Amboy schools still in session despite obstacles 


AMBOY – During the first month of in-person classes, Amboy schools have faced some ups and downs but remain open. Reporting at the Sept. 17 board of education meeting, Superintendent Joshua Nichols said the district had been very fortunate until recently when an Amboy High School student tested positive for COVID-19. 

Working with the Lee County Health Department, contract tracing was done and an additional 18 students had to be quarantined for 14 days because of close contact with the positive student. In addition, Nichols said a number of other AHS students are also in quarantine because they were in close contact with a positive case outside of school, such as family member or relative. 

“This means for about another week we will have 41 percent of the high schoolers remote learning,” he said. “When they come off of their quarantine time periods, they will come back to in-person instruction.”

Nichols said later that he was aware of three additional Amboy students, who are remote learning and have not been in the school buildings, who have tested positive as well. 

When asked by a board member how teachers are doing during this difficult time, the responses included “frustrated” and “stressed.” A big area of concern is students who do not participate in their remote lessons. 

“If kids don’t even log in, we can’t make them,” one teacher responded. 

PRINCIPALS’ REPORTS

Amboy High School Principal Janet Crownhart congratulated August Student of the Month Nick Tarr.

Curriculum and School Improvement

• Aug. 19 and Sept. 2 the SEL and Transitional teams met to plan upcoming homeroom lessons.

• The Continuous School Improvement Team met Sept. 10 to discuss current plans, homeroom, challenges with remote learning and which goals to tackle this school year.

• During SIP day on Sept. 14, teachers met as SEL and Transitional Teams to plan the next few weeks. Teachers also received an update on the continuous school improvement plan and had time to work on mandated trainings and prep for remote learning.

School Activities

• Mrs. Crownhart and Mr. Schwamberger attended a NUIC Conference meeting on Sept. 9.

• The Spanish Honor Society and Student Council sponsored a blood drive on Sept. 4 at the Community Building and exceeded their goal of 35 units.

• Volleyball and football were able to have contact days the weeks of Sept. 8 and 14.

• Crownhart congratulated newly elected FFA officers: Mason Ely - President, Dana Merriman - Secretary, Kelton Schwamberger - VP of Community Development, Lauren Althaus - VP of Student Development, Olivia Dinges - VP of Chapter Development, Ethan Pratt - Treasurer, Bradley Dinwiddie - Reporter, and Brooklyn Hoffman - Sentinel.

Building Activities

• Fire drills were scheduled around the construction schedule so they could be completed before walls are blocked off.

Principal Andrew Full, Amboy Junior High 

Curriculum and School Improvement

• On Sept. 1 the School Improvement Team met with Anji Garza from the ROE to review the first few days of school, complete the 1003 (a) grant and budget for 2020-2021 school year, discuss pacing guides for the new curriculums, priority standards, update the School Improvement Plan, update the to-do list, and discuss supports to put in place for curriculum implementation.

• On Sept. 3 a faculty meeting was held to discuss students, hand out “face cups,” discuss SLO’s, and discuss the school year in general.

• On Sept. 14 teachers were given time meet with remote learners, work on SLO’s, and complete Ed Learners Network Trainings.

• Ms. Vicks and Mrs. Dinges have been meeting with ELA and math teachers to discuss the new curriculum.

PBIS

• On Monday, Sept. 14, we held our monthly PBIS celebration/assembly over Google Meets and the following awards were handed out for Students of the Month and Clipper P.R.I.D.E. 

School Activities

• AJHS had 18 students return to school from remote learning. There are still 48 students remote learning, about 20 percent of enrollment.

• Speech Team will start soon with Yvonne Vicks as coach and three members.

• Student Council will also start soon with co-sponsors Ashley Platz and Kaylee Jones.

Principal Joyce Schamberger, Central Elementary 

School Improvement/Professional Development

• Teachers worked on their SLO’s and completed mandated trainings.

• Benchmark testing on all students K-4 has been completed.

• The RtI committee met and discussed the results of recent benchmark testing.

PBIS

• The Prize Closet for Central School students to purchase using Scooby Doo Cash is being stocked by suggestions from students and teachers. Central School PTC will support the PBIS program.

• During the SIP virtual assembly, students were recognized for Student of the Month.

School Activities

• The Second Step presentations began remotely on Sept. 16 using Google Meets. Edie Peterson from the YWCA of the Sauk Valley is the program presenter. Second Step presents programs on Social Emotional Learning.

• Joe Jahn and Mr. Payne trained Central students on bus evacuation as part of the required drills.

OTHER BUSINESS

• Nichols said work is progressing on the new junior high with panels going up for what will be the building’s offices.

• The board approved the 2020-2021 budget following a budget hearing. The complete budget is available to view on the district website [amboy.net] under the District heading. 

• Purchase of a 2018 45+1 wheelchair passenger school bus was approved by the board.

• The Junior High School Improvement Plan was approved. 

PERSONNEL

Following closed session, the board accepted the resignation of Billie Doering as part-time cafeteria cook and hired Dennis Matz as a bus driver.

The next regular board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at Central School. 

All meetings are open to the public. 

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