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Board Summary: November 27 Monthly Meeting

The Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 Board of Education met on Monday, November 27, 2023, in the Liberty Middle School Auditorium for its monthly board meeting.  

This is a summary of that meeting. It is not the official meeting minutes, but rather a summary to assist the District #7 community. The official minutes can be found on the District #7 Board of Education Board Docs once approved by the Board.  

Superintendent’s Report 

  • Beginning this month during his superintendent report, Dr. Shelton will share the number of bullying incidents which have been reported and the specific number of consequences. During September, there were 14 verbal incidents and four physical incidents, while during October, there were 10 verbal and zero physical incidents.  
  • The Everyone, Every day, Edwardsville t-shirt campaign with proceeds going towards anti-bullying activities in schools saw over 850 shirts purchased and $3,000 dollars raised. District #7 will be holding an anti-bullying week February 26-March 1, 2024, with school assemblies with Stu Cabe from the Ovation Company. Stu will also co-present two evening programs, including one for grade 6-12 parents on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at Liberty Middle School, and for grade PK-5 parents on Thursday, February 29, 2024, at Cassens Elementary School.  
  • Soon, the district will announce a timeline for incorporating four additional shuttles into the athletic transportation rotation, which should provide coverage for all athletic events moving forward.  

Board Member Resignation 

President Jill Bertels announced that John McDole has resigned from the Board of Education. A public notice will be published in the Edwardsville Intelligencer this week to fill the vacancy. Interested persons should submit their letter of interest and qualifications and indicate they meet the Edwardsville Township residency requirement. This needs to be submitted to the district office by December 11.  


  • Recognized Mr. Josh Fark, special education teacher at Albert Cassens Elementary School, who was selected as one of Emerson’s 2023 Excellence in Teaching Award recipients. 
  • Recognized Liberty Middle School cross country runner Serena Shapiro, who placed 12th at the state meet.  
  • Recognized the Lincoln Middle School girls’ cross-country team, which placed third at state as a team. 

District #7 New Website Coming 

District #7 will launch a new website on Monday, December 11. With the new site, visitors will see a modern, clean design and better use of photos. The new website will also feature menus that allow users quick access to important school and district information, a new and improved calendar, the ability to streamline messaging capabilities, and the opportunity to collect data and analytics. 

Illinois School Report Card 

Dr. Shelton shared more data from the Illinois School Report Card. He touched on the positive outcomes, which include:  

  • Overall proficiency is above the state average 
  • There was a slight growth in SAT scores, which are above the state average  
  • The graduation rate remains positive 
  • Achievement by per pupil expenditure for instruction 

When it came to areas of growth for the district, he highlighted:  

  • Chronic absenteeism. Knowing this was a problem last year, the District implemented the 5-5-5 policy for the 2023-24 school year.  
  • IAR growth percentile in ELA and Math. With the use of MTSS and PLCs, the District is using targeted interventions and data-driven decision making in this area.  
  • Percentage of 9th grade students on track. The district is evaluating data from grades/credits from 2022-2023 and has been monitoring ninth grade students this fall.  

 2024-25 School Calendar 

The 2024-25 calendar will be brought to the board for approval during the December board meeting. It is anticipated that the calendar will be the 2024-25 draft calendar that was approved last year.  

A 2025-26 draft calendar will begin as conversations with construction managers continue to be refined regarding construction projects during the summer of 2025. 

2024-25 EHS Course Handbook 

Changes, additions, and revisions to Edwardsville High School course handbook for 2024-25 were shared with the board. The full course handbook will be brought to the board for approval in December.  

In action, the Board Approved: 

  • The 2023 tax levy estimate for the 2024-25 school year. The 2023 estimated EAV increase for all properties in the district is approximately 1.3%, with an additional 8.2% increase due to township multipliers required by Illinois statute. This results in a projected 9.5% increase for the 2023 tax levy, potentially lowering the tax levy rate from $4.69 to $4.67 if the EAV growth rate remains constant. 
  • The purchase of Middle School Language Arts (ELA) materials and supplies from Amplify ELA, as recommended by the District 7 6-8 ELA Curriculum Committee.  

Next Meeting:  

Monday, December 18 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m. at Liberty Middle School) 

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Board Summary: November 13 Work Session

The Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 Board of Education met on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in the Liberty Middle School Auditorium for its monthly work session.    

These are not the official meeting minutes, but rather a summary to assist the District #7 community. The official minutes can be found on the District #7 Board of Education Board Docs once approved by the Board.  

Middle School English Language Arts
Tara Fox, Director of Curriculum, along with Becky Artime, District Literacy Coach, Sarah Hollis, Liberty English Language Arts teacher, and Jenn Brown, Lincoln English Language Arts teacher, led a discussion on the Middle School English Language Arts curriculum review. Since November 2022, a collaborative committee of teachers and staff has been diligently working to identify a new English Language Arts curriculum for the middle school, aiming to replace the outdated current curriculum that has been in use for nearly two decades.  

The committee initiated a proposal process involving nine companies, narrowing down to three after receiving six proposals. Following observations in local school districts implementing two of the three programs and hearing from company representatives, the pool was further reduced to two. The committee decided on Amplify due to its comprehensive features such as varied instructional support, skill integration, vertical alignment, resources for MEL (Multilingual English Learners), diversity, technological features, student engagement, and ongoing professional support.  

The decision is pending approval at the upcoming monthly board meeting, and if approved, training and professional development are scheduled to commence in December 2023 and continue throughout the spring semester, with the implementation slated for the start of the 2024-25 school year. 

Tax Levy
David Courtney, CFO/COO, delved into the tax levy projections for the upcoming 2024-25 school year. Due to a significant adjustment in the estimated township multipliers, the district is currently projecting an increase in its 2023 Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) of approximately 9.55%. The current year EAV increase for the district was 7.16%.  

Courtney discussed the tax levy and how township multipliers impact property values and expected tax revenues for the district. He explained that property must be assessed at 33.33% value and may be assigned multipliers to reach this valuation. For the 2023 EAV estimate, the multipliers for townships within the district are projected to range from 1.0818 to 1.1029, leading to the expected increase in the 2024-25 property tax revenues.  

The assigned township multipliers drive nearly all of the tax increases on an annual basis, especially when the actual tax levy rates remain the same or decline. The district’s projected tax levy rate is estimated to decline from the current year amount of $4.69 to between $4.67 and $4.68 for the 2024-25 school year. 

His discussion also touched on the importance of estimating tax revenue based on the provided multiplier information from the county and pointed out that the levy is not set based on the rate, but rather on the dollar amount assigned to various funds, such as education and transportation, and that these amounts directly impact the tax levy. Additionally, Courtney discussed the differences with the individual levies, some with statutory maximums and some determined by the budgetary need of the district, that comprise the total tax rate. 

School Achievement/School Report Card
Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton gave the board a high-level presentation of the Illinois School Report Card and how it works. The school report card can help a district identify areas for improvement and monitor progress. Noted were the challenges of stagnant achievement and the need to update curriculum studies to align with standards and best practices in education.  

Shelton shared the ability to drill down into various data points on the report card and demonstrated how to use the report card to compare the district’s performance with state averages and trends over time, particularly in areas such as graduation rates and racial and ethnic diversity. 

 Shelton noted the changing demographic composition of the school district, noting a decrease in the white student population and an increase in the low-income rate. He stressed the importance of understanding and adapting to these demographic shifts for cultural and educational purposes. 

Tara Fox, Director of Curriculum, followed with a presentation on FastBridge and IAR cohort scores, which showed three-year trends of students versus one single test year. A look at those presentation slides can be seen here 

In action, the Board Approved:  

  • The issuance of $6,196,573 in general obligation school bonds for roof replacements at Edwardsville High School ($1,793,355.50), Glen Carbon Elementary ($411,224.00), Leclaire Elementary ($384,912.00), Woodland Elementary ($1,233,008.50), and Liberty Middle School ($2,374,073.00).  
  • The issuance of debt certificates, not to exceed $13,000,000 to complete solar panel installations at Worden Elementary, Jon Davis Wrestling Center, Success Academy, Edwardsville High School, Hamel Elementary, Leclaire Elementary, Glen Carbon Elementary, Cassens Elementary, Goshen, Elementary, and Liberty Middle School. The debt certificates will be paid annually from the energy savings generated from the installation of the solar panels at these building locations.  

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates
Monday, Nov. 27 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, Dec. 18 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, Jan. 8 – Board of Education Work Session (6 p.m.)
Monday, Jan. 22 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 12 – Board of Education Work Session (6 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 26 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, March 11 – Board of Education Work Session (6 p.m.)
Monday, March 25 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Monday, April 8 – Board of Education Work Session (6 p.m.)
Monday, April 22 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
Tuesday, May 28 – Regular Board of Education Meeting (7 p.m.)
All meetings are held at Liberty Middle School 


12 District #7 Schools Earn Commendable 2023 Designations

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the annual Illinois Report Card at The Report Card shows how schools are progressing on a wide range of educational goals.   

One component of the School Report Card is the annual summative designation – a descriptor of how well our schools are meeting the needs of all students. The designations recognize schools with strong overall performance across a range of academic and student success indicators. There are five designations a school can receive – Exemplary, Commendable, Targeted Support, Comprehensive Support, or Intensive Support.  

Of District #7’s 13 schools, 12 received a COMMENDABLE designation by the State of Illinois, including Edwardsville High School, Liberty Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Albert Cassens Elementary, Columbus Elementary, Worden Elementary, Glen Carbon Elementary, Goshen Elementary, Hamel Elementary, Leclaire Elementary, Midway Elementary and Nelson Elementary. Woodland was designated as TARGETED. ISBE has indicated Woodland’s designation is based on the achievement gap between special education students and regular education students.   

  Areas that stood out on this year’s School Report Card include:  

  • Each District #7 school received the full amount of points for proficiency in ELA and Math. 
  • Chronic Absenteeism, one of the priorities that District #7 developed for 2023-2024, was one of the areas that no school received the full amount of points. District #7’s chronic absenteeism is 23 percent, whereas the state average is 28.3 percent.
  • Teacher retention improved from 89.7 percent last year to 93.9 percent this year. 

The Illinois Report Card provides the school community with an opportunity to reflect on last year’s strengths and discuss areas for continuous improvement. District #7 believes every single student can meet high expectations and that parents/caregivers and community members are a critical partner in each child’s education.  

View the district’s complete Illinois Report Card data at 

Calendar Reminder: No School Oct. 30-31, Nov. 1

There will be no student attendance on Monday, October 30 for Teacher Institute Day and on Tuesday, October 31 and Wednesday, November 1 for Parent Teacher Conferences.

As a reminder, the 2023-24 School Calendar can be found here.

Calendar Reminder: Columbus Day on Oct. 9

No school on Monday, Oct. 9 in observance of Columbus Day.



Cox and Herman Earn MIEE Status

Congratulations to District #7 elementary technology specialists Shanyra Cox and Michelle Herman, who both recently became Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts.  

When the district became a Microsoft 365 district, the duo knew there was a lot to learn.  

“I quickly realized that I needed to accelerate my understanding of all things Microsoft in order to guide instruction,” said Cox. “MIEE helped me envision how to better support student and teacher learning in an ever-evolving world of technology, and it gave me the skills, mindset and supportive community to make that happen.”  

“A great deal of school districts around us are Google schools, and therefore, I felt like my outside resources were limited,” said Herman. “Earning the MIEE not only taught me a lot, but also opened the doors to some amazing resources.” 

The Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program brings together a diverse community of educators from around the world and gives them an opportunity to share innovative practices.   

While the whole process consisted of many modules, the initial training academy was designed to teach coaches about the various Microsoft technologies while providing valuable insights and strategies for supporting teachers and students in integrating technology effectively in the classroom. 

“The emphasis on 21st century skills and instructional design is crucial for preparing students for the ever-evolving world of technology and the workplace,” said Herman. “Not only did I learn a lot along the way, but I also gained access to a supportive Microsoft Educational community of fellow educators across the world and a wealth of resources that I can share with teachers and students across the district.”

“I am excited to help District #7 teachers and students leverage Microsoft tools to create, collaborate and grow as learners!” added Cox.  




Unified Sports Ready for Another Successful Year

After a successful 2022-2023 year that included a state champion and lots of fun, Unified Sports in District #7 is excited to welcome new athletes and peers for this year!

Unified Sports consists of flag football, soccer, bowling, dance, bocce, esports, basketball, and track and field. All sports are offered to high school students, and some are offered at the middle school level.

A few of Unified Sports’ highlights from last year include raising $14,000 through the Polar Plunge, Respect Week involvement from all schools within the district, each school in in the district signing up to be a Unified Champion School, hosting the IHSA Unified Basketball Sectional tournament, the creation of Unified Dance, AJ Brewster winning a state title in swimming, and the YAC Bootcamp. YAC Bootcamp is a camp where youth leaders make the trip to Wisconsin from all over Illinois to learn leadership skills, plan National Inclusive Schools Week, and take part in fun bonding experiences like bonfires, laser tag, and swimming.

Unified Sports has several new goals for this school year. First, they want to recertify EHS as a Unified Champion National Banner School. A Special Olympics Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement, and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community. Schools need to reapply every four years.

They also hope to help establish metrics at the middle schools so they can apply to be a National Banner School at the end of next school year. Additionally, Unified Sports hopes to incorporate all Madison County high schools during the Unified Field Day. And of course, they hope to continue to grow Unified programming.

Unified Sports is recruiting now for the 2023-24 school year! They are looking for coaches, assistant coaches, students to participate as an athlete or a peer, as well as volunteers and local businesses to help with events.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for or participating in Unified Sports, please contact Unified Sports Athletic Director Kayla Magruder at #d7proud

written by Caroline Gates, District #7 PR Intern

Everyone, Every day, Edwardsville T-shirt Campaign Nets More than $3,000

Friday, Sept. 29 was the District’s first Everyone, Every day, Edwardsville t-shirt day and there were plenty of shirts being worn at each school. More than 800 t-shirts were sold during the initial campaign, which generated more than $3,000 that will go back to the schools to support anti-bullying and kindness initiatives. For those still interested in purchasing a shirt, the District will open the store again in October.

Gallery of photos

Message From Dr. Shelton

On the eve of the first day of school tomorrow, watch this message from District #7 Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton. He shares highlights going into the 2023-2024 school year as well as some of the recent challenges.

Read the video transcript here | Watch on YouTube with subtitles




Power School Parent Portal Access

The District #7 PowerSchool Parent Portal is parents’ tool for staying connected with their child’s educational journey. Below are directions to set-up and log in to the Parent Portal. Once completed, you will be able to access your student’s teacher, schedules and transportation (once it is available). A reminder that if you have not fully completed registration yet, you will not have access to the Parent Portal.

If you have questions or encounter any issues during the Power School Parent Portal account setup process, please contact the District #7 Central Office at 618.656.1182 and your call will be routed to someone who can provide assistance.

PowerSchool Parent Portal Directions