High school board: Summer school concludes

At its monthly meeting Monday, the Rochelle Township High School Board of Education heard RTHS Principal Chris Lewis’s monthly report on current happenings at the school.

Presentation made on ag/FFA programs

ROCHELLE — At its monthly meeting Monday, the Rochelle Township High School Board of Education heard RTHS Principal Chris Lewis’s monthly report on current happenings at the school.

Lewis said summer school recently finished on July 14 and students passed a total of 338 classes. 69 of those were credit recovery for students who have failed a course and needed to retake it. 269 of those classes were students trying to “get ahead” on class credits. Lewis said that the number of students that need credit recovery has come down since the pandemic.

Eighty eight percent of RTHS students have registered for the fall semester, Lewis said. RTHS will have seven new teachers this fall including Anna Adolph (English), Anna Birsa (Spanish), Anna Criswell (science), Rachel Plock (math), Max Basler (special education), Justin Otte (science) and Keaton Shumard (band). New teacher orientation day will be held Monday, Aug. 8.

Ag/FFA

RTHS Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor Donna Page made a presentation to the board on the status of her programs.

Page thanked the board for its support of ag and FFA and said for the past few years there have been two ag teachers after only having one before. Deanna Jacobs, the program’s other teacher, will be taking over some of the school’s technology classes this fall and they will be blended into ag technology classes, Page said.

Last year, just under 100 students took classes in the ag department. RTHS’s FFA extracurricular program had about 40 active members, which was “down slightly” from a normal year.

“On the FFA side, it was a very unusual year with COVID-19 and the kids came back,” Page said. “But last year across the board in the state, it was a rebuilding year for FFA. We went from doing everything and having competitive teams and having legacies and year-after-year success to having students who didn't necessarily want to do the things anymore or know why we do them.”

Rochelle ag students participated in 14 career or leadership development events and completed multiple community service activities last year, Page said. She said her desire is to increase FFA participation and the program’s presence in the district’s elementary schools.

“We think that's a viable goal and it's vital for our students to take part in FFA,” Page said.

Handbook

The board unanimously approved changes and updates to the RTHS student handbook. 

At the board's June meeting, RTHS Dean of Students Brett Zick presented changes/updates to the handbook and changes were previously discussed in a survey with parents, with the Parent/Teacher Advisory Committee and with the school's attorney.

Personnel

The board unanimously approved personnel changes including the resignations of Shaun Schaefers (band director and marching band director) and Onessa Hueramo (shared district business administrative assistant) and the hirings of Keaton Shumard (band director and marching band director) and Haleigh Nelson (head dance coach).

Budget

The board heard an update on its 2022-2023 tentative budget that is currently in the process of being prepared for public hearing and approval. District Business Manager Kevin Dale said he’s working to get exact numbers nailed down and asked the board to reach out to him with any questions.

A tentative 2022-2023 budget is now on display in the district office and must be for 30 days prior to official hearing and adoption. A budget workshop will be held Monday, Aug. 15 at 5:15 p.m. in the RTHS Boardroom. There will be a public hearing on the budget on Monday, Sept. 19 at 5:20 p.m. in the RTHS Boardroom and voting on the budget adoption will take place at the board’s regular Sept. 19 meeting at 5:30 p.m.

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