The Salem Grade School Board Monday night received details on the school report cards for Hawthorn and Franklin Park School. Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe began the presentation.
“I’m very pleased and excited to report that Hawthorn Elementary received a ‘commendable’ designation and Franklin Park received an ‘exemplary’ designation. That is very good and we are very proud.”
The exemplary designation means Franklin Park had no underperforming subgroup and finished in the top 10 percent of schools in its category statewide. The Commendable designation earned by Hawthorn indicates they have no underperforming subgroup, but did not make the top ten percent in the state.
Hawthorn Principal Marty Adams says the third-graders who took the testing last year didn’t do quite as good as last year. He says the teachers are not satisfied and are working to bring the scores up.
“What we need to look at starting at kindergarten all the way up to third grade is if there are any gaps,” said Adams. “We are going to spend time trying to see what those gaps are and filling those gaps and try and determine why some groups didn’t do as well as others.”
Adams says they will concentrate on a large number of students in the ‘approaching meeting standards’ that he says are ‘on the bubble’. That included 32-percent of the students who took the English test and 40.5-percent who took the math test.
At Franklin Park, Principal Tyler Lux says scores were up and sometimes at twice the statewide average.
“We’re very very excited that scores have improved both in math and ELA [English, Language Arts]. Like I said, we really focused on math to get that up. It went up, but so did ELA,” said Lux. “Overall, our teachers are doing a great job just getting into and understanding what the standards are they really need to cover.”
Lux says they are spending one workshop a year just digging into the testing data to determine what can be done to help students improve. He feels a new math series that has been difficult to grasp by some appears to be behind the better math scores.
In other action, the board approved its property tax levy for 2018 taxes. It is 4.99 percent higher than this year’s collections to avoid a truth in taxation hearing. Foppe says the district will not likely get that much more money.
In personnel news, Levi Quinn was appointed as a volunteer boys basketball coach. The board accepted the resignation of paraprofessional Robin Rutland and LPN Jeanette Wangler. The board approved the termination of noncertified employee Dax Monroe.
Salem High School Principal John Boles says the high school has earned a commendable rating on the school report card released October 31st.
He told the school board students are falling right along the state average. They earned the commendable rating for having no underperforming student groups, a graduation rate above 67-percent and have more than 90-percent of 9th-grade students on track. SCHS failed to earn the exemplary rating because they were not in the top 10 percent of schools in their category in the state.
Boles is pleased with the direction of the school.
“I think it shows that our teachers, faculty, and staff are on the right track. There are a lot of areas we can improve in, but we are pretty pleased with the report card and the ‘commendable’ rating,” said Boles. “We now know now areas that we need to improve and how to. I think that is the first time we have been able to say that in some time. Kudos to those at the Kahn Academy for providing for this program and to our teachers for implementing it in their everyday lessons.”
Boles says teachers will have another work session on Friday on the Kahn Academy system that assures students are being taught the knowledge they need to do well on the tests.
The high school saw its graduation rate rise to 85-percent and had more than 92-percent of students on track in ninth grade.
Salem High School Superintendent Dr. Brad Detering left no doubt that he fully supports the Salem Police Department placing a school resource officer at the school.
Detering told the school board Monday night he had met with City Manager Bill Gruen on the issue and was told members of the city council were supportive but also had concerns about the program. The city council is expected to discuss the School Resource Officer positions at its meeting next Monday night.
Detering says whatever negatives there are, they are heavily outweighed by the positives.
“I think it is a very positive program. When Chief Reynolds took his position he wanted to start a community policing program. It has been extremely positive to see the daily walkthroughs and our students interacting with law enforcement. I think it has really made the transition much easier to move into a school resource officer program,” said Reynolds. “From a student perspective, they won’t really notice any difference except instead of daily walkthroughs they will probably see them on an hourly basis.”
Detering says that will mean more interaction.
“Kids may need another resource in which to disclose things to. Sometimes talking to an administrator or counselor or teacher just isn’t enough. It could be things relative to the school atmosphere and school safety, or it could be just something pressing in a students life and needs a little bit of help from law enforcement as well,” said Detering. “I think the positives of this program just far outweigh any perceived negative perception this may have.”
Board members noted if those against the program don’t think a tragic school incident can happen here are badly mistaken, noting a school shooting occurred just up I-57 in Mattoon.
Detering says the school board earlier included money in this year’s budget for a fulltime school resource officer. He says the city could vote to have two officers, one for the grade school district and one for the high school, one officer to be shared, or to provide no officer at all. The city and the two school boards would each pay one-third of the cost of the program. If the program is approved, he hopes a resource officer can be at the school beginning with second semester in January.
In other action, the board set its property tax levy at a 4.9-percent increase over this year’s collections. That avoids a truth in taxation hearing. Detering thinks the school district will actually receive about a 3.8-percent increase, including tax collections on new construction.
The board accepted the resignation of Special Education Aid Kayla Duncan. They appointed Michelle Blomberg and Trina Green as prom decorating co-chairs.
Centralia Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Ross Boshera works to put out a fire in the wall of a Wamac home Monday afternoon. Photo by Tim Ferguson.
An electrical fire damaged a Wamac home Monday afternoon.
The fire at a home owned by Tim Gibson at 1302 Case apparently started in the electrical wiring at the fuse box on the back wall of the house. It spread to the adjacent wall and studs as well as the meter box outside.
Wamac Police pulled the meter upon their arrival. Centralia Fire Protection District personnel had to tear away siding on the outside as well as remove cabinets and the wall inside to get to the fire within the wall itself.
One firefighter was slightly injured when hit in the face by falling debris while stabilizing a ladder on the ground but did not require hospital treatment.
Those living at the home had heard a loud ‘pop’ a few weeks ago and replace some fuses. There was reportedly another loud pop Monday before the power went out briefly and then smoke could be seen in the back part of the home. Some smoke was visible coming from the eves and roof vents when firemen arrived.
The fire call came in at 3 Monday afternoon.
A 25-year-old Salem woman has been arrested on multiple drug charges by Centralia Police. Police say they initially questioned Blossom Plumb of South Washington Street after receiving a report about a suspicious car parked on Parkview Drive. She was arrested for five counts of possession of a controlled substance after she was allegedly found in possession of five different drugs as well as possession of less than five grams of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Plumb was taken to the Marion County Jail.
33-year-old Christian Page of Case Street in Centralia was arrested by Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies for domestic battery.
36-year-old Curtis Phelps of Warmoth Street in Salem was arrested by Centralia Police for failure to appear in court for possession of methamphetamine. Bond on the warrant was $10,000.
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