Adam Clapp at school board

MONTICELLO – After pouring over the latest annual report – The Illinois Report Card for the Monticello School District released by the Illinois State Board of Education – District Superintendent Adam Clapp had two thoughts.

First, he was proud of the overall results which indicated that the elementary and middle schools received commendable rankings and the high school achieved an exemplary rating. But he was more impressed by the individual reports from the principals of those schools on the activities and attitudes within the buildings themselves.

“This year, teachers and students are not going into the holidays feeling drained,” said Middle School Principal Mark Hughes. “The morale is good. We have a lot of energy in the building.”

Monticello High School Principal Travis Courson shared the same thoughts.

“The vibe in the building is great,” he told the school board last week. “You can really measure that when you look at the teacher attendance and the student attendance.”

In explaining the results of the Illinois Report Card to the board, Clapp said he was proud of the designations.

“But I am more proud of the environment we have created,” he said. “Test scores are a great point of emphasis. But more importantly, the overall experience that students have is just as important.”

All four years that the state has given exemplary status to schools in the top 10 percent of them all, Monticello has earned Illinois education’s highest honor. None of the area’s 133 other public schools can make that same claim.

“We have a graduation rate of 98 percent and 73 percent of our students go onto college,” Clapp said. “We continue to have high test scores, while many students excel in the trades and go onto trade school as well.”

Officials say the report card indicates that schools and students – not just in Monticello but throughout the state – are still adjusting to the Covid pandemic.

And, when compared to other area districts, nearly all of the test scores for students district-wide were at or near the top of comparable schools, officials said.

Both Hughes and Courson said they plan on concentrating on math a little bit because although scores were above the state average, some other area districts had higher scores.

“We could do a little better there,” Courson said. “We want our math teachers to get back to putting more of an emphasis on SAT-type related questions, which teaches students how to answer those types of problems and we think that will translate into higher test scores.”

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