With the 2020-21 school year just concluded, members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education met briefly in special session Monday to adopt new math and science curricula for BenGil Elementary School and hire several key positions for the 2021-22 school year.
Board President Mark Hayes said earlier he was convening a special meeting to take action on issues that needed to be addressed prior to the start of the school year and before the regularly scheduled June meeting. The board’s regular meeting will take place June 28.
On a motion by Jenni Alepra, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board voted unanimously to adopt a new mathematics curriculum called “Into Math” at a cost of $96,164.91. Developed and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Into Math offers math lessons geared to teaching not only math procedures but also helping students understand real-world applications for math skills. The new curriculum will be offered for kindergarten students through the fifth grade. The cost of the program includes a four-year online subscription for materials and updates.
The board also voted to adopt Into Science, also published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as the science curriculum for grades three through five at a cost of $41,138.10. Like the math curriculum, the science program also includes a four-year online subscription for materials and updates.
Both curricula were recommended by a committee of BenGil Elementary School teachers who spent several months reviewing and assessing various curricula available.
On a motion by Bill Carter, seconded by Weye Schmidt, the board voted unanimously to hire Brad Snyder as the District Transportation Director. Currently a full-route bus driver for the district, Snyder will step into the shoes of long-time Transportation Director Gary Niehaus who will retire on June 30.
The board had previously hired Michael Smith, a full-route bus driver and part-time custodian, for the Transportation Director but Smith resigned as a bus driver and director in April, less than a month after the board voted to hire him.
In other personnel action, the board:
- Hired Melissa Heigert as a paraprofessional at BenGil Elementary School.
- Hired BenGil Elementary teacher Jody Dunn as BenGil Elementary yearbook sponsor for the coming school year.
- Appointed Jack Burns as a volunteer Gillespie High School cross-country coach for the coming school year, an action that is expected to revive the school’s dormant cross-country program.
- Appointed Nate Henrichs, who currently serves as a volunteer assistant football coach, as the freshman football coach for the 2021-22 season.
- Appointed Jessica Kelly, currently a volunteer assistant track coach, as the Gillespie High School head girls’ track and field coach.
- Appointed Chase Peterson as the eighth-grade basketball coach for the coming season.
- Voted to post a vacancy for a Birth to Three Parent Educator. The vacancy was created as a result of moving the current Parent Educator to a classroom teaching position at the elementary level.
No action was taken on hiring a speech-language pathologist for the coming school year.
On a motion by Carter, seconded by Schmidt, the board voted unanimously to deny the Bunker Hill School District’s request to withdraw from the South Macoupin Area Special Education Coop. Bunker Hill had asked to withdraw as of July 1, 2022. The cooperative agreement, which involves several school districts, requires two year’s notice to withdraw.