AMBOY – Three new board members, Elsa Payne, Katie Pratt and Carol Schnaiter, and re-elected board member, Brian Fox, were sworn in at the April 27 Amboy School District 272 Board of Education meeting.
After the swearing in, the newly seated board elected officers for the coming two years. Nicole Jones was chosen to remain as board president, Ray Johnson will be vice president and Fox will serve as board secretary.
Prior to the swearing in, recognition was given to retiring board members, Bob Olson, who served for 16 years; Lori Setchell, former board president and vice president, who served for 12 years; Tony Becker, former board secretary, who served for eight years; and Joel Hochstatter, who served for six years. Each was presented with a plaque in appreciation for their service on the board.
Superintendent Jeff Thake reported on his visit earlier in the week to Arlington Heights High School District 214 as a member of the Redefining Ready! Cohort. Redefining Ready! is a national campaign started by the AASA (School Superintendents Association) to introduce research-based tools to better assess students’ college, career and life readiness.
District 214, which includes six high schools of 2,000-2,200 students each, is the second-largest high school district in Illinois. Thake explained that there is a strong movement at both the state and national level to increase measures of student growth for college, career and life. The discussion included increasing AP and dual enrolled courses and most importantly, how these courses are designed to lead students into career pathways. “Manufacturers are coming forward and offering to pay for their entire tuition for college or trade school,” Thake noted. “It’s an effort to make the high school experience extremely meaningful.”
Thake said one great example of this already in place at Amboy High School is the Agriculture Department/FFA. “That is definitely one of our earliest career/college pathways…and one of our strongest.”
That concept is branching out in other ways as well. Thake said AHS has been approached by KSB to expand the partnership between the hospital and the high school. “The hospital is not just about medicine - it’s also finance, facilities maintenance, marketing and sales and we are looking to expand these,” he explained.
Thake emphasized that internships are critical in helping high school students decide on their future. “I’m very excited,” he told the board. “That’s the final piece in K-12 education and it goes along with 21st century learning and personalized learning.”
Sauk Valley Community College president and deans, some area real estate agents and a freelance journalist accepted an invitation from Thake to tour District 272 last week. Tours are being given to show people first hand the changes that have taken place in Amboy classrooms just since last year. “They were floored by what they saw,” he told the board. “Students are taking ownership of their own learning and the SVCC personnel and real estate agents loved what they saw.”
Principal Joyce Schamberger, Amboy Junior High and Central Elementary, reported that about 36 students were pre-registered for kindergarten during online registration April 10-28 but she expects 10-12 more to be added during the summer.
The fourth quarter PBIS incentive for AJHS will be a day at Woodhaven Lakes, funded by the PTC. Seventh and eighth grade students will go on Tuesday, May 16; fifth and sixth grades will go Wednesday, May 17.
An All School Awards assembly will be held at Central on Monday, May 22. That afternoon students will celebrate PBIS with an ice cream party and the Book-It end of year activity will be the movie, “Rio.” Central students will celebrate the end of the school year with a track and field day on Tuesday, May 23.
Fifth grade orientation will take place on Tuesday, May 9 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the junior high. This event is for parents and current fourth grade students who will attend AJHS next year.
Best attendance for March was won by the eighth grade with a 96.74 percent attendance.
Amboy High School Principal Joshua Nichols said six students in Ms. Mills’ Investing in Your Future class participated in the national InvestWrite competition on April 5. Their submissions included Grace Klein “Feeding our Future,” Easi Rangel “Eco Friendly,” Connor Crowe “Space Travel,” Mason McCoy “Overpopulation,” Charlotte Brown “Health Care Cost, National Crisis” and Dallas Schafer “Medical Marijuana vs. Opioids.”
On April 11, Mrs. Crownhart and Mr. Alexander took 33 freshman students to visit Northern Illinois University and Nichols attended the OCEC principal’s meeting in Byron.
During the district’s April SIP day, teachers had time to work on implementation of technology-based curriculum in their classrooms and the self-paced steering committee met.
Reporting on the Student Council’s recent activities, President Brandon Albrecht said for the first time in about five years, the Student Council compiled a state record book. A team of 10 students worked on the project, which includes roughly 130 documents such as minutes from District 272 board meetings, from the student council board and from AHS Principal Joshua Nichols’ meetings to show proof of the Student Council’s activities. “It really shows what we have done this year,” he explained, adding that Amboy should have enough points from the record book to earn a plaque for the school.
Albrecht said the Student Council also did evaluations, which are based on the student body, administration and student council members. In over 100 evaluations, everyone scored a superior rating and Amboy’s average was 46 out of a possible 50 points. “That’s really high and I’m extremely proud of every one of our Student Council members,” he noted.
Albrecht, who will graduate this month, said he was very excited to have recently been elected Chairman of the Board for the State Board of Student Councils. “Since I was last year’s state reporter, they asked if I would take this position,” he said. “Great things are in store for our Student Council and I’m going to miss it next year.”
The board donated $5,000 to the Amboy Park Board to help with the cost of installing bathrooms at the batting cages. Since the school district uses the park board’s baseball facilities, Thake felt it was a fitting donation. “It’s the least we could do to continue our partnership.”
The board approved $14,000 to the Whiteside Area Career Center toward the cost of a new roof. Amboy, which sends about 30 students to Whiteside for vocational courses, and all of the other partner districts will help share the expense of the roof.
Following closed session, the board accepted the retirement resignation of Mary Knowles, effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year, and the resignation of Erin Welker, third grade teacher, at the end of this school year.
The next regular board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 25 at Amboy High School.