School district may increase foreign language class optoins

The Yorkville School District is exploring more foreign language class options.

Director of Teaching and Learning Kelley Gallt told the Board of Education on Monday that administrators are considering adding German I at the Yorkville Middle School where Spanish I is already offered. Both languages are now taught at Yorkville High School.

In addition, during the next school year they will survey families of elementary school students to see if there is interest in adding an additional language, such as French or Chinese. If there is interest, another language could be added in the 2017-18 school year.

“We want to make sure we’re matching what the community wants,” Gallt said. Board member Dr. Lynn Burks suggested they look at languages that will eventually help students get jobs in a global economy.

One issue that has yet to be determined is whether the district will offer high school credit to students taking Spanish I or German I in middle school. Gallt said one question is whether the district must offer high school credit or if that is up to the student.

Superintendent Tim Shimp said the decision could also affect students taking algebra I in eighth grade. He said, for example, the district would need to decide if giving that credit affects the number of math classes a student has to take in high school in order to meet graduation requirements. Gallt noted that the decision could also affect a student’s high school grade point average.

Partially online classes

approved for YHS

Three blended classes – part online and part in the classroom - will be offered to Yorkville High School students this summer. Board members approved the plan in which government, consumer education and health will be offered in a blended format this summer and also in the fall. Two more blended classes may be offered in the fall, depending on staff interest in teaching them.

The estimated the total cost for three classes this summer and five in the fall is $79,178, including $47,500 to purchase computers or tablets for 150 students and $4,800 for software management system licenses for 480 students. The remainder of the cost will be for training teachers.

Board member Jason Senffner voted with the others to approve the blended classes, but said he favored going slowly. “I’m sure a portion of the community wants to take classes online, but I believe part wants to build a relationship with teachers, too,” he said.

Title I, ESY summer

school plans approved

Board members approved plans for both Title I summer school programs, for students who are economically disadvantaged, and Extended School Year (ESY) programs for special education students who need them.

Title I summer school classes in reading and math will be held from July 11 to 29, four days a week for elementary and middle school students, and two hours a day, four days a week for high school students. They will be held at Yorkville Intermediate School, Yorkville Middle School and Yorkville High School.

Also approved were plans for the ESY summer program for students with disabilities. In previous years, ESY programs were provided by the Kendall County Special Education Cooperative, which is being dissolved June 30.

Expected dates for ESY summer classes are June 15 to July 19. Dr. Hassan von Schlegell, director of student services, said he expects 165 students will take part in the program, coming from Plano, Newark and Lisbon schools as well as Yorkville.

These programs will be offered at Autumn Creek Elementary for elementary students and at Yorkville Middle School for middle school and high school students.

ESY classes are mandated for students who are at risk of regressing over the summer. According to von Schlegell, not all special education students are eligible for the program but those who participate are chosen on the basis of their disability and their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Training for staff

and for parents

Gallt told the board that “Yorkville University” will provide six courses in the district for teachers and other staff members this spring. Administrators and teachers have volunteered to teach the classes in literacy, health and wellness, self-defense, and technology to their co-workers.

Any of those who will be teaching one of these courses for the first time this spring will get training in adult education later this month. Staff members other than administrators will be compensated for teaching these classes. Gallt said that non-certified (non-teaching) staff members were excited to be able to take these courses, especially the classes in Google and Excel.

Gallt also said the district is looking at offering classes for district parents. In order to encourage more parents to take part, she said some programs may be offered online and in shorter (less than 15-minute) segments. Possible topics include technology, literacy, gifted programs, and math practices.

Books for babies

Gallt told the board she has been working to develop a partnership with area hospitals that would allow the district to provide a congratulations letter to families with new babies- along with a book called “I Wish You More.”

She said the letter would encourage parents to read to their children and also contain a copy of the district’s kindergarten curriculum.

Board member Tom Kozlowicz called it “an outstanding idea.” Dr. Lynn Burks suggested looking for additional partners, such as the district’s education foundation or the Yorkville Public Library, to share the cost. Kozlowicz suggested partnering with the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Gallt asked the board for any other ideas on ways to help develop literacy skills in pre-school age children in the district.

Ask to waive development

fees for senior project

Jeff Crane of GC Housing Development Corporation asked the board to waive transition fees on a proposed senior housing development called Anthony Place. The 75 unit independent living building is proposed at Fremont and Walnut Streets. The plan was on the agenda of Tuesday’s Yorkville City Council meeting.

Crane said the deed to the property would restrict it to residents age 55 or older. Superintendent Tim Shimp said that would make it a “non-student generating property.” Board President Dave Dockstader noted that, even if the board waived the $3,000 per unit transition fee, the property would still generate real estate taxes for the district.

The request will be on the board’s Feb. 22 agenda.

Personnel changes

Yorkville High School’s head volleyball coach and assistant volleyball coach will switch roles in a transfer approved by the board. Mike Dunn, the current head coach, will become the assistant coach next year while current assistant coach Barbie Langhoff will become head coach.

The board also transferred custodian Lee Thieme to a maintenance position. Lindsay Decker was hired as Bristol Bay Elementary School intramural sixth grade boys basketball coach and Eric Sutor as Autumn Creek Elementary School intramural fifth grade boys basketball coach.

Resignations were accepted from Yorkville Middle School seventh grade social studies teacher Heather Pankow, effective immediately; Renee Sartore, director of English Language Learning programs, at the end of the school year; and assistant computer technician Bowen Mangabhai effective Friday.

Board members approved job descriptions for occupational therapist and physical therapist. Those positions were not needed in the district before but will be now that special education services will become a district responsibility. Their services have been provided by the Kendall County Special Education Cooperative which is being dissolved June 30.

Human Resources Director Troy Courtney told the board the district will also need a bilingual speech language pathologist and bilingual special education teacher next year, both of which have been provided previously by the Special Education Cooperative.

In addition, the district will need a third grade dual language teacher next year as students who have been in the program since kindergarten advance to that grade.