Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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LCHS board approves concussion mandates

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[August 17, 2011]  The Lincoln Community High School board had its August meeting Monday night and approved several changes for the 2011-2012 school year.

The most serious of the agenda items related to a law enacted on Aug. 1 addressing concussions in sports. Gov. Pat Quinn signed House Bill 200 into law to protect young athletes from repeated concussions by requiring treatment and release from medical care prior to returning to the athletic field. Approval to return to the playing field must be given by a licensed health care professional acknowledged by the school district, and only after an examination and application of the concussion test known as ImPACT.

"This eliminates someone's uncle from coming out of the bleachers and declaring that Johnny can play, after he was hit on the head by the ball," said LCHS activity director Sam Knox. "It must be a school-approved medical professional who makes the determination."

The Illinois High School Association has created a parental signature form that lists symptoms of a concussion, the physical damage that can be experienced and instructions on what procedures to follow if a concussion is suspected. A form is to be on file for every student athlete in elementary, junior high and high school across the state.

Knox told the board he has made changes to the IHSA form, which the statewide organization suggests that schools do, in order to incorporate specific requirements.

He also said that helmets past 10 years old will have to be discarded and the procedure repeated each year as equipment ages. Since some athletes own their helmets, students will leave the sport or outgrow the helmet before it reaches its expiration, but discarding it will prevent someone else from using it after it has been damaged or no longer meets standards.

The board approved inclusion of the parental form and information in the extracurricular handbook. Superintendent Robert Bagby suggested in-service training for coaches to help them recognize the symptoms and learn procedures.

Other business

Purchase of another minivan was tabled until September to allow for conversation with auto tech instructor Jonathon Graber, whose classes work on the district's vehicles.

Discussion on how to name the weight room was given to the extracurricular committee. Recommendations will be received at the September meeting.

Knox presented information concerning the resurfacing of the track. Estimates and information were included in board packet for consideration.

Knox informed board members they will receive one season pass and a guest pass for conference sporting events in 2011-2012. Conference schools have raised their ticket prices to $5 for adults and $3 for students -- except for Taylorville, with prices of $4 for adults and $2 for students, but he expects that school to also raise prices by the end of the first semester.

Reatha Owen, board member and technology committee representative, noted the move to install wireless equipment and implement electronic textbooks in order to cut costs and allow for updated material. The superintendent and principal noted the annual losses of books by students and the length of time a textbook is used -- seven to eight years -- which does not give students current data.

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Report by Principal Todd Poelker

Freshman orientation went well last week. Conducting the session immediately prior to school instead of in March made more sense for students. He expressed satisfaction that students were better prepared to arrive on the first day of school with a better understanding of where to go and how to maneuver the halls and follow their schedules.

Eleven students graduated from the alternative classroom setting last year and three during the summer after completing required classes. Since a large number of students will be eligible for midterm graduation, Poelker is planning a small graduation ceremony for them. Students completing their studies in the alternative classroom setting will receive an alternative education diploma, not a traditional diploma, but are not hampered by the difference when applying to college, tech school or employers.

Report by Assistant Principal Rhonda Hyde

Enrollment is 856 for the 2011-2012 school year, with 263 freshmen. Approximately 210 freshmen are new, and 50-plus students are being retained at freshmen level.

Report by LTEC director Bret Hitchings

Excavation on the housing lot on Sherman Street will begin this week. The building trades classes will receive classroom instruction about safety and preliminary activity prior to beginning construction at the site.

The federal grant for the adult learning program has been renewed.

Enrollment is up for classes in health occupations, welding and others. Students continue to ask for HVAC and cosmetology. If instructors and local sites can be found for those trainings, Hitchings would like to add them to the curriculum.

Report by Superintendent Bagby

Bagby reported that because general state aid will be prorated, the district will receive one payment next June. Due to decreased enrollment, the district will lose $188,143.43.

Bagby will attend upcoming seminars on collective bargaining and other personnel issues. He will report to the board in September.

The boiler must be retrofitted to allow for lowering the temperature in the summer. Currently, the boiler is producing hot water at the same temperature as during the school year, which is wasting energy. The issue was referred to the building and grounds committee for consideration.

Other sessions

The board entered closed session at 8:45 p.m., to discuss personnel issues.

The next regular board meeting is at 7 p.m., Sept. 19. A budget hearing at 6:45 p.m. will precede the meeting.


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