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Okawville Senior Trip May Head To Chicago Instead Of Washington, D.C.

By Jill Moon

A new option for Okawville seniors wanting to go on their senior trip may be a trip to Chicago instead of the traditional Washington, D.C. trip according to the January 28 meeting of the West Washington County District 10 school board.

More discussions need to be had with the company that coordinates the senior trip. Attending faculty and administration agreed that senior students get busy, let dues lapse, and are unprepared for the cost of the D.C. trip when the time comes.

Also working against the D.C. trip is the small size of this year’s graduating class. There are 30 senior students which everyone agreed was the smallest senior class in a long time. Of those only seven had signed up for the trip, pushing the cost to over $2000.

One attending faculty member noted among seniors a misunderstanding of what the senior trip meant over a lifetime of experiences and that sometimes students needed convincing of its value.

One item noted in the discussion of bills was that the district is buying ASPIRE tests on its own since P.A.R.C.C. testing has fallen out of favor with the state.

Principal Keith Senior noted that there are no good answers regarding standardized testing.

Principal Leon Spinka told the group that the grade school would only undergo standardized testing once a year in April.

In his report Principal Spinka reported on efforts to keep students out of the concession area during playing time during sporting events and that letting students, particularly those interested in broadcasting, manage the microphones during volleyball and basketball games. He said this venture has been a success with some surprises.

Apparently at one game the National Anthem did not play when it was supposed to and the student in the announcer’s booth just sang it and, by all accounts, did a great job.

Principal Senior reported progress with schedule adjustments so students don’t have to take classes they neither want nor need.

He mentioned new classes hopefully would be soon offered in subjects like finances, professional writing, horticulture and botany with the aim of having students ready for jobs and careers. They would likely be offered in alternating years.

Senior told the group he had just learned the school had received a grant to pay for software and equipment to offer students a computer animated drawing class.

This would be a good example of a “career-ready class” as employers are looking for people with this skill.

The board was informed that six iPads had been purchased by the school and came with free educational apps that were very popular with students. There are plans to buy more so each teacher will have one.

Dual credit classes with Kaskaskia College were discussed.

Superintendent Fuhrhop told the board that the current 11 dual credit classes currently offered would likely be cut by more than half in the next few years.

The Higher Learning Commission is requiring teachers to take more classes themselves in order to continue teaching them.