Community Pulse: Coal City schools achieve Exemplary on Illinois Report Card

Christopher T. Spencer

It is the holiday season and Coal City School District 1 has a lot to be thankful for. The first semester has continued to be a time of celebration for our students, staff and school community.

The Illinois State Board of Education released the 2022 Illinois Report Card. The report card is provided annually by ISBE and gives a detailed look at each school’s academic progress, student success, school culture and climate and financial investments. To achieve Exemplary designation, the school must perform in the top 10% of all schools, have no underperforming student groups, and high schools must meet the ISBE-approved graduation rate. In Illinois, only 66 High Schools, and about 300 elementary schools made the top 10% and earned the Exemplary designation. We are incredibly proud to report that the following schools all achieved the highest state rank of Exemplary: Coal City Early Childhood, Center Coal City Elementary School, Coal City Intermediate School and Coal City High School. Coal City Middle School earned a Commendable designation. This means they did not have any underperforming student groups but did not meet the top 10% of all schools.

At the November Board of Education meeting, the board recognized 13 of our 26 Advanced Placement Scholars. 14 students achieved AP Scholar status, while seven were AP Scholars with Honors and five earned AP Scholars with Distinction. These students scored a three or higher on at least three or more AP exams and can earn college credit in Illinois. Coal City High School students took 186 exams last spring and 73% of those earned a three or higher. We are extremely proud of these students, their teachers and the work they put in during what most consider a very tough school year.

Just like many other districts in the state, the district recognizes the lasting effects of the previous two years of being in a pandemic and our student’s need for social-emotional support. One area of support that is offered is the Coal City Backpack Program. It is a local nonprofit group made up of community members that continues to offer food to our students in need. This program distributes bags of nutritious and nonperishable food items to our students. We also offer after school assistance and before school assistance programs to students that may need assistance with their classes. The district just recently signed up to be part of Safe2HelpIL, a program that is designed to offer an avenue for students to share information regarding safety issues that may impact Illinois students including suicide, bullying, school violence and other threats to school safety. The district continues to have an anonymous tip form that students can fill out to alert the administration of situations that have occurred or may occur in the future. To provide extra support to our students, last school year the Board of Education made sure that each building had a social worker to assist in the social-emotional needs of students.