District 280 approves new parenting class, discusses state required courses


MENDOTA – A new course proposal was presented by Principal Denise Aughenbaugh and approved by the Mendota High School Board of Education on Nov. 15. Proposed by Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Melissa Sallee and recommended by the high school’s Curriculum Committee, the new Parenting class will be offered next year as a same-period enrollment with Child Development, which will be a prerequisite for the course.

Aughenbaugh said this is a similar format used with other higher elective options such as combining the Advanced Styles and Textiles class with a level 1 class. The few students who are in the advanced class do more independent work with teacher assessments and guidance.

The Curriculum Committee also reviewed updates to the Student Information and Registration Guide and recommended course description updates for Biology I Honors and Chemistry I Honors. Aughenbaugh said it designates the criteria better for the increased rigor of those courses and she thanked the student and board representatives and department chairs for their time working with the committee.

Aughenbaugh also reported on a new state law that will change the graduation requirements for Illinois High School students. The requirements are to take effect over several years and include one year of computer science (fall 2023); two years of lab science (fall 2024); and two years of world language (fall 2028). Aughenbaugh expressed concern about the feasibility of the foreign language requirement. “I sincerely doubt this one will carry through in 2028 as written,” she said. The two main issues would be students not having enough time in the school day to complete all the requirements and the fact that there are not enough foreign language teachers available to teach the classes.

Illinois State Scholars

Aughenbaugh congratulated this year’s 12 Illinois State Scholars who will graduate with high honors with the Class of 2022. They include Faith Anderson, Elly Buettner, Ted Landgraf, Paige Manning, Maya Martin, Meredith McConville, Liam McGann, Olivia Ross, Elizabeth Schillinger, Andrew Stamberger, Allison Stewart and Jacob Swope.

Personnel

The board approved several winter coaches. Assisting bowling coach Kassidi Guerrero will be three volunteers, Kirk Ross, John Holland and Tim Dessing. Coaching freshman boys basketball will be Nick Myers. Volunteer wrestling coaches were also approved.

Commendations

Aughenbaugh thanked the Social Science Department and Mr. Artman for preparing Veteran’s Day educational information that could be shared with the student body and the MHS band, which performed at the city’s Veteran’s Day ceremony.

She also commended the Mendota High School FFA for collaborating with the Rotary Club’s Interact Club for a student-led tree planting event. Tree-Plenish is an environmental organization run by college students to help high schools offset their paper usage by hosting tree planting events. MHS students will set a tree goal based on the school’s paper consumption and students will encourage residents to request saplings to be planted in their yard or volunteer to plant saplings on the day of the event. The program provides mentorship during planning and saplings to be planted the day of the event. Last year, Tree-Plenish worked with schools to plant 20,000 saplings. Mr. Meyer and Mrs. Stewart will work with the program coordination at MHS.

Announcements

Nov. 24-26 - Thanksgiving break

Dec. 4 & 5 - Madrigals

Dec. 12 - Band concert

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT

Superintendent Jeff Prusator gave an overview of the FY21 Fiscal Year Audit, which was presented to the Finance Committee on Nov. 9 by Russ Rumbold of Gorenz and Associates. Prusator said it was a clean audit with very solid fund balances. “Mrs. Phalen did a nice job and Russ had no concerns,” he said.

  • The board approved the District’s Risk Management Plan, which is used to prevent risk at school. Prusator said the plan had not been updated since 2013.
  • The board approved a project to repave the high school’s front parking lot and driveways next summer. Board member Jim Sundberg said the front parking areas are in much worse shape than the back parking lot was, and the new pavement will correct those issues.

Prusator noted that the cost will be substantially more than the back parking lot because of the amount of work involved, but not to exceed $1.1 million.

  • As projected last month, Prusator said the EAV is up by over 5 percent and the levy will be around 6 percent. He expects the tax rate to be almost the same as last year or down a little. More information and a Truth in Taxation hearing will be held at the December meeting.
  • Prusator delivered a bit of good news after meeting with the district’s health insurance provider. Although increases of 5-8 percent on average have been seen across the state, the high school will only have a 1.4 percent increase. “That’s a really awesome number,” he said.

The next regular board of education meeting will be held at the high school on Monday, Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.

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