Elementary board: HUB Program funding received
‘It's great news for all of our teachers, students and parents’
ROCHELLE — During Tuesday’s monthly meeting of the Rochelle Elementary School District Board of Education, HUB Program Director Yazmin Nambo said that the district will be receiving grant funding to continue the HUB Program.
The program, which is specifically targeted to support the district’s K-8 at-risk youth using a before and after-school model plus summer school. has been fully-funded by a grant for the past 10 years. In the past, the district has received about $435,000 per year to run the program at no cost to it and the community.
The district recently had to reapply for the Illinois State Board of Education Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant cycle. The district was originally awarded the grant 10 years ago, and five years after that, the state decided the awardees of the original cycle would get an automatic rollover for five more years.
Nambo and Superintendent Jason Harper said the district has not yet officially been told the amount it will be receiving, but in the past the grant has always supplied the amount that the district was approved for.
“We keep asking our correspondents and consultants for information on how much funding we'll receive,” Harper said. “Those of us involved in the process are trying to exercise extreme caution. We're just waiting for final confirmations and details. We did feel comfortable enough to announce that we have been approved for this year and then two years after this year. It's great news for Ms. Nambo and all of our teachers, students and parents involved in that program. Full steam ahead and thank you to Ms. Nambo for your continued leadership.”
Nambo said the HUB Program started off with low numbers this year due to uncertainty with the grant funding. 128 students are currently enrolled in the program and the district will look to increase that number. The district currently has a waitlist for the HUB Program, Nambo said.
Rochelle Middle School currently has the lowest HUB Program numbers in the district, and staff is working to increase those numbers and the amount of students that continue to participate after moving on from elementary school.
Nambo said the program wants to start a mentoring group with high school students at Central School and focus on engaging more with parents and the community for the program at Lincoln School.
The HUB Program will need to add more teachers to be able to accommodate all of the students on its waitlist.
The board unanimously gave its approval to go out for bids for the purchase of two 2023 or newer 77-passenger buses for July 2023. Bid recommendations will be brought to the board for review and approval.
District Transportation Directors Sherri Smith and Sheila Herrmann have made it known the district needs to replace "several" buses.
The district is looking to get ahead with the process due to supply chain shortages for vehicles. The buses that are planned to be replaced will be kept until the new ones are received.
Harper said the district has started its safety & security review process at its schools. One building has been reviewed and there will be full-scale feedback during the second semester.
“As the review goes on, the objective is to hone and sharpen some of the facility things we have going on and the behavioral processes we implement along with technology and other things relating to the review,” Harper said. “I wanted to make the board aware that we're moving forward with this and the changes or modifications that come as a result of it will be made known to the staff and the public.”
Tilton Elementary School Principal Becky Cox presented an update on the District 231 Parent Teacher Organization.
Cox said a Fannie May fundraiser is ongoing until Oct. 18 and the results of the program last year were “really positive” for the district and more parent volunteers have come on board this year.
Yearbooks will be available this year for each individual school due to new PTO volunteers after they were not last year.
Potential future events for the PTO include a movie night, a book fair and a family dance in the late winter/early spring. The elementary district PTO’s next meeting is Nov. 3 at 6 p.m,
District ELL Director Celeste Canfield presented an update on the District 231 Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee. The BPAC currently has about 20 active parents as members and is used to get feedback on programming and to hold fundraisers.
Canfield is also involved in the district’s Dual Language Parent Alliance group for parents of children in its dual language program.
“We want to get them involved and for them to have a bird's eye view of what their children are learning,” Canfield said. “We solicit feedback and we try to plan for different events for them to be involved in. We have 25-30 active members now. It's held the same night as our BPAC meeting. BPAC is specifically in Spanish, and dual language is offered in English. They're welcome to be a part of both organizations.”
The board unanimously approved certificated personnel changes including the transfers of Holly Schatz (fourth grade dual language teacher at Tilton School to substitute) and Kimberly Lumzy (ELL instructional support to fourth grade teacher at Tilton School). Support staff changes were unanimously approved including the employment of Melissa Messer (paraprofessional at HUB Program at Lincoln School, part-time) and Ryleigh Baiocco (paraprofessional at Lincoln School) and the retirement of Richard Bearrows (food delivery/mail truck driver, part-time).
The board unanimously approved the appointment of Pat Casey, Diane Kenney and Todd Prusator to two-year terms on the David Crawford Foundation Board of Directors. Their terms will expire in October 2024.