Schools update: Region’s first special education summit will be at Sauk Valley Community College

A digital sign is one of the improvements to the Rock Falls High School campus. It sits facing the intersection of West Second Street and 12th Avenue.

Illinois Elevating Special Educators will have its first summit for northern Illinois special education professionals Sept. 30 at Sauk Valley Community College.

The summit runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Paula Kluth, author of “Don’t We Already Do Inclusion?” is the keynote speaker.

There will be sessions on research-based strategies and tips on how to support students with disabilities in the classroom.

Teachers are asked to register through the Regional Office of Education website,

24/7 tutoring

Rock Falls High School is providing free online tutoring through that is available 24/7 and can be used for any academic subject.

Each student is provided with an account. is based in Montreal, Canada, and was founded in 2014 by two McGill University graduates to provide online tutoring.

The service provides chat-based access to tutors, delivers reviews of essays and contains a platform that offers after-school interactive content to inspire curious minds. The service’s insights dashboard provides tutoring program data for school educators.

In January, the service said its site supports 2 million students and teachers.

Ryan Miller, a vice president and chief people officer at KSB, talks about the survey results from community members about the exploration of start and end times at Dixon’s schools.

Community engagement

Dixon Public Schools filled open slots on its Community Engagement Committee after Superintendent Margo Empen made a recruiting appeal on the district’s website.

The district received eight applicants and filled the four vacancies, said Dianne Frye, human resources coordinator and administrative assistant to the superintendent.

The new members will be announced at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday for the panel’s first meeting of the school year, which will be at the district’s office, 1335 Franklin Grove Road.

In the original recruiting post, Empen stressed the committee’s importance when she wrote that members “shape how we actively collaborate with all stakeholders in the community about the direction and day-to-day functioning of our schools.”

In 2021-22, the committee worked on a project that surveyed community members on a proposal to move back by 45 minutes the start time of classes for the current school year. Based on the committee’s thorough work, it revealed the people of Dixon were sharply divided on the question and that the change would adversely affect access to affordable child care, leading the board to postpone action on the proposal.

According to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, the committee will discuss a survey on social-emotional learning, the district’s mission and vision statement, and whether to keep the school starting time proposal on hold.

The committee strives to have members represent a broad and diverse cross-section of Dixon, including families, businesses, and civic and social groups.

The committee usually meets at 3:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of odd-numbered months. Future meetings will be in November, January, March and May.

Band fundraiser

The Dixon High School Band Boosters will have a fundraiser that involves receiving 20% of meal sales from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at McDonald’s, 207 N. Galena Ave.

Board meetings

The September board meetings will be:

Dixon Public Schools, 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Rock Falls High School, 6:50 p.m. Wednesday

Sterling Public Schools, 7 p.m. Sept. 28

Troy Taylor

Troy E. Taylor

Was named editor for and the Gazette and Telegraph in 2021. An Illinois native, he has been a reporter or editor in daily newspapers since 1989.