JCCU #1 District News Center
At the Board Meeting on January 21, Mrs. Holt, Interim Superintendent, shared the following "State of the District" report:
Each year in January, I have given a Superintendent’s Report that included a review of the school report card, review of the curriculum and instructional services, and recommendations based upon the information presented. The school report card link is on the website and I ask that you review the information individually. Please remember that the school report card has information from the last school year and financial information is from the 2013-2014 school year. If you have any questions, please call or stop by the office.
As Interim Superintendent I believe that in January of 2016 you need current information. Therefore tonight I want to share with you where we are, celebrate the good things happening, and then briefly share some of the challenges, and the opportunities ahead. We then will have time this spring to plan for the future. With that in mind -----
The district currently has a total of 1,365 students enrolled. We have 47 children in pre-school and Early Childhood. We have 106 in Kindergarten at St. Marie, 565 first through sixth grade at Newton Elementary, 194 students at Jasper County Junior High, and 438 students at Newton Community High School.
We have 7 Board members elected by the community to set policy and direction for the district. Employees of the district include 7 administrators, 76 certified teachers, and 92 classified staff including bus chaperones, bus drivers, cooks, custodians, lunch supervisors, maintenance, nurses, secretaries, and teacher aides. The district covers 462 square miles and is still listed as the largest geographical district in the state.
The district has outstanding parental contact. Parents attend Back to School Nights, school programs, interscholastic events, and are involved with their child’s education. One of the exciting new offerings his year was the Ed Camp in the fall and now we have Family Literacy Night one week from tonight!
Our students receive instruction in Mathematics, Science, English/Language Arts, Social Science, Art, Music, Physical Education, Vocational Education and more!
Our teachers are all highly qualified and over 50% of them hold a Master’s Degree or above. Salaries for teachers and administrators are below the state average.
In July of 2015 we started with a fund balance of $5,371,451. Over $2 million of that balance was quickly expended for the Health Life/Safety project at the High School. Our estimate for Revenue was $12,523,644 and the estimate for expenditures excluding the Health Life/Safety project was $13,254, 937. Thus even without the High School project we were over budget by $731,293. This difference is even after having cut over $1 million dollars from the FY’15 budget. The good news is that we are all working to be as conservative as possible this year. In reviewing the budget with Mark Mullen from ISBE we are on track to have a budget that will reflect less of a loss. We thank the Jasper County taxpayers because indeed already we have received more tax dollars than we anticipated! One concern is that we are only receiving 70% of our transportation reimbursement and for a county as large as ours that makes it difficult. We will continue to monitor this budget and work tirelessly to improve the bottom line.
We are fortunate that this Community supports the district with time and money. The NCHS Academic Foundation, the Parent Teacher Organization, the Athletic Boosters Club, the Band Boosters Club, the FFA Alumni along with the Jasper County Education Association, the Retired Teacher’s Association and the various local organizations and businesses support Jasper County KIDS! Thank you!
Our district focus is Student Achievement!
St. Marie Elementary
It starts at St. Marie Elementary in Pre-school, Early Childhood , and Kindergarten as children arrive at a safe small setting with a warm , dedicated and caring staff The collaboration of personnel working together for the best interest of the children, the empathy for students and parents combined with their willingness to try new ideas provides for Happy Teachers/Happy Students. There is a professional attitude with a clear mission statement and support from their administrator. The staff likes their flexibility in schedules, the rules and structure in the classrooms. They expect the best of themselves as teachers so that they can give the best to their students.
As a result the standards based report card was added and the curriculum has been strengthened. The focus on student learning and achievement combined with refinement of their assessment practices is good for staff and students!
Students in first grade through sixth grade are at Newton Elementary. Newton Elementary is a school in which professional collaboration, progressive instruction, and charity are constants. Instructional research identifies teacher collaborations as the number one influential factor in student learning. Thus at Newton Elementary teachers have common planning time every day at each grade level. Students have time then to participate in an activity period somewhere outside the classroom and teachers can then meet, discuss, share thoughts and ideas about teaching and learning!
The second factor for success is the partnership between the special education and Title I staff with the homeroom teachers. They share students, and the conversations regarding the teaching and as a result learning for students is streamlined and critical.
The math series adopted in 2013-2014 and the reading series adopted this year have resulted in hours of training on how to best utilize the resources as well as identifying the instructional best practice strategies.
The third factor for success at Newton Elementary is that students and staff thrive when presented with opportunities to provide for those in need. Over 3,000 items were collected for the annual Christmas canned-food drive! In addition, for family emergencies the student body, with staff all on board respond quickly to provide dollars, food deliveries, or whatever to takes to make the situation better. By working together, continuing to learn, and exhibiting a giving spirit, the family at Newton Elementary provides a sound, multi-faceted education for the children in our community.
Jasper County Junior High
Seventh and eighth graders are at the Junior High where they are able to experience different teachers, changing of classes, and new challenges. Having a Core Academic program with opportunities for electives of foreign language, hands on science, life math, yearbook, current events, agriculture, fitness concepts and additional math and science classes make Junior High exciting! The Science Fair for all 7th and 8th graders and the community reads program for the 8th grade stress the value and importance of academics. The Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) provides the expectations for school behavior. This year Behavior/Effort have been added to the report cards.
Junior High students are offered ten different extra-curricular activities throughout the school year! JCHS received the ISEA Region “N” Sportsmanship Award in 2013-2014! Teams and individuals have had great success in athletics. Band and Chorus continue the proud Newton tradition of excellence. They are talented, work exceptionally hard, and excel. Their performance – whether marching or in the gym is a treat for all!
Jasper County Junior High cares about their students and wants the very best for each and every one. Teachers and staff work hard daily to make learning challenging and yet fun while building positive relationships between students and staff.
Newton Community High School
Freshman through Seniors attend Newton Community High School! NCHS is known for excellence as faculty and staff work hard to prepare students for the path they choose. Teachers want their students to be well prepared. Dual credit classes are offered providing students rigorous coursework, a head start in post secondary education, and help families financially. The Vocational Department offers thirty classes in agriculture, business, family consumer science and automotive with some now being dual credit. The Fine Arts Department is overflowing with students as they choose art, band, or choir. Students are active as over 38% are in marching band and over 86% are involved in a club, activity or sport!
The CEO program is full of fourteen outstanding students doing extra-ordinary things! This year they are presenting “Small Town Spotlight” an evening of Hors D’oeuvres/ Social and Entertainment at the NCHS gymnasium. It will be an exciting evening with a band, comedian, and entertainer. In addition, students are working on their own business plan. My congratulations to all of you for making this happen!
NCHS has had an amazing fall! Eleven students have been named Illinois State Scholars. They will be here in March so that they can be recognized! Our athletic teams excelled! The Volleyball team won the Conference, the Regional and did great at Sectionals! The Football team created excitement on Friday nights as they had a perfect season winning the Conference undefeated. They advanced to playoffs and thrilled us all! The Band had an exceptional marching season and won award after award. Thanksgiving week they marched at Disney World and were cheered on by parents, community, and the Disney crowd! Individual Students have won acclaim and success. From the Macy Day Parade for our Drum Major to now Italy for our Football Lineman – Our kids are having success and bringing recognition to the school and community. We are Proud of each and every one of them!
Special Education Department
Our special needs educators ‘work to foster an environment that is collaborative among parents, students, teachers, and school personnel. Communication with the general education staff is paramount! We pride ourselves in our efforts to involve parents in the planning and execution of their child’s educational needs.
Working hand in hand with general education the highly qualified teachers and trained paraprofessionals create a rich learning environment where students have an opportunity to achieve the highest level of education and emotional stability. Student progress is monitored in order to ensure the proper supports and services are being delivered to reach each child.
The goal of the Special Education Department is to provide the best foundation for students to grow academically and emotionally. The greatest challenges often bring the greatest joys!
What is the State of the District?
Jasper County Community Unit #1 is focusing on student achievement! We are putting students first. Our students are learners, leaders, and our best hope for this community, state, and country. They are excelling because of excellent administrators and faculty, an outstanding classified staff, parents who are involved in their lives, and a community that values and supports them.
Specifically this year we have worked on the following:
- Building trust between the board, administration, faculty, staff, parents, students, and community.
- Completing the High School renovation!
- Sustaining a school culture and instructional program that promotes success for every student by adding additional classrooms at the elementary and providing additional help for the social/emotional needs of students.
- Adjusting the budget and working toward a balanced budget.
- Reviewing and refining the district and school web pages
- Demonstrating open communication with all stakeholders.
- Searching for a Superintendent for JCCU #1
- Enjoying the opportunity to support, lead, listen, learn, care, and make a positive difference.
Looking ahead the board will choose a new Superintendent and he or she will be fortunate to lead such an outstanding district! There will be challenges ahead but with each challenge there will be opportunities! You will need to:
- Plan on having fewer dollars and more responsibilities.
- Look at needs versus wants.
- Think beyond what is to what can be and what is not even imagined!
School Districts can only be as good as the community they serve will allow them to be. Thanks to all of you the new Superintendent will find a community that has exceptional pride and support for their schools and district. The tradition of excellence, the commitment to students, and the quest for greatness all come together with great people making great things happening!
As board members, school personnel, and parents we send our children to places we have never been, to meet people we do not know, to do things we have never done. As you plan for the year of 2017 and beyond we remember that is what we do. You will pack student’s bags with the best that you can offer in academics, athletics, and extra-curricular activities. You will provide excellent instruction that is rigorous and has relevancy. You will provide current resources and positive relationships. You will focus on students and adults learning together. And you will have FUN! The respect that all of you have for each other will serve you well. I’m excited for all of you and thank you for allowing me to spend time on this great adventure. The State of this District is in good hands with great people!