Next year’s school calendar in flux as Amboy waits for decision from state


AMBOY – Changes in the rules for what constitutes a full school day has had some unintended consequences for Illinois school districts. In presenting Amboy’s proposed 2019-2020 school calendar, Superintendent Joshua Nichols said next year’s calendar may have to be amended later. 

“We do not yet have guidance for next year from ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education),” Nichols explained at the March 21 District 272 Board of Education meeting. “Even so, we have to have a calendar so we can begin planning and scheduling.” 

Nichols explained later that currently, there is no time limit for a full school day. Prior to this year, however, a full school day was “five clock hours” in which students had to be in session receiving instruction. If a day was longer than five hours, schools could “bank” the extra minutes. The banked minutes allowed schools to have an 11:30 a.m. dismissal for school improvement once a month and still have it count as a full school day. 

“We do not know yet if they will let us bank minutes or not,” Nichols said. “The removal of the five clock hours created interesting opportunities for students particularly at the high school level and the use of electronic instruction days for snow days.”

Once the law regulating the number of hours in a school day is finalized by the state legislature, Nichols said he can bring the information back to the calendar committee for discussion. 

“Start dates and end dates probably will not change - we have to get those established,” he said prior to the board approving the calendar.

As the 2019-2020 school calendar stands now, students will start school on Thursday, Aug. 15 and the year will end on May 20, 2020. Nichols emphasized that the calendar is still subject to change depending on what Springfield decides.

PRINCIPALS’ REPORTS

Amboy High School Principal Janet Crownhart congratulated March Student of the Month Cameron Simpron.

Curriculum and School Improvement

• The Clippers, Set Sail! and Building Leadership teams met on Feb. 19, March 5 and 19. They focused on students of concern, classroom accommodations, and semester incentives.

• School Improvement days were held Feb. 25 and March 11. All staff met at Central for the Poverty Simulation on Feb. 25 and high school teachers discussed vaping, dress code, and ESSA calculation for next year on March 11.

• Ms. Drew took nine students to the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture Conference on March 1.

• Ms. Drew has four dual-credit classes ready to go for next year in conjunction with Sauk Valley Community College. Crownhart said the high school is now just waiting for the final paperwork to be approved. 

• Mr. Escatel attended the ICTFL (Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Winter conference and Ms. Rose went to ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) training.

• On March 6, Mrs. Cleary took 28 students to The Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. Students went on a guided tour and participated in an art workshop.

• Mrs. Cleary attended the National Art Education Association Convention in Boston, Mass. March 13-17 where she presented two workshops for art teachers.

School Activities

• “Shrek” the musical was held March 8, 9, and 10. Crownhart congratulated Mrs. Schwamberger, Mr. Kemmerer and the entire cast and crew. “It was an excellent performance,” she said.

• Crownhart congratulated Logan Whelchel for advancing to State in the 3-point shoot-out.

• Baseball, softball, and track are currently underway. 

Principal Andrew Full, Amboy Junior High 

Curriculum and School Improvement

• The SAT team met on Feb. 26 to discuss various students in each grade level and how they can be helped to succeed in school.

• A faculty meeting was held on Feb. 27 to go over the School Designation, Illinois Quality Framework, and processes.

• The Targeted School Improvement Team met with Anji Garza on March 7 and March 14 to continue working on the “Work Plan” and focused on RtI and the schedule.

• A faculty meeting was held on March 11 to go over the “Root Causes” and IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness) test information. Following the faculty meeting, teachers were given some time to work in their classrooms.

PBIS

• On Feb. 25 the PBIS Team held their monthly assembly and recognition was given to Students of the Month, Character Traits, Faculty/Staff, 2nd Quarter Honor Roll, and Club Wrestling. A friendly competition was held between classes.

School Activities

• Jr. Beta attended the state convention on Feb. 25 and 26.

• AJHS students went to the high school for a preview of the spring musical on March 8.

• Kevin J. Wood, “Lincoln Impersonator” visited 6th grade students on March 11. Full noted that Mrs. Walter got shocked when she first saw Wood. “He buzzed in and looking at her was Abraham Lincoln,” he laughed. “You don’t see that every day. He looked very, very much like Lincoln. The kids really enjoyed that.”

• Track started on March 13 with coaches Mrs. Bulfer and Mr. Payne.

• Jr. Beta is running a “Dime Wars” to raise money for the community. The class that collects the most dimes gets donuts.

Principal Joyce Schamberger, Central Elementary

School Improvement

• Illinois Assessment of Readiness practice tests have been given to grades 3 and 4.

• For the March 11 School Improvement Day, Anji Garza from the Regional Office of Education explained to the staff how Central School earned the Commendable Designation.

• Chris Delimata, school counselor, demonstrated to the staff during team times how to use mindfulness techniques in class with students.

PBIS

• During an all-school assembly on March 11, awards were handed out for Student of the Week.

• The Third Quarter PBIS Celebration was scheduled for March 22. Schamberger said the entire school was going to load on busses and head to the Princeton Theater to watch the movie, “Wonder Park.” 

School Activities

• Central School’s Best Attendance for February was the fourth grade with 95.3 percent. They earned a snack sponsored by the P.T.C.

• Report cards were moved to March 22 due to extending the third quarter five days because of snow/weather days.

• March 2 was set-up day for the Pancake/French Toast and Sausage Breakfast and the breakfast followed on March 3. Schamberger said there were 1,530 pre-sold tickets for the event and a total of 1,249 people were served that day with 106 tickets sold at the door. She thanked board members, parents and the community for making the breakfast so successful.

• Whiteside Dental Clinic came to Central and provided services to students on March 7.

• A Severe Weather drill was held on March 12, the Spring Concert for grades 3 and 4 was March 19 at the high school auditorium and the second grade trip to Brookfield Zoo was March 21.

Upcoming Dates 

April 8 – Central PTC meeting at 6:30 p.m. All are invited.

April 16 & 17 – Preschool screening. Please call the school for an appointment.

April 24 – Kindergarten Pre-registration Night for parents, 6-7:30 p.m.

OTHER BUSINESS

• During the week of March 25-29, asbestos abatement will be done at Amboy Junior High. Nichols said signs will be posted warning people to not enter the building during that time. 

• Nichols reported that the district has grown by five students this year. “It doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s nice to have positive growth,” he told the board. 

• With winter now officially over, Nichols noted that the district ended up spending $18,610 on snow removal this school year. “Hopefully, we do not have another winter like this for a long time,” he added.

• Ag teacher Deanna Drew and four of her students reported on the status of renovations in the welding lab. The lab now has eight new welding booths for students to use, a huge improvement according to the students who said it was “really terrible” welding in the old booths. 

Drew said funding for the project came from various sources including a grant that helped pay for much of the ventilation along with fundraisers and other donations. Following the presentation, board members and others attending the meeting were invited to take a tour of the ag room and see the new welding booths first hand. 

PERSONNEL

Following closed session, the board approved the retirement resignation of Robert Halberg, Jr. as 5th grade teacher at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year.

They hired Hunter Zimmerly as summer help at the bus garage and approved Bonnie Oury as playground supervisor at Central School, effective March 18.

The next regular meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 25 at Amboy Junior High School. 

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