which projects are priorities. All of the issues that could cause a safety concern will be addressed.

Following an executive session, the board accepted the resignations of Bradley Kolar, junior high science teacher and Tami Schupbach, PCE paraprofessional, both effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year. They appointed Jeff Curl auxiliary high school boys basketball coach; Caden Tjarks as auxiliary football coach and Paul Garcia assistant high school wrestling coach. Principal Shannon Fuhr was transferred to Prairie Central Primary West, effective with the 2021-22 school year.

Also at the February meeting, the Prairie Central Board of Education:

-Renewed the contract with Clover Leaf Farms to supply milk for 2021-22. Milk prices increased by one cent per half pint.

-Authorized a resolution to adopt the TRS Supplemental Savings Plan.

-Accepted a bid from Ken’s Oil Service in Forrest for 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel. An additional 5,000 gallons was added hoping to get to next winter when bidding may again be favorable.

-Granted a request to allow high school seniors to graduate at the end of third term if they have all PC graduation requirements met.

-Approved the consent agenda, which included the activity fund report, bills, CSFT reports, cafeteria updates, financials, investment schedule and treasurer’s report.

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