LCHS School Board gets updates on programs and courses: LTEC, Dual credit, testing and special education

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[December 28, 2015]  LINCOLN - At the Lincoln Community High School board meeting on Monday, December 21, 2015, several department heads gave updates on what happened during the fall semester, sharing many positives.

Principal Todd Poelker said that they are editing the curriculum guide and may add a beginning jewelry class with Carol Washburn. This class would be offered as an elective for freshmen and sophomores, who do not have many electives to choose from. Students will start choosing fall courses in mid-January.

Poelker said semester exams went well. The school has applied to have students do the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing with paper and pencil rather than online. Poelker said it is partly due to having to use so many computer labs during testing, and noted that the internet was down during one day of testing last year. He said in Illinois, 50 percent of students who took the test with paper and pencil were proficient or better, while only 32 percent of students who took it online were proficient or better. This discrepancy showed up at all grade levels, especially in math.

Superintendent Robert Bagby handed out a writing example from one of the students in the Freshman Academy. Freshman Academy works closely with students who may have struggled with academics while they were yet in eighth grade. Bagby said this was another success story for the student to talk about how proud she is of herself now, and how she is getting decent grades.

Bagby said recommendation sheets have been given to feeder schools and eighth grade recommendations will be due in mid-January. All is going well with guidance scheduling.

Math Department liaison Chris Hammer, said the LCHS students have been outscoring Springfield students on the ACT, which he credits to having great teachers at the school. Hammer said the Standard Learning Objectives is a good system with both sides working together and other schools are looking to LCHS as a model for the SLOs, which are much clearer than the ones at many schools.

Board vice president, Darrell Vermiere, asked about the dual credit courses.

Hammer said calculus is going well. The school has dual credit courses through both Heartland Community College and Lincoln College, and Hammer said he would like to get more through Lincoln College.

Mr. Puckett said the Lincolnland Technical Education Center (LTEC) has received some state grant funds, which will help with needs for classrooms. He also said the Building Trades class has done many upgrades to this year's project house on Halfmoon Drive as they put on a new roof and renovated the kitchen and bathrooms, and work with electricity.

The house will be sold for $108,000, so there will be a profit. Puckett said they would like to have an open house to show the community, the LTEC board, and superintendents from participating schools, what the students have been doing. Puckett said the Building Trades class will likely work on the apartment above the Railsplitter Conference Center on Pulaski Street during the spring semester and may try to finish a sign for the Conference Center on nicer days.

Puckett said he is hoping to recruit more students for LTEC and plans to send information about the programs to parents of sophomores and juniors, and include applications for the program. He also plans to talk to students at other schools about the program and wants to do a professional development day or open house next fall so the other schools that are part of LTEC can come over to see the classes and learn more about what is offered.

Puckett said LTEC courses are for all students and many of them go (on) to college, which some people do not realize. He said LTEC is going to offer six hours of college credit in welding through Heartland Community College. A Criminal Justice class might also be offered, and several students have already shown interest in the course.

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Missy Koning, Coordinator of Special Education, said she recently attended a transition workshop. The department is preparing for an audit on Indicator 13, which looks at plans for transition services. Koning said Indicator 13 has changed slightly, so they need to be more specific on transition assessments for independent living, employment, and education or training. The assessments will also need to include dates on the Individualized Education Plans, show academic performance, and update courses of study to show students' progression.

Koning said some of the special education teachers have attended webinars about technology and they are looking at apps to help students with executive functioning skills that include organization, time management, problem solving and reasoning. Many students with learning disabilities, plus those on the autism spectrum and those who have emotional or behavioral disorders struggle with these skills. The apps could provide support for these students.

Koning said they are also looking to improve the reading intervention course by incorporating more reading comprehension and content areas to go beyond vocabulary building. She said they are looking at a more comprehensive approach that adds more content and even some writing.

Koning said that Pam Pollett and Teri Rich, who teach in the Special Education Department, will be retiring at the end of the year. Though they will need to fill these positions, job duties of teachers already in the program could be shifted somewhat to enhance other programs.

Athletic Director Sam Knox said that this year, there are three more students participating in winter activities.
He said Lincoln will host a wrestling tournament with 25 other teams from all over the state on Tuesday, December 29 and Wednesday, December 30, bringing revenue to the whole town.

Vice president Vermiere said the Buildings and Grounds Committee already has some projects planned for summer. He said new doors in the English and Driver's Education hallway were installed Monday, new double doors to the courtyard were recently installed, a new security camera, and a new sound system in the gym are also being installed. Other doors will be installed before the end of the year and new fans will be put in the gymnasium. Vermiere said they are getting a scrubber for the second floor so the other one does not have to be used on both floors, allowing for more productivity.

The board also approved changing conferences from Central State Eight to Apollo.

LCHS School Board votes Apollo Conference

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

[Angela Reiners]

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