High school board: Graduation date confirmed

Ceremony will be held outdoors again weather-permitting

Jeff Helfrich
Posted 3/14/22

At Monday’s Rochelle Township High School Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Jason Harper confirmed the school’s plans to hold graduation on May 28 at 10 a.m.

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High school board: Graduation date confirmed

Ceremony will be held outdoors again weather-permitting

Posted

ROCHELLE — At Monday’s Rochelle Township High School Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Jason Harper confirmed the school’s plans to hold graduation on May 28 at 10 a.m. 

Friday, May 20 will be RTHS’s last day of final exams. Wednesday, June 1 will be the first day of summer school with it ending on July 14. The graduation date will not be impacted by cold days or cancellations, Harper said. 

Prior to Monday’s meeting, the graduation date had only been tentative, due to school administrators previously being unsure what the end of the school year would look like. Last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and indoor attendance restrictions, graduation was held outdoors on the football field. That will be the plan again if weather allows. 

“[Principal Chris Lewis] and our team have secured a stage like last year for graduation to be held outside again,” Harper said. “That depends on the weather. Our plan is to do it outside again. We have fewer issues with the number of people allowed to come per student. In the past it's been 10 tickets per student when it was indoors. We'll be set up to do both.”

Re-employment

The board unanimously approved the re-employment of seven first-year teachers, seven second-year teachers, one third-year teacher and two fourth-year teachers. The teachers currently in their fourth year will become tenured next year. 

“They've all gone through our local evaluation process each year they've been with RTHS,” Harper said. “Dr. Lewis, Dr. Perrin, Mr. Harvey and Mr. Zick have all done the evaluations along with our mentor program. The coaching program is led by Dr. Perrin. We feel confident and comfortable with these recommendations for re-employment.”

In separate agenda items, the board unanimously approved the resignations of Alex Popidinski (science teacher), Kassandra Smith (dance coach), Jacob Diestelkamp (special education teacher) and Reed Dalen (second shift custodian) along with the hirings of Ethan James (IT support specialist) and Talina Nava (assistant softball coach).

Reopening

During meetings amid the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, a school reopening update has been a standing item on the board’s agenda where Harper gave updates pertaining to the issue. 

He and the board resolved Monday to remove that from agendas going forward as low COVID-19 case rates and the removal of state mandates like masking and weekly testing for unvaccinated employees have occurred and made for a lack of updates. 

“I have no new updates for the second month in a row,” Harper said. “My recommendation is to take this off the agenda as a standing item. If something were to come up, we can put it back on.”

Principal’s report

During Lewis’s principal’s report portion of the meeting, he said the scheduling process for next year is underway and students have narrowed down their class choices. Staff and administration will now work on scheduling the appropriate amount of sessions and teachers for each course.

In April, RTHS’s master schedule will come together so students can take as many desired classes as possible. 

“There's only seven classes during the day, and we want to make sure we're maximizing that as much as we possibly can,” Lewis said. “It's the first time in a couple of years where we'll have a good schedule come April and May. Two years ago schools were shut down and last year was hybrid learning. We're back into a normal scheduling system like we did prior to the pandemic.”

On April 13, all freshmen, sophomores and juniors will take the PSAT or SAT assessment, Lewis said. Juniors take the SAT and it's a high school graduation requirement for the state. 

“It's not nearly emphasized as much at the college level as it used to be,” Lewis said. “A lot of the schools are more focused on grades and resumes and the things kids are doing at their high school. Seniors will have that day off. It's all hands on deck with our staff that day and the students that need accommodations that day will get them.”