2024 Education Magazine

Page 2 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 3 Table of Contents State of Illinois After School Programs Grant Enhances Educational Opportunities An updated look at Heartland Community College programs and facilities New Math Intervention Program at Chester East-Lincoln School reduces math anxiety Lincoln Zion Lutheran School seeks National Lutheran Schools Accreditation Literacy is the Heart of Hartem Make Zion Lutheran School in Mt. Pulaski Your School Choice Exploring Innovation and Engagement in Lincoln Elementary School District 27 Olympia Middle School salutes middle school FFA and Seventh grade girls basketball Chester East’s SRO Officer Parks a valued member of the school family WLB teachers, faculty and students building strong houses with great character Good News at Hartsburg Emden Lincoln Community High School recognizes its Illinois State Scholars Mt. Pulaski FFA start the school year with high marks in agronomy competitions Lincoln's Locker opens at Lincoln Community High School LCHS Railer Rock Stars rewards positive attitude M-Pow a big success at Mt. Pulaski High School Mt Pulaski SRO returns to his roots to help grow strong, responsible youth in the community Abe Lincoln Academy up and running for at risk students 04 06 10 12 14 18 20 22 24 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44

Page 4 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 In an effort to enhance the educational experiences of students, Washington-Monroe and Northwest Elementary schools are recipients of the State of Illinois After School Programs Grant. After-school programs are pivotal in providing students with additional opportunities for learning and enrichment. The grant has enabled the creation of clubs and activities that not only broaden students’ opportunities but also expose them to experiences that might not have been accessible otherwise. The collaboration involving local businesses, district staff, and community members highlights the strength of the community in working together for the benefit of students. This grant not only enhances the educational experience but also fosters a sense of community and engagement among students. Washington-Monroe School has embraced this opportunity by introducing various clubs, with the Sign Language Club leading the way. Starting in September 2023, the club has seen active participation from eighteen students attending weekly meetings to learn American Sign Language (ASL). Their skills were showcased during the Christmas program, where they interpreted for the audience. The popularity of the club has led to the initiation of a second group in January. In addition to the diverse range of clubs, Mr. Allen has introduced exciting opportunities for students. Cooking classes, taught by Connie Crawley, have captivated the interest of 60 students, offering them a chance to explore culinary arts. Furthermore, in collaboration with Lincoln Taekwondo, Mr. Allen has extended Taekwondo classes to 60 students who may not have had the opportunity to participate in such an activity otherwise. Looking ahead, these after-school programs promise to provide both enjoyment and educational value to Washington-Monroe and Northwest Elementary students. As the school year progresses, we anticipate witnessing the positive impact of these enriching opportunities on the students’ overall educational experience. Kent Froebe Superintendent District 27 Elementary Schools State of Illinois After School Programs Grant Enhances Educational Opportunities

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Page 6 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Chester East-Lincoln School has recently launched a Math Intervention program aimed at redefining the way young students engage with mathematics. Mrs. Laura Irwin and Mrs. Ashley Aper, the school's administrators, envisioned a program that would bridge learning gaps and enhance students' confidence and fluency in the foundational concepts of mathematics. They brought Mrs. Callie Stanley on board to serve as the Math Interventionist and meet daily with small groups of students in grades K-4. Before joining Chester East, Mrs. Stanley spent ten years in education working as a middle school math teacher and then as an Instructional Specialist/Instructional Technology Coach. She also has two young children at the school and was a Chester East student herself. Her deep-seated passion lies in nurturing a love for mathematics and a zeal for learning among students. She believes that instilling these qualities early on sets students up for lifelong success. A significant aspect of Mrs. Stanley's approach is changing the prevailing narrative around math. She aims to challenge the notion that struggling with math is a standard experience. Her perspective is that society often accepts and even perpetuates this idea, leading to a general sense of math anxiety among students. New Math Intervention Program at Chester East-Lincoln School reduces math anxiety This issue is not just local but widespread, as evidenced by studies from the American Psychological Association, which suggest that math anxiety can begin as early as elementary school and affect about a quarter of children (https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/helpingkids-manage-math-anxiety). To combat this, Mrs. Stanley incorporates a variety of games and engaging activities into the math interventions. For younger students, games like "Which is Greater" are a hit, while older students enjoy a mathematically enhanced version of Go Fish, where they aim to collect cards that sum up to ten. These games not only make learning fun but also help students internalize mathematical concepts in an enjoyable and stress-free environment. Continued --

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 7 Another cornerstone of the program is the use of the "Tiny Polka Dots" card deck. This deck is unique in its representation of numbers from one to ten, displaying each number as a numeral, in a ten frame, and through various dot arrangements. Playing with these cards in different game formats allows students to practice subitizing, the ability to quickly identify the number of objects in a small group without counting. This is a building block for number sense and mathematical fluency. The program also includes a game similar to "Proof," which can be played using homemade cards or other number cards like Tiny Polka Dots. In this game, students lay out an array of cards and take turns to find and prove number sentences (equations). This game is particularly effective as it can be tailored to different levels, allowing for a diverse and inclusive learning environment. For example, one student might spot a simple match, while another might identify an addition equation or even a more complex two-step equation. However, the Math Intervention program at Chester East-Lincoln School isn't just about fun and games. The activities are meticulously aligned with the Common Core State Standards for math, ensuring that they complement and reinforce the topics being covered in the regular classrooms. These activities are not only designed to bridge learning gaps but also to provide opportunities for what is termed a 'productive struggle' in problem-solving. In small group settings, students frequently review and reinforce strategies taught by their classroom teachers. Students use a variety of manipulatives like base ten blocks, Continued --

Page 8 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 beaded number lines, and hundreds of charts, which provide a tangible connection to the concepts they are learning. The students are also encouraged to be active participants in number talks, in explaining and defending their problem-solving strategies, and even in creating problems for their peers. Mrs. Stanley's approach to enriching the math curriculum extends beyond her immediate role, involving collaboration with a diverse array of educational professionals. She places high value on the insights and expertise of the classroom teachers at Chester EastLincoln School. These educators are not only instrumental in delivering the standard curriculum but also actively contribute to the Math Intervention program by sharing their resources and knowledge. This collaboration between Mrs. Stanley's intervention methods and the teachers' dedicated efforts contributes to a unified and powerful educational journey for the students. In addition to the internal resources at Chester East, Mrs. Stanley and her colleagues benefit greatly from the support provided by the Regional Office of Education (ROE 17). This institution plays a pivotal role in the continual development of math education within the region. By organizing monthly training sessions for teachers, ROE 17 facilitates the integration of advanced teaching methodologies and resources into the classroom. These sessions align to the math curriculum developed by teachers in the area who understand and buy into an approach that is very hands-on and meaningful for students. An emphasis is placed on vertical alignment and differentiated instruction. The Standards for Mathematical Practice, as detailed by the Common Core State Standards, foster deep mathematical understanding and proficiency across all grade levels. These standards encourage critical skills like problem-solving, reasoning, and effective communication in mathematics. The full description of each mathematical practice can be found at https://www.thecorestandards.org/ Math/Practice/. The eight mathematical practices are a primary focus in all math classrooms at Chester East. One example of how this plays out in intervention groups is through an activity called "Math Detective," where students use their imaginative skills to identify mistakes in problem-solving. This activity not only helps students to reason abstractly and quantitatively (Practice #2) but also encourages them to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others (Practice #3). Each grade level focuses on each mathematical practice in different ways. Kindergarten students, for instance, work on modeling Continued --

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 9 with numbers (Practice #4), often using bear figurines to represent mathematical problems. First graders have made significant progress this year in Practice #5 and are learning to choose the most effective tools and strategies for different mathematical scenarios. Second graders have improved their ability to recognize structures in problems (Practice #7), while third graders are regularly enhance their problem-solving skills through discussion (Practice #1). Fourth graders facing more complex problems are encouraged to develop perseverance in problem-solving (also Practice #1), and they constantly challenge themselves and their peers. Through varied and carefully designed activities, students at Chester East-Lincoln School are not only developing a strong foundation in mathematics but are also acquiring crucial skills like strategic thinking and confidence. These skills are essential for tackling challenging problems, both within and beyond the classroom. The administration of Chester East has made math education a priority, and adding in an intervention program represents the school's dedication to creating an environment where mathematics is not only understood but also enjoyed. This program is shaping confident, competent, and enthusiastic young mathematicians ready to take on the challenges of the future. Callie Stanley Math Interventionist Chester East Lincoln CCSD #61 Laura Irwin, Administrator Chester-East Lincoln CCSD #61

Page 10 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Zion Lutheran School in Lincoln has begun the process of being accredited through the National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) process. NLSA is a process to help Lutheran schools evaluate their academic quality and spiritual dimension of the school (LCMS School Ministry, 2024). It is a voluntary process that puts the school through a rigorous process of examining the great things happening in the school as well as areas of improvement. The major focus of the accreditation process is a Self-Study report in which the school reviews every aspect of its make-up: Purpose, Relationships, Leadership, Professional Personnel, Teaching and Learning, Student Services, and Facilities. Each one of these categories gets a thorough review from a sub-committee made up of teachers, administration, parents, church members, members of the local community, and, in some cases, students. The Self-Study report takes approximately 9-10 months to complete. Upon completion of the Self-Study report, a site visit team is chosen to validate the material provided in the report. This team will consist of retired administrators and teachers, current administrators and teachers, local education personnel, and others. The team will conduct a site visit of about 3 days reviewing and providing a recommendation on whether or not the school should be accredited. If the team recommends accreditation, Zion will have achieved something only 14% of the Lutheran schools in Central Illinois have accomplished. The entire process will take approximately 12 months, but it will be well worth it, according to the principal of Zion, Dr. Steve Parry. “National Lutheran Schools Accreditation will help ensure Zion is providing the best Christ-centered education experience it can to our students and families.” Dr. Parry looks forward to beginning the Self-Study process and hopes to be scheduling a site visit in the next school year. Dr. Steve Parry, Principal Zion Lutheran School - Lincoln Lincoln Zion Lutheran School seeks National Lutheran Schools Accreditation

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Page 12 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 The goal of literacy education is not only to raise students who CAN read, but who WANT to read. Mrs. Folkman takes this job seriously for all students from early childhood education to graduating seniors. Over the past 18 years in education, 6 of those in the library, she has worked to build a community of readers, not just in the school and classroom, but in the community at large, as well. Literacy is the Hartem Heart of Getting people to want to read starts with choice. People of all ages are more likely to read if they are given a choice in WHAT they read. In 2017, Mrs. Folkman was awarded the prestigious Book Love Grant from the Penny Kittle Foundation to help support reading choice in her classroom. From there, her desire to share book love and choice reading only grew. She decided to become a school librarian and promote books for all ages. Volunteers made and purchased little free libraries that Mrs. Folkman stocks with books for all ages in Hartsburg and Emden to make sure that the whole community has access to books at all times. She also visits little free libraries throughout Logan County and central IL to donate books. Some major projects Mrs. Folkman has undertaken in the school library include genrefying the fiction section at the junior high/high school to make the books more browsable, like you might see in a bookstore. Students are enjoying it and circulation has increased since this change. She has also added manga and comics sections to the junior high/high school library. Last year she won a grant to refresh the science section of the junior high/high school library to update the very old volumes the school had before. At the elementary school, Mrs. Folkman worked to weed and refresh the nonfiction section of the library. She has also been weeding the picture books while reading each of them. (She just finished the letter W and should finish all the picture books by the end of January!) The chapter book section is also getting a refresh with genre stickers on the spines to help students find their favorites. Mrs. Folkman is recently the recipient of the First Page Award from AISLE (Association of Illinois School Library Educators) for Continued --

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 13 contributions to the organization and librarianship in IL within her first 5 years of membership. She also received the CartCampbell grant from ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE) which allowed her to attend the ALAN conference in Columbus, Ohio and meet and learn from over 200 authors. This fall, Mrs. Folkman represented Hartsburg-Emden and Logan County at the Governor’s press conference announcing the expansion of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library throughout the state. She also represented her school and AISLE at the Lieutenant Governor’s inaugural Tea with the LG to discuss topics relevant to libraries and library patrons across the state. One major issue she brought up to both the Governor and Lt. Governor is how many rural communities, like Hartsburg-Emden, have no membership in a public library. Recent closings of local campuses and their libraries further restrict access to resources not only for HartsburgEmden, but for the county as a whole. At numerous conferences, both state and national, Mrs. Folkman shares her ideas and curriculum with teachers and librarians. She has created a curriculum she calls Postcard Field Trip where students travel to all the US states and territories as well as countries of the world through books and lessons during library time and displays in the library. She and the students have received packages and postcards from US ambassadors and Foreign Service workers from around the world to help supplement this curriculum. Each year, Mrs. Folkman hosts two book fairs. Last spring, the school was able to host author David Biedrzycki all day and for Family Reading Night so that students could meet a famous author. Through grants, Mrs. Folkman was able to provide each student with a signed copy of Breaking News: Bear Alert. Mrs. Folkman is always looking for ways to spread Book Love and Book Joy. Keep an eye out for community outreach events around the county and check your local little free libraries for new books to read! (If you have an event that you’d like Mrs. Folkman to distribute books at or a little free library that needs filled, please feel free to email her! nfolkman@ hartem.org.) [Nichole Folkman]

Page 14 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Zion Lutheran School in Mt. Pulaski is a hidden gem despite being around for over 170 years. Zion Lutheran School serves Preschoolers (2 years old to 4 years old) through 8th Graders, has everything a public school has to offer including: Girls/ Boys Basketball, Girls Volleyball, Softball/ Baseball Co-Op, Girls/Boys Track Co-Op, Cheerleading, and Scholastic Bowl. Zion Lutheran also has Music and Art, Girls/Boys Speech Co-Op, and Student Government. Zion Lutheran students get homemade, cooked from scratch meals for lunch and a choice of yogurt, cheesesticks, smoothies, vegetables or can make their own salad with our new salad bar. Students love the changes that have been made to lunch and enjoy all the choices that they have so much that almost 90% of students are eating hot lunch. But, Zion Lutheran School offers so much more! Make Zion Lutheran School Zion Lutheran School in Mt. Pulaski Your School Choice Academics are very important. The student/ teacher ratio is small so every student gets special attention and help when needed. Also, because of the small classes, group work, team work and collaboration are normal occurrences in every classroom and every subject. Zion Lutheran School offers tutoring twice a week for an hour after school. Students 5th grade thru 8th grade have a study hall with a tutor who helps twice a week. Continued --

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 15 Additionally, STEM is offered as a class for 5th and 6th graders. Students get to choose different electives every quarter such as: Learning Chimes, Sign Language, Agriculture, Newspaper Writing, Cooking, Christmas Program etc. Sometimes, community members come in to teach the electives to give students real life experience like: Braiding Hair, CPR, Stress Management, etc. Zion Lutheran School also offers a class, for students in 5th – 8th grades, one day a week each year, which deals with a different real-life experience. For example, one year, students did a CEO program. The students selected a business they would like to start and “received” a budget. The students had to research what would be needed to start their business; had a guest speaker from a bank to learn how to start and keep a check registry and how to write checks; a guest speaker that owned their own business to give them tips; students created fliers and a made a “commercial” advertising their business. The final step was to showcase their business to the public and sell their products. It was a huge success! Now, they are learning life skills, time management, stress management, learning how to change a tire, creating their own indoor garden that the produce grown will be used in the cafeteria in their lunch, cooking, learning how to do laundry and fold clothes, etc. Learning basic life skills will help our students grow to be responsible adults. Continued --

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Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 17 Our staff and faculty are caring, loving, creative, have personal relationships with every child in the school, pray with the students, and do so many fun activities with the students. If you haven’t seen our Christmas Program, you need to! The time that the teachers and students take to learn the skit and all of the songs, it is amazing! We are a family! When one student/family is hurting we are hurting, and we come together and pray for them and do what we can to help. We have a very dedicated staff that puts everything they have into Zion Lutheran School to make it the best they can. These are what some former students and former faculty had to say about the school: “This is a very friendly and family-oriented place to be.” “This is a great place to be and we just want as many families to know about it as possible. Every child is unique and special. Our goal is to love every child and encourage them so they can become the best person that God has created them to be, whatever role that is in society.” “When I think back on my time at Zion, I can honestly say that I loved everything about it. No matter the difficulties I face or how far I stray, I always find my way back to my faith and I know that Zion played a significant role. My advice to any family considering sending their child(ren) to Zion, DO IT!” “Zion set the base for all my academic success throughout high school and college.” Yet, the most important characteristics that Zion Lutheran School offers to our students are: morals, values, ethics, being able to learn and talk freely about God, and serving in the community. Our students visit Vonderlieth Living Center to sing to the residents, make cards for the military and seniors, help clean up at the courthouse in Mt. Pulaski, have helped at IGA to stock shelves, visited the Logan County Humane Society to spend time with the dogs and cats. Students also help clean up the cafeteria after lunch. Tuition is affordable; in fact, there is tuition assistance to help those families who need it. We have students from Lincoln, Cornland, Chestnut, Elkhart, Latham, Beason, and as far as Athens that attend because they feel it is worth the drive. Anyone is welcome any time to come and walk through our school. Come join our family. You won’t believe what you and your child(ren) are missing out on! Kate Ross - Principal

Page 18 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Exploring Innovation and Engagement in Lincoln Elementary School District 27 It’s a time of innovation and excitement at Lincoln Elementary School District 27 as students dive into cutting-edge projects that extend beyond traditional classrooms. One standout initiative is Mrs. Dietrich’s STEAM class, where fifth-grade students are not only learning about renewable energy but actively participating in the KidWind Renewable Energy Challenge through the Challenger Learning Center. In this unique program, students have had the chance to design prototype wind turbine blades, bringing a hands-on, real-world element to their learning experience. The excitement is building as teams from Northwest, Central, and Washington-Monroe prepare to showcase their creativity and talent at the Challenger Learning Center on Heartland Community College's campus on February 14, 2024. The KidWind Renewable Energy Challenge is not your typical competition. Beyond designing and testing wind turbine blades, students will engage in various challenges throughout the day, highlighting their problem-solving skills and creativity. What makes this event even more exceptional is the opportunity for participating teams to tour the new Electric Vehicle Lab and take part in a solar panel challenge in the college's state-of-the-art lab space. These additional activities go beyond the traditional scope of such competitions, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of renewable energy. Exposing them to the new technologies and developments in the field fosters a curiosity that goes beyond the classroom, preparing them for a future where sustainable energy solutions are necessary. Kent Froebe Superintendent District 27 Elementary Schools

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Page 20 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 At Olympia Middle School, we recently started our own FFA Chapter. It is led by Ms. Meg Baer and it meets monthly after school. Throughout the first semester, the chapter meetings regularly had more than 80 students in attendance at each meeting! There is also a newly developed student leadership team that helps plan and lead the monthly meetings. Also, during the month of December, we saw our 7th grade girls basketball team make an appearance at the IESA State Basketball tournament. They were coached by Mrs. Loren Christie and finished the year with a record of 19-6. Mike Jones Olympia Middle School Principal Olympia Middle School salutes middle school FFA and Seventh grade girls basketball

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Page 22 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 There is one thing about education and schools that will forever be true: It is always changing and evolving. From curriculum to technology to school safety - schools and the educational system continue to be challenged by state and federal mandates, as well as the ever changing needs of the population. School safety is the number one priority for administrators and staff and has shown some of the biggest changes over the years. Some of those changes include the addition of cameras, both interior and exterior as well as utilizing multiple access points to gain entrance to the building. Safety changes come alongside the increase of school violence and what is learned about such violence. This school year, Chester-East Lincoln (CEL) added a new layer of safety by adding a School Resource Officer (SRO). In partnership with West-Lincoln Broadwell and the Logan County Sheriff’s Office, CEL has added Trent Park as their SRO. Chester East’s SRO Officer Parks a valued member of the school family An SRO serves various capacities, depending on the needs of the school. Some of Officer Park’s duties include making sure the school is secure and safe, educating students and staff about topics related to the law, and building relationships. SROs also provide a visual deterrent for crime by both those inside and outside the building. By being a public figure with authority, one of the goals of an SRO is to assist students to make good choices and stay on the right path. In addition, early education is most effective for long term success, therefore, Officer Park’s connections with the young students is just as important as with the older students. An SRO must be someone that is knowledgeable, trusted and accessible - not viewed as a scary authority figure that contributes to anxiety. Officer Park has become an SRO that students are comfortable with and appreciate. He can be seen eating lunch with students, trying out his wiffle ball skills, or visiting with a student to offer an ear to listen or a voice of reason. It is not uncommon for the school community to see Officer Park at extracurricular activities to support the students and offer support after games to make sure the building is secure when the players and fans have left. Officer Park is not just any SRO, he has become a member of the Panther Family. He serves as a positive male role model that is appreciated and has made a positive impact on our school community. One School. One Family. [Laura Irwin, Administrator]

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Page 24 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 At the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, West Lincoln-Broadwell School in Lincoln implemented a new program that is designed to cultivate positive character traits in students and the community. The “Six Houses One Family” project “gives students the opportunity to connect with students across grade levels. It promotes unity, positive character traits, a sense of pride and belonging, and school-wide community.” Within the program there are six “houses,” the house of Tenacity, house of Empathy, house of Positivity, house of Respect, house of Integrity, and the house of Responsibility. To explain the new program, a letter went out at the beginning of the school year to parents. The letter defined the new initiative saying that it would help to “enhance the already amazing climate and culture at our school.” WLB teachers, faculty and students building strong houses with great character The letter added, “These houses will have students of all grade levels in them as well as a variety of staff members. Students and staff will work together throughout the year to build strong bonds and relationships that will allow them to feel more connect to our school. Our goal is for students to fee as if they truly know all the staff and students in our school and that we are untied as one.” Parents were also encouraged to participate in the process by asking their children about their respective houses and by wearing along with their children the “house colors” when attending school functions, and of course, by getting involved in the school community when the opportunities arise. On the first day of school, teachers and faculty joined the students in a fun adventure as every person in the school was assigned to their house for the school year. After school began at 8:05 a.m. a school assembly was called at 8:30 a.m. Everyone assembled in the gymnasium for a welcome back to the new school year. Then the program was slated to move outside. There the teachers were assigned as the “house leaders” and learned what house they would represent by receiving an envelope, opening it, then running to the slide and going down then running to the designated area where their house group would gather. This same process was followed by all faculty and then the students. At 10 a.m. the first house meetings were called. Everyone was to go to the designated area where they would be welcomed by the house leaders, talk about their house name, and make up a chant or cheer to suit their house. Continued --

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 25 At 11 a.m. the program included lunch with housemates. The whole school had lunch at the same time on this day and the leaders and house members located a spot where they could all be one unit for their lunch break. This was to be the first step of forming the bond and building the relationships between the collective members of each house. At 1 p.m. on that first day of school, there was a second all-school assembly, where that the six houses would be called upon. The members of each house, when their name was called was to stand and do their house chant or cheer. Throughout the school year the houses will have competitions and opportunities for earning points for activities and exemplary behaviors befitting their house. The houses will also have community service projects that will be a bit competitive. For example there may be an all-school fundraiser to benefit a local charity or not-forprofit organization. The Continued --

Page 26 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 fundraiser will be conducted as a house vs. house competition where that each house will strive to be the one that raises the most money. Students can also earn points for their houses through their school performance and their behavior. Examples of point opportunities include one point for making a 100% on a test, getting a difficult question correct in class, coming to school on time everyday that week, or offering an unprompted kind gesture toward another person. Students can earn five points for their house by being named an MVP of a sport or club, offering the best performance on a class project or doing any community service projects. Students who show an “iconic display of character” or have no behavior referrals for an entire quarter can earn 10 points for their house. At the end of each quarter the house with the most points will be acknowledged as the quarterly winner and will earn a special reward for the house. Students and staff are working together to achieve their house goals while getting to know one another as a school family or community. The houses are a fun way to improve attendance and give students a new reason for coming to class each day, it promotes positive behavior and rewards jobs well done. At the end of the school year one house will be named the overall top house and will be awarded the coveted “House Cup.” [WLB/LDN]

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Page 28 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Hartsburg Emden has had a great start to the 2023-2024 school year. The High School Volleyball Team took second in state for Class 1A. Two seniors, Addie Beekman and Cloee O’Donoghue will continue their careers in college. Good News at Hartsburg Emden Hartsburg-Emden CUSD #21, is proud to announce that two students from the graduating Class of 2024 have been designated as Illinois State Scholars. Congratulations to Noah Doolin and Jace Whitted. Terry Wisniewski will be “retiring” from Hartsburg Emden in July. Terry is not officially retiring but instead will be moving to take the Chief School Business Official Position at O’Fallon District 90. Terry has been at Hartsburg Emden for 13 years serving as both Principal and Superintendent. Students from the Forensic Science class at Hartsburg Emden cover a lot of interesting topics. This year, they were invited to participate in the LEJA Open House at Western Illinois University. The students were able to attend workshops on topics such as Search and Rescue Using Thermal Imaging, Terrorist Target Prioritizing, Paramedic & EMT Demonstrations, Live Burn Patterns, Canine Demonstrations, Polygraph Demonstrations and (Prescott Davis gets ready to enter the Dexter Room for Blood Spatter Analysis.) Continued --

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 29 Detecting Deceptions/Behavioral Analysis. While many of these topics are covered in the high school course, it is not easy to access the tools to do neat demonstrations. We will be attending this Open House on a yearly basis. The Ag Shop Gets a Facelift……. The Hartsburg-Emden Jr.-Sr. High School completed an agriculture classroom renovation along with an agriculture shop addition this past fall. The shop addition includes welding booths, small engine workbenches with tool storage, shelving for small engines, a shop sink, and bathroom. This addition will be used by both the agriculture mechanics classes and the small engine class. The old agriculture shop will now be used for carpentry classes which includes work benches, saws and hand tools, and lumbar storage. Agriculture students are buzzing with excitement to start using the new facilities this spring. These additions will benefit our students by providing them with current industry-used machines and tools that they will learn how to use and master before attending trade schools and college. [Tanya Zerbonia]

Page 30 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Lincoln Community High School recognizes its Illinois State Scholars Lincoln Community High School recently announced their 2024 Illinois State Scholars. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state’s college access and financial aid agency, names State Scholars annually based on a combination of exemplary college assessment examination scores and high records of high school achievement. State Scholars are recognized for having a high potential for success in college. This year, more than 16,700 honorees join the other outstanding students who have been honored since the designation was first introduced in 1958. Alyssa Bishop Jenna Bowman (not pictured) Lacy Buss Corinne Ewenson Carson Franz Mercedes Friend (not pictured) Kloe Froebe Becca Heitzig Michael Lucas Mattea McFadden Arianna Morris Delaney Park Owen Roemer Peyton Schwantz Porter Schwantz Carissa Sprinkel Taryn Stoltzenburg Autumn Strohl Nathan Stuckey Wesley Tedrick Evan Wachendorf Kyle Warfel [Abigail Curry]

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Page 32 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 This past semester, the Mt Pulaski High School FFA has been upholding the winning reputation the club has held for decades. Under the guidance of Mr. Ralph Allen, the FFA brought home several awards at a variety of contests hosted by area community colleges and the University of Illinois. While competing, the students are required to understand various areas of agriculture and include identifying insects and pests in crops, understanding and recognizing agronomic crops specific to the midwest, and evaluating crop samples. On November 16, the FFA Agronomy Team had a successful night. They placed first as a team and had seven individuals in the top ten. The winners included Scout Tschantz, second; Alec Martin third; Isaac Pulliam fifth; Braden Olson sixth; Eric Cooper eighth; Dean Martin ninth and Franklin Wade tenth. Mt. Pulaski FFA start the school year with high marks in agronomy competitions (L-R) Alec Martin, Franklin Wade, Dean Martin, Scout Tschantz, Brayden Olson, Issac Pulliam, and Eric Cooper proudly display their winning ribbons and team banner at the Section 14 Contest. A week later, the team attended the Lincoln Land Agronomy Contest and Dairy Foods practice. The team placed first overall and had four kids place in the top ten- Alec Martin second; Dean Martin third; Scout Tschantz seventh; and Braden Olson eighth. Grace Davis, Kamrie Charron, Isaac Pulliam, Carter Clark, Eric Cooper, and Gracie Phillips rounded out the team. Our Dairy Foods team consisted of Liam Smith, Reid Beckers, Addisen Williams, Jessi Wade, Addison Maus, and Ethan Stoddard. On November 30, five members of the Agronomy Team traveled to Lake Land Community College to attend their Agronomy Competition. The team placed second overall with Alec Martin placing first individually, Scout Tschantz sixth, Isaac Pulliam and Dean Martin tied for ninth, and Carter Clark placed sixteenth. (L-R) Dean Martin, Alex Martin, Issac Pulliam, Luke Martin, and Scout Tschantz celebrated their overall second place win posed by an old John Deere plow. The contest was hosted by Lake Land Community College Continued --

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 33 Finally, the hard work from the previous contests paid off on December 9 when the Agronomy team traveled to The University of Pictured students are (L-R)Dean Martin, Alec Martin, Issac Pulliam, and Scout Tschantz at the University of Illinois State Contest. Illinois to compete in the State Contest. They competed against 50 other agronomy teams across the state of Illinois. Overall, the team placed fifth with Dean Martin being our high individual placing eleventh. Other members included Alec Martin, Scout Tschantz, and Isaac Pulliam. “We had a great agronomy season with very hard working students. The kids learned a great deal throughout the course of the semester, and their dedication and extra hours have certainly paid off,” Mr. Allen stated. Article by: Linda Smith, MPHS Instructional Coach

Page 34 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Lincoln Community High School opened Lincoln's Locker, our school store--featuring Lincoln Railer Apparel during the Fall 2023 semester. Lincoln’s Locker is run by the students in the Work Training Program Lincoln’s Locker opens at Lincoln Community High School with guidance from the LCHS Vocational Coordinators. Lincoln's Locker works in collaboration with our Railer Rock Star program, allowing LCHS students to spend their tickets on a variety of store offerings. Lincoln’s Locker employs students in the LCHS Special Education Work Training Program, who have helped in the planning and preparation of the store's opening. Students have excelled at comparison shopping and problem-solving. Students have learned how to use a cash register, make name tags, and create graphics for use on apparel and merchandise. They’ve also been involved in many important decisions involving cost, profit, and pricing. Like and Follow their page https://www. facebook.com/lchslincolnslocker

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Page 36 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Lincoln Community High School began a new initiative this year called Railer Rock Stars. This program provides positive behavioral support and reinforcement to our student body. Expected behaviors are clearly communicated and taught, and students can earn Railer Rock Star tickets for displaying behavior that is above and beyond expectations. Students have been able to spend their tickets on gift card raffles, in the cafeteria, and at Lincoln’s Locker--our new school store. LCHS Railer Rock Stars rewards positive attitude Continued --

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 37 To wrap up the semester, LCHS held a "big ticket item" raffle. Raffle week culminated with a school-wide assembly where winners were announced. Staff and students were thrilled to recognize students' efforts to go above and beyond in the areas of responsibility, respect, and results. The following businesses sponsored the Railer Rock Star raffle: Chris Coyne, State Farm Insurance Deep Roots IGA International Paper Company J.M. Abbott & Associates, Ltd. ME Realty-Seth Goodman Studio Three A Perfect Escape

Page 38 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Shazam! Bang! POW! Nope. This is not a story about a superhero per se, but it does involve super skills. Mt. Pulaski High School’ Math Department, consisting of Ms. Jan Bowers and Mr. Michael Copley, has a weekly contest - Problem of the Week (M-POW) which promotes math in a positive light. Recognizing that they have many gifted math students at MPHS, the teachers created M-POW as a fun way to challenge students, while providing an opportunity for families, faculty and staff, and the community to share in the excitement. Due to the rigor and time constraints during the school day, exploring interesting mathematical and logical puzzles and applications is not always feasible. a big success at Mt. Pulaski High School M-Pow Each week, Ms. Bowers and Mr. Copley create a M-POW and post for freshmen through seniors to see if they are up for the current math challenge. Faculty and staff as well as community members are encouraged to also submit. “We try to choose problems of a variety of styles and formats to fit various learning styles including visual or kinesthetic, “ Bowers stated. They use current knowledge as well as explore ways to search for answers like working with classmates, families, internet searches, etc. M-POW encourages students to engage in mathematics and to apply classroom knowledge in different or unique ways. M-POW also enables students to think beyond what they already know.

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 39 At the close of the week, they go through the submissions-depending on the level of difficulty, there can be anywhere from 20 to 70 submissions each week- and post names of students who have entered correct answers. From the winners, a name is selected and the student’s picture and the correct answer are displayed in the math wing on the “Math Wall of Fame.” The weekly winner is awarded a bag of candy, and the monthly winners are presented with a gift certificate. Students look forward to the new problem each week, finding out if they got the correct answer, and if they were drawn for the prize. To promote the ways math can be fun in ways never deemed possible, winners are posted on the school’s website and Facebook pages. This publicity has been fun for the community as they can see the number and variety of students who respond and look for familiar faces. Building positivity around a subject some deem as challenging is exciting. Finally, an unintended outcome that has occurred in that M-POW has helped to boost confidence and self-esteem in students schoolwide in not only the area of mathematics but also in problem-solving skills. Having this weekly contest creates an opportunity to celebrate student success each week and to develop life-long skills applicable in any field. Article written by: Linda Smith, MPHS Instructional Coach

Page 40 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Walk through the halls on any given day in the Mt. Pulaski Schools and you will more than likely see a police officer laughing, chatting with students, and providing quick, yet meaningful, advice. Officer Josh Pharis, life-long resident of Mount Pulaski, has returned to his roots to work side-by-side with administrators, faculty, and staff in his role of Student Resource Officer (SRO). For the past three years, Officer Pharis has helped to mentor our youth on a variety of topics. He teaches about school safety, substance abuse, traffic safety and a gamut of other age-appropriate issues. His role is to primarily foster a solid, working relationship between law enforcement and the youth in our community. He helps to provide a safe environment for the students not only in terms of physical safety but emotional safety as well. He finds the job offers many positive aspects. Namely he believes that “seeing our youth grow up and become citizens who give back and make right decisions” is one of the perks. Having a role in assisting those students is rewarding. Officer Pharis is regularly in the lunchroom talking with students and building relationships all the while dropping seeds of inspiration into the conversations. Mt Pulaski SRO returns to his roots to help grow strong, responsible youth in the community He recognizes that not every day is blissful. One of the hardest parts of his role is “having to have difficult conversations with kids in whom he is personally invested.” When he sees an area of concern or is alerted to a problem, the hard discussions are tough because he knows their parents and often grandparents. Yet, he realizes that having such conversations are necessary in order to continue to grow our community in a positive way. In order to become an SRO, officers are required to have a minimum additional 40 hours of training through the state of Illinois. Coursework includes teaching techniques, mentoring strategies and youth psychology. Officer Pharis opted for the 80-hour training in order to offer more depth to his position. The students are clearly positively impacted by his presence and the benefits of his role in the district have created a ripple effect to those around him. He has also worked with the driver education teacher, Mr. Patrick Hewitt, to show students the dangers of drinking and driving and to relay the harsh punishments the state of Illinois has in effect for offenders. In addition, he helps the school counselor, Miss Melanie Hinson, to present lessons on social emotional learning. Those topics vary from repercussions of hosting an underage party to knowing who to ask and where to go for help should a student identify as having a substance abuse issue. The positive impact Officer Pharis has on our youth is duly noted and MPCUSD #23 is grateful for his expertise and daily presence in our school buildings. Article by: Linda Smith, MPHS Instructional Coach

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Page 42 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Logan County Superintendents worked with ROE #17 to establish an alternative school for 6th-12th grade students, which opened at the start of the 2023-24 school year. Abe Lincoln Academy is located at the former Abe Lincoln Elementary School on 1500 N. McLean Street. The school’s charter members include CEL, Clinton, Hartsburg-Emden, Lincoln High School, Lincoln District #27, Mt. Pulaski, New Holland-Middletown, and WLB. Lincoln District #27 is the managing district and oversees the daily operations of this new school, and there are currently nine students enrolled. Lincoln District #27 superintendent Kent Froebe said, “We are excited to offer this Academy for students who are struggling in their current school environment. We are equally excited to have hired Del Sutter as our Director. Sutter spent over 20 years as a teacher and Director of Salt Creek Academy prior to its closure in 2019.” According to Sutter, one of the advantages this setting will Abe Lincoln Academy up and running for at risk students

Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Page 43 provide is smaller class sizes which allows for more one-on-one assistance. Students work at their own pace and receive credit as the courses are completed. Abe Lincoln Academy opened with Sutter as the Director along with two teachers who work to establish a learning plan which is best suited for each student to ensure success and potential grade advancement. The overall goal is to provide struggling students with another opportunity to experience success and potential growth for their future. Read the article written in August by LDN reporter Angela Reiners LDN - Top Stories (lincolndailynews.com) [District #27 Staff] Left to right John Jensen, Del Sutter, Kent Froebe and Kevin Curry

Page 44 Excellence In Education Lincoln Daily News January 2024 Heartland Community College Lincoln supports H.S. Dual Credit; new programs for incoming students Heartland Community College Lincoln continues to offer affordable, accessible, and innovative learning opportunities for Logan County students looking to gain a degree, certificate, or simply enrich their lives through education. The average tuition for two-year Heartland students is about half of the cost for two years at an Illinois public university. When looking at private institutions, the comparison is even An updated look at Heartland Community College programs and facilities more pronounced. Heartland tuition cost, paired with financial aid -- including the recent expansion of state MAP grants --- helps students attain an education without the burden of excessive debt. In fact, since 2016 the number of Heartland students requesting loans has come down 50 percent. New programs and facilities In January of 2024 Heartland saw the opening of two new facilities at the Main Campus in Normal: the Agriculture Complex and the Advanced Manufacturing Center and Electric Vehicle Lab. Both of these facilities support the growing number of programs at Heartland that include three new Agriculture degrees as well as Work Ready programs including eight in Industrial Technology and four in Electric Vehicle/ Energy Storage.