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LaMoille community gets school update

LAMOILLE — Recent accomplishments and future goals were on the agenda at Tuesday evening’s open house and town hall meeting for the LaMoille Community Unit School District.

Held at LaMoille High School, Tuesday’s community meeting was attended by about 40 people, including several staff and members of the LaMoille School Board.

After a welcome by board President Mary Taylor, Superintendent Ricardo Espinoza led the group through a power point presentation which updated the audience on things like the school’s new website, technology projects and new furniture, safety measures and emergency crisis plans, and the formation of a new strategic planning committee.

Espinoza said the school district has a new “robust” website, www.lamoilleschools.org, which includes a lot of timely information for the students and their families, the staff and the school board. Parents can communicate with the teachers through the website. Board members now get their meeting packets, which are traditionally about 100 pages long, online, saving the district a lot in paper costs, the superintendent said.

In the area of curriculum, Espinoza said the school has implemented a new academic progress testing which is done online at the beginning and end of the year to measure the individual student’s progress in reading, math and language arts, with the information used to develop work throughout the school year. The new Achieve 3000 program increases reading growth by using non-fiction reading, specifically newspaper articles, with the program geared at all grade levels. The Title 1 reading and the Title 1 math programs have been revamped; Espinoza noted LaMoille is one of two area schools to have a Title 1 math program.

Teacher training and development is also an important part to the overall curriculum program, Espinoza said. A lot of staff development has been geared to the new Common Core Standards assessment program. Laptops have been provided for all certified staff.

As another component of learning and curriculum, the district has also gotten new furniture at all three buildings. Other upgrades include commercial whiteboards for classrooms, a new stove and convection oven for the high school, and a new press box, which was done in partnership with the Athletic Boosters Club.

As far as school safety, Espinoza said the district has been working with area First Responders to help the district with its Emergency Crisis Response Plan. Emergency bags are now placed in each classroom. New maps for all buildings have been completed. The district is looking into getting security cameras, as well as a phone system for classrooms and keyless entry system.

Looking at resources for the district, Espinoza said the district was approved for a $500,000 Qualified Zone Academy Bond loan, at 0 percent interest. The district has also gotten a technology loan from Illinois State Board of Education, at a 2 percent interest rate. In-kind donations in cash, programs, discounts and professional development are also an important resource, as are rebate programs. The LaMoille Lions Club has been a great resource to the district in the use of their building and donations to the district in a variety of ways, he said.

Following a 30-minute tour of classrooms, Espinoza asked residents to consider volunteering for the Strategic Planning Committee which will look at three-, five- and seven-year goals for the district. The areas to be discussed are curriculum, communication and community outreach, facilities, technology and extracurricular. Forms with more information and to volunteer for the committee are available through the school office. Board of education member Kevin Anderson is chairing this committee.

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