Preparing new students

Rochelle Township High School Board President Tom Huddleston (left) and board member Bill Ravnaas look over information provided about a new scoreboard for the Doug Creason Athletic Complex.

ROCHELLE – It may seem early, but Rochelle Township High School recently hosted the annual eighth grade curriculum night.
During Monday night’s RTHS board meeting, principal Chris Lewis spoke about the eighth-grade curriculum night and how the staff prepares incoming students for choosing their schedules as they make the transition into RTHS.
During his report he also discussed this week’s finals dates and the winter break that would follow, from after school Dec. 20 until students return on Jan. 7 as well as the student celebration for the graduating seniors who achieved the title of student scholars.
“These are designated Illinois state scholars because they rank in the top 10 percent of the 2020 Illinois High School. They are selected based on their SAT scores as well as the six-semester class rank,” Lewis explained.
RTHS had seven graduating seniors rank as student scholars this year — Margaret Duval, Sean Flanagan, Cara Forsberg, Charles Jandak, Micah Koziol, Madelyn Ohlinger and Morgan Schabacker.
During the special report section of the meeting, the districts updated ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Rating) was discussed. For the second year in a row RTHS received a commendable rating, which is the second tier from the top, right under exemplary. This means that the school has at least a 67 percent graduation rating and no underperforming sub groups.
Old business
Two items that were discussed at the previous month’s meeting were both passed by board members and adopted Monday.
The first item was the 2019 Tax Levy worksheet that was under a five percent increase in local revenue, so a truth in Taxation Hearing was not required. The second item was the new board policy updates by the Illinois Association of School Boards. These policies were also discussed in the previous month’s meeting and were passed and adopted by the members of the board.
Superintendent report
Board members accepted the resignation of Danae White as Key Club Advisor, which will take affect at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, and Michaela Hacaga as Assistant Cheer Coach that will go into effect immediately.
Several employment positions were also filled.
Stephanie Guerrero was hired as a van/bus driver for the district. Ruben Ramirez was hired as a substitute van/bus driver.
Michael Belmonte and Mae Furman were hired as Focus House paraprofessionals.
Kathern Dummer was hired as a volunteer assistant girls bowling coach, Danielle Young was hired as a volunteer assistant boys bowling coach and Caleb Bryan was hired as a volunteer assistant bowling coach.
Several volunteer wrestling club coaches were also hired. Those included John Nadig, Dan Escatel, Victor Ochoa, Cory Marruffo, Brian Andronic, Michael Voight and Corey Ansteth.
Duncan Powers was hired as a Spanish/ELL teacher for 2020-21 and Joseph Howard was hired as Key Club advisor for the 2020-21 school year.
With some of RTHS future students being placed at Focus House through the court system, RTHS is trying to assign more teachers to help the students.  
“Their enrollment is increasing with some perspective students in the court system being placed out there,” explained Jason Harper, superintendent of the district. “So, we are going to add two more paraprofessionals to help alleviate some things.”
The final topic from the superintendent was the need to extend the current advertising policy for district extracurricular offerings as well as the need to replace the football field scoreboard sooner than later.
Harper explained the current scoreboard is falling apart and has already had to have parts spray painted so it is beginning to look faded in some parts. As well as the looks of it, the rivets on are beginning to rust and fall off.
The district was going back and forth debating if they wanted to replace the old scoreboard with a new digital score board, or to get a new version of the current one without digital screens. Board members are leaning towards replacing it with another standard scoreboard since the cost outweighs the benefits a digital scoreboard would bring.
The cost to replace the board as well as the instillation of the would be approximately $60,000 with a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.

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