A busy year for education in Piatt County

January
Monticello Christian Academy opened a free indoor playground in their school building in Monticello. It includes toys, a jungle gym and a library and is open to the public for an hour each on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Cerro Gordo was one of 11 school districts to vote down a Charter School plan that would house students at Richland Community College in Decatur. Superintendent Brett Robinson favored a plan that would allow for more dual-credit opportunities instead of sending up to three students per year to the charter school.

February
Monticello teachers benefited from grants through Choose.org, which allows teachers from across the country to post items they would like for their classrooms. Grants were used locally for items such as scanners, iPod docks and even frozen frogs.

After 43 years on the job, Mike Hendricks will retire as the Blue Ridge High School chemistry teacher.

Emily White of Monticello Middle School took top honors at the Piatt County Spelling Bee. Erin Gibson of Cerro Gordo Middle School earned second place.

Monticello school entered into a contract with School Insight-SchoolEase to provide online student management services for the district. The estimated cost was $16,100 annually with a one-time fee of $2,500 for training. The system replaced the STL system that had been used previously.

March
Among an estimated $150,000 approved for technology improvements in Monticello are dollars for iPads, netbook carts and Promethean boards (interactive white boards).

Voters in the Blue Ridge School District approved the issuance of up to $6.5 million in bonds to pay for an addition to the junior high school in Mansfield, which will house fourth through sixth grade students. The vote was a close one – 890 for and 852 against the referendum.

April
Textbook and lab fees remained the same in Monticello, but school board members voted to increase school lunch prices. Drivers education fees were also raised from $50 to $125.

May
Curt Homann resigned from the Blue Ridge School Board in order to serve as an assistant coach for the district junior high school basketball team.

June
Over 100 years of school experience was lost in the Monticello School District with the retirements of Ann Hehn, Jim Hayes, Terry Reed and Tim McAlpin.

Bement also lost over 100 years of educational experience with the retirements of Barb Beals, Barb Walters and Tonya Flavin.

Blue Ridge High School was recognized as one of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Despite lagging state funds and a budget deficit, Monticello schools would still see elementary school class sizes between 16 and 23 in the fall.

Kellie Hanselman resigned from the Monticello School Board. She had been on the board since being appointed in August of 2008.

Justin Otto was named to the Blue Ridge School Board.

August
The Atwood-Hammond school district held a public meeting to outline the option of annexing into the Arthur-Lovington School District. Later in the year, it was decided the issue will go to voters in April of 2013.

News that CPPRT revenues would likely be less than expected doubled the Monticello School District’s budget deficit to $2 million for the 2012-13 school year.

Sarah Ross was named to the Monticello School Board.

September
Three public meetings were scheduled as the Monticello School Board gained input regarding its aging facilities.

Monticello schools installed a wireless repeater that allowed it to increase internet speeds 15 times than previous configurations.

October
Enrollment rose slightly in Piatt County from 3,848 to 3,913 students. The largest increases were in Cerro Gordo (+25) and DeLand-Weldon (+24), while Bement saw a 10-student drop.

December
A preliminary study of Monticello’s aging school structure suggested combining at least two of the three elementary schools into one facility in order to better incorporate 21st century teaching concepts. BLDD Architects of Decatur delivered an evaluation of 16 options that were suggested by the public during a brain-storming session in October.

Rob Willkinson was named the new principal of Blue Ridge’s Mansfield campus. He will take over July 1, 2013.

 

Categories (2):News, Education

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