The main purpose of the district’s December board meeting held last Monday, December 15, was to release the school report card data while administrators provided their responses and initiatives. Overall, the Gillespie district ranked second among 14 area districts with 60% of students meeting and exceeding benchmarks on the PSAE, 2% behind Carlinville who led 14 area districts by scoring 62%.
Superintendent Joe Tieman said it is “outstanding” for the Gillespie district to rank second in the PSAE. “We are on the heels of Carlinville, which is often the standard bearer of the county,” he explained. The PSAE test is administered to high school juniors and the results on the school report card display performance from the 2013-2014 school year.
The Gillespie district ranked second among 14 area districts with 60% of students meeting and exceeding benchmarks on the PSAE
Despite scoring second highest on the PSAE test, the district tied for 5th among the 14 districts on the ISAT test, which is administered to grades 3 through 8, scoring below the state average of 59% with 57% and the district tied for 4th with an 88% graduation rate. The Gillespie district scored better than the state average in the Ready for College area and tied for 6th after scoring 48%, which is comprised of students scoring of at least a 21 on the ACT test.
Overall on the PSAE, the district has seen a decline in math and science scores in the past three years and a general increase in the reading scores the past three years. Despite decline, the district has scored above the state average in reading and math in each of the past three years.
The district’s analysis on the ISAT test explains there has been slight improvement in reading and math from 2013 to 2014 with the district performing above the state average in math and science in 2013.
“Keep in mind, the data only reflects on one year, but it certainly paints our district in very positive and good light,” Tieman explained. “It was better than I thought when I was putting this together. We are performing above the state average in [PSAE scores, graduation rate and Ready for College].”
With the good news, Tieman also closed with a few areas he would like to see improvement: 1) The district aspires to be the top district in all four categories (PSAE, ISAT, graduation and Ready for College), 2) Only 48% of our kids are Ready for College and 3) the graduation rate is at 88%. “I want to see our graduation rate at 100%,” Tieman closed. “Good job principals.”
Elementary school experiencing issues with geothermal pumps
Superintendent Tieman reported that the district is experiencing some issues with the geothermal pumps in the newly construction elementary school. “We have geothermal pumps in the school and I have met with all the players on that – from manufacturers to engineers to electricians to work out a solution,” Tieman explained.
Tieman said to fix the problems now would be $750 per pump totaling $7,500
Board member Bill Carter questioned the warranty, but Tieman said the manufacturer’s warranty expires after 12 months and the school has been complete for 18 months, so the problem becomes an engineering issue, installation issue, or no one’s issue. Tieman explained there are 10 geothermal pumps in the school.
Tieman said to fix the problems now would be $750 per pump totaling $7,500. “All the problems are able to be fixed,” Tieman closed. “They are saying the pumps need to be grounded. I’m limited on my electrical expertise.”
Current Capital Projects Update
Board member Weye Schmidt initiated the capital projects discussion by complaining about the sound system in the high school gym. “Are we looking at the high school sound system because it’s terrible,” Schmidt said.
Tieman tackled his question by saying a sound consultant is doing some testing over Christmas break and will recommend solutions, but Tieman also said whatever he recommends will come down to whether the funding is there or not. More discussion pertaining to the sound system will take place during the January and February board meetings.
Tieman continued under capital projects by saying all the new signs are up and running, but stonework still has to take place at the elementary sign in front of the school. The middle school computer lab is also getting close to completion, according to Tieman, and tetherball poles will be installed at the middle school playground and basketball hoops will be installed at the elementary playground.
High school principal Lori Emmons explained high school students will take final exams on Thursday and Friday and the GHS M’PACTD group is hosting a community service event at the elementary school this Saturday focusing on bike safety. Emmons also explained juniors will take the practice ACT exam on January 29 with the actual ACT test being held on March 3.
She continued by thanking United Community Bank for their contribution to the Gillespie High School construction trades program and thanked everyone who has placed orders with the students. She closed with saying the high school collected more than 1,000 canned goods during their annual food drive.
Jill Rosentreter, principal of the middle school, reported that students are collecting box tops and have a good of raising enough money to buy books for the school library. Rosentreter also explained nearly 200 students attended the annual Christmas dance held last week and she thanked the PTO for their continued support. She closed with saying the seventh grade class went to see “A Christmas Carol” this week and semester exams took place on Wednesday and Thursday of this week for seventh and eighth grade students.
Elementary principal Angela Turcol said teachers and students are starting to increase PARCC testing practice and the second quarter will come to end on December 19. Turcol also reported that three teachers went to the Mid-West Conference for Kindergarten Teachers and one teacher went to Preparing my Kids for PARCC.
Approve Payment of December Bills
Education Fund: $61,151.75
Building Fund: $75,063.27
Transportation Fund: $9,585.34
Site & Construction Fund: $143,760.00
Grand Total: $289,560.36
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