HOOPESTON — Principal John Klaber informed the Hoopeston School board at Thursday’s meeting the Veteran’s Day program would still be held.

“(I) Feel very strongly, it has to happen,” Klaber said. He added that so much of the veterans events have been canceled due to COVID that it was necessary for this event to take place.

Staff and students have been preparing different parts on videotape for the program for several months, Klaber said, and will show it on Channel 16 at 9 a.m. Wednesday, November 11.

In other school board business, D.A.R.E was approved unanimously for the 2020-21 school year, not to exceed $2,980.

Other items approved unanimously were:

- The requisition to ROE Schoolworks for $13,165 for onsite coaching for students and teachers. This program is funded through the Title I grant and is for the social and emotional support for teachers and students, according to Superintendent Robert Richardson.

The requisition to ROE Schoolworks for $37,483 was approved for instructional coaching, team facilitation and administrator mentoring. Funds were also through the Title I grant.

- The requisition to Amazon.com for $24,133.75 for interactive boards and hardware to install devices.

Title I grant funds provided funds for these items.

- Approved the recommendation that executive session minutes from January 11, 2020 to June 18, 2020 remain closed due to confidentiality per 5 ILCS 120.2.06 (d) and approved the destruction of executive session minutes from December 18, 2018 to March 26, 2019 per 5 ILCS 120.2.06 ©.

- Approved continuation of membership in the Illinois Educators Risk Management for health insurance benefits and the suspension of facility usage by outside organizations through the end of the pandemic.

The Board Retreat was discussed and the possible dates of January 9 or 16, both Saturdays, were discussed. The choice of dates was tabled for the November meeting. McFadden added the board will use this retreat to self-evaluate itself. Richardson added that four board seats were up for election in April and the new board will be seated in June.

Richardson said the district had received a FOIA request which had been filled. He added the bus drivers were delivering meals during the two week quarantine to Rankin, Wellington and East Lynn, including to some country students and are using this time to deep clean the buses before in-person learning begins again.

The district saved 450 bricks from Honeywell School and have planks to give to each teacher that taught in Honeywell. Left over planks will be sold for $5. The playground equipment the Drollinger family donated many years ago are presently stored in the John Greer garage and will be erected at John Greer.

“It (playground equipment) will continue to live on at the John Greer site,” Richardson said.

The district hopes to have all the information and a plan for air conditioning units at John Greer by November and Maple School will receive new LED lighting to replace the old lights before the Maple project plan continues.

Richardson gave a report on all the grants the school has applied for and received.

Parent/teacher conferences will be October 21 and 22 from 3 – 6:30 p.m. The conferences will be held via phone, email and with a few in-person appointments.

The board discussed the tuition waiver that is in place for full time employees to allow their children to attend Hoopeston schools tuition free. The district would like to add the part time employees to the waiver but Richardson was informed the present waiver could not be changed. A new waiver would need to be written before the January 15, 2021 deadline for part time employees. Richardson would write the new five year waiver and present it at the November meeting for action.

Richardson receive a text from another school system asking what Hoopeston would do if an employee went to a high risk area and came back to the school. The email said their school insurance would not cover the employee if he/she did not quarantine for two weeks. The Hoopeston District insurance provider said the employee would still be covered. The board will be kept updated on this information.

One person sent an application for transportation director, according to Richardson, and will be interviewed next week.

The middle school is setting up a remote Student of the Week to honor the remote learners as well as the in-person Student of the Week. A middle school newsletter was started and published this month.

Students writing for the newsletter will also be published in the Chronicle and Just The Facts.

The Middle School also began a new program for a return-to-school orientation for remote learners that transfer to in-person learning this second semester. Principal Michelle White said this would prepare the students for in-person readiness.

John Greer plans to show a Christmas concert and program virtually this year. Principal Dan Walder highlighted the fact that if one person or student tested positive for COVID, none of the children in that family should be sent to school until results were known. This would help keep everyone safe in the school.

This past Wednesday, Klaber said, 40 students participated in the PSAT and SAT testing. In the Spring, he added, the students that did not take the testing this week will have to take the tests.

Klaber added the new school counselor, Luke Lawson, set up a college design day on October 26 for seniors. Board member Larry Jahn suggested that Klaber have a curriculum to teach students how to write a college application.

All the principals expressed their gratitude and thanks to the teachers, staff, building and grounds and transportation for going above and beyond their normal duties to keep the students learning.

The next Hoopeston School board meeting will be Thursday, November 19.

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