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Tieman explains new programs to Rotary

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District looking at virtual learning

During a regular Area Rotary luncheon, Assistant Superintendent Mr. Joe Tieman was the invited guest. Tieman is currently serving as his first year as Assistant Superintendent, but has been employed by the district for over a decade.

Speaking over a sparse crowd, Tieman highlighted new things going on in CUSD #7. Recently, the district updated their technology in a few areas with the help of generous donations from the Partnership of Education of Excellence.

“Last year, the Tebbe family donated a mobile iPad lab through the Partnership,” Tieman explained, “When you think of getting kids 25 at a time on computers for a district our size is often difficult, but that lab is dedicated fourth through sixth grade.” Tieman went on to say that it is a mobile lab and is able to be moved anywhere that it is needed.

CUSD #7 has had a history of hard wired labs that are limited to one location. According to Tieman, these labs limit the number of students who can use those labs.

In lieu of granting individual classrooms mini grants, the Partnership approached the district for any ideas that are in need of help. The district explained that the technology would be in desire for any help. The Partnership then donated $25 thousand to the district.

“We spend $15 thousand on a mobile laptop lab that is being put together right now,” Tieman explained, “We will also spend $5-10 thousand on desktop computers.” The district is in hopes of adding 20-25 computers in the library that would be hardwired. The extra computers in the library would add another lab to the district.

“Sometimes people ask how many labs we have,” Tieman noted, “I tell them we have three labs, but two of those are teaching labs. So, 90% of the day they are occupied by a class that is learning.” The district would like to see open labs, so students can make full use of the computers by studying or working on research papers.

At the last board meeting, the board approved putting out bids to rewire the middle school and high school buildings entirely. The rewiring may be awarded in the April board meeting. “That is huge for us, because coming down the line we do have a technology plan and ordering more and more technology.” By the next school year, the district should have the infrastructure that will be able to handle the technology improvements.

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According to Tieman, someday the district would like to have a 1 to 1 program which puts a computer in each student’s hands. “We have to be very careful doing that, because we will have to sustain that,” Tieman explained. “Some districts have ran in to trouble with the initial purchase years down the line.” Usually that program is a ten year program, Tieman noted.

The other thing Tieman touched on is academic programs. The major change in the high school is 8th period. The extra period was created by shaving a few minutes off each period throughout the day and adding that at the end of the day to create one 30 minute period called 8th period or 8th hour.

“It is an opportunity for students to look at their weaknesses or turning in assignments,” Tieman explained, “They can also study and do group work or access teachers for extra work and to make up tests.” The program is also an incentive based program which allows seniors, juniors, and second semester sophomores to opt out of the period if the maintain at least a ‘B’ average.

If the student’s grade point average stoops below the ‘B’ average, they are admitted back into the period. Grades are checked eight times throughout the school year. “We have a lot of things to work out in that area and we will continue to tweak that. It seems to be working out great for most kids.”

On the middle school level, the district is looking into how to use the time in the day at the utmost efficiency. The one common period that is not the most efficient 50 minutes is study hall, according to Tieman. “Next year, we will call study hall study skills. Part of the period will be traditional study hall while the other half will be reading instruction. All teachers will be involved providing reading instructions to kids.”

One other program is district is looking at for the elementary level is Leaders for Readers. The school moves high school students out of their study hall to the elementary building to read to the children. “That has been incredibly success for us, the kids love it.” According to Tieman, it takes leadership from the high school students and it is not always the star-athlete or honor roll student, but it gives the student to be a leader in a different aspect.

Tieman went on to explain that the high school is part of a committee of 4 schools, Mt. Olive, Bunker Hill, and Staunton, that is eyeing sharing resources which could be staff. “If we have a higher level math or science course and the other district wants to offer that to their students, we will be able to via virtual learning.” A virtual learning classroom will have a camera set-up in one classroom and will beam the information to a classroom in another district. The receiving district will still have a supervisor in the classroom.

“We have courses that are dual credit with Lewis and Clark Community College, so kids can gain high school credit while gaining college credit.” Each district has different classes that are creditable, so hopefully each school can offer more college credit classes. The process began last Wednesday when all school officials sat down for their first meeting.

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“We discussed if we could share health insurance, copy paper, or even equipment. We already are in a co-op with fuel, bread, milk and some food products.” According to Tieman, this is very ground level as the process has just started because it can involve teachers with four different labor contracts and four different healthcare contracts.

“I want everyone to know that a big part of my job is looking toward the future and looking at what are other districts doing or other universities doing and how can we become more productive,” Tieman closed. “Or how can we get the most for our dollar and the most out of our day, because we owe that to taxpayers. We only have students for about six to seven hours a day after you factor out lunch.”

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during July 7 through July 13. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Timothy D. Conlee, 29 of Gillespie, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving in connection with a July 6 incident.

Dylan J. Arview, 25 of Benld, is charged with driving under the influence while license revoked or suspending, DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving 15-20 mph above the limit in connection with a July 5 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 35 of Sorento, is charged with driving revoked/suspended with a DUI, driving on revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, displayed registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

Dustin W. Gooch, 34 of Beecher City, is charged with aggravated fleeing/bodily injury, unlawful display of a title, improper use of registration/title, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and registration light in connection with a June 17 incident.

MISDEMEANORS

Jordan A. Black, 24 of Gillespie, is charged with battery/causing bodily harm in connection with a July 8 incident.

Dustin R. Stieglitz, 37 of Shipman, is charged with aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon in connection to a June 29 incident.

Steven A. Kroll, 33 of Eagarville, is charged with resisting a peace officer, fire fighter, or corrections employee in connection with a June 26 incident.

TRAFFIC

David B. Brown, 58 of Virden, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a July 3 incident.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, 47 of Worden, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with July 5 incident.

Andrew L. Connoyer, 31 of Bethalto, is charged with improper use of registration, driving 15-20 mph above the limit, and no valid registration in connection with July 7 incident.

Megan E. Bertoldi, 37 of Gillespie, is charged with leaving the scene in connection with July 11 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Tasha McQuay versus David McQuay

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School board disciplines staff member; hires AD and Student Services Coordinator

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In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education approved a “resolution of remedial warning” against an unidentified district teacher, and hired a new Student Services Coordinator and Athletic Director.

The actions followed an 80-minute executive session during which board members presumably primarily discussed personnel issues. The regular monthly meeting of the board was moved up by one week to fill key positions, such as the Athletic Director and Student Services Coordinator, prior to the start of the school year next month. The district was taken by surprise when former Student Services Coordinator Stephanie Bray and Athletic Director Mike Bertagnolli both announced their retirements within days of each other.

Supt. Shane Owsley said the resolution of remedial warning is a disciplinary action representing “a second strike, so to speak.” Neither the teacher or the nature of the infraction was disclosed in open session.

In other action, the board, voted unanimously to hire Shelsie Timmermeier as the district’s Student Services Coordinator for the 2024-25 school year, stepping into the vacancy created by Bray’s retirement, pending confirmation of certification and a background check. In a separate action, the board also appointed Timmermeier as an assistant high school women’s volleyball coach.

Jeremy Smith was hired, also by a unanimous vote, as the district’s Athletic Director for the 2024-25 school year. In a related matter, Smith’s resignation as middle school head baseball coach was accepted. Additionally, the board posted the coaching position as vacant for the coming school year.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Dennis Tiburzi, the board hired Alex Jasper as a high school social science teacher for the coming school year. The board also voted unanimously to hire Tate Wargo as a first-year, non-tenured physical education instructor, pending confirmation of certification. Both positions were vacated as a result of the sudden resignation of Dalton Barnes in April as head football coach, physical education teacher and social science teacher. 

In related matters, the board also hired Wargo Monday night as an eighth grade boy’s basketball coach, and accepted Jasper’s resignation as a district paraprofessional and posted the position as vacant.

In other personnel action, the board:

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  • Hired Amanda Ewin as a one-on-one aide.
  • Hired Anthony Kravanya as a freshman men’s basketball coach.
  • Appointed Melissa Heigert as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach.

In other action, the board gave routine approval to a list of policies provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Supt. Owsley also provided a brief update on the progress being made on safety projects expected to be completed before the start of the school year, including installation of a new intercom system, a card-reader entry system and shatter-proof protective film on exterior windows.

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Gillespie Library, United Community Bank to host Fraud and Scam Prevention seminar on July 22

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Gillespie Public Library (Photo by Gillespie Public Library)

Friends of the Gillespie Public Library and United Community Bank are hosting a joint “Fraud and Scam Prevention” seminar at on Monday, July 22 starting at 6 p.m. at the Gillespie Public Library.

The seminar will focus on today’s common scams and frauds, which includes imposter and check scams, money mule fraud and those that target seniors. Presenters will be Jenni Alepra of Gillespie UCB and Kennen Bertolis of Carlinville UCB.

The seminar is open to the public and is free of charge. For additional questions, call the Gillespie Public Library at 217-839-3614.

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