EHS Announces Second Semester Honor Roll

Edwardsville High School has released the names of students named to the school’s Honor and High Honor Rolls.

Students earned a place on the Honor Roll by attaining a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 to 3.999, while students on the High Honor Roll attained a GPA of 4.0 or higher.

View the HONOR ROLL

View the HIGH HONOR ROLL

 

EHS Baseball Wins Illinois Class 4A State Championship

The EHS baseball team won the Illinois Class 4A state championship on Saturday, June 11, defeating Mundelein, 4-3.

The Tigers rallied for the win by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning.

It was the fourth state championships in program history.

EHS finishes the season with a 36-4 record.

EHS Softball Finishes Third at State

The EHS softball team earned a third place finish at the Illinois Class 4A state championship this weekend.

The Tigers rebounded from a 2-0 loss to St. Charles North in Friday evening’s semifinal to take the consolation game and the third-place trophy with a 4-3 win over Barrington on Saturday.

EHS ends its season with a 33-4 record.

 

Lincoln Middle School Teacher Faith Jordan Overcomes Challenges to Find Home in District #7

Lincoln Middle School math teacher Faith Jordan has her dream job, is living in a community she loves and will soon have a new home that she can call her own.   

The path to get here, however, has been far from easy.  

In 2018, Jordan’s life fell apart. She had moved to Colorado with her then husband and three daughters but ended up getting divorced, which left with her little money and bad credit.  

“We were transient for a couple years. We stayed with a family for a few months until we could make it back to my parents in St. Louis and then stayed with another family.” 

All while that was happening, Jordan finished her degree at UMSL to teach middle school math. She did her student teaching at Ferugson Middle School but had gotten her provincial license so she could get paid while teaching.  

Her goal during this time was to return to the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon area and to work for District #7.  

“We were living in Ferguson when everything happened with the riots and were not safe. My children are bi-racial, my now ex-husband is black and my father is a white police officer in a neighboring community to Ferguson.” 

The family left Ferguson to stay at a friend’s house in Glen Carbon.  

“I fell in love with the people and the community. So, when everything in Colorado fell apart, my number one goal was to get back there.” 

After Jordan finished her degree, she was able to get a townhouse in Glen Carbon, and while she and her three daughters have made the two-bedroom place work, it’s been tough.  

A conversation with a friend led to Habitat for Humanity and Jordan looked into the organization and was able to get her application submitted just in time. Out of the many applications received, Jordan’s was selected. Habitat for Humanity selects families based on need, ability to pay and willingness to partner.  

Ground was broken last fall on land less than three minutes from Lincoln, while the building began in March. The house is expected to be completed around Thanksgiving.  

“One of the biggest misconceptions about Habitat for Humanity is that they give free houses. They don’t. Instead, they work with you to build one and make it financially sustainable.” 

There is also the sweat equity obligation, meaning Jordan must put in 200 hours working on her own house.  

Jordan has also had to help Habitat for Humanity with many fundraisers, including several through area restaurants. The next scheduled fundraiser is a 5k at Airplane Park in Edwardsville on June 18. All money raised goes directly to the building of Jordan’s home.  

There is still a lot of work to do before the Jordan’s move in, but they are all excited about the house that will become their own home.  

“I’m looking forward to having our own space. To be able to decorate it and to be much closer to school. It’s our forever home. I never imagined I’d be able to be in a place that’s mine – even when I was married. But now I get to do that in this amazing community. We are in a good place, and this is the start of the next chapter, and it’s a beautiful chapter.” 

Hubbard Named Director of Security

Edwardsville Community Unit Schools District #7 has named Chief Michael Hubbard as the Director of Security.    

Hubbard’s hire was approved May 23 by the District #7 Board of Education. The position comes after District #7 restructured its school resource officer (SRO) program with the City of Edwardsville to have four SRO officers. Hubbard will help revise school crisis plans and will work on security and safety measures throughout the district.   

Hubbard retired with the rank of Chief of Police in September 2017 after a 22-year career with the East St. Louis Police Department. During his career, he operated in various capacities within law enforcement from basic patrol, narcotics investigations, criminal investigations, firearms instruction, field training and leadership and command.   

“I am excited to be a member of the Edwardsville Community Unit School District family and am also excited to be able to assist in the continued development of its exceptional school safety department,” said Hubbard.  

Upon his retirement, Chief Hubbard served with the East St. Louis School District 189 as Supervisor of School Safety and Security from August 2017 to December 2021 where he developed a professional and cohesive security department as well as established working relationships with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.    

Throughout his career, Chief Hubbard has been committed to the philosophy and principles of community policing, inclusion, diversion and deflection and community engagement and partnerships. This philosophy was part of the department’s organizational plan and has continued to guide Chief Hubbard’s leadership efforts throughout my career. 

He also has extensive knowledge in security measures ranging from physical security to technical security with a working knowledge of executive protection measures, leadership, grant and budget management. 

Chief Michael Hubbard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and a Law Enforcement Officer Certification from Southwestern Illinois College.  

He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, Belleville O’Fallon Alumni Chapter where he previously served as Guide Right Chairman, the fraternities youth mentoring program.  

Chief Hubbard currently serves as a board member on the State of Illinois Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) Board which is led by the Lt. Governor of the State of Illinois.  

He is also the executive pastor of the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church of East St. Louis, Ill., where he assists the senior pastor in running the business and ministerial operations of the church.  

Chief Hubbard has been married for 17 years to his wife, Joann Hubbard, and the couple has two children, Makayla Hubbard and Michai Hubbard. Makayla will soon be attending Veterinarian School at Tuskegee University and Michai will be attending Kentucky State University in the fall of 2022.  

EHS Graduation Set for Saturday

EHS will hold its 2022 Commencement on Saturday, May 28 at 1 p.m. in the Lucco-Jackson Gym in the Edwardsville High School.

The graduation ceremony will be live streamed at https://youtu.be/H4Tu9nY7LWM.

 

 

Worden’s Langendorf Named Madison Communications Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Worden Elementary 3rd grade teacher Beth Langendorf on being named a 2022 Teacher of the Year by Madison Communications! 

The Teacher of the Year program, now in its 17th year, annually presents an award to three teachers. Teachers employed at school districts within Madison’s service areas are eligible to be nominated for this award. The contest takes place from March 1st to May 2nd and is divided into the nomination and voting phase. During the month of March Madison received a total of 140 nominations and during the month of April, they received over 12,000 votes. The three teachers who received the highest number of votes are named Teacher of the Year. 

Each winner received $500 to go toward future student advancement projects, a $100 donation to the club or sport of their choice, a personalized Teacher of the Year plaque, and a classroom pizza party hosted by the Madison Marketing Team. 

District #7 May Updates

Watch a video version of this communication here

Dear District #7 Families,   

We are only three days away from the end of the 2021-2022 school year and I know you’re all looking forward to some time away from school. The past 10 months have taken us through the most challenging school year we may ever encounter, and despite all those challenges, today is the most exciting time to be part of District #7! 

At the monthly Board of Education meeting last night, the Board unanimously approved the 2022-27 Strategic Plan that has been in development since last September. We’ve received input from hundreds of community members across District #7 and we are excited about the five goals and the potential outcomes of the strategic plan. Each goal area – Student Success, Thriving Workforce, Safe and Supportive School Climate, Family and Community Engagement and Efficient and Effective Operations – will contain action steps and strategies that, in some cases, will have an immediate positive impact on students.  

For example, we already have developed more pathways for student experiences through our partnership with Lewis and Clark Community College, where students can participate in welding, fire science, and industrial technology. And as a part of the Safe and Supportive School Climate team, work is already underway to provide students and families new to our schools with a new first day experience for the 2022-2023 school year. I’m looking forward to sharing even more about our plan in the coming months, and more information will continue to be available on our website. You can view a PDF of the strategic plan here. 

Last night, I also announced a slight change in the start times for each of our schools for next year. Over the past several months, I have been working with First Student, our transportation provider, to reduce the number of buses which arrive after the school day has ended, which causes students to be late arriving home. District #7 covers 185 square miles and drivers cover 1.3 million miles per year, or an average of 7,500 miles a day, and the increased traffic within the District #7 footprint continues to make transporting our students more challenging than ever before. 

However, moving our start times is only a short-term solution. I’ve also asked First Student to conduct a comprehensive review this fall of the bus routes, start times, and tiers of transportation and provide us with a recommendation that is efficient but also honors the many activities, instructional day, and developmental needs of our students. I look forward to providing an update to the Board this fall. 

School start times for the 2022-23 school year will be:  

Finally, I would like to congratulate all the graduates who will be completing their journey in District #7 this weekend. The class of 2022 has endured all kinds of challenges and yet has provided us and continues to provide countless success stories that will provide them with memories for a lifetime. We’re proud of you and excited to watch you as you continue to represent District #7 proudly.  

I hope each of you has a wonderful end to the school year, and I look forward to seeing you on August 17 for the start of the 2022-23 school year. 

With Tiger Pride,  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

Rusti Blount Named Lincoln Middle School Principal

Edwardsville Community Unit Schools District #7 has named Dr. Rusti Blount as principal of Lincoln Middle School. 

Blount’s hire was approved May 23 by the District #7 Board of Education. She will take the school’s helm beginning with the 2022-23 school year.  

“Dr. Blount is a proven educator who has the knowledge, dedication and commitment that will be valuable in leading Lincoln Middle School,” said District #7 Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton. “We look forward to seeing our staff and students at Lincoln thrive under her leadership.” 

Blount has served as a special education teacher at the elementary, middle, and high school level, while her previous leadership roles include serving as an elementary school principal and a program specialist for special education.  

“I am excited to join Lincoln Middle School and look forward to working with the staff and families to empower each student to meet their success.” 

As a military spouse, Blount’s career in education has taken her across the country and around the world, serving as an educator in Texas, Montana, South Korea, and Georgia.  

Blount possesses a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Master of Education in Special Education, and a post graduate principal certification from Wayland Baptist University. She recently completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Transformational Leadership from Concordia University in Texas.  

Blount and her husband, Tom, of 22 years are the proud parents of four children, including son Dalton (20), who started his service in the United State Air Force in April; son Wyatt (19), a student at the University of North Georgia as part of the Boar’s Head Brigade, an Army ROTC program; son Truett, a rising sophomore; and daughter Reese, a rising eighth grader.  

District #7 Honors Employees at Recognition Banquet

Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 honored several of its outstanding employees and recognized the contributions of those employees with 25 years of service as well as its retirees on Thursday night during its Employee Recognition Banquet.  

The honorees included teachers, principals, custodians, cooks and paraprofessionals, along with so many others.  

Rookie of the Year Finalists 

Sara Radae, Glen Carbon Elementary (special education)
Riah Martin, Albert Cassens Elementary (3rd grade)
Erica Bailey, Columbus Elementary (3rd grade) 

Rookie of the Year: Riah Martin, Albert Cassens Elementary (VIDEO) 

Riah Martin, Rookie of the Year

 

Educator of the Year Finalists (classified)
Tina Issac, Albert Cassens Elementary (SSO)
Sheree Zoelzer, Columbus Elementary (instructional assistant)
Kayla Mensen, Edwardsville High School (bookkeeper)
Keith Sternberg, Glen Carbon Elementary (program assistant)
Jen Atchison, Goshen Elementary (principal’s secretary)
Kindra Beys, Hamel Elementary (secretary)
Alicia Sadaka, Leclaire Elementary (CASTLE program assistant)
Jack Sassen, Liberty Middle School (classroom assistant)
Sandra Barr, Lincoln Middle School (program assistant)
Caroline Cline, Midway Elementary (head cook)
Jeri Cullen, Nelson Elementary (head cook)
Wendy Sanders, Woodland Elementary (FLS program assistant)
John Grindstaf, Worden Elementary (SSO)  

Educator of the Year: Wendy Sanders, Woodland Elementary (VIDEO) 


Educator of the Year
(certified)
Lauren Heigert, Albert Cassens Elementary (5th grade)
Kumar Bhooshan, Edwardsville High School (special education) 
Melissa Unger, Columbus Elementary (special education) 
Cindy Johnson, Glen Carbon Elementary (nurse)
Alli Hiller, Goshen Elementary (2nd grade)
Nicole Matthews, Midway Elementary (kindergarten)
Anna Kruthoff, Nelson Elementary (psychologist) 
Amy Nunn, Hamel Elementary (1st grade)
Casei Benton, Leclaire Elementary (2nd grade)
Jenny Mulvihill, Woodland Elementary (social worker) 
Sarah Brown, Worden Elementary (3rd grade)
Kyle Lask, Liberty Middle School (6th/8th grade math)
Kalan Gott, Lincoln Middle School (special education)  

Educator of the Year: Kumar Bhooshan, Edwardsville High School (VIDEO) 

2022 Educator of the Year: Kumar Bhooshan

 

25-Year Honorees 

  • Lisa Allen, reading specialist (Leclaire Elementary School) 
  • April Chapman, payroll coordinator (Hadley House) 
  • Lora Connor, head cook (Worden Elementary) 
  • Jeri Cullen, head cook (Nelson Elementary) 
  • Tracey Fleming, program assistant (Edwardsville High School) 
  • Cindy Johnson, school nurse (Glen Carbon Elementary) 
  • Beth Lagendorf, 4th grade (Worden Elementary) 
  • Amy Macias, challenge teacher  
  • Nicole Mathews, kindergarten (Midway Elementary) 
  • Mary Miller, assistant principal (Edwardsville High School) 
  • Beth Renth, principal (Worden Elementary) 
  • Teresa Riddle, 1st grade (Goshen Elementary) 
  • Missy Sanders, health education (Edwardsville High School) 
  • Dot Schroeder-Kraus, kindergarten (Glen Carbon Elementary) 
  • Bridget Steiner, kindergarten (Nelson Elementary) 
  • Julie VanVoorhis, kindergarten (Nelson Elementary) 
  • Barbara Wellen, special education (Leclaire Elementary) 
  • Marvin Battle, assistant principal (EHS South) 
  • Heather Clausen, special education (Edwardsville High School) 
  • Kelly Gleason, 5th grade (Columbus Elementary) 
  • Heather Haskins, language arts (Edwardsville High School) 
  • Paul Johnes, PE (Liberty Middle School) 
  • Denise Martinussen, foreign language (Edwardsville High School) 
  • Kevin Paur, social science (Edwardsville High School) 
  • Karen Sardigal, monitor (Columbus Elementary) 
  • Vanessa Sims, special education (Worden Elementary) 
  • Melissa Unger, special education (Columbus Elementary School) 
  • Angela VanBuskirk, math (Edwardsville High School) 
  • Tricia Young, special education (Woodland Elementary School) 
  • Leslie Zuber, 3rd grade (Cassens Elementary School) 

Retiree Honorees 

  • Leslie Pirok, 4th grade (Worden Elementary) 
  • Keith Morgan, science (Liberty Middle School) 
  • Donnell Duncan, math (EHS) 
  • Lori Blade, PE (EHS) 
  • Beth Prewitt, 4th grade (Columbus Elementary) 
  • Susan Converse, principal (Woodland Elementary) 
  • Tonya Gurley, 5th grade (Worden Elementary) 
  • Susi Miller, Business Office (Hadley House) 
  • Barb Johnson, Curriculum Office (Hadley House) 
  • Kelly Baird, special education (Woodland Elementary) 
  • Robin Quade, custodian (Nelson Elementary) 
  • Leslie Zuber, 3rd grade (Cassens Elementary) 
  • Janet Wiltshire, secretary (Hamel Elementary) 
  • Debbie Clemings, secretary (EHS) 
  • Sharon Andre, math (Liberty Middle School) 

 

 

Tradition Returns With 7th Graders Making 1st Graders Books

After a two-year hiatus, a longtime tradition returned to Lincoln Middle School this year with students writing and illustrating short stories to give to first graders. The Lincoln students recently made the short trip to Nelson Elementary to give those students their books and to spend some time reading and playing with their new friends.
Lincoln seventh grade language arts teacher Cindy Hoxsey helped coordinate the event which began with the first graders filling out an “about me” sheet so the book could include subjects that interested them. The seventh graders then tailored their book creation to the first grader. The Lincoln students did all the writing, illustrating and creating of the book.
See more photos: https://www.facebook.com/ECUSD7nelson/posts/2128907000621218

#TeacherTuesday: Kumar Bhooshan, EHS

#TeacherTuesday
Kumar Bhooshan | Edwardsville High School | Social Science/Special Education  

Kumar Bhooshan had always considered a career as a teacher but pushed away from it for a while. In fact, he had a few other government jobs prior to going back and getting his teaching degree.  

“I think I had to be sure before I became an educator. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.” 

Bhooshan is in his 11th year of teaching, all of which has been at EHS, where he is a social science, special education teacher. He teaches in the instructional and co-taught settings, and at times, is a general education teacher. Additionally, Bhooshan is the 9th/10th boys golf coach.  

He said his favorite part about being a teacher is the chance to be a positive influence on many people and students.  

I get to teach content that allows for students to understand how people function on different levels and how it affects them. I get the chance each day to tell students that they matter and their success, no matter how they define it, is important to me.” 

At the high school level, he also gets the opportunity to advise, facilitate and help students who are on the verge of going into the work force, or shaping their long-term plans in higher education.  

“This is a process in which they can use introspection about who they are, helping to shape their opinions and building confidence necessary to take the next step in their long-term goals.” 

When he’s not in the classroom, Bhooshan says he likes to “act” like a golfer and enjoys staying active and healthy and spending as much time with as many people as he possibly can – especially his family.  
 

2022 Summer Sports Camps

Summer is right around the corner, which means many of our athletic teams and extracurricular groups have announced their summer camps.  

Please see the list below of District offered camps and click on the respective link for more information. 

Additionally, several other summer camps and events are being added to our Virtual Backpack daily. The Virtual Backpack assists our families in obtaining information pertaining to community resources, services and information as District #7 continues to work in a paperless format. 

Thank you! 

  

CAMP  GRADE (entering 22-23 year) 
Tiger Tennis Camp  K-2nd | 3rd-6th | 7th-12th 
Lady Tiger Softball Camp  3rd-9th 
Tiger Basketball Camp  3rd-9th | 8th-9th 
Lady Tiger Basketball Camp  2nd-9th 
EHS Boys Volleyball Camp  4th-9th 
Tiger Football Future’s Camp  7th-9th 
Wrestling Camp  ages 4-6 
Edwardsville Tiger Golf Camp  3rd-8th 
EHS Boys Soccer Camp – Middle School  6th-8th 
EHS Boys Soccer Camp – High School  9th-12th 
EHS Throws Camp  6th-12th 
Edwardsville Field Hockey Summer Camp  4th-12th 
EHS Summer Dance Camp   
Edwardsville Summer Volleyball Camp  1st-9th 
Choir Camp  current grades 3rd-8th 

 

 

#FridayFeature: Peggy Emling and Michelle Goebel

#FridayFeature
Peggy Emling and Michelle Goebel | 8th Grade DC Trip Coordinators  

Planning a trip for nearly 150 eighth graders is no simple task, but Peggy Emling and Michelle Goeble make it look easy.  

The duo took over as trip leaders of the Washington DC trip in 2013, planning for their first trip together in 2014. The DC trip is an institution for Edwardsville junior high/middle school students as they have been making this trip for 35 years.  

Goebel went on her first trip as a chaperone in 1996 and completed her 17th trip two weeks ago, while Emling has now been part of 12 trips after being asked to first chaperone in 2001.  

“Apart from the educational component, I love the challenge of planning a trip this size,” said Emling. “I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. I love puzzles, and making this trip happen is just another giant puzzle to solve.” 

“I was honored when I was first asked to chaperone and am still honored to be able to make this trip happen for our middle school students,” said Goeble, who added that it’s the kids that keep her helping to plan the trip year after year.  

 “I enjoy visiting the historical sites, but I truly love seeing the excitement in the kids’ eyes when they see the sites for the first time, especially the monuments and memorials in DC.” 

For Emling, who teaches seventh-grade social studies and has been with District #7 for 23 years, it’s a chance to visit the sites talked about in class.  

“I love field trips and teaching outside of the classroom, and this is just one huge field trip,” she said. “We visit sites that we talk about in class, and when students go to those places, they are able to make a much deeper connection to our lessons and to their history.”

In addition to taking in all the sights in Washington DC, the trip also visits Gettysburg, Monticello, Jamestown and Williamsburg. All the sites visited are chosen because they have a direct connection to what is taught in middle school social studies.  

We want students to make deeper connections to those lessons, so that they have better appreciation for their history,” added Emling. “If I were an eighth grader, I would go on this trip because there’s never going to be another opportunity exactly like this. 

Emling and Goebel both want to give students the best experience possible, and even though they are pros at their roles, they are always seeking ways to improve it from the previous year.

“We know that this trip is a big financial commitment for families, so we want to give them the most bang for their buck, while providing a fun, yet educational experience,” said Goebel, who has been with District #7 for 30 years. 

Emling added that for some students it may be the only time they are ever able to travel like this.  

“They will remember this for the rest of their lives, so we want to make sure that it’s a positive memory and that it will encourage a life of learning and exploring their history and their world. Traveling can be the best teacher. It just gives you a perspective that you can’t get in a classroom.” 

Despite just returning from DC, plans are already underway for 2023 as the travel company, Worldstrides, offers early registration and some financial discount.  

“This really is an educational tour like no other and it would be difficult for a family to pack as much into a day as we do,” said Goebel. “None of this would be possible either without the support District 7 has given to this trip over the years, as well as the Lincoln Alumni Association for providing scholarship funds so that more students can experience this incredible trip.” 

Summer Enrichment Opportunities

Summer Enrichment opportunities are back!  

See the attached flyers for exciting summer opportunities for students in grades K-8 and STEM courses for students in grades 3-8.  

Please use the links below to sign up for summer courses.   

STEM Summer Enrichment 

ART Summer Enrichment 

Once completed, send or bring payment to:
District 7 Center for Learning
1210 North Main Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025  

All enrollment is pending until payment has been received.  

For questions on any of these, please contact Julie Dean at 618-655-6021.  

 

Summer Enrichment Flyers

STEM Scope

Summer Art (K-5)

Pop Art (6-8)

Japanese Art (6-8)

 

 

#TeacherTuesday: Sean Mead, Liberty Computers

#TeacherTuesday
Sean Mead | Liberty Middle School | 7th Grade Computers  

Being comfortable on a computer is a necessity in today’s workforce. As the computers teacher at Liberty Middle School, Sean Mead helps prepare his students for that.  

“Building skills that allow them to feel comfortable and confident using a computer can open a lot of other doors for them.” 

Mead is in his fourth year at Liberty. He previously was an assistant for two years at Lincoln and spent one year teaching in Alton before finding his way back to District #7.  

Mead wanted to become a teacher when he started college, but ultimately ended up going in another direction. In 2015, he felt called back into education and went back to school.  

“Coaching wrestling helped me realize that working with kids is what I was truly meant to do.”  

He enjoys the energy level of middle school students, saying it matches his own.  

“I think this age is really important in their development, both mentally and emotionally, and I want to help them figure out the kind of people they want to become.” 

Along with teaching, Mead is the head wrestling coach at Liberty and works with the Edwardsville Wrestling Club, which means that when he’s not in the classroom, you can usually find him at wrestling practice or a tournament.  

Mead also enjoys staying active, from working out to boxing/muay thai and jiu-jitsu. He and his wife also like to travel and love food, whether it be trying new restaurants or cooking new recipes.  

Additionally, he and his wife just had their first child, a baby boy, Isaac, in January.  

“I love being a dad and am looking forward to spending the summer with him!”  

District Principals and Guests Attend 2022 IPA Breakfast

Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 principals honored students with an invitation to join them for the Illinois Principals Association (IPA) Southwestern region 2022 Student Recognition Breakfast at the Gateway Center in Collinsville on April 27. 

Students were selected for their character, hard work and leadership. Those students from District #7 who were invited include:   

Sarah Russell (Nelson Elementary)
Lucy Maynard (Woodland Elementary)
Max Armas (Hamel Elementary)
Emma Cochran (Midway Elementary)
Amelie Kennedy (Albert Cassens Elementary)
Jack Breihan (Columbus Elementary)
Katherine Galle (Goshen Elementary)
Laila Roundtree (Worden Elementary)
Rubylyn Douglas (Leclaire Elementary)
Elizabeth Gordon (Glen Carbon Elementary)
Yorm Nutsukpui (Liberty Middle School)
Zane Maxwell (Liberty Middle School)
Mia Marshall (Lincoln Middle School)
Jackson Elliott (Lincoln Middle School)
Emma Garner (Edwardsville High School)
Tyler Chrenka (Edwardsville High School) 

EHS Junior Qualifies for Junior Open Agility World Championships

Edwardsville High School junior Allysa Daube has her summer plans set. Daube will be heading to Finland in July to compete in the Junior Open Agility World Championships with her dog, Piper Grace.  

Daube fell in love with agility after seeing her cousin, who lives in Pennsylvania, come to the St. Louis area for a show at Purina Farms a few years ago.  

“I just loved watching the dogs and how they connected with their handlers and said I wanted to do that.” 

Daube saved up her money and began looking for a dog. Her cousin sent her a photo of a dog that her friend’s dad had that was too energetic for him. A 22-hour trip to Pennsylvania later, Daube brought home Piper Grace, a one-and-a-half-year-old miniature Australian Shepherd.  

Daube describes agility as “connecting with your dog”.  

“It’s not just going out and running the course with your dog, it’s connecting with each other and trusting each other and being able to change commands to get your dog to the right place.” 

Daube started training Piper Grace for agility when she was two years old and began with basic obedience skills, such as sit and stay. They then worked up to simple sequences like jump, jump, tunnel before building to bigger sequences and eventually a full course.   

Daube and Piper Grace train about three hours a week, including an hour and a half each week with her coach at Triune Canine Training and Event Center in Wood River. They also spend time in the backyard training.  

While the duo has competed in several competitions – nearly 2-3 per month and mostly throughout Missouri and Illinois – the world championships will be their largest competition.  

“I had learned about internationals and the world championships last summer but didn’t think I was ready to apply just yet and didn’t think I had all the skills I needed.” 

So, Daube waited until this year to complete the online application process, which includes submitting videos and an essay.  

She was taking a math test during sixth hour when the call came to let her know she made the team.  

“I saw a number on my Apple watch from Texas and thought that’s weird. But after class, I picked up my phone, saw they left a message, and it was them.” 

The US team will consist of 24 individuals and their dogs, along with a couple alternates. Daube will meet some of her teammates at a May practice in Missouri but won’t meet many of her teammates until they are all in Finland.  

Daube loves everything about competing in agility although her favorite thing may be clicking with Piper Grace.  

“I like being consistent with her and doing as well as do. When we’re on the course, we are focused and both have our jobs to do and if we do them right, we’ll be successful.”  

In between practices and weekly competitions, Daube is also an honors student and is highly involved at EHS. She is in her first year of playing lacrosse, is on the EPIC Council, is president of the Animal Rescue Club, a member of the National Honor Society and the English National Honory Society and plays handbells in her church.  

#FridayFeature: Michelle Wilkerson, Columbus School Counselor

#FridayFeature
Michelle Wilkerson | Columbus Elementary | School Counselor  

Michelle Wilkerson decided to become a school counselor after a few years in the classroom.  

“I was teaching in a very poor, rural school. Many of our students didn’t have electricity or running water. As a school, we did not have many available resources to help these students that were demonstrating high social-emotional needs.”  

Initially, Wilkerson was hoping to learn some tools to help her students in the classroom. Instead, it led her to becoming a school counselor.  

Wilkerson has been at Columbus and part of the District #7 staff for three years but has 14 years of experience as a teacher and a counselor out of state.  

Her passion is helping individuals overcome obstacles. She enjoys helping students solve problems and move past difficult situations.  

“Mental health is increasingly a struggle for many of our students. I am thankful that I can support those individuals that are going through a difficult time.” 

As a school counselor, Wilkerson is a problem solver. She works with students individually in small groups, and in classrooms.   

“A counselor’s goal is to develop skills to help students be successful in school.” 

The thing she enjoys most about her job is that no two days are ever the same.  

“I always have a long to-do list but know that each day an issue may arise that requires my immediate attention. I enjoy working in collaboration with other staff members to determine the best ways to help students.” 

While some days are exhausting and there are many days that she wishes she could do more, it is always rewarding for Wilkerson to look back and know she helped a student.  

“Sometimes the problems are small, and they just need a little encouragement. Sometimes the problems are large and require more involved plans of assistance. No matter the size of the problem, it is rewarding to see students overcome an obstacle and blossom.”  

2022-27 Strategic Plan Draft Announced

May 4, 2022 

Dear District #7 Community, 

We are excited to present the draft of our 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, which will take District #7 from 2022 through 2027.  

Below you will find a link to watch a video that outlines the plan as well as a link to a PDF of the draft plan.  

Upon completion of watching the video and looking through the draft plan, I invite you to share feedback through the link below. This survey will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, 2022.  

Additionally, during the Board of Education work session on Monday, May 9, 2022, the Board will hear an overview of the strategic plan and cover feedback solicited from the community. The work session will also provide an opportunity for public comments regarding the strategic plan. 

Sincerely,  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

DISTRICT #7 2022-2027 STRATEGIC PLAN DRAFT

2022-27 Strategic Plan info on D7 website 

View Page 

2022-2027 Draft Strategic Plan Video 

Watch Video 

2022-2027 Draft Strategic Plan  

View PDF 

Feedback Survey 

Complete Survey 

 

FFA Spring Experience Set for Saturday

The Edwardsville FFA Spring Experience will be held on Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Edwardsville High School Sports Complex.
 
Among the activities are new and antique farm equipment on display, viewing of FFA students Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, and games and activities for kids of all ages. Food will be available for purchase.
The EHS Greenhouse Plant Sale will also take place on Saturday and includes a variety of hanging baskets, annual flowers, and vegetables and herbs. 

#TeacherTuesday: Maggie Dust, 7th Grade Science

#TeacherTuesday 
Maggie Dust | Lincoln Middle School | 7th Grade Science  

Throughout the school year, Lincoln Middle School seventh grade science teacher Maggie Dust always circles back to ‘science is not magic, but it can be magical’ with her students. 

“There are so many things around us that seem magical, but really it narrows down to some kind of process or connection to something else. Photosynthesis is one subject that they come in knowing some details. But when we complete lab experiments and analyze data from them, they have more connection with the hands-on reality that we NEED plants for more than just food.”  

Dust, who is in her 11th year of teaching, including her ninth at Lincoln, always knew she wanted to be a teacher.  

“I think the first known memory of this goal was all the great experiences I had with my first-grade teacher. She went above and beyond to make each subject interesting and exciting.” 

Dust said her favorite thing about teaching seventh grade is that middle school is such a time of development for students this age.  

“I love the growth we get to see over the three years they are here. In my science class, they make so many connections for themselves for the first time. Seeing the ‘ah-ha’ moments of how a process works or why something happens the way it does is amazing. It’s like the first time they are thinking deeper on concepts they thought they knew about before my class.” 

 When she’s not in the classroom, Dust enjoys being outdoors exploring with her husband and their three littles. She added that she runs more days than not and enjoys chocolate and coffee as often as she can.  

Letter to the District #7 Community: Prop E Follow-Up

April 27, 2022 

Dear District #7 Community Member: 

Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 is in a better place than it was five years ago when voters passed Proposition E in April of 2017, a referendum which provided an additional $0.55 to the District’s Education Fund tax rate and over $7 million annually in additional funding. It was the first tax rate increase for District #7 since 1977. Prop E followed a reduction of over $14 million in operating expenses, the depletion of existing cash reserves, and of $9 million in issued working cash bonds to maintain programming for students.  

As a result of the funds generated by Prop E, District #7 did not require any additional reductions in programming and were able to maintain band and orchestra at the elementary level, middle school and freshman sports, summer school programming, and provide our teachers with much-needed raises to maintain an average salary competitive with other area districts.  

During the campaign for Proposition E, several ‘promises’ were made by District #7 to the community – ones that would not only reinstate many of the cuts from the previous years but put plans in place to move District #7 forward. I’m proud to provide you with an update on many of those promises which have been fulfilled: 

  • Class sizes at all levels have been reduced to levels from prior to Prop E; 
  • Over 660 school security cameras have been installed to improve school safety; 
  • Since 2018, curriculum studies have been conducted in K-12 science, K-5 English/language arts, social studies by course, and plans are underway for additional studies in physical education and health, K-12 social studies, and middle school English/language arts; 
  • New textbooks/resources have been purchased for K-8 science, social studies, K-5 and 9-12 English/language arts, and K-12 math; 
  • Wi-Fi has been installed in all classrooms across the district, and plans are underway to increase connectivity and replace old switches and routers in areas of need; 
  • District #7 has purchased devices for all certified staff members and students in grades 6-12, and during the 2022-2023 school year will provide devices to students in K-5; 
  • $5.3 million dollars of debt in the Education Fund has been eliminated; 
  • Year-end working cash reserves will total $3 million which contributed to District #7 being approved for Financial Recognition and removal from the Financial Watch List. 

District #7 continues to move forward. Next week, we will release a video providing our community with an overview of the strategic plan being developed for 2022-2027. The video will be available on our website at www.ecusd7.org or on our District #7 Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ECUSD7). This plan will provide District #7 with a pathway to provide an educational experience to students which is unparalleled in our region. We look forward to sharing our plan with you, and to a future of fulfilled promises to students in District #7!  

With Tiger Pride,  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

#FridayFeature: Brenda Ohm, EHS Registrar

#FridayFeature
Brenda Ohm | Edwardsville High School | Registrar

Brenda Ohm is a District 7 staple, having spent the last 23 years as the registrar. In all, she’s dedicated 33 years to the district, which has included one year as a playground monitor, seven years as a teaching assistant with a behavior class, and two years as a 10-month secretary.

“I’ve always enjoyed school and when the opportunity came to volunteer, and then work in a school setting, I took the leap.”

As the registrar, she works with the master schedule, which as she says is ‘like a puzzle you put together’ to ensure students get the courses they need to graduate and meet the District’s guidelines each year.

Ohm is also responsible for working with the teachers on their grades for students, sending out transcripts for students who have graduated and will graduate to colleges, universities or job prospects, working with new families in the District to get their child enrolled at EHS, working with families leaving the District on paperwork for their new school, and working with the counselors by supporting them in any way possible.

Ohm was asked about being the registrar when she was working as a secretary at the junior high.

“I checked into the job and thought I would like the challenge. I love this job!”

Ohm said the thing she enjoys the most about her job is working on the master schedule, while the people who are the most rewarding aspect.

“I get to work with all the amazing staff and students and their families in this district.” #d7proud

Reminder: No Strategic Planning Event on April 21

A reminder to the D7 community that in an effort to reach more of our stakeholders, we have decided to adjust the previously scheduled strategic planning community engagement event on Thursday, April 21, 2022 to be a virtual webinar that will be available the first week of May on our website and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ECUSD7). There will also be a survey link to respond with feedback. We understand everyone’s time is valuable and this will hopefully give a larger group of stakeholders a chance to review the plan more in depth. Additionally, during the Board of Education work session on May 9, 2022, the Board will hear an overview of the strategic plan and cover feedback solicited from the community. The work session will also provide an opportunity for public comments regarding the strategic plan.

#TeacherTuesday: Ashley Ridler, Cassens Elementary

#TeacherTuesday
Ashley Ridler | Cassens Elementary | 3rd Grade   

Ashley Ridler is in her third year of teaching, with her career beginning at Cassens Elementary upon graduation from college.  

Ridler always knew she wanted a career where she helped people and throughout high school, went back and forth between teaching and social work. Eventually, though, she decided to focus on teaching.   

“I always had great teachers growing up, and I met some amazing teachers throughout my student teaching experiences in college. Once I began student teaching and saw how much of a positive impact a good teacher can have on students, I knew this is what I wanted to do.” 

Ridler said her favorite thing about teaching is the connections she makes with her students.  

“The best feeling is when students feel comfortable enough in my classroom and feel like they can really be themselves. I really loved getting to know my students and getting to see their personalities more and more throughout the year.” 

When it comes to teaching third grade, it’s seeing that huge growth that students make from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  

“When they come in at the beginning of the year, they’re so shy and timid. They go from being the oldest kids in their primary building, to being the youngest in the intermediate setting. You can tell that they’re so nervous the first few weeks in third grade. Throughout the year though, they really come into their own. It is so amazing to watch how confident they become and how much they grow socially and academically.” 

When she’s not in the classroom, Ridler loves doing anything creative. Last summer she learned how to do her own nails, teaching herself acrylic nails and nail art using gel polish.  

“I can sit there for hours doing different nail designs. And it definitely saves me a lot of money doing my nails at home!”

Woodland’s Read & Run Event

Woodland Elementary’s event, organized by Gretchen Hertz, was held last Friday (April 1).
Students were challenged to read books, take accelerated reader (AR) tests, and earn 26 AR points between January 4- March 25. Students also needed to run or walk 25 miles (30 minutes of any physical activity also counted as 1 mile) during that same time frame.
All students completing the challenge were be invited run in the school’s gym during the school day on Friday, April 8 to run the final mile together and reach the 26 mile marathon goal!
Participants received a t-shirt, medal, and snacks courtesy of Woodland’s PTO. #d7proud
3rd graders
4th graders
5th graders

#FridayFeature: Jeff Wallis, EHS Psychologist

#FridayFeature
Jeff Wallis | Edwardsville High School | Psychologist   

Jeff Wallis, EHS psychologist, says school psychologists help all students to be their best selves.  

“We are experts in mental health, learning and behavior. We also support our students, teachers, administrators, and families in promoting positive mental health and behavior, improving academic achievement, supporting diverse learners, creating safe and positive school climates, and strengthening those school-family partnerships.” 

Wallis has spent seven years at EHS and 14 in District #7. His time has also included three and a half years at Liberty Middle School and three and a half years at Hadley as a Special Education and Student Services Administrator.  

Prior to working in the schools, Wallis had several other jobs. He was a researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at Wash U, a lecturer in the Behavioral Sciences Department up at Millikin University and worked as a clinician and administrator in several mental health clinics in St. Louis and Central Illinois. 

Psychology was always a natural fit for Wallis.  

“I like science and philosophy and have always been curious about why people do the things they do.” 

However, when working as a clinician, he observed a growing and unmet need for behavioral and mental health services for children and adolescents.  

“Schools are an ideal place to provide these services, and research supports that youth are more likely to seek help from school-based mental health staff. I figured I could make the greatest impact here in the schools.” 

Wallis said being a school psychologist comes with a great deal of responsibility and can be challenging at times, but that there is much to love about the job.  

“I get to be an advocate for students and their families and help students thrive. I do not take for granted how lucky I am to get to work with such driven, passionate, and creative teachers, administrators, and related services staff. Trust me – they are amazing! I also enjoy supervising doctoral- and specialist-level interns and giving back to my field. In this job, no two days are ever the same. I like this variety. Having summers off to be with my family does not hurt either.” 

He added that the rewards of the job are also special.  

Helping students make positive changes and grow academically, socially, and emotionally is hands down the most rewarding part of job!” 

Wise Takes First Place in CEO Fish Tank Competition

Congratulations to EHS senior Michael Wise, who earned first place at the CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) Fish Tank business pitch competition. His pitch was for his company Mi-Disc, a frisbee golf company that offers custom discs. Every order is custom designed by the customer and then dyed by Wise.  

Since August, CEO students, which is comprised of 20 seniors from Edwardsville High School, Metro-East Lutheran, and Father McGivney Catholic High School, have been developing an individual business venture, a side hustle that they could launch during their senior year of high school. At the Fish Tank competition, each student gave a three-minute pitch followed by two minutes of Q&A.  

Fellow EHS senior Kyla Archer received honorable mention for her pitch of Kids Kitz.  

 

 

District Updates

April 7, 2022 

Dear District #7 families, 

As we near the end of this week before Spring Break, I wanted to share a few District updates.  

As you may recall in last week’s communication, I noted the e-Learning plan that was presented to the Board of Education. According to Section 10-20.56 of Illinois School Code, school districts may utilize “e-Learning days” in lieu of emergency days (snow days). To do this, one of the requirements is that the district hold a public hearing and have an e-Learning proposal approved by the Board of Education. To meet this requirement, District 7 will hold a public hearing at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 25, 2022, at Liberty Middle School in the auditorium. If the plan is approved by the Board of Education and the Regional Office of Education, District 7 will be able to use up to five e-Learning days in lieu of snow days when weather conditions make it dangerous to get students to school. 

I had also shared that our next strategic plan community engagement event was scheduled for Thursday, April 21, 2022. However, to reach more of our District #7 stakeholders, we have decided to adjust the event on April 21 to be a virtual webinar that will be sent out the following week. There will also be a survey link to respond with feedback. We understand everyone’s time is valuable and this will hopefully give a larger group of stakeholders a chance to review the plan more in depth. Additionally, during the Board of Education work session on May 9, 2022, the Board will hear an overview of the strategic plan and cover feedback solicited from the community. The work session will also provide an opportunity for public comments regarding the strategic plan.  

Finally, in addition to hiring four new principals for the 2022-23 school year, we have completed the process of hiring other administrative positions. During this school year, we have been working through a district reorganization process that has allowed us to restructure several positions within the district. As a result, we are also happy to welcome Mr. Bill Herman as the Assistant Athletic Director, Mr. Marvin Battle as Interim Coordinator of Alternative Programs, Mr. Paul Stuart as Coordinator of Student Experiences, Mrs. Jessica Tatum as Administrative Intern at Goshen Elementary, and Mrs. Sina Rowe as the District #7 Behavior Interventionist. Each of these positions was vacated this year or created through the reorganization process which resulted in no additional new staff allocations needed. 

As always, it is a wonderful time to be part of District #7! I hope you have a wonderful Spring Break and enjoy the time to relax and to be with family and friends.  

With Tiger Pride, 

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Making the World a Brighter Place

Mrs. Kierbach’s class at Woodland Elementary made it their mission to make the world a brighter place. (spoiler note… they accomplished their mission!) 

Vickie Rodgers authored the book Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad: Friendship Comes in All Ages. Rodgers, better known as Gigi, and Woodland student Will Beatty, are both members of the Gigi Squad. The squad’s mission is to bring friendship and kindness to older adults in our community. One of the many ways they brighten days is by decorating and filling bags with treats. These bags are aptly named Sunshine Bags!

Mrs. Kierbach’s class challenged Woodland to create 100 Sunshine Bags! Students created letters, cards, and artwork for the bags. They also asked for donations of chocolate (Easter candy), adult coloring books, large print crossword or other puzzles, eyeglass cleaning cloths, stationery, envelopes, pens, and other items that would brighten someone’s day.  

On Wednesday, the school celebrated their goal of creating 100 Sunshine Bags with a school-wide Sunshine Day where students wore hats and shades to celebrate. Mrs. Rodgers visited with Mrs. Kierbach’s class last Friday and on Wednesday, picked up the bags, which will be delivered over Spring Break.  

 

 

#TeacherTuesday: Emily Cimarolli, Nelson 2nd Grade

#TeacherTuesday
Emily Cimarolli | Nelson Elementary | 2nd Grade  

Nelson Elementary second grade teacher Emily Cimarolli has always loved school – the curriculum, the challenge of learning new things, the social opportunities and the daily interactions.  

“School was always a happy place for me, from kindergarten all the way through my undergrad. I have wonderful memories of my elementary teachers and my love of school was greatly shaped through them.”  

Her love of school was a big reason for getting her master’s degree in curriculum design and instruction as well.  

“I just loved being in the school setting and was not quite ready to have my education finished yet.” 

Cimarolli has been with District #7 for 10 years. She began as an assistant with Preschool Academy the first year it was held in D7. She also taught kindergarten at Goshen and first grade at Leclaire for a year before coming to Nelson. Cimarolli taught first grade there for three years and is in her fourth year in second grade. She is also the assistant tennis coach at EHS and coordinator for Edwardsville Tennis Academy and Junior Team Tennis. 

“My favorite part about teaching second grade is the confidence, growth and independence students develop through the year. They have such a great foundation through kindergarten and first grade, so they are well prepared for the higher expectations in second grade and beyond.” 

Her favorite things about being a teacher are the lightbulb moments and the connections she makes with students.  

“I love seeing the spark in a student’s eye when the skill finally clicks and the confidence they then have to keep going. I love seeing students make text to text or real-world connections with our curriculum.”  

Cimarolli added that this year her students have been exposed to homophones and homonyms and that now every time we see an example in stories or on worksheets, students share their knowledge of the multiple spellings or meanings.  

When she’s not in the classroom, Cimarolli can be found on the tennis court.  

“In addition to coaching, I still play competitively for myself, taking part in leagues and tournaments throughout the year.” 

She added that walking and playing with her one and half year-old chocolate lab, moose, is always a bright spot in her day. Cimarolli also loves all things Disney and Marvel, binge watching shows on Netflix, starting new book series and enjoying Bobby’s concrete flavor of the week. 

Inaugural Middle School Junior Olympiad Held

This past Saturday (April 2), math team members from Liberty and Lincoln came together to participate in the first-ever Edwardsville Middle Schools’ Junior Olympiad competition organized by middle school math teachers Gardner Holland, Katie Sok, and Kyle Lask.   

This friendly competition mixed students from each school into four-person teams. These teams completed six rounds which included building and throwing paper airplanes, building the tallest tower out of straws, building a basket out of only two manila folders that would hold tennis balls, and paper-and-pencil trivia questions. The competition allowed students to work collaboratively and creatively to complete the tasks. It was a fun day of activities and friendly competition. Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all who participated! 

First Place 
Ethan D., Arthur L., David M., and Brianna M.  

Second Place 
Koen C., Merrick E., and Liam S.  

Third Place 
Jude L., Aidan S., Nolan S., and Andrew W.   

Other Participants 
Jackson B. 
Alan C. 
Kaan D. 
James G. 
Musa Q. 
Evan Q. 
Olivia S. 
Connor S. 
Keegan S. 
Daniel W. 
Amelia Z.

 

 

 

EHS Choir Students Prepare for trip to NYC, Performance at Carnegie Hall

It’s an exciting week for EHS choir director Emily Ottwein and 26 of her students as they will travel to New York City to work with Deke Sharon, the arranger of all the music in the Pitch Perfect movies.   

The EHS group, along with students from all over the United States, will spend Friday and Saturday rehearsing before performing under Sharon’s direction at Carnegie Hall on Sunday. 

“Just going to Carnegie Hall is amazing in itself but getting to perform there is any performing arts kid’s dream,” said junior Noelle Sonderegger.  

Ottwein said EHS was selected three years ago for a concert with another clinician after they saw a recording on YouTube of one of the EHS’s performances. The group was supposed to go again last year but had to cancel because of COVID.  

“I am happy we were given this opportunity to go back, and I am more than grateful for the opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall,” said senior Rowan Foley.  

Ottwein added that they didn’t have to audition for this trip and that once a school has been selected, they can go anytime. However, there were open spots for specific ensembles to audition to sing their own songs. Ottwein submitted a recording of the Chamber Singers singing a version of “Loch Lomond” and it was selected to be a standout performance during the concert. They will also have students performing solos in the repertoire chosen by Mr. Sharon.  

Ottwein is excited for her students to have this experience.  

“They have been exposed to how we do things here and they’ve been exposed to the conductors I bring in, but I’m looking forward to them seeing a bigger picture. Deke Sharon is famous in the composing world, and he’s made it as a career out of music. So, I’m excited for them to see that next level.”  

The choral students have been practicing the music since January in preparation for the trip as they must have it memorized before they go.  

“We’ve been practicing for a while and balancing it with everything else we have going on,” said senior Ryan Whaley. “We’ve been making this a priority though to show that we do deserve to be there.” 

Senior Reese Pifer added that she is looking forward to being able to represent her school.  

“I never imagined I would get to do this. I’ve loved singing for a long time, so to be able to go and represent EHS is crazy to think about.” 

In addition to learning this music, it’s a different type of music than the EHS students are used to. 

“It’s all of Mr. Sharon’s arrangements,” said Ottwein. “He takes popular music and arranges it for choral singing. It’s vocalized instrumental music, which is a different kind of music for them. We sing choral music that is written for choral, so that will be a new experience in itself.” 

In addition to singing and performing at Carnegie Hall, the students will have plenty of other NYC experiences from seeing a Broadway show to going to the 911 museum and taking a harbor cruise past the Statue of Liberty.  

“It’s cool in general to get to perform in Carnegie, but it’s even better to have that experience of being in New York City together as a vocal group and as friends.” 

 

 

#FridayFeature: Cindy Johnson, Glen Carbon Nurse

#FridayFeature
Cindy Johnson | Glen Carbon Elementary | School Nurse 

District #7 is full of incredible nurses, including that of Glen Carbon Elementary’s Cindy Johnson. Johnson is the longest tenured nurse in the District, having served students for 25 years.  

 “I love being a school nurse and being there not only for the students, but their families. I want the kiddos to be healthy so they can learn and thrive in the school environment.” 

Johnson came to District #7 in 1997 after seven years as a nurse at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Granite City where she worked on a step-down unit, primarily caring for cardiac patients.  

Johnson grew up around healthcare as her father was a chiropractic physician and her mother assisted with physical therapy in his office. So, when it came time for Johnson to decide what she wanted to do, it only seemed natural that she chose nursing.  

However, it was her father who suggested Johnson obtain her school nursing certification after she graduated from SIUE “should she need it one day”. After getting married and starting a family and thinking that a school schedule would be more conducive to family life, that suggestion turned out to be a good one.  

Johnson’s D7 career began up north as the nurse for Hamel, Midway, Worden and the alternative high school, which was previously in that area. As more nurses in the District were hired, she covered just Hamel and Midway and then Hamel and Glen Carbon from 2002-08 before becoming a permanent fixture at Glen Carbon in 2009. (fun fact: Johnson has worked with eight different principals during her time in District #7) 

“When people think about school nurses, they immediately think about first aid and applying a band aid or an ice pack, but it goes beyond that now. We are seeing more and more children that have severe health conditions, whether it be a student who is diabetic or a student who has a feeding tube, so it is good to have a nurse who is knowledgeable on those things.” 

Johnson added that nurses are also an extension of teachers and can be found in the classroom from time to time as well, promoting handwashing or teaching students about dental care.  

“It’s a lot of promotion and prevention and working with families as well. Being a school nurse, you are the sole health care provider, so both students and staff come with lots of questions.” 

Working with the students and their families is one of Johnson’s favorite parts of her job.  

“It’s gratifying to see the many families that come through and being able to getgo know them and develop that relationship with them.” 

And working with elementary-aged students is a bonus. 

“It’s their cuteness. From the unique and innocent questions they ask, to the artwork they bring by for me to hang up. I do love being able to help them and be there in a time of need for them.” 

District #7 Updates

District #7 updates from Superintendent Patrick Shelton. Read below or watch the video

 

March 31, 2022  

Dear District #7 families, 

Warmer weather is here (or was until today), our spring sports teams are back on their respective fields playing, the spring musical is this weekend and there is so much to celebrate in District #7!  

At Monday night’s monthly Board of Education meeting, several important items were addressed related to the future of District #7.  

First, we finished the process of hiring four new principals for the 2022-2023 school year. We are excited to welcome Kelli Pirtle to Woodland Elementary, Katie Bevis-O’Neal to Cassens Elementary, Melissa Edwards to Nelson Elementary, and Nancy Werden to Worden Elementary. These four individuals join a team of talented school leaders who are all excited as we plan for 2022-2023.  

Also at the board meeting, the Board adopted the new middle school programming model which will begin with the 2023-2024 school year. The work of developing this model began in the fall of 2021 and includes a change in the master schedule for all middle school students. Beginning in the Fall of 2023, all middle school students will participate in an advisory period at the beginning of the school day and will have the opportunity to participate in up to 12 elective courses during their middle school career. While much work remains to be done in preparation for 2023, we are excited about the opportunities this will provide each student in our District #7 middle schools.  

Work on our strategic plan continues and I ask that you please save the date for Thursday, April 21, 2022, when we will hold our next community engagement event. At that time, we will present a draft of the strategic plan that will guide District #7 through the 2026-2027 school year. The plan has five focus areas:  Student Success, Thriving Workforce, Safe and Supportive Schools, Family and Community Engagement, and Efficient and Effective Operations, and we believe this plan will set District #7 on a trajectory of excellence for years to come.  

The Board also reviewed an e-Learning plan that was presented to them earlier this month at the work session. On Monday, April 25, 2022, the Board will hold a public hearing regarding the incorporation of eLearning days into the 2022-2023 school calendar. By January 2023, District #7 plans to have devices available for all students in K-12 classrooms, and a plan to address eLearning for our young learners in preschool. As a result, the Board will consider action to include up to 5 e-learning days in the 2022-2023 school calendar. Please know that we are NOT taking away all snow days. Instead, this will provide District #7 with the flexibility to utilize eLearning Days AND emergency days depending on the winter conditions. 

Registration for the 2022-23 school year begins on Monday, May 2, 2022. More information regarding registration will be sent out later in April.  

Finally, Spring Break for District #7 is just around the corner starting at the end of the day on Friday, April 8, 2022. I hope our students, staff and families take advantage of the opportunity to refresh and recharge as we return to school on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, ready to finish the year strong.  

There is not a better time to be part of District #7 and all the exciting things taking place. I look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming District #7 events!  

Sincerely,

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Unified Sports Day at EHS

EHS hosted a Unified Sports Day on Thursday as part of the Special Olympics Unified Champion School program.
Life skills students from Edwardsville and visiting Granite City joined EHS Key Club and National Honor Society students for a fun-filled day of activities of Special Olympic sports. There were also additional activities including arts and crafts, music and dancing.
All students were served pizza at lunch before wrapping up the day with kickball.

Nancy Werden Announced as New Principal at Worden

Edwardsville Community Unit Schools District #7 has named Nancy Werden the new principal of Worden Elementary.   

Werden’s hire was approved March 28 by the District #7 Board of Education. She will take the school’s helm starting with the 2022-23 school year.   

Werden will replace Dr. Beth Renth, who will be stepping down as principal at Worden Elementary School at the end of this school year, and then retiring in December 2022. 

“Ms. Werden is an experienced educator who brings a wealth of talent and skill to this position,” said District #7 Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton. “We look forward to seeing our staff and students at Worden Elementary thrive under her leadership.” 

Werden has spent much of her career at Staunton CUSD 6 as a teacher, elementary and junior high principal, educational services coordinator and interim superintendent over the past 27 years. She has worked in various academic programs and carried out and worked to implement programs and procedures aligned to the district’s mission and vision.  

“I am honored to be selected as the new principal of Worden Elementary School and look forward to meeting all the students, staff, families and community members,” said Werden. “My goal is to ensure that everyone is excited to come to school every day, to be proud of their achievements and to celebrate our accomplishments with the community.” 

Werden holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in educational leadership and a specialist’s degree – all from SIU Edwardsville. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree, also from SIUE.  

Werden and her husband, Rob, and their two children, Bobby and Remington, live on a farm in Prairietown, Ill. She enjoys helping the local 4H club, watching her kids play sports and spending time with her family.  

Melissa Edwards Named Permanent Principal at Nelson

After serving in the position in interim since December 2021, the Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 announced that Melissa Edwards is the permanent principal at N.O. Nelson Elementary. The decision was approved March 28 by the District #7 Board of Education and becomes effective with the start of the 2022-23 school year.   

“Ms. Edwards provided a seamless transition to Nelson earlier this year and has proven herself as a talented and passionate school leader,” said District #7 Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton. “We look forward to her continuing to provide leadership and support for the students and staff at Nelson.” 

Edwards joined District #7 prior to the 2020-21 school year as an assistant principal at Liberty Middle School. She previously spent 13 years in the Alton School District, including seven years as an assistant principal at Alton High School. Edwards began her career in education as an eighth-grade math teacher at Alton.  

“I’m incredibly honored to be a part of the Nelson family,” said Edwards. “Students learn and grow so much at the primary level and I’m excited to be a part of their educational journey and look forward to developing a thriving community of learners at Nelson Elementary!” 

Edwards holds a master’s degree in educational administration and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, both from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She is currently pursuing her education specialist degree from SIUE. 

#TeacherTuesday: Kim Michel, Goshen Elementary

#TeacherTuesday
Kim Michel | Goshen Elementary | 2nd Grade  

Kim Michel has always loved children and worked at a day care throughout high school and college but wasn’t necessarily fond of the salary of teachers, so she completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and business.  

She began her professional career in human resources and while she enjoyed it, she really missed children. After Michel had children of her own, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in education and has not looked back.  

Michel has been teaching for 24 years. She taught second grade for five years at St. Mary’s before being hired at Leclaire to teach kindergarten.  

 “That was the most rewarding year I have ever had as a teacher. It opened my eyes to how hard a kindergarten teacher works.” 

 The following year she moved to second grade at Leclaire and then in 2008 when Goshen opened, Michel took a second-grade position there.  

 “I’ve been blessed with the best co-workers my entire teaching career as they have become my forever family.” 

Michel said she loves the curiosity and the sweetness of second graders.   

“This is my favorite time of year because I am really seeing their growth and we know each other so well. They can be themselves and we have fun while we are learning together. I feel very blessed to have this wonderful group of students and parents in what could have been a difficult year due to the pandemic.” 

Recently, she has enjoyed seeing former students who have grown up.  

“A few years ago, I had the privilege of having one of my kindergarten students as my student teacher. That was a wonderful experience! And this year I have the daughter of a student I had from the day care I worked at in college. I love seeing all my favorites growing up and coming back into my life!” #

#FridayFeature: Kelly Baird, Woodland Elementary

Woodland Elementary Special Education Teacher Kelly Baird was in grade school when they used to let the sixth, seventh and eighth graders help with kindergartners and first graders during recess.   

“I really enjoyed that and decided I wanted to be a teacher.” 

At the same time, PL94-142 had passed and special education was coming into being.  

“I thought that sounded even better. The more I learned, the more I thought special education was for me.” 

When Baird began at District #7 30 years ago, her mentor teacher was a communications disorder teacher.  

“She was amazing! I learned so much about how language affects everything we do. Then I got to work with two girls who were on the Autism spectrum (although not yet diagnosed), and I was fascinated by how their minds work.” 

Baird had opportunities to attend workshops and learn even more about Autism.  

“I knew these were my people! I’ve been in love with that population ever since.” 

Baird has been at Woodland since it became Woodland in 1997 except for a two-year stint at Cassens. Her communications disorder classroom is designed to service students with communication disorders in grades three through five who need more support than other cross-categorial special education classrooms can offer.  

“I love their personalities! I love their quirky sense of humor. I love their literal thinking. I love the problem solving that goes with working with this population. It’s almost like doing a puzzle – you move the pieces until it clicks.” 

Her position comes with many challenges, but it’s also extremely rewarding. 

“I feel like the kids have taught me as much as I have taught them. They show me a different way of seeing things. They show how to accept my own self with all my faults. They show me how to see love in a different way.”

#TeacherTuesday: Melissa Unger, Columbus Elementary

#TeacherTuesday
Melissa Unger | Columbus Elementary | 4
th Grade Special Education  

Melissa Unger’s first job out of college was in the corporate world. But that didn’t last long.  

“I wanted to do something worthwhile with my life; to be given the chance to help shape the lives of all children.”  

Unger is in her 27th year in education, including her 25th at Columbus Elementary.   

“Kids are awesome! They have great imaginations and boundless enthusiasm. There is never a dull day when one is hanging out with fourth graders!” 

Unger’s mother was also a teacher and was (and still is) her role model.   

“I observed the positive, inspiring impact she had on her students’ lives. She was exactly the kind of person I wanted to be when I grew up because she was passionate about her profession and was always striving to better herself.”  

When she’s not in the classroom, Unger enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading and gardening.

Career Day Held for EHS Juniors

Friday morning was all about looking towards the future for EHS juniors as Edwardsville High School and the Madison County Regional Office of Education hosted a Career Day. 

Career choices can be overwhelming for students, but the Career Day allowed students to have a glimpse into their futures, to learn and understand the careers they may be interested in and understand what certain professionals do in their field of work. 

The students began the morning by hearing from four successful EHS graduates – Seth Burgett, Trish Cheatham, EJ Jones and Judge Sarah Smith – as they discussed their career paths and answered a few questions from students. 

The students then attended three breakout presentations based upon their top career choices. More than 20 professionals from the community shared their own career experiences that ranged from agriculture/natural resources to business and finance, education, human services, law, manufacturing and engineering just to name a few. 

Freshmen and sophomores also had the opportunity to hear from the panel of EHS graduates.

 

#FridayFeature: Josh Ferry, Buildings and Grounds Director

Josh Ferry grew up thinking he wanted to be a cop, but around the age of 16, he fell into a landscaping position. That in turn, led him to a career with District #7 that began 10 years ago this May as a grounds foreman. In January 2020, he took over as the Buildings and Grounds Director.   

Ferry, who grew up in Edwardsville and graduated from EHS and SIU Edwardsville, worked for a couple landscaping guys around Edwardsville and eventually started his own landscaping business when he was in college. He also worked on the grounds crew at SIUE while he was a student there. 

Primarily involved with grounds and landscaping when he started with District #7, he’s worked his way up and has learned several new things along the way.  

“When I came into this position, I didn’t know a lot about air conditioners, but we have really qualified guys that have taught me a lot and helped me to succeed in managing this department.” 

Ferry oversees a department of nearly 90 individuals in grounds, maintenance and custodial services.  

“The people in the department are what make this job fun. It takes teamwork. Everyone works together and is great about dropping what we might be doing right now and having to go take care of something else.” 

He also likes that the job is something different every day.  

“Our schedule changes all day and every day. We don’t know what could happen or when it will happen.”  

The function of the Buildings and Grounds Department is to maintain a clean and safe environment for students and staff in all 13 school buildings.  

“We always say we go around putting out fires. Any problems that happen in any of the buildings, it’s on us to fix. We also make sure the buildings are functioning as they should be – not too hot and not too cold.” 

Ferry said one of the things he’s most proud of during his career with District 7 is the work assist program with special education students.  

“We’ve developed a program where we slowly integrate them in and give them jobs where they can succeed. It’s been neat to see some of these kids get jobs and excel and learn a job when they may not be able to do that elsewhere.” 

Another thing he takes great pride in is the athletic fields.  

“To me, that’s one of the best things about this school district. I love hearing people say how our sports complex is better than some colleges. For us that have and do work those fields, it’s huge for us to have people really see how awesome our facilities are here.” 

#TeacherTuesday: Lauren Heigert, Cassens Elementary

#TeacherTuesday
Lauren Heigert |Albert Cassens Elementary | 5th Grade Teacher  

Most people enter the world of education because they were inspired by some of their own previous educators. The same goes for Albert Cassens fifth grade teacher Lauren Heigert.  

“I very distinctly remember my kindergarten and seventh grade Language Arts teachers. They had a knack for making you forget you were even at school because every minute of the day was filled with engagement. I loved their enthusiasm and unconventional techniques that stuck with me many years later.” 

Heigert had a desire to be a teacher ever since she was a kindergartner. That desire never waived, but rather it evolved into a passion. 

Heigert’s love for teaching was solidified when she was placed in a fourth-grade classroom with the now retired Leslie Piork at Worden Elementary.  

“I remember just watching her execute her lessons with grace and precision and would constantly tell myself ‘I hope that is me someday’.” 

Heigert is now in her 10th year of teaching, having spent all 10 of those years at Cassens.  

The kids are her favorite part of being a teacher.

“Teaching is a direct way to make an impact. I love receiving a new group of learners to nurture each year.” 

Their skill sets and demands also force her to not become complacent and to continue to evolve as an educator.  

“Without those kids pushing me to meet their needs, it would be easy to plateau. I am a huge advocate for project-based/hands-on learning. By allowing these kids to channel their creativity, I no longer receive “recipes” but true authentic work that depicts their knowledge of understanding. The beauty in teaching is it also allows me to tap into my competitive nature by always striving to be better than my last year self.” 

And when it comes to teaching fifth graders, it’s their independence and sense of humor that she enjoys. 

“Fifth grade can be a scary age to most, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. These kids are entering one of the most vulnerable ages and need someone to advocate for them, cheer them on, lift their self-esteem, and be an additional life coach. We create a class family based on love and humor.” 

As a teacher, she hopes that any student she work with – either inside or outside of her classroom – knows how much she wants them to be successful academically, socially and emotionally.  

“I hope they acquire perseverance and problem-solving skills. I want them to know that kindness is the best thing they can infect others with and realize that it will lift them up too.” 

When she’s not in the classroom, Heigert enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys, reading and cooking.

D7 Celebrates School Social Work Week

National School Social Work Week is marked every first full week of March to celebrate school social workers across the nation and appreciate their work in helping students achieve academic success. School social workers are professionals within the social work field that work with teachers, parents, and school administrators. They help students deal with mental health and behavioral challenges and provide academic and classroom support. They also help in developing education policies, work with crisis interventions, and identify and report child neglect and abuse.

District #7 has several outstanding social workers and recognized them on social media during the week as they shared what being a school social worker means to them.

KRISTIN AUTERSON, EHS

Being a school social worker means that I have the opportunity to change lives. Social workers provide encouragement and support for ALL students and families. For those that have disabilities that affect the way that they learn, those that are impacted by poverty, mental illness, housing insecurity, family stressors, and also equality. I am their advocate, cheerleader, and voice of reasoning when needed. Social worker’s work as part of a collaborative team with school staff to problem-solve, address barriers, provide interventions, and resources to help student’s become successful not only in the classroom but in daily life. I want my students and families to know that they do not have to face anything alone!

KAYLA DINKELMAN, EHS/LINCOLN

The best part of being a school social worker/counselor is being able to be both an advocate for my students and a trusted person for them to go to for help. I love that I
am able to help my students continue to grow every day and gain new skills to help them succeed in both their academic and everyday lives.

DENISE DOWNES, LINCOLN

Investment in kids, ALL kids, EACH kid, is the way we empower the next generation to reach their potential.

JAMIE ELAFROS, GOSHEN

Being a school social worker means helping students feel safe, supported, and connected so they can be successful. This means helping students who are struggling socially, emotionally, or behaviorally, develop and strengthen skills in regulation and management so that they can achieve success personally, socially, and academically.

LESLIE ELLIS, CASSENS

School social work improves student learning and experiences by strengthening partnerships between home and school, developing systems of support, teaching social skills and emotional regulation, and collaborating with other educators and staff.  The days are not easy, and rarely go as planned, but I do not take the special role we serve within our buildings and district for granted.

JILLIAN LEMONS, LECLAIRE/NELSON

There are dozens of reasons why I chose this path, but it all comes down to one. I chose school social work because I wanted to be the voice for children who go through school unheard. A voice that creates a path to education for the children who struggle every day with learning because the world outside is fighting against them.
I chose social work because I decided I do not want to accept the things I can not change; I want to change the things I can not accept.

DAVE LEWIS, EHS

Being a school worker is an amazing opportunity to help students  navigate this difficult time of adolescence.  Also to help students develop the skills need to be successful happier adults.

JENNY MULVIHILL, WOODLAND

Being a school social worker means that every day I have a unique opportunity to impact student school success, support teachers and staff, reach out to families, and contribute to a safe, positive school environment.  It means making every interaction count and always valuing each individual.  It means being there for students and families during their most difficult times but also recognizing how lucky I am to witness all aspects of student growth and to develop meaningful connections with students and the school community.

NICOLE PIENING, WORDEN, HAMEL, MIDWAY

Being a school social worker to me means providing a variety of mental and behavioral health services to students and families so the student can be successful at school and in the community.

MICHELLE WILKERSON, COLUMBUS

I love that I have the opportunity to positively impact the life of a child every single day.  My work is challenging, rewarding, and different every single day.  I enjoy building relationships with students and helping them learn to solve problems both big and small.

#FridayFeature: Jill Gibson and Dave Dougherty Bring Black Experience Class to EHS

EHS history teachers Jill Gibson and Dave Dougherty are giving students the opportunity to learn a different side of American history. The pair designed a class called Black Experience that focuses on people and events in history that are not often talked about.   

As a history teacher, we talk so much about the same people and the same things,” said Dougherty. “Every year, history gets longer, and we don’t have enough time to dedicate to other groups of people who don’t get talked about a lot. History tends to focus on the same people over and over. And when it comes to black history, it’s typically along the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Harriett Tubman and Rosa Parks. But there are so many other people.” 

Both Gibson and Dougherty were involved with the creation of the class. Gibson is in her 18th year at EHS, while Dougherty is in his seventh year.  

“With the racial reconning that our country has gone through the last couple of years, I did a lot of self-educating, reading and understanding as much as I could,” said Gibson. “While a few years ago, I felt as though we did a good job in our US History class of covering the history of multiple perspectives, the more I read and the more I learned, I realized we absolutely do not.” 

Gibson joined forces with Dougherty and as the work began, the class went into the course catalog. More than 120 students signed up, which to Gibson, was a bit of a surprise. 

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “There wasn’t a lot of time to talk to a lot of kids about this class. We were in and out of remote learning so it wasn’t the perfect scenario to advertise it.”  

Dougherty, however, said he was disappointed.  

“This is not just a class for black students. It’s a class for all students. It’s an important class to understand history. So, I was disappointed because I think everyone should take it.” 

They both describe the class as “history through a different lens” with Gibson pointing to the 4th of July and the Declaration of Independence as an example.  

“Both of these are symbols of freedom. But it didn’t mean anything for the millions of people who were enslaved. People just don’t stop and think about it that way and we are really teaching them how to view events, people and stories in history through that different lens. That’s an important skill they can take with them beyond this classroom.” 

“History has always been taught one way and not really with a critical look at other viewpoints,” added Dougherty. “After the first semester a lot of students were saying things like ‘this is stuff they don’t teach in school’, but I had to remind them that well, you just learned this in school. So, it’s changing the way they think about what is taught in school.” 

The class does have a textbook, but Gibson and Dougherty rarely use it.  

“It’s really a discussion, thought-based, lots of what do you want to learn about this time period,” said Dougherty. “It’s amazing to see the excitement students have when you allow students to choose what they learn with parameters.” 

“I think we both had students in previous history classes who really didn’t really engage, but with this class they were invested,” added Gibson. “And then to have the students telling others what they learn is just as exciting. These students are going home and talking to their parents, so there’s that ripple effect that one class can have.” 

Not even a full year into teaching this class, Dougherty said they will continue to refine the class with things that worked and didn’t work.  

“We spent many days last summer designing a class we had never taught, but I think it will be like any other class in that the more you teach it, we’re hopefully adding more value and figuring out what excites kids. Sparking that flame about learning new things is exciting.” 

And while the class is named Black Experience, Dougherty wants students to remember that it is a class for everybody.  

“It is easy for the black students to sign up for it, but it really is for everyone. With all the racial tension in the world today, we’re trying to dispel some of that and help students understand where different groups of people come from. That’s important.” 

Strategic Planning Community Event on March 16

March 10, 2022 

Dear District #7 community,  

Outstanding work and progress continue to be made with our new strategic plan that will take District #7 from 2022 to 2027.  

In January, the Board of Education approved our new mission statement, vision and values that will serve as the foundation of that strategic plan.  

Mission Statement: Empowering each student to achieve personal success 

Vision: We will build a thriving community of learners while creating authentic, meaningful pathways to success for each student 

Values: Community, Inclusivity, Integrity, Students, Success 

Click here to see it visually. 

Next Wednesday, March 16, 2022, District #7 will hold its next Strategic Planning Community Engagement at 6:30 p.m. in the Edwardsville High School Commons. I encourage anyone interested in shaping the future of District #7 to attend.  

This will be the third of four community feedback opportunities and is also one of the most important ones. The evening will begin with a brief overview, followed by breakout sessions that will cover the five goal areas of the strategic plan. Our team leaders will discuss the action steps within their respective goals, while attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback.  

This continues to be an exciting time for District #7 and I hope you will join us as we work together on our future. 

Sincerely,  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

#TeacherTuesday: Jaycie Rodgers, Woodland Elementary

Jaycie Rodgers is no stranger to District #7. Her time with the District dates back to her college education when she completed her field experience at Hamel and her student teaching at Nelson.  

Upon graduation she was hired as a long-term substitute teacher at Nelson. Rodgers then taught 13 years at Woodland, two years Goshen and one year at Cassens – all in cross-cat – before returning to Woodland, where she has been the last three years teaching SEL.  

“I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. I was blessed by some amazing teachers in my life that inspired me to want to teach.”  

As a high school student, she volunteered in a program called Peer Partners in an FLS classroom. It was that experience that led her to choose the field of special education.  

Originally, she had planned to teach FLS, but was hired as a cross-cat teacher.  

“I love the challenge of differentiating lessons to meet the needs of every student. Working in many grade levels and with so many different students allow me to continue to grow as an educator and challenge myself to meet the many needs I encounter.” 

Like a lot of teachers, Rodgers said she loves watching students have those “lightbulb” moments.  

“Elementary students are so open and excited about learning. They also love to celebrate each other’s successes.”  

 When Rodgers is not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, watching movies, going to concerts and shopping. 

#FridayFeature: Emily Rayburn, Lincoln Middle School

Emily Rayburn is Lincoln principal Jen Morgan’s secretary. But she’s also a former dancer, a dance company board president, and a sign language student.   

Rayburn has only been with District #7 a short time, starting at Liberty in August 2020 as the attendance secretary before moving to Lincoln in late May 2021, but she’s made an impact on those who have worked with her and vice versa.  

“Lincoln is a wonderful school with amazing staff members. There is a lot of kindness, humor, sass and hard work ethic in our building.” 

The Edwardsville native began dancing when she was six years old at a local studio in town. Rayburn earned a B.F.A. in dance performance and choreography from Western Michigan and then moved to Chicago to begin her dance career. 

“I did freelance work for a while and then started my own 501(c)3 non-profit dance company called Hot Crowd in November 2017, which is a modern/contemporary dance company that performs throughout the Midwest.” 

The company luckily survived COVID and is back to creating new work and performing. However, with Rayburn’s move back to Southern Illinois, she stepped down from her role as artistic director, but is currently serving as President of the Board in a more advisory role.  

When she isn’t busy at Lincoln or assisting the dance company, Rayburn is also studying to become a Sign Language Interpreter through night classes at SWIC’s Interpreter Training Program.  

“I hope to become a certified interpreter in the state of Illinois and Missouri, and ultimately have dreams of starting a dance program that specifically caters towards the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.” 

Rayburn has certainly given new meaning to the term ‘time management’.  

“It’s tough to balance – and at times, I’m not always successful. I just try to compartmentalize my work throughout each day, and I really utilize my weekends for homework, practicum hours, and personal catch-up time. It helps knowing that this chaos is not forever. I have goals to meet and looking to the future is always comforting!”

D7, Lincoln School Alumni Foundation Partner to Assist Students Who Have Been Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

District #7 Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Student Services Dr. Cornelia Smith, announced during Monday’s Board of Education meeting the creation of the iMpact program with the Historic Lincoln School Alumni Foundation (LSAF), as a result of two generous donations. The iMpact program is designed to support District #7 students who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.  

A donation of $25,000 from the Mannie Jackson Foundation was received in 2021 to identify and design a series of supports for students and families who were impacted by the pandemic. LSAF was also notified of a local donation of $2,400 from Kim Goodner, owner of Artisan Bakery in Edwardsville, to support this effort.  

As a result of those donations, iMpact was developed to provide a safety net for students and families. Three areas of main support were identified including academic support for students starting for preparing to enter high school, social emotional support for students experiencing anxiety from pandemic related issues and support for families who were financially impacted by the pandemic and may no longer be able to provide costs related to extracurricular activities, such as band, fine arts or athletics.  

Dr. Smith recognized Herman Shaw, president of the Lincoln School Alumni Foundation, and other foundation members at the board meeting for their continued partnership and support of District #7 students.  

District #7 Announces Young Authors Winners

Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 has announced its Young Authors winners for the 2021-22 school year.  

Each spring the Madison County Regional Office of Education recognizes Young Authors winners in grades K-8 from Madison County schools at a county-wide event. Students have the opportunity to share their books with each other, participate in reading/writing centric activities and be entertained by a local author, storyteller or performer. 

The 31st annual Madison County Young Authors Conference will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2022, at Edwardsville High School.  

Leclaire 

Hannah Heimos, kindergarten 

Ashton Eastman, 1st grade 

Ava Albrecht, 2nd grade 

Glen Carbon 

Clara Mullikin, kindergarten 

Lindley Weiss, 1st grade 

Brooklyn Stewart, 2nd grade 

Goshen 

Callie Thompson, 2nd grade 

Alisa Zhao, 1st grade 

Jamison Pontious, kindergarten

Hamel 

Averi Henschen, 2nd grade 

Eleanor Helmers, 2nd grade 

Midway 

Vera Boutelle, 1st grade 

Emma Cochran, 2nd grade 

Nelson 

Charlotte Catlin, 1st grade 

Mason Coleman, 2nd grade 

MarLee Epps-Barnes, kindergarten 

Cassens 

Madison McLeland, 4th grade 

Abigail Yarger, 3rd grade 

Phillip Weiss, 5th grade 

Emily Wonders, 5th grade 

Eden Bishopp, 4th grade 

Columbus 

Finn Smith, 4th grade 

Naomi Gregory, 5th grade 

Eva Lee, 3rd grade 

Woodland 

Julianne Daniels, 5th grade 

Elliott Zuercher, 3rd grade 

Edyn Cohn, 5th grade 

Emma Nativi, 4th grade 

Worden 

Gemma Stumpf, 3rd grade 

Austin Ferrari, 5th grade 

Willa Helmers, 4th grade 

Lincoln 

Musa Quaizar, 7th grade  

Drake Schultz, 8th grade 

Olivia Sayuk, 8th grade 

Liv Warner, 8th grade 

Emily Raymer, 7th grade 

Shawn Wonders, 7th grade 

Mark Hill, 7th grade 

Liberty 

Grant Peterson, 8th grade 

Savannah Jackson, 8th grade 

Allie Chong, 8th grade 

Sophia Uder, 8th grade 

John Kohoutek, 8th grade 

Eshaal Nadeem, 6th grade 

Gabrielle White, 8th grade 

Dori Kelly, 7th grade 

Maya Hatch, 8th grade 

 

Kelli Pirtle Announced as New Principal at Woodland

Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 has named Kelli Pirtle the new principal of Woodland Elementary.   

Pirtle’s hire was approved February 28 by the District #7 Board of Education. She will take the school’s helm starting for the 2022-23 school year.  

Pirtle will replace Susan Converse, who will retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year.  

 “Ms. Pirtle is a veteran educational leader with an impressive knowledge of elementary curriculum and instructional best practices,” said District #7 Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton. “We are thrilled to have her join the District #7 community.” 

Pirtle comes to Woodland from Waynesville (Mo.) R-VI School District, where she served as a fifth-grade teacher, aspiring administrator, assistant principal administrative intern and assistant principal at East and Freedom Elementary Schools. Additionally, she served on the district’s CSIP Committee, Diversity Committee, Personnel Advisory Committee, PBIS Committee, and worked closely with the district Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Student Support Team.  

“I am honored to join the Woodland Elementary family in the upcoming academic year,” said Pirtle. “I look forward to future accomplishments of Woodland and the partnerships focused on empowering students to achieve personal success.” 

Pirtle also previously served in the Bay County School District in Panama City, Fla., as a paraprofessional (kindergarten and fifth grade) and a departmentalized fifth grade teacher at Parker Elementary.  

She holds an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from William Woods University, a master’s degree in education in educational and instructional leadership from Columbia College and a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Pirtle holds professional educator certification as principal (all levels in Illinois and K-8 in Missouri) and elementary education (1-6 in Illinois and Missouri).  

A child of military personnel, Pirtle is also the spouse of a recently retired U.S. Army service member. The couple has two children (ages 13 and 16), two dogs and a snake. She loves music, anything Disney and various forms of cycling.  

Katie Bevis-O’Neal Named Permanent Principal at Cassens

After serving in the position in interim since January 2022, the Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 announced that Katie Bevis-O’Neal is the permanent principal at Albert Cassens Elementary. The decision was approved February 28 by the District #7 Board of Education.  

“Ms. Bevis-O’Neal has been impressive with ability to step into any situation and succeed, and has done an exceptional job at Cassens these last few months,” said District #7 Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton. “We look forward to her continuing to provide exceptional leadership and support for the students and staff at Cassens.” 

Bevis-O’Neal is no stranger to District #7. The 2003 Edwardsville High School graduate began her career in District #7 by teaching seventh grade for two years followed by 12 years of sixth-grade science. Prior to her interim principal appointment at Cassens in January, Bevis-O’Neal served one semester as the District’s administrative intern and has also been an athletics coach.  

“I am elated to make the Albert Cassens community my new home,” said Bevis-O’Neal. “I am excited about all the possibilities for this school and look forward to sharing those successes with our students and their families.” 

Bevis-O’Neal holds a specialists degree in educational administration, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, all from SIU Edwardsville. 

#TeacherTuesday: Janna Beckman, Leclaire

Janna Beckmann | Leclaire Elementary | Kindergarten 

Janna Beckmann had some pretty awesome teachers throughout her years as a student that made their love of learning contagious and in return, made her want to learn.  

She is now doing the same for kindergartners at Leclaire Elementary where she is in her fourth year. Beckmann has been teaching for 10 years.   

“My parents joke that I always had perfect attendance because I never wanted to miss out on what we were doing in class!” 

She added that if you asked her brother if Beckmann always wanted to be a teacher, he would quickly refer to her favorite game as a child, called ‘school on the steps’ where she always wanted to be a teacher.  

Her love of education and teaching grew at McKendree University, especially with a professor named Mr. Stanish that taught her what it meant to teach a child and not just teach the textbook.  

“He was the most amazing teacher I had ever met. He said we should always find a way to reach a child, even when it doesn’t fit the ‘norm’ for teaching. He taught us how to ignite creative thinking and encourage their imagination.”

It’s that advice that Beckmann always keeps in mind when creating lesson plans and other activities.  

Beckmann said there are many great things about teaching kindergartners.  

“Honestly, what isn’t great about teaching them? They are always so excited to see me every morning and love to greet me with a hug. Who doesn’t want a good hug 24 times each morning?” 

The progress they make from where they start in August to where they end in May also amazes her.  

“I love to see how much progress they all make. I get to see them grow in so many ways in kindergarten.” 

The biggest thing she hopes her students take away from kindergarten is just knowing how much she loves them and wants them to succeed.  

“I want them to know that I’m always there for them and that they matter to me.” 

When she’s not in the classroom, her own two children keep her busy.  

“We love to do anything outside. Some of our favorite activities are swimming, fishing, hunting and riding our bikes.” 

And when she does get time to herself, Beckmann is usually reading a good book or making crafts on her circuit.

District 7 Celebrates Black History Month

Throughout February, District #7 recognized and celebrated Black History Month with a variety of events and activities that celebrated the accomplishments of African Americans.

A summary of these activities and events include:

 

4th grade students in Mrs. Hall’s, Mrs. Law’s, and Mrs. Tebbe’s classes worked on a collaborative poster Albert Cassens Elementary. The 72+ students had one square to color according to a key. They had no idea what it would look like until all 3 classes put the squares in the correct location!

 

 

For the second straight year, Glen Carbon Elementary hosted a Black History Month mini museum.
Students “toured” the museum throughout the day on Monday, with many seeing some of their own artwork, along with items that were donated either from staff or the community.
Second grade teacher Tanya Holmes helped organize the event again after coming up with the idea last year.
“The idea really sprung because of COVID. Normally, we’d do assemblies or have guest speakers and with not being able to do that last year, we wanted to do something different and something the students could see visually.”
Each classroom puts together an artwork quilt, while many students also created bottle buddies with their families to display.
“It’s really a Glen Carbon Elementary mini-museum as well and the kids enjoy coming through and seeing their own work.”
Elementary art teacher Kristi Dickens had her students learn about a variety of African-American artists and then created art projects on those individuals.
At Goshen Elementary School, kindergartners learned about Beverly Buchanan, while at Hamel Elementary School, 2nd graders made Alma Thomas inspired paper mosaics.
Vickie Hellmann’s kindergarten class at Goshen Elementary read the book Tar Beach and learned about Faith Ringgold, the American artist, who likes to use many different mediums in her work. She especially loved making quilts and telling stories using quilts. Their mural is a quilt of her dreaming about flying over the George Washington Bridge in New York City. Her daddy worked on the bridge, hoisting cables. She believed if she could fly over it, then it would be hers.
Nelson Elementary hosted an imaginary radio show each morning during morning meeting. Students were selected by their teachers to read short paragraphs each morning. We had a great time learning about many famous Black Americans, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mae Jemison, Simone Biles, and Kobe Bryant.
Hilary Duncan’s social studies class at Lincoln created collaborative posters with quotes from MLK, Jr. and Amanda Gorman that were put up around school.
   
Worden Elementary learned about famous African Americans in history. 
   
Students in Edwardsville’s Medical Occupations 2 researched significant African Americans in medicine and made a bulletin board to highlight their contributions to medicine.

Alicia Carrico’s fifth grade students at Columbus participated in an activity by comparing and contrasting Mae Jemison and Bessie Coleman.

Updated Guidance for Masks on School Buses

February 27, 2022 

Dear District #7 families and staff, 

On Friday, February 25, 2022, the CDC amended its federal mask order to no longer require that people wear masks on buses or vans operated by school systems when they are carrying out school related business.  

In accordance with that regulatory change, effective Monday, February 28, 2022, masks will no longer be required to be worn on school buses that are transporting students for school-related programs. This includes transportation to and from school, athletic events, field trips, etc., when that transportation occurs on a school bus.  

The exact language of the change can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/quara…/masks/mask-travel-guidance.html. 

We reiterate what we have said earlier – District #7 remains committed to a culture of respect among all members of our community, and we expect that to remain for everyone, regardless of whether they choose or don’t choose to wear a mask. In addition, we will continue to monitor the number of positive COVID cases and notify families if their child is identified as a close contact of an individual who tests positive. We remain committed to providing all families with an environment in which each student and staff member feels safe to teach and learn. 

Also, on Friday, February 25, the Illinois Supreme Court denied an appeal in the legal fight over COVID-19 restrictions in schools. However, the court did vacate the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Judge Raylene Grischow earlier this month.  

Governor Pritzker has also announced that he is withdrawing the executive order that required students and staff in Illinois schools to wear masks, effective Monday, February 28, 2022, based on the new rules easing mask-wearing issued by the CDC.  

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we continue to educate children in the District #7 community, while navigating this ever-changing landscape.  

Sincerely,  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

Winter Weather Announcement

After monitoring the road conditions and the forecast for winter weather throughout the day tomorrow, all classes at all District 7 schools are cancelled for Thursday, February 24, 2022.

As of today, the last day of school will be Friday, May 27, 2022.

As a reminder, there is no school on Friday, February 25, 2022 due to a previously scheduled institute day.

Be safe and have a good weekend!

Sincerely,

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Woodland Elementary Holds Successful Book Drive

In conjunction with the Woodland Elementary PTO, Jennifer Sparks’ fifth-grade class spearheaded a book drive entitled “Woodland Book Drive: Love of Literacy”.   

After studying a lesson from Second Step Curriculum, which discussed how kids can get involved in their community, Sparks had her students brainstorm ideas of how they could give back to the community. The idea about a book exchange was voted upon.  

At the same time, the Woodland PTO decided to ask for donations for books to help “freshen” teacher libraries as a way of showing their appreciation. Sparks contacted the PTO the two joined forces.  

“The students really took this project and have done everything to make it happen,” said Sparks. “They have really been excited about it and have learned so much. They are learning to give back to the community and have felt good about what they are doing.”  

In all, 1,000 books were donated to the drive by the Woodland students. Last week, each student at Woodland had the opportunity to pick out a new book for themselves.  

“We decided to do this because, one, we don’t have a lot of nice books in the library and two, we decided we could donate books to people that don’t have a lot of books and that people would have the chance to get more books,” said fifth-grade student Ella Bash. “It feels good to know we are helping people get the chance to read.”  

A variety of books were donated, which were organized into genres by the class.  

In addition to each student getting a book and stocking the library, books are also being donated to the community, including at several area community book boxes. 

#TeacherTuesday: Ellen Bridgewater, Elementary PE

#TeacherTuesday
Ellen Bridgewater | Elementary Physical Education   

For 21 years, Ellen Bridgewater has been teaching the importance of staying active and improving students’ health in District #7.  

She did not always want to be a teacher and didn’t originally follow that route even though both of her parents were physical education teachers and despite the fact that during her soccer career, her favorite jobs were the ones involving kids.  

“I actually started my degree in a dietitian program, but I ended up changing courses while in college. I kept gravitating towards the classes that interested me the most in the field of nutrition, but away from chemistry. And then I met some people who were physical education majors and decided that they were all the kind of people I enjoyed.” 

She began her career as a middle school teacher at Lincoln Middle School prior to the split and continued at Lincoln after the split. She also coached 7th grade volleyball during her time at Lincoln. Bridgewater then moved to the high school when she was coaching the varsity girl’s soccer team.  

After doing that for four years, Bridgewater resigned from coaching and began teaching at the grade school level and has been in most buildings at least once.  

Bridgewater said she loves elementary level kids because they are always excited about what she teaches them.  

“Even when I feel like I have a terrible lesson for the day, they leave the gym telling me how awesome it was!”  

She added that they also give lots of other confidence boosting hugs and pictures and notes about how much they love physical education.  

“Who doesn’t love that? They also make me feel like they are really learning and listening to me when they tell me things like how strong they feel afterwards or how they love to learn to exercise.” 

 A scooter unit is one of Bridgewater’s favorite things to teach.  

“Not only do the students love it, but I can keep every single student moving and busy. It is incredible how much muscular strength and endurance it takes. Even when they get tired, the kids tell me they don’t stop because it is so much fun!”  

Bridgewater added that scooters also allow for cooperative activities as the students must work together with partners, which brings in the social aspect of physical education that she likes to teach.  

When she’s not teaching Bridgewater stays busy with many hobbies, which include all kinds of exercises, crocheting, sewing and crafting and refinishing furniture as well.   

“I think it is also why I love to teach physical education so much – it keeps me busy!” 

 

#FridayFeature: Michelle Seymour, Liberty Math Teacher and Technology Coach

#FridayFeature  

As a math teacher and technology coach at Liberty Middle School, Michelle Seymour has the best of both worlds.  

“I love math, but educational technology and how it can help kids learn is what I’m extremely passionate about.” 

It’s Seymour’s 20th year of teaching and her second in District 7. She began her teaching career in Springfield, Ill., and during that time, she met her husband who was in the Air Force. His position took them all over the country and as a result, she has taught everything from first grade to eighth grade at schools in California, Virgina, Ohio and Illinois. But no matter where she was or what she taught, technology played a vital part.  

From having two mobile computer labs that she would bring into her classrooms to working at a technology magnet school and even teaching at an all-virtual K-12 public school in Ohio several years before COVID-19 introduced the rest of us to virtual learning, she’s been able to incorporate technology into her instruction.  

“I love technology and finding out how to help kids grow with it.” 

Seymour has been able to take those experiences and love for technology to help grow District 7, especially now with both middle schools using 1:1 devices.  

“Technology allows you to work smarter and not harder. There are so many ways in which you can let the kids work at their own level and it automatically adapts and lets them progress at their own pace. It also provides immediate feedback for students, something you don’t get with paper and pencil. Think about how when you’re on a computer and misspell a word and its underlined. If you were writing on paper and had to turn it in to the teacher, you wouldn’t know about that misspelling until after you got the paper back. Technology doesn’t change teaching; it just enhances it.” 

She said she’s grateful to be part of the transition to 1:1 at Liberty.  

“It’s incredible to see how teachers reacted at first to now, when you can walk through the building and see laptops open in every room. The students are enjoying it and the teachers have really bought in.”  

Ironically, Seymour didn’t want to go into teaching. Her mom and several aunts, who were all teachers, even tried talking her out of it.  

“Education was actually my fourth major in college. When I was a junior, I took a career evaluation test, and everything pointed to teaching. It was what I was meant to do.” 

And it’s what she’s loved since the moment she took it on.  

“I’ve never thought of leaving the profession. Even with all the moves we’ve made and the opportunities to do something different. The best thing about it is that it’s always changing, and two days are never the same. The content might stay the same, but how everyone interacts with it is different.” #d7proud  

Winter Weather Announcement for 2/18/22

After evaluating the road conditions across the district, multiple roads remain snow and ice covered. As a result, tomorrow, Friday, February 18, 2022, will be a snow day for all District #7 schools.  

Coaches will be in contact with student-athletes regarding evening activities. 

As a reminder, there will also be no school on Monday in observance of Presidents Day. Have a great weekend and stay safe.  

Early Dismissal – Thursday, February 17

After monitoring the weather and studying the forecast for the remainder of the day, we have decided to dismiss early from school today, Thursday, February 17.   

Dismissal times are as follows:

  • EHS South will be dismissed at 11:40 a.m. 
  • Edwardsville High School will be dismissed at 11:50 a.m. 
  • Both middle schools will be dismissed at 12:50 p.m. 
  • All elementary schools will be dismissed at 1:50 p.m.; PM Preschool will be cancelled. 

Elementary Parents: If you are unable to pick up your child or cannot have them ride the bus, please contact the school office and let them know. We will be able to provide assistance with alternate arrangements until our normal dismissal time. 

All school-wide activities scheduled for today are cancelled. Student athletes will be contacted by their coaches later today if their event is cancelled. We recognize that early dismissals can be an inconvenience for our families, but also need to maintain a focus on student safety. Thank you for your understanding and support of District #7. Please be safe!

Joint Committee on Administrative Rules Vote

February 15, 2022  

Dear District #7 families and staff,  

Earlier today, we learned of an action from the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) which voted 9-0 to reject a reintroduction of emergency rules for COVID-19 protocols in schools which include masking, testing, and exclusion. JCAR is not connected to the Illinois Appellate Court process, which we are still awaiting a ruling from.  

In working with our legal counsel, the impact of this committee vote means that because these emergency rules have expired, schools can only require employee vaccinations/testing, student and employee masking, and exclusion of students and employees (positive or close contacts) from school if there is a court order or an order from the local health department. 

As a district, we have a duty to be compliant with all state and federal mandates and follow the guidance of health care professionals locally, regionally and nationally. As a result, beginning Wednesday, February 16, 2022, District #7 will recommend masks for all students and staff in our schools. This also applies to Kid Zone. Additionally, students who are currently excluded as close contacts may return to school tomorrow.  

Please note that federal law still requires masks on buses. The committee vote does not change this, and so students who ride buses will still be required to wear masks.    

While the District recommends masks, we also remain vigilant about providing a safe environment for students and staff. Families can expect that we will: 

  • Continue to implement several mitigating strategies in all our schools, including opportunities for vaccinations, social distancing to the greatest extent possible, district-wide testing, incorporating fresh air into the school environment, HEPA filtration systems in our larger cafeterias, and cleaning and sanitizing on a regular basis.  
  • Have KN95 masks available for any staff member who wishes to have one. We will also have KN95 masks available for our students that can be picked up in the school office. 
  • Recommend any symptomatic students and staff to remain at home. 

We understand that this is a shift in our mitigation strategies, and it will be met with differing responses from all stakeholders. District #7 expects each of our students and community members to treat each other with civility, understanding and respect. As individuals, agreement is less important than seeking to understand others and the perspective that they hold related to any given situation. I would encourage each of our District #7 families to have a conversation with their child about respecting others, including the way in which we each approach COVID. I appreciate those of you who have reached out to better understand, as we are better together as a school district and as a community. 

Ultimately, we all want the same thing – to provide in-person learning and opportunities for District #7 students to excel in their own individual talents. 

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we continue to educate children in the District #7 community. 

Sincerely,  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

Nelson Elementary Celebrates Black History Month

Nelson Elementary is celebrating #BlackHistoryMonth every day during February as part of its morning meeting by having one of its students read a short paragraph about an important African-American person in history.
Pictured, is 2nd grader Reed Likas who talked about George Washington Carver.

Columbus 3rd Graders Write Valentine’s Day Letters to Senior Citizens

Third graders at Columbus Elementary made sure a group of local senior citizens would have a Happy Valentine’s Day.   

Third-grade teacher Jenni Rankin saw a post online about having students write letters to local senior citizens and began thinking about all those individuals in nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have been isolated because of visitor restrictions due the pandemic.  

“I reached out to Stillwater Senior Living in Edwardsville and asked them about my class writing letters to their residents,” she said. “They were very excited about the idea and emailed me a list of names.” 

Once Rankin realized there were 68 residents, she knew she had to find more third-grade classes to participate so that everyone at Stillwater could receive a letter.  

“Mrs. McWhorter’s (Ackerman), Ms. Bailey’s, and Mrs. Musick’s classes all joined my class in writing friendly letters to residents and making them Valentine’s cards.” 

And instead of just creating a card, Rankin turned the project into a lesson.  

“We began the week by learning about the parts of a friendly letter, including the date, greeting, body and salutations or the closing. Students also learned what an assisted living facility is and brainstormed things that the residents might like to hear about in their letters.” 

Each student drew a name, or two, from a cup and then began writing their rough draft letters. 

The next day, they went through the editing process to correct mistakes and spelling errors. They then spent time writing the final draft letters, glued them inside the cards and finally, decorated the cards. 

“All the students were very motivated and excited about this project and I cannot wait to give them to the residents at Stillwater Senior Living.” 

 

 

#FridayFeature: Chung Baker, Edwardsville High School

Not all who teach students are in the classroom. School counselors, such as Edwardsville High School’s Chung Baker, are among those school personnel who are making a difference in the lives of students outside of instruction.  

Baker is in her 28th year with District 7 after first beginning her career in education as a physical education teacher at what is now Lincoln Middle School, when it was originally the high school.  

“When I thought about what else I could do to extend my career in education without teaching, and knowing I didn’t want to go into administration, counseling seemed like an easy transition.” 

Baker always knew she wanted to go into education. Having been afforded the opportunity to have an education in the US as a first-generation immigrant at age five and having to learn English, she said it is education that has made her who she is.  

“Education is priceless. And in my own way I just wanted to pay it forward.”  

And she believes having a teaching background has been beneficial to her role as a school counselor.  

“It gives you a better sense of where things stem from sometimes and how it all interrelates with other roles in the building.” 

As a school counselor, and even when she was teaching PE, Baker says the best part of her job is the students.  

“Through the many years of working with students and their families, I’ve felt very lucky and believe I’ve been able to make a difference in their lives.” 

Baker said her role as a school counselor affords her the opportunity to have that one-on-one relationship that does not always come with being in the classroom.  

“I feel like I have the true essence of that student and who they are. You establish that rapport and work with them for four years and really do grow together. It’s been the most rewarding experience as I enjoy helping young adults navigate their high school years while guiding them as they pursue their future plans.” 

TRO Update

February 6, 2022  

Dear District #7 families, 

We are looking forward to welcoming students back to school tomorrow! After the three snow days last week, the end of the school year now will be a half-day of student attendance on Thursday, May 26, 2022.  

As you may know, on Friday, January 4, 2022, Judge Grischow issued a ruling which granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) in the lawsuits in which Edwardsville was a defendant. After consulting with district legal counsel, Judge Grischow’s ruling means that for the families and staff named as plaintiffs in the litigation, Governor Pritzker’s mask mandate in schools has been overturned and close contacts to a positive case will no longer be excluded. The ruling does not apply to all students at this time. An appeal related to this case has already been filed, and future decisions will likely have an impact on the District #7 community. 

As a public school district, we have an obligation to protect the health, safety, and learning of every single student and staff member. While we believe in the importance of choice and parents making choices for their children, we also must trust in the information we are being provided by health experts and have an obligation to follow the guidance we are receiving to provide our students and staff with an environment in which they feel safe and can learn, grow, and thrive.  

As a result, District #7 will be taking the following steps beginning on Monday, February 7:   

  • The individuals named as plaintiffs in the litigation will be able to attend school unmasked and will not be excluded as close contacts. Each of the individuals/families will receive correspondence from their building principal prior to the start of school on Monday.  
  • Masks will continue to be required for all students and staff unless an individual has been impacted by court ruling or has an approved medical exemption for masking.  
  • Beginning immediately, we have secured KN95 masks for any staff member who wishes to have one. 
  • Masking will continue to be required during Kid Zone (not for named plaintiffs), at athletic events (not for named plaintiffs), and on buses. The federal law still requires masks on buses. The court decision does not change this, and all students who ride buses will still be required to wear masks. 
  • We will continue to implement other mitigating strategies in all our schools, including opportunities for vaccinations, social distancing to the greatest extent possible, district-wide testing, incorporating fresh air into the school environment, and cleaning and sanitizing on a regular basis. 

Students refusing to wear a mask constitutes a rule violation and subjects the student to disciplinary action, just like any other school rule violation. 

When students arrive at school without a mask, District #7 procedures will continue to include providing students an opportunity to comply with the mask rule. If the student refuses to voluntarily comply with wearing a mask, the student will be directed to the media center while school administrators contact the student’s parents/guardians to pick up their child from school. Students are never isolated and are under the supervision of staff at all times. 

Our goal is to provide a safe learning environment for students and staff in District #7 and to be able to sustain that learning environment five days a week throughout the school year.  We care about each member of the District #7 community – our students, our staff, and our families – and we know that we can support each other as we navigate this ever-changing landscape. 

Sincerely,   

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

#FridayFeature: Sina Rowe, Leclaire Elementary

Sina Rowe | Leclaire Elementary | K-2 Special Education & CASTLE Program

Sina Rowe has spent 21 years teaching special education – 16 of those in District #7 at the K-2 level – including the last nine years with the CASTLE (Collaboration for Autism Spectrum Teaching, Learning and Excelling) program.

She said that although she did not really choose the CASTLE program and that instead it chose her, it felt like coming home.

“With this population of kids, it’s very communication driven. If you think about how hard it would be if you could not say what you needed to say or ask for what you wanted, those kids are dealing with that times a hundred. So those kiddos have my heart and I have really found my home here in the CASTLE program.”

Rowe began her stint in D7 by teaching cross categorical at Leclaire before moving to Goshen when the autism program. She then returned to Leclaire with CASTLE seven years ago.

“I do like challenging behaviors, and I do like problem solving behaviors,” she said. “Everything is so unique and there is not one answer. One strategy might work for one student, but not for another, so you’re always problem solving and doing what you can to get a better response.”

When Rowe was in high school, she signed up to be a tutor and that is where she found out she liked special education. She also did competitive dance and worked at a dance studio as a student assistant teacher, working with young dancers.

“I really liked working with the kids and had a knack for it. So those two things led me to teaching special education.”

Rowe said she initially thought she wanted to work with middle school-aged students, but then found that she liked being part of the foundation of their younger years.

“With special education students, they are in school until they are 22 sometimes. So, I feel like it is a huge opportunity to not only get my students off to a good start, but to get those families off to a good start as well. I like being that initial doorway where we’re going to set you up for success.”

She praises District #7 for their excellent special ed programs and their genuine care about serving kids and whole families.

“Not every district has an autism program, and it really gives those kids the opportunity to be educated in their home district and to have their services go all the way from kindergarten up to 12th grade. Our administration puts an emphasis on wanting to serving kids here and that makes us stand above.”

While there are plenty of challenging times, it is the kids that make it rewarding.

“When someone gets a skill they didn’t have before or when a parent calls to say they see the behaviors generalizing to home or when the kids finally get what I’m asking for, those are all pretty awesome moments and that’s what I do it for – to see those communication pieces come on board.”

Winter Weather Announcement for 2/4/22

District #7 and the surrounding area continues to experience blowing snow which is impacting road conditions. As a result, all classes at District 7 schools are cancelled for Friday, February 4, 2022. Just as in today, tomorrow’s snow day will not include e-learning. An announcement regarding any after school or evening activities will be posted tomorrow on our district website and communicated through coaches and sponsors. Enjoy another snow day and the weekend, and we’ll see you next week.

Thank you and be safe!

All Thursday Activities Canceled

All after school and extracurricular activities on Thursday have been canceled due to the inclement weather.

 

Strategic Planning Community Engagement Event Postponed

The community engagement event for the new District #7 strategic plan scheduled for tonight (February 3) has been postponed due to the weather.

The event will now be held on March 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the EHS Commons.

 

 

Winter Weather Announcement for 2/3/22

District #7 and the surrounding area continues to be under a winter storm warning with continued snowfall expected throughout the evening and tomorrow that will create hazardous road conditions.

As a result, all Classes at all District 7 schools are cancelled for Thursday, February 3, 2022. Just as in today, tomorrow’s snow day will not include e-learning.

An announcement regarding any after-school or evening activities will be posted tomorrow on our district website and communicated through coaches and sponsors.

Enjoy the snow day and be safe!

Winter Weather Announcement

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning beginning at midnight tonight, indicating snowfall and/or sleet and ice of 6-10 inches. These conditions have the potential to create hazardous road conditions.

As a result, classes at all District 7 schools are cancelled for Wednesday, February 2, 2022. 

This will be a true snow day and no e-learning will be taking place at this time. In addition, all extracurricular and school activities are also cancelled.

 

#FridayFeature: Cari Wencewicz

As a first grade teacher, Cari Wencewicz quickly learned that her favorite part of the day was sitting at the reading table working with small groups of students to become better readers. It was that love of figuring out what they were struggling with and being help to them grow that drew her to becoming a reading specialist.
Wencewicz is in her 17th year of teaching, 16 of which have been in District #7. After spending eight years teaching first grade, she is in her ninth year as a K-2nd reading specialist.
“Being a reading specialist allows me to focus all of my energy on one area,” she said. “I get to really zoom in on the reading process and find what works and doesn’t work for each student.”
Wencewicz said her favorite thing about being a reading specialist is that is incredibly rewarding.
“To know that I have helped hundreds of children unlock the reading code and go on to be successful students and adults is pretty wonderful. There’s nothing quite like seeing my students grow into real readers!”
She added that she also loves the data analysis side of being a reading specialist that she didn’t have quite as much capacity for as a classroom teacher.
Wencewicz comes from a family of teachers, so education has always been a focus for her family. Her parents, her sister and even her grandma taught in District #7. Her husband is also a teacher at EHS and his parents were teachers as well.
“I really love working with young children and feeling like I truly make a difference in the world,” Wencewicz said. “And first grade is such a unique grade level to work with. They come to me in the fall barely knowing all of their letter sounds and many of them finish first grade as full-fledged readers. The growth is so much fun to watch.”

COVID-19 Update / Return to School

January 20, 2022 

Dear District #7 families,  

As we continue to monitor our COVID-19 situation daily, I wanted to provide an update on where we stand today.  

  • There are currently 54 staff members that are currently impacted through a positive test for COVID, either for them or someone within their care, or have someone who has been excluded because of COVID. In addition, we continue to monitor ongoing new cases both in District #7 and through our bus contractor, First Student.  
  • At our primary schools, we continue to experience a student absence rate of between 15 and 20% district-wide.   

Based on our current data, our plan is to have ALL students return to in-person learning on Monday, January 24, 2022.  

When we return to school, we ask that you please remember the mitigation strategies we have in place in District #7. This includes always wearing a mask while indoors on school district property as well as when on buses and maintaining social distancing.  

The recent IDPH guidelines indicate that students can return to school five (5) days after a positive test result or being exposed to someone with COVID-19. The guidance also specifies that the student must remain masked and be able to social distance. For some of our student populations, staying masked at all times and being socially distant may not be feasible. Due to this, schools may maintain the ten-day quarantine for those circumstances that meet the above criteria. 

It is also important that you monitor your child(ren)’s health and be aware of any COVID-19 symptoms. Those individuals who exhibit symptoms should NOT report to school and should contact their health care provider to determine if testing is needed. 

We continue to be grateful for all our teachers have done to provide a meaningful learning experience for our students during this time and are thankful for the substitutes and staff who are filling in where needed. We know it has been a challenging time for both our staff and families, but we will continue to push forward together. 

As always, we will continue to communicate updates and any changes. We look forward to seeing all students next week! 

Sincerely,   

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

 

EHS Announces First Semester Honor Roll

Edwardsville High School has released the names of students named to the school’s Honor and High Honor Rolls.

Students earned a place on the Honor Roll by attaining a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 to 3.999, while students on the High Honor Roll attained a GPA of 4.0 or higher.

View the HONOR ROLL

View the HIGH HONOR ROLL

 

 

COVID-19 Update

January 16, 2022 

Dear District #7 families,  

Thank you for your continued support as we work through the impact and disruptions of COVID-19 these last two weeks.  

Our goal remains to return all students to in-person learning as soon as possible, and as we are able to bring students back, we will do so.  

We continue to monitor our COVID-19 situation daily. With the new Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) guidance issued last week, we are expecting the shortened quarantine and exclusion time will assist us in ensuring we have staff to adequately manage our classrooms.  

There are currently 125 staff members that are currently impacted through a positive test for COVID, either for them or someone within their care, or have someone who has been excluded because of COVID. We have identified 73 staff members who are eligible to return on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.  

Based on what we know now, we anticipate that we will be able to return at least some of our students to in-person learning on Monday, January 24, 2022.   

Please remember that students or staff who test positive for COVID-19, or are considered a close contact to a positive case, may return after five days of quarantine or inclusion if they are fever-free for 24 hours, have improved symptoms and remain in a masked environment.  

To help provide answers to questions surrounding the new IDPH and ISBE guidance and District procedures, we have put together a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document. You can see that document here. It will be updated with any new information.  

We will continue to communicate updates and any changes.  

Sincerely,   

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

 

#FridayFeature: Janet Wiltshire

#FridayFeature
Janet Wiltshire | Hamel Elementary | Secretary

After 36 and a half years with District #7, Hamel Elementary secretary Janet Wiltshire will retire at the end of January. She is one of the District’s longest active employees.

A resident of Midway, Wiltshire began her District #7 career in August 1985 on the playground at Midway Elementary.

“It was close enough that I could go back and forth from home and work easily, and my daughter was in first grade at that time.”

Her time with District #7 has also included working in the Midway Media Center and serving as secretary at both Glen Carbon Elementary and Goshen Elementary. She came to Hamel in 2017.

Of course, there were other “unofficial jobs” she did along the way from subbing as a custodian to being a special education assistant and even helping the part-time nurse at Hamel.

“I think I’ve done everything expect be a teacher. I’ve always done anything and everything that was needed.”

Working in one place for 36-plus years is not something many are able to do.

According to Wiltshire, it’s been the people that have kept her in the District.

“It didn’t matter what school I was at. The people have always been wonderful.”

She’s seen a lot of change in her 36 years – most notably the fact that everything is now on computers – and has also been seeing a second generation of students come through the buildings.

“Some of the students at Hamel now, I had their parents at Midway. It’s good to see those former kids grow up and be successful and happy.”

Wiltshire never expected or planned to retire, but the decision for her retirement came with the birth of her first grandchild born last June.

“She lives in Kansas City with my son and daughter-in-law and he’s a minister there, which means they are not off on the weekends and I am. And I just want to be able to see her more.”

Although Wiltshire is looking forward to more time with her granddaughter and more motorcycle rides with her husband, stepping away from Hamel and District #7 will not be easy.

“I will definitely miss the kids the most. And the people I work with. I love the teachers at Hamel, they are all very sweet.”

 

Updated IDPH/ISBE Guidance & COVID-19 Update

January 12, 2022 

Dear District #7 families,  

On January 11, 2022, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2022-03, which adopts the CDC’s recently modified quarantine and isolation periods. As a result, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have both updated joint guidance for schools, consistent with the CDC recommendations and Executive Order requirements.  

Highlights of this new guidance include:
 

  • Individuals who test positive or are excluded due to exposure will be able to return to school after 5 days providing they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms; however, returning students must remain in a masked environment. 
  • Student-athletes who test positive or are excluded due to exposure will be able to attend practice on day 6 after testing positive if they are not experiencing symptoms but must remain masked and will not be able to participate until day 11.  

PreK-2nd, CASTLE and FLS students only: If your child tested positive or was excluded on or before Friday, January 7, 2022, your child may return on Thursday, January 13, 2022, as long as they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms. If your child tested positive or was excluded on or before Wednesday, January 12, 2022, your child may return on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, as long as they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms. Additional information regarding Kid Zone will be communicated later this evening. 

The process of reporting new COVID-19 positive cases, close contacts status or the onset of COVID-19 symptoms has not changed. As always, please continue to monitor students for COVID-19 symptoms and keep them at home if they are sick. 

 Even with the accelerated return of several staff next week, District #7 continues to see large numbers of new COVID-19 cases that are having a direct impact on our schools.  

  • 112 staff members are currently impacted through a positive test for COVID, either for them or someone within their care, or have someone who has been excluded because of COVID. 
  • At our primary schools, we continue to experience a student absence rate of between 25 and 30% district-wide.  
  • First Student, our bus company, continues to experience a shortage of personnel to run all required transportation routes. 

 Due to the substantial number of new cases, it continues to be difficult for District #7 and the Madison County Health Department to conduct prompt investigations to identify and to exclude close contacts. As a result of this, 3rd-12th grade students will remain in an adaptive pause and participate in remote learning through Friday, January 21, 2022. Our goal remains to return to in-person learning as soon as possible, and we will provide an update of our status on Thursday, January 20. PreK-2nd grade students and all students enrolled in the FLS/CASTLE programs will remain in person.   

 A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document that provides more information on updated IDPH/ISBE guidance and district procedures will be forthcoming. 

Again, we thank you for your continued support as we work through the impact and disruptions of COVID-19. It has been a trying start to 2022, but we will continue to push forward together.  

Sincerely,  
Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent 

 

COVID-19 Testing at Liberty Middle School

District #7 is partnering with My Blooming Health, a St. Louis based clinic, to provide COVID-19 testing for its staff and students.

This test is FREE, but appointments must be made at: https://booking.appointy.com/EDWARDSVILLETESTING.

When registering for the test, you will see a field that requires insurance information. In that field, enter “NONE” so that the order is processed correctly. If you leave that field blank, you will not be able to schedule an appointment.

Both a PCR (lab based test) and Rapid Result tests are offered to District #7 staff and students only at this time. The results typically return between 24 and 48 hours.

The clinic will be set up at the back of Liberty Middle School at entrance #21. Appointments can only be set up through the link provided above. When you come in for your appointment, you must practice social distancing and wear a mask.

 

 

#FridayFeature: Katie Bevis-O’Neal

Katie Bevis-O’Neal is no stranger to District #7. She attended the schools, served as a middle school teacher and coach for 14 years, and now is the interim principal at Albert Cassens Elementary School.

Bevis-O’Neal makes the move to Cassens after a semester as the District’s administrative intern. She began her career in District #7 by teaching seventh grade for two years followed by 12 years of sixth-grade science.

Bevis-O’Neal, who comes from a family of educators, credits her fifth-grade teacher at Columbus as the reason for her career in education.

“She made learning fun and was working just as hard as we were, so it was easy to see the difference she made in my life. Because of that I knew I wanted to make that same difference in another child’s life someday.”

Having grown up in Edwardsville (her family moved here in 1993) and the opportunity to raise her family in this community is a huge reason that she has stayed in District #7 for the length of her career.

“I love this community and it is such a wonderful place to raise kids. I always think of myself being a kid and being raised in this community and I’ve always wanted my kids to go to the school in the community I work in. Being able to live right here in Edwardsville and to raise my children in this community makes it really easy to stay here.”

Bevis-O’Neal credits her leadership skills as one of the reasons she wanted to make the move from the classroom to administration.

“Whether it has come from my coaching experience or even my time as an athlete when I was younger, I’ve always felt that I’ve had leadership skills. Those skills will be valuable to help our teachers grow so they are continuing to provide the best education for our students in District #7. So while I’m not necessarily hands on with the students, I am secondary hands on and I know I can help the teachers be the best they can be.”

It’s those leadership skills and traits that Bevis-O’Neal is looking to bring to Cassens, along with excitement and relationship building. She is also focused on students and their growth.

“Our goal is to have Cassens elementary students succeed and grow in all aspects of life. Obviously academically, but we also want to see them grow as students and individuals.”

Bevis-O’Neal is excited to be at Cassens and has already hit the ground running.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know the families, the students and working with the wonderful staff.”

 

EHS Senior Wins US Congressional App Challenge

After months of high-level computer programming work, Edwardsville High School senior Jordan Schaeffer has earned national recognition by taking first place in the US Congressional App Challenge for Illinois Congressional District #13.

Every year, U.S. representatives challenge students in their districts “to create and submit their own original apps for a chance to win the Congressional App Challenge,” according to the competition’s website. Each winning app may be put on display at the U.S. Capitol Building for one year.

Schaeffer won for his app called “Peace of Mind”, which he says is more of an experience than a game.

“When you put on the virtual reality headset, you are transported into this world that’s calm and peaceful. You’re sitting by a campfire in the forest on a starry night and can hear the locusts in the background. You can look around and take a step away from everything that may be stressing you out.”

Schaeffer began developing the app in August and finished the product in October.

He says he was really surprised to win.

“I wasn’t even expecting to place. I actually didn’t even know when I’d get the results and then one day I got an email saying I got first place. It was exciting.”

This is the first time Schaeffer has created an app.

“I’ve always been more of hands-on hardware person. I like working with computer electronics and the hardware, but I have found some interest in the software. It can definitely be rewarding when you work with it and can build things.”

This is the fourth time since 2016 that an EHS student has won the nation’s most prestigious prize in student computer science.

“The students can use any software to create their applications,” said EHS Business/Applied Technology teacher Dene Schickedanz. “There are no restrictions on the type of app or the software used to create it. I use the MIT App Inventor cloud based software to teach the students with no coding experience which is a great way to introduce kids of all ages into app creation.”

Schaeffer credits EHS’s success in the app challenge to the business and technology program and its outstanding teachers.

“They encourage you and push you to do your best,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this otherwise.”

Edwardsville High School US Congressional App Challenge History

2016
1st – Ian McAtee & Seth Davey “Interactive Computer Design”

2017
1st – Adam Walters “Pixel Skies”

2018
3rd – Leonardo De La Torre Cruz, Karlye Murray, Jeffrey Cummings “EHS Map”

2019
1st – Connor Sweet & Sam Msengi “Quest for the Golden Head”

2020
No competition due to COVID

2021
1st – Jordan Schaeffer “Peace of Mind”

 

 

Holiday Greetings from Dr. Patrick Shelton

Watch Dr. Shelton’s holiday message here

Happy Holidays District #7 Community!

It has been a busy and wonderful first semester in all of our schools – from academics to athletics and fine arts – we have learned and accomplished so much. As we prepare to put 2021 in the past, I hope you have the same sense of pride as I do for all we have accomplished together over the last year. The pandemic has taken a toll on us all, but we continue to have a district filled with dedicated educators, a supportive community and students who excel in so many areas.

As we move into 2022, I remain hopeful for our future and believe the best in District #7 is yet to come.

On behalf of the Board of Education and the District, I want to wish you Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Thank you for all you do and we look forward to seeing you in 2022!

 

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Smith’s 4th Grade Class Surpasses Food Drive Goal

It’s the season for giving and that’s just what Roni Smith’s 4th grade class at Woodland Elementary School did.
The students held a successful canned food and non-perishable drive for the Glen-Ed Pantry, collecting 2,214 items – which far surpassed their goal of 1,750 items.
The students created flyers to hang around the school that reminded their fellow students and staff about the importance of giving to those less fortunate. Smith said the students enjoyed seeing so many of their peers throughout the building contribute to the drive and that they were excited about how they would be helping the community.
Smith added that for reaching their goal, her students will have a pajama day on Friday.

Lincoln F.I.T & GO Hold Drive for Glen-Ed Pantry

Lincoln F.I.T (Friends in Touch) and G.O. (8th grade leadership group) more than collected just a few items to benefit the Glen-Ed Pantry. Their largest collection to date totaled over 85 boxes of items with the food donations weighing in at 1,624 pounds, while more than 1,500 toys were collected. In addition, students raised more than $1,200 to shop for a family they “adopted” for Christmas and collected $400 in gift cards.

According to F.I.T/GO leader and Lincoln Prevention Counselor Mark Tschudy, nearly 75 student leaders helped organize the school-wide event with each of these students being responsible for activity period classrooms. They went into classrooms each morning with student-led incentives and activities to encourage their classmates to donate, which included candy, donuts, popcorn parties, dressing up in costumes and even pies in the face for reaching goals.

The students wrapped 85 different boxes to collect the donations, which were provided to each activity period. The students also used their creativity and marketing skills to create posters and a couple of promotional videos to drum up excitement and awareness.

All donations were delivered to Glen-Ed Pantry earlier this week to benefit District #7 families in need. (Fun fact: it took two school buses to deliver the items – one for all the donations and one for the students).

86 EHS Students Named Illinois State Scholars

Edwardsville High School Principal Dr. Steve Stuart has announced that 86 students from the EHS graduating class of 2022 have been designated as Illinois State Scholars by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (IASC) based on their exceptional academic achievement.

The Illinois State Scholar program is awarded to high school seniors based on ACT or SAT test scores, class size and unweighted class rank and Grade Point Average (GPA) at the end of their junior year. The program designates honorees based on the year they would begin any post-secondary education, not based on the year they graduate from high school.

The Illinois State Scholar designation is a non-monetary award. Each State Scholar honoree receives a congratulatory letter and Certificate of Achievement from ISAC and can download an official Illinois State Scholar badge to display on his or her online profiles and social media platforms. It also can be shared with their high school counselors, colleges, employers and others.

Congratulations to the following EHS seniors on the honor:

Diego Arana

Mason Babington

Braden Baker

Nathan Beck

Ruben Benjankar

Daniel Benson

Sophia Bertolino

Marcie Billings

Maxwell Brandmeyer

Caroline Byron

Karli Camp

Laine Chapman

Tyler Chrenka

Kate Conner

Ashley Cook

Sean Craig

Trey Dicks

Alyck El-Khatib

Elle Evans

Oliver Ferdinand

Emilie Fry

Emma Garner

Jacob Geisen

John Gingerich

Jacob Grandone

Julia Hantla

Zachary Harmon

Aiden Henke

Liam Hoeferlin

Jaelyn Hudson

Danielle Huene

Sydney Huskey

Olga Ivashyna

Adam Johnson

Justin Jones

Grace Kalb

Luke Karlas

Connor Kielty

Meredith Kremitzki

Ashley Kuethe

Lindsey Lankford

Donovan Latham

Abigail Law

Sydney Lawrence

Benjamin Loftus

Allyson Lunsford

Julietta Marini

Henley Mason

Nicholas McClintock

Grace McGinness

Simon McKean

Alissa Mollett

Kathryn Morgan

Nicole Morris

Rachel Mueller

Edward Noonan

Adrian Norcio

Shaun Pacatte

Rachel Piazza

Reese Pifer

Patrick Rawson

Cole Reinking

Joshua Robinson

Logan Roever

Mera Rusick

Benjamin Schardt

Macy Silvey

Spencer Stearns

Jacob Summers

Alexander Sundar

Hannah Tae

Timothy Tossey

Aidan Underwood

Gabriela Vazquez

Madison Vieth

Michael Voltz

William Voss

Gavin Walls

Jillian Welsh

Michael Whaley

Ryan Whaley

Mitchell White

Elizabeth Wilbraham

Jeffrey Windau

Jenae Wright

Ella Young

 

(not all students pictured)

EHS Choir Carside Caroling

The EHS Choir will host a “Car Lot Caroling” event on Sunday, December 12 from 3-5 p.m. in the EHS main parking lot. Cost is $5 per car.

 

Middle School 1:1 Devices Agreement Forms

December 6, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians:

After the first of the year, Lincoln and Liberty Middle Schools will begin distributing 1:1 devices for our middle school students and we couldn’t be more excited about the next step in District #7’s journey of implementing technology as a tool to improve the way in which we serve students. This will allow students to have immediate access to information via their own computers and will engage them in additional critical thinking, collaboration, and communication activities.   

  1. Before your student can receive their 1:1 device, both the student and their parent/guardian must read the attached Student Use Agreement and then sign the Agreement and Signature Form (6:235-AP3, E1) outlined in Board Policy 6:235. Students will be able to turn in the signed agreement during social studies class anytime. However, please have the signed form turned in by Monday, December 13 
  1. A hard copy of the agreement and signature form will also be given to students on Tuesday, December 7 to bring home. 

Each device will come with a protective case and charger and will be used in both the classroom and home for educational purposes. Please remember that you and your child are responsible for their device. As detailed in the Device Student Use Agreement, if a student’s device is lost or damaged, the District may assess the parent(s)/guardian(s) a charge to cover the replacement or repair. 

We look forward to working with you as we embark on this wonderful new opportunity. If you have any questions, please contact your building principal. 

Sincerely,  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Vaccination Clinic Scheduled for December 13

District #7 will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Monday, December 13, 2021. The clinic will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the EHS Media Center with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine being administered.   

There is no cost for the vaccination and the clinic is for any student ages 5 or older.  

All children ages 5-17 must be accompanied by a parent and must have a signed parental consent form, available for download here 

The second dose will be administered on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, also from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the EHS Media Center.  

Masks are required for students and parents at both clinics, while social distancing should also be maintained. 

If your child(ren) is fully vaccinated and their vaccination cards have not yet been uploaded, you may do so here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F7FTG8J 

 

EHS 9th Grader Earns Bronze Medal

While most people spent Thanksgiving weekend eating turkey, shopping or relaxing, Edwardsville High School 9th grader Micah Miner was winning a bronze medal.
The world class gymnast finished third in the 13-14 men’s age group of the double mini trampoline at the World Age Group Competition of the Tumbling and Trampoline World Championships held November 25-28, 2021 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Miner, who trains out of Kris’ Power Tumbling in Shelbyville, Ill., was the only USA athlete to compete in all three events (trampoline, double-mini and tumbling). He finished 19th in the world in the individual trampoline competition (which is also an Olympic sport) with a new personal record for total score and placed 14th in tumbling.
Watch his double mini performance and read more about him:  https://www.instagram.com/tv/CW0eaKTgzLH/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Photo: Micah (left) with fellow US medalists in the double mini trampoline (photo courtesy of USA Gymnastics)

Creative Hearts Art Club is Newest Club at EHS

Edwardsville High School has a new after school club and they are already making an impact.

EHS Creative Hearts Art Club was started by art teacher Cassie Flynn as way to give students an outlet for art.

Flynn, an EHS alumnus, never played sports or participated in band. And although she has several students who are both great artists and athletes, she also knows how it can feel in a large school like Edwardsville when you are not an athlete.

The first meeting was held in September with nearly 40 students attending. Since then, they have been working hard to form their identity and most recently, finished their first community project by partnering with Creative Hearts partnered with the St. Louis Area Food Bank to create 25 bowls for the Empty Bowls Project, a grassroots movement by artists and crafts people in cities and towns around the world to raise money for food related charities to care for and feed the hungry in their communities. The bowls created by the EHS students were on sale at the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights earlier in November at the St. Louis Area Food Bank’s Food on the Move Truck display.

Flynn said that community project is just the first of many for Creative Hearts, which also intends to make and sell cards and ceramics for staff and students as well as organize fundraiser and community involvement events.

While the club does provide that creative outlet for her students, Flynn also wants the artwork created to be purposeful and productive, which so far it has.

 

What District #7 Students Are Thankful For

District #7 wanted to know what our students were thankful for this year, so we made a visit to our schools to find out.

Watch this video to find out…

Day of Giving Benefits Glen-Ed Pantry

The Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 partnered with Village of Glen Carbon employees to hold a Day of Giving to benefit the Glen-Ed Food Pantry.

District #7 employees contributed $1,550 to the cause, all going to one of the community’s most vital non-profits which serves the district’s students and families.

“District #7 is grateful for all that the Glen-Ed Pantry does for this community and we wanted to show our support for the important work they do through our Day of Giving campaign,” said Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton. “We are also glad we could partner with the Village of Glen Carbon to have an even broader reach on our community.”

Together, District #7 and the Village of Glen Carbon donated $1,760, which was presented to the Glen-Ed Pantry’s Jane Ashasay by Shelton and Glen Carbon Mayor Bob Marcus.

Liberty’s Emily Kobler Receives Excellence in Teaching Award

Liberty Middle School eighth grade language arts teacher and technology trainer Emily Kobler has been selected as one of Emerson’s 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.

She is among more than 80 teachers from across the St. Louis metropolitan area who are being recognized this year through the program as examples of truly outstanding educational excellence.

I am so honored and thankful to receive this award,” said Kobler. “It was a surprise to receive it because I didn’t know that I had been nominated. I don’t know that I am any more deserving than my fellow teachers in District 7, however, as all of the teachers here are so good at collaborating and supporting each other. Our ultimate goal is to educate and help our students grow and no one is able to do that independently. The entire team is necessary and needed.”

The Emerson Excellence in Teaching Awards, now in its 32nd year, is one of the St. Louis region’s most recognized teacher recognition programs. Emerson proudly sponsors this program as a way of helping the St. Louis community express their collective admiration and gratitude for their dedication to teaching the area’s students.

“When I hear the phrase “Excellence in Teaching,” the first name that comes to mind is Mrs. Emily Kobler,” said Liberty Middle School principal Dr. Allen Duncan. “Mrs. Kobler, in all ways, personifies the definition of an excellent teacher. First and foremost, she has a gift for building relationships. She has a fantastic knack for connecting with all of her students. She also understands that she needs to meet each student where they are, always building on their strengths and nurturing progress on areas they need to improve. Mrs. Kobler takes pride in her commitment to her relationships with all of her students, which are so strong that they have resulted in life-long relationships with her students and their families.”

Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton echoes Duncan sentiments.

“Emily exemplifies what it means to be an excellent educator and is truly deserving of this honor. Her commitment to our students is evident every day and we are extremely grateful to have Emily in District 7.”

Kobler has spent 24 of her 25 years of teaching in District 7, having also taught 4th-8th grades at Columbus Elementary, Albert Cassens Elementary, Woodland Elementary and Liberty.

“I love inspiring and motiving students to take independent steps towards pursuing their goals. That student ‘lightbulb moment’ is the most exhilarating feeling as a teacher,” she said. “It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I had a small part in helping a student achieve the great things they were born to do.”

In recognition of her honor, Kobler received an engraved crystal apple from Tiffany & Co., along with other additional tokens of appreciation from Emerson. She was also recognized at the November 22, 2021 District #7 Board of Education meeting.

Inclement Weather Plan

November 10, 2021 

Dear District #7 Families: 

Winter is fast approaching, and along with it comes the potential for weather and travel concerns. If inclement weather prompts District #7 to cancel school or alter bus schedules, we will notify parents and staff as soon as possible using a variety of communication tools. Please note, extreme weather can be unpredictable, but the decision to cancel school will be made by 5 a.m., if possible, on days when inclement weather occurs or is pending. District #7 will only send a message if school is cancelled or bus routes are altered. Otherwise, the day will proceed as usual.  

When the decision is made to cancel school due to inclement weather, the District will send an email, a text message, and a recorded message via phone to all families via our message broadcast system, SchoolMessenger.  

The system will utilize contact information that the District currently has on file in SchoolMessenger, which interfaces with the District’s student information system. Contact information was provided at registration by parents/guardians. Revised or updated contact information should be provided to your child’s school. All information and contact numbers are secure and confidential and are used only for the purposes described above. If you have not opted-in for text messages and would like to do, please see the Text Opt-in attachment 

 If you have any questions about this system or any part of the SchoolMessenger notification process, please contact Bill Miener, Director of Information Systems & Service, at 655-6018, or by email at bmiener@ecusd7.org. 

District #7 will post school closure information at www.ecusd7.org and on our social media channels, including FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. The District also notifies local television stations (KMOV-TV CHANNEL 4 NEWS; KSDK-TV CHANNEL 5 NEWS; FOX 2 NEWS) as well as radio station KMOX (AM-1120).  

With Tiger Pride,   

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

COVID-19 & SHIELD Testing Update

November 4, 2021 


Dear District #7 Families:  

As we enter another month of the school year, I wanted to provide our District #7 families and community with an update on COVID-19 and SHIELD Testing.  

Throughout this school year, District #7 has done an excellent job in keeping case counts of COVID-19 low. Last week, there were nine known positive cases among students, the lowest weekly total since the school year began, and four among staff. However, transmission remains high in our county and we must not let our guard down about doing our part to stay safe and healthy.  

The layered strategies we have in place, from masking to being diligent about social distancing to having testing available, along with other safety measures, has helped us with our goal of keeping students in the classroom and providing a safe learning environment.  

District #7 began SHIELD Testing on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, and we have been appreciative of the cooperation and support of our students and staff with this initiative as an additional mitigation strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19. SHIELD Testing helps us minimize the impact of exclusions and keeps students in school. If you would still like to opt in your child(ren) for SHIELD Testing, you can download a copy of the consent form here: http://ecusd7.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Edwardsville-Student-Consent-Form-SHIELD-Testing.pdf. Please remember that you must refrain from eating, drinking, tooth brushing, mouth washing, gum chewing and tobacco use for at least one hour before submitting your saliva sample at the test location. 

With the approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11 earlier this week, we recommend that you consult your child’s doctor for guidance on whether the vaccine is recommended for your child(ren). District #7 is partnering with a local pharmacy to offer a vaccination clinic soon and will share those details when finalized.  

Thank you for your ongoing collaboration and support as we all work together to stay safe and ready to learn in District #7. 

Sincerely, 

 

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

EHS Marching Tigers Are Class Champions, 5th Overall

It was a pair of firsts for the EHS Marching Tigers last weekend at the Illinois State Marching Band Championships at Illinois State University. For the first time in school history, the Tigers were named class champions in 5A and were also awarded high music achievement… and then in the finals, they finished in a tie for fifth place overall out of the 42 teams competing – marking the best finish in school history.

Band Director Ryan Lipscomb, junior drum major Jaden Hernandez and senior tenor drummer Ry Montgomery talk about the performance.

WATCH NOW

 

Changing the Way Reading is Taught

Shifting Gears: ECUSD #7 is changing the way we teach reading.

District #7 is dedicated to providing every child with high-quality, evidence-based reading instruction. This begins in our classrooms, specifically by giving our students the foundational skills necessary to become lifelong learners. Decades of research called “The Science of Reading” is guiding us on this journey, and we are just beginning.

Throughout the current school year, our focus will be on word recognition, while in the spring, teachers will begin to explore language comprehension more in depth with the goal to begin implementation of new materials to support these skills at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

For more on how these changes will look in the classroom, click here.

 

Announcement of IAR Parent Portal

District #7 is pleased to inform parents/guardians of a new and innovative method for presenting their student’s Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) test results.

  • IAR Parent Portal – Introducing https://il-results.pearsonaccessnext.com, where you can access individual student results and resources to support everything you need to know about your child’s performance on the Illinois Assessment of Readiness for English Language Arts and Math. This portal also allows you to add your student’s Spring 2021 test results to your user account and access them in the future. Please click here  for directions on creating your account to log into the IAR Parent Portal.  
  • Video Individual Score Reports (Video ISRs) – Video ISRs are personalized videos created specifically for your student that walk through the information presented on their student’s score Delivered via the IAR Parent Portal, video ISRs combine student-specific animation and voiceovers to help you better understand your student’s assessment results and direct you to resources that are tailored for your student’s needs. We encourage you to watch these videos with your child and discuss any questions with your student’s teacher.

As in the past, you will continue to receive paper copies of the Individual Student Reports (ISRs) – which will be sent home with your child next week. However, new this year, included on the ISR, will be an individual claim code unique to your student. With this code you will be able to securely access your student’s test results in the IAR Parent Portal.

The IAR Parent Portal and Video Individual Score Reports are available now to parents/guardians, while the IAR student reports will be sent home next week with your child.

If you have any questions regarding this online process for accessing your student’s IAR test results, please contact Beth Jacobs, Coordinator of Assessment, Instructional Technology and Professional Learning at ejacobs@ecusd7.org.

 

The Drive for 1,000 Pairs of Socks

by: Mary Ann Mitchell, Public Relations & Communications Coordinator

Students in Carla Kinsey’s fifth-grade class at Woodland Elementary School are not only doing something good for the community, they are gaining some practical real world experience in doing so.

Since October 1, the students have been conducting a sock drive with a goal of collecting 1,000 pairs of socks by the end of the month.

While Kinsey is overseeing the project, it is the students have complete ownership of it.

“They are the ones who brainstormed and came up with what we would need to have this drive take place,” she said, noting there are teams of students that oversee advertising of the drive to a team of students that handle collections and teams that count the socks and another that sorts them.

“They do it all, and we have even talked about how to get the community involved, from talking to their parents about putting it on social media to even asking their neighbors if they’d be willing to donate.”

As of last Friday (October 15), the class had collected 661 pairs of socks. But with donations that came in this week, Kinsey believes that number is now approaching 800. The drive runs through October 31.

“We wanted to be done before the season of giving begins and where we could get this out before the cold sets in and wouldn’t interfere with other things going on in the school or community,” said Kinsey.

Kinsey, who is in her fourth year at Woodland and in her 20th year with District #7, says she is a service-minded person and enjoys giving back and helping the community. Prior to joining the Woodland staff, she taught at Lincoln Middle School, and in her last five years there, she would do a drive similar to this with her classes.

“I hadn’t had the chance to do this at Woodland until now. And it’s been such a challenging year, so I wanted to do something.”

Kinsey thought a sock drive would be easy for 10-year-olds to handle, and as a class, they did some research and found many credible websites that said the number one need right now for people without a home or those with home or clothing insecurities is socks.

“They are doing a phenomenal job with this project and it also gives them some ownership and has developed their problem-solving skills.”

Case in point, Kinsey said the first week they collected socks, there were four students who were counting, but didn’t know whose box of socks it was. The students figured out quickly they needed a system in place and immediately reached out to Kinsey for some post-it notes to label those boxes.

“There is a lot of learning that takes place with this drive and I think that’s really important.”

The students are eyeing a reward of having a pajama day at the school if they collect a 1,000 pairs of socks, but they also understand the value of why they are collecting those socks.

“We are doing this for people in need,” said Elsie Lewis, one of the fifth grade students in Kinsey’s class. “It means a lot to be able to help them.”

Classmate Anna Wagahoff agrees.

“It’s fun to be able to help people in need. There are some people who are less fortunate and we can help them have a better life.”

In addition to the reward for collecting 1,000 socks, the classroom at Woodland that collects the most socks will get a pizza party.

Kinsey said it hasn’t been decided yet where they will donate the socks, but has been reaching out to some local places and will let the students make that final decision.

Anyone wanting to donate socks can do so by dropping them off at Woodland.

CONTACT:

Woodland Elementary School
59 S. State Route 157
Edwardsville, IL 62025
618-692-8791
http://ecusd7.org/woodland/

 

FastBridge Assessment

Dear District #7 K-8 Families, 

During the 2020-2021 school year, District #7 began using new universal screening assessments, the FastBridge Assessment System. FastBridge provides for the efficient administration of various types of assessments used to screen, monitor and inform instruction/intervention. Teachers and psychologists have been working diligently to screen students in kindergarten through 8th grade in the areas of reading and math.   

On Monday, October 25, 2021, you will receive the FAST Family Report for your child. This report allows you to quickly see how your student is performing relative to their grade level. FastBridge assigns student scores into three categories:  

  • On Track: A student listed as On Track has skills that meet or exceed the grade level expectation. 
  • Some Risk: A student listed as Some Risk may need additional support to improve the listed skills and is at some risk of falling behind their peers. 
  • High Risk: A student listed as High Risk will need additional support to improve the listed skills and are at high risk of falling behind their peers. 

Please keep in mind that the screening process allows for brief assessments intended to provide a quick overview of a student’s development in the targeted areas, similar to a pediatrician’s “well check”.  While this is important information to help us monitor student growth after returning to instruction following 15 months of interruptions to the educational setting, we must also remain cognizant of the fact that there is likely a higher prevalence of at risk students in nearly all schools across the nation.   

 The information in this report may be used as a starting point for conversations about learning needs, but should be considered with all other sources of information, including classroom performance, to gain an overall picture of your child as a learner. Additional screening windows in the winter and spring will allow educators and parents to track how each child’s scores have changed over time, which will provide a more comprehensive picture of student successes and needs.   

 If you have questions regarding your child’s report, please contact their building principal.  

Regards, 

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Parent-Teacher Conferences Pick-A-Time

Read a PDF of the letter below or watch the video


Dear District #7 Community:   

The District will again use Pick-A-Time to schedule PreK-12 parent-teacher conferences to be held via Zoom on Thursday, October 28, 2021, from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday, October 29, 2021, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As in prior years, Pick-A-Time will allow parents to schedule their children’s parent-teacher conferences through the internet using the account from last year or by creating a new account. Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, October 18, 2021, and will end at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.  

Parents can access Pick-A-Time at https://pickatime.com/ecusd7. Instructions for logging in, along with information specific to grade levels, can be found by clicking here 

Please feel free to contact your building secretary or principal if you have any questions or need support scheduling a conference. 

As we enter the second quarter of the school year, there are also several other communications we will be sharing in greater detail with our familiesOver the next four weeks, please check your email for more information regarding these items:  

Thursday,  

October 21, 2021 

FASTBRIDGE 

FastBridge screening for students in grades K-8 in the areas of reading and math has been completed. FastBridge provides for the efficient administration of several types of assessments used to screen, monitor, and inform instruction / intervention. Your child(ren)s report with additional FastBridge information will be sent on this date.  

Thursday,  

October 28, 2021 

IAR PARENT PORTAL 

The Illinois State Board of Education is launching a parent portal with Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) individual student test results, complete with access to score reports and videos explaining the individual student score reports. More information and directions on accessing the portal will be sent.  

Thursday, November 4, 2021 

COVID/SHIELD TESTING UPDATE 

SHIELD Testing began in our schools on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. In partnership with SHIELD, we will also be announcing the start of community testing.   

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 

TECHNOLOGY SURVEY & WINTER WEATHER PLANNING 

In conjunction with the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, District #7 will be asking for your assistance in completing a survey to show an accurate picture of the type of broadband coverage that is available in the District #7 geographic area and where it can be improved for our families. We will also share plans for winter weather.  

 With Tiger Pride, 

 

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D
Superintendent

 

 

Superintendent Update: September BOE Recap

October 3, 2021

Dear District #7 Community:

The District #7 Board of Education met last Monday (September 27, 2021) for their regular monthly meeting, which included approving the purchase of 1,800 Dell Latitude 3310 XCTO computers with a total cost of $1,024,200.00. This purchase comes after extensive work by several individuals in District #7 to identify a device which will withstand the daily use of middle school students, but also provide the long-term sustainability needed. These devices will be distributed upon returning from winter break in January 2022, pending availability. We are extremely excited that in addition to our staff and high school students, our middle school students will also now have devices.

The 2020-21 audit was also approved. Our financial profile designation also improved, going from ‘review’ to ‘recognition’. District #7 continues to remain on solid financial ground while continuing to fulfill the promises made with the passing of Proposition E in 2017.

Other key takeaways include:

  • Approving the 2021-22 budget.
  • Approving the purchase of a Panorama Education Platform License, a social-emotional intervention and monitoring tool that will allow teachers to access data on a student’s attendance, discipline, academics and social and emotional on a personal, classroom, school and district level.
  • Approving Friday, November 12, 2021, (the day after Veterans Day) as a non-attendance day. This now makes the last day of school May 20, 2022, with a half day. Communication on this 2021-22 school calendar change was sent out last week.

We continue to work through the onboarding process for SHIELD Testing and hope to have that ready to go very soon. Students who wish to participate can still submit consent forms for testing.

District #7 continues to need substitute teachers. Information on becoming a sub is available on the district website. Even if you have occasional availability, I encourage you to apply.

Finally, we had a great turnout of nearly 150 community members at our Strategic Planning Community Kick off on September 23, 2021. It was wonderful to see the engagement of everyone in attendance as we plan for the future of District #7. Our next strategic plan community event is Wednesday, December 8, 2021 (note the change in date). We look forward to seeing you there!

With Tiger Pride,

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.
Superintendent

2021-22 School Calendar Change

At the Monday, September 27, 2021, regular school board meeting, the Board of Education voted to approve a change in the 2021-22 school calendar.  

Friday, November 12, 2021, will now be a no attendance day for students. This date falls after Veterans Day on November 11, which is a holiday.  

The district has been experiencing a shortage of substitute teachers this year, which has resulted in pulling employees from their assigned locations to cover a classroom. Unfortunately, Fridays have been extremely difficult as we are pulling several people to cover classrooms. This change in the school calendar helps us alleviate any issues we may have had in covering classrooms on Friday, November 12, 2021.  

The final day of the 2021-22 school year will now be Friday, May 20, 2022, with a half day, barring the use of any emergency dates.  

Please see the revised 2021-22 school calendar to reflect this change. 

Strategic Plan Community Kick Off

Dr. Patrick Shelton invites the District #7 community to the Strategic Plan Kick Off on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at the EHS Commons from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Read the letter from Dr. Shelton or watch the video.

COVID Testing at Liberty Middle School

District #7 continues to partner with Northshore Clinical Labs to provide COVID-19 testing for its staff and students. Testing is being done at Liberty Middle School in the back parking lot, Monday through Thursday from 3:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Appointments are requested and can be made online. Please also note that even with appointments, there is typically a line at Liberty.

If you have questions regarding the testing, please contact Northshore Clinical Labs at info@northshoreclinical.com or call 773-570-6510.

To make an appointment: https://bit.ly/3928EYT

09-12-21 Message from Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton

9.12.21 Letter
SHIELD-Testing-FAQ
SHIELD Testing Consent Form

A reminder that SHIELD testing consent/opt-in forms are due on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, along with other district reminders and updates from Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton.

09-03-21 Message from Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton

Please read the letter from Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton, regarding SHIELD testing.  The student consent form can be found here.

08-27-21 Message from Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton

Good Evening,

Please read the letter or watch the video from District #7 Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton.

Thank you.

08-13-21: Message from Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton

Good Evening,

Please read the letter or watch the video from District #7 Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton.

Thank you.

Dr. Shelton Speaks to Fox 2 and KMOV 4

To see District #7 Superintendent speak to Fox 2 and KMOV 4 regarding students returning to in-person learning, please click the appropriate links below.

Fox 2 News Story

KMOV Story

Open House Reminder

We are excited to welcome you back for the 2021-22 school year!  Primary and Intermediate buildings are providing open houses tonight at the following times:

PreK and Primary Buildings          5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Intermediate Buildings                  6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

This evening provides families the opportunity to meet their child’s teacher, drop off school supplies, and tour the building. During this time, in order to maintain the safety of all of our students, staff, and families, we encourage you to please:

  • Social distance to the greatest extent possible from other families
  • Utilize the hand sanitizer provided
  • Be considerate to others by limiting your time in the building to 20 minutes or less

We remind you that masks are required while in the buildings this evening, regardless of vaccination status.

Enjoy your evening, and welcome back!

Pep Rally Held to Welcome Back District #7 Staff

District #7 teachers and staff kicked off the start of the new school year by holding a virtual pep rally yesterday on their first day back!  Each building was encouraged to wear spirit wear and when the roll call occurred, each school cheered and showed their school spirit!

Speakers included District #7 Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton, Board of Education President, John McDole, and Director of Curriculum, Tara Fox.

Although we would have loved to have everyone together to kick off the school year, it was still a refreshing way to bring all the staff back to the buildings and create a positive atmosphere across the district!

District #7 is ready to welcome back on our students on Wednesday, August 11th for the first (half day) of school!

 

08-09-21 Back to School FAQ

Please note that a Back to School FAQ document has been posted on our website under the 21-22 Back to School Plan.  Thank you.

08-04-21: Update on Return to Learn Plan

Good Evening,

Please read the letter or watch the video from District #7 Superintendent, Dr. Patrick Shelton regarding the Back to School Plan.

Thank you.

Proposed Back to School Plan for 2021-2022

The proposed Back to School Plan for 2021-2022 is available at http://ecusd7.org/district-reopening/, where comments can also be provided.

 

A special Board meeting is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 4 at Woodland Elementary, where Dr. Shelton will present an overview of the plan and the Board will hear public comments. Masks will be required for all attendees. Thank you for your input and support in District #7.

District #7 Kid Zone is Hiring

Kid Zone is hiring for the 2021-2022 school year!

What: Before and after school child care program within the Edwardsville School District

Where: District 7 Elementary School Buildings

Ages: Prek-5th Grades

Position Hours: Monday – Friday 6:15-9:00am & 3:15-6:00pm (flexible scheduling options available)

Apply

Kid Zone Program Information

08-02-21: A Message from District#7 Superintendent, Dr. Shelton

Good Morning District #7 Families,

Please see the letter or watch the video from our Superintendent, Dr. Shelton.

Thank you.

School Supply Lists 2021-2022

School Supply Lists

Cassens Elementary

Columbus Elementary

Glen Carbon Elementary

Goshen Elementary

Hamel Elementary

Leclaire Elementary

Midway Elementary

Nelson Elementary

Woodland Elementary

Worden Elementary

Middle School Supply List

High School
Supply lists are not issued for high school. Supplies may be assigned by individual classes.

A Message from District#7 Superintendent, Dr. Shelton

Please see the Letter from District #7 Superintendent, Dr. Shelton. Thank you.

2021-2022 Health Examinations & Immunizations Reminder

REMINDER: Please review the document below that outlines the specific grade level requirements and due dates for health examinations and immunizations.

Important State of Illinois Health Requirements for the 2021-2022 School Year

Proof of physicals and immunizations must be turned in to your student’s building nurse no later than October 15th.

Back to School Open House

District 7 has spent the summer months preparing our buildings and grounds for the first day of student attendance on Wednesday, August 11, 2021.

We invite you and your family to attend one of the scheduled open house sessions in order to visit your child’s schools, take a tour of the building, locate your child’s classroom, and even meet your child’s teacher!

Diversity Day at the Edwardsville Futures

Please see the article Kids are Stars of Diversity Day  from The Intelligencer regarding Diversity Day at the Edwardsville Futures held at the Liberty Middle School tennis courts.

                      

           

A Message from District#7 Superintendent, Dr. Shelton

Good afternoon District #7 Families,

Please see the letter from our Superintendent, Dr. Shelton, or watch the video located at https://youtu.be/dVsomG7sYz0.

Thank you, and have a wonderful evening!

District7 is Hiring

https://ecusd7.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx

Please click on the link above to see all current job openings within District 7.  When you find the job you want to apply for, click “Apply” to begin the process!

Job Fair Reminder – Open Interviews

Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 will be holding open interviews on Wednesday, July 14th  from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Hadley House located at 708 St. Louis Street, Edwardsville, IL.

Starting salary for each position and the number of hours:

Monitor – $12.00 (2 hr – 3 hr positions)

SSO – $16.70 (6.5 hrs)

Part Time Food Service – $12.40 (3 hr – 7 hr positions)

Full time Food Service – $13.10 (7.5 hr)

Assistants – $12.85 (7 hr)

Custodians – $13.95 (8 hr)

If you are interested in applying for any of the following positions, please click here to complete your application in advance.

Job Fair – Open Interviews

Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 will be holding open interviews on Wednesday, July 14th  from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Hadley House located at 708 St. Louis Street, Edwardsville, IL.

If you are interested in applying for any of the following positions, please click here to complete your application in advance.

Superintendent Letter 07/02/21

July 2, 2021: Dr. Shelton Letter to District #7 Families

2021 Summer Placement Screening Reminder

This is a reminder regarding our Summer Placement screenings.

The following students should schedule a placement screening appointment:

  • Incoming 1st – 5th grade students new to District 7 who are coming from non-traditional school settings such as: International schools, home-school situations and/or standards-based reporting without grade level designations. Elementary students coming from parochial schools within District 7 boundaries do not need to attend.
  • All Incoming 6th – 8th grade students new to District 7
  • Incoming 9th grade students who would like to be considered for a Geometry/Honors Geometry course as a freshman student.

All other students new to District 7 will be placed in classrooms/courses based on records from the student’s previous school. Placement testing for these students is not necessary.

Screening appointments can be made by contacting Barb Johnson, District 7 Curriculum & Instruction Department, at (618) 655-6021.

http://ecusd7.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2021/04/Communication-Summer-Placement-Testing-2021.pdf 

District #7 Welcomes Dr. Shelton

Please click on the link below for a message introducing Dr. Shelton, our new superintendent.

Dr. Shelton’s Welcome Video 

2021-2022 Health Examinations & Immunizations Reminder

This is just a friendly reminder regarding the upcoming due dates for health examinations and immunizations.  The link below outlines the specific requirements for each grade level.  Proof of physicals and immunizations must be turned in to your student’s building nurse no later than October 15th.

3rd-5th Grade STEMscopes – Stomp Rockets

            

Last week, 3-5 STEMscopes Summer Enrichment camp was all about movement. Student engineers planned, constructed, and improved balloon powered rockets, stomp rockets, and cotton ball catapults. The main event was the stomp rocket. Groups worked together to observe a prototype, sketch plans to replicate it, decide on supplies, and construct it. Once they tested it, they made improvements and retested their stomp rocket. The group had a launch party to see which rockets would go the highest. It was a great week of fun, learning, and lots of successful launches!

3rd – 5th Grade Art Camp: Under the Sea

 

In our 3rd-5th grade Art Camp (Under the Sea), students studied coral and practiced drawing various types of coral. Then students applied that practice to a printmaking project. Students drew a coralscape on foam and printed it onto paper making 4 or more prints! Today we will add some mixed media to our prints and begin a line design Octopus.

6th-8th Grade STEMscopes – HOVERCRAFT

In our 6th – 8th grade STEMscopes Hovercraft session, students started by investigating how to build a boat that can float holding a supported weight of 100 grams.  Following that, students had the opportunity to work on constructing their hovercrafts.  They were able to explore with their inventions to ensure they could travel over both land and water.  In the next stage, they will reflect on the work of another group and go back and change at least one part of their own prototype!

3rd-5th Grade STEMscopes – Summer Enrichment Program

“Eyes, Ears and Hands: Claw Hands” STEM course. 3rd – 5th grade students became engineers for the week! They learned about the Engineer Design Process and different types of technology both ones we think of like computers and cell phones, as well as more uncommon types of technology like rubber bands, tape, wheels, etc. Students were shown a prototype of a claw hand to observe and deconstruct and were then given a budget to buy their supplies. They had to reverse engineer a claw hand without directions or set supplies. Students worked cooperatively to create a claw hand that could pick up a plastic object. Student engineers learned that their road to success may look different, but they were able to build their claw hands successfully, while having a lot of fun!

 

6th-8th Grade STEMscopes – Summer Enrichment Program

As of our Summer Enrichment program, STEMscopes, students in our 6th-8th grade program are applying ENGINEERING SKILLS to make a HYDRAULIC ROBOTIC ARM that can lift, turn, and grasp!  During the latter stage of the project, they will change their robotic arm so that it is able to perform a specialized task: holding a fork, picking up a piece of candy, or drawing on a whiteboard for example.

K-2 Art Camp – Under the Sea

This week started our enrichment opportunities at Lincoln Middle School.  Our K-2 students enrolled in the “Under the Sea” Art Camp discussed what they know about the ocean and why it is different from other bodies of water.  The discussion was focused around turtles so the students learned about different types of turtles in our community and watched a video on sea turtles.  Following the video, the student’s learned about the term “texture” and how it is used in artwork.  The students then created tissue paper turtles where the overlapping created the illusion of texture.  Students then had the opportunity to use clay and discuss applying real texture to their sea turtles shell!

2021 ECUSD7 Choir Camp

Choir Camp Flyer

REGISTER HERE

2021 ECUSD7 Choir Camp

WHEN: June 16-17, 1:00-4:00pm
FOR: STUDENTS 3rd-8th grade in the 20-21 School Year
WHERE: Edwardsville High School
CLINICIANS: ECUSD7 Faculty: Amanda Gibson, Tom O’Malley, and Emily Ottwein

Students will learn:
● Basic music reading skills
● Proper singing technique
● Fundamentals of choral singing

Fee: $35.00 Payable to EHS/District 7. Scholarships are available; please contact eottwein@ecusd7.org 

COVID-19 SHOTS Event @ Liberty, Tuesday, June 8th

There will be a COVID-19 SHOTS event at Liberty Middle school on Tuesday, June 8th, form 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  For more information, please see the flyer.

http://ecusd7.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2021/06/Liberty-Middle-School-June-8th.pdf

 

2021 End of Year Recognitions

As we wrap up the 2020-2021 school year, we want to take a moment to thank each employee for their dedication during this rollercoaster of a school year.  The finish line is so close and we would be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to thank each of you for your perseverance during this unprecedented time.

While we were unable to plan a traditional awards banquet to recognize staff for their efforts, we have prepared a short video to honor employees that have worked 25 years or more in the District.  In addition, we have compiled a special tribute for the retirees.  Please take a few minutes to watch the video and reach out to your colleagues and thank them for their commitment throughout their careers to enhancing the lives of students.

Thanks again for your hard work and dedication this school year and we hope you all have a relaxing summer break!

You can view the video by clicking on the link below:

End of Year Recognition Video

Sincerely,

District 7 Board of Education and Administration

COVID Dashboard: 5-21-2021 Update

District 7 COVID-19 Dashboard 

The District 7 COVID-19 dashboard contains the number of positive COVID-19 cases as well as the number of quarantined staff and students within each school in the district as of this morning.

Click HERE to view the updated District 7 COVID-19 dashboard.