MENDOTA – After a long closed session at the March 20 Mendota Elementary District 289 Board of Education meeting, Beth Wackerlin was re-employed as Northbrook School’s principal. The board approved a one-year contract with a pay increase of 3.63 percent. This comes on the heels of last month’s meeting where board members accepted her resignation. Wackerlin could not be reached for comment.
Other one-year administrator contracts approved with an increase of 3.63 percent included Kristen School, District 289 superintendent; Stacy Kelly, Blackstone School principal; Vicki Johnson, Lincoln School principal; Todd Doyle, Northbrook School assistant principal; and Jessica Kreiser, special education director. Scott Horsch, curriculum director, received a 2 percent increase.
Continuing with teacher involvement at the monthly board meetings, Lincoln School’s fourth grade teachers presented to board members how they have included Rachel’s Challenge in the classrooms. Rachel’s Challenge was brought to Lincoln School two years ago. The program, based on the life of Rachel Scott, killed in the shootings at Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999, focuses on creating a culture of kindness and compassion.
Tim Phalen addressed the board, also. On behalf of several parents, he asked the board to consider expanding IESA (Illinois Elementary School Association) sports membership to include eighth grade boys' and girls’ basketball and eighth grade girls’ volleyball. District 289 currently only participates in IESA in track and field. The membership would allow qualifying teams to advance to regionals, sectionals and state. Phalen proposed that only exceptional teams, like this year’s seventh grade volleyball team that his daughter is on, have the opportunity to participate. He suggested teams should be good enough to win at least 80 percent of their games to qualify for post-season games. This would ensure that the district is only using funds for those teams that have a chance at winning.
Dave Knottnerus spoke to the board about the summer migrant program. He told the board he requested a grant for $77,799 along with an incentive grant for $3,100. The program will run from June 16 through July 25. “The program provides transportation to and from school, breakfast and lunch, as well as math and reading activities to help students catch up with their classmates,” said Knottnerus.
The program averages 30 students from age 4-17. Criteria to be a part of the program requires proof of parents moving to the area with the intent of getting an agricultural job. Then, their children are eligible to attend the migrant program for three summers.
Kelly informed the board of a very well attended kindergarten registration on March 11. This year, 87 students have already been registered. Another 30 students still have to complete registration forms. “There are always more through the summer and before school starts, too,” she added. Anyone who still needs to register their child can contact Kelly at Blackstone School at (815) 539-6888.
Early registration packets for all District 289 students will be sent home in April and will be accepted until June 4. Those wishing not to register early can mark their calendars for the July 28-29 registration dates.
At last month’s meeting, the board approved switching from the Alert Now notification system to School Messenger Service. School Messenger Service offered lower rates along with additional benefits. However, Alert Now claimed the district needed to give a longer cancellation notice, of which they were unaware. Alert Now will be used for another year. Notice of cancellation has now been given.
Superintendent School also discussed IASB Policy Manual Services. Current procedure requires a lot of staff time, an outdated program with no available updates to store the information, and no other Mac-based computer for backups. Although the new services are costly, School recommended the board members each look into the services offered online. The annual cost to the district would be $3,600.
District 289 students will be on spring break from April 14-21.
The next regular board meeting will be held on Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the District 289 Education Center.