Saturday, December 21, 2013

Green Hair

Friday was a very exciting day at VIT Elementary School. The morning began with our incentive rewards for the school's recent fundraiser. Students who met specific goals were rewarded with the new scooters. After the scooters were given out, the students watched as I was painted and pied by a couple of people. As an incentive to raise funds, the PTO asked if I would allow them to set certain goals ties to my hair being painted green and/or a pie in the face. Needless to say, they met both goals and I received a nice green hair do and a whip cream pie in the face. The kids and teachers had fun with it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lady Rebel Pink Night Survivor Walk

On Saturday, the Lady Rebels hosted their annual Pink Night. The night recognizes the challenges, struggles, losses, and survivors in the battle against all kinds of cancers. Before the varsity game, there was a Survivor Walk for those in attendance who have dealt with or are dealing with cancer in their lives. Once the game started, the Lady Rebels put it to the Lady Bombers of Macomb High. Wearing their personalized pink uniforms, our girls battled hard and controlled the game from start to finish. A great cause + great outcome for our team = A great night.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Feliz Navidad at the Festival of Trees

Yesterday, after a meeting in downtown Macomb, I stopped in at the Festival of Trees. The art gallery was filled with many themed trees. The one I have pictures of was decorated by our Spanish Club. When I told the ladies at the festival I was here to see "my school's tree," they knew I must be from VIT. We were the only school to enter a tree. There were at least 20 trees on display and we were near the front of the tour. The ladies were very complimentary of our tree and, more importantly, our kids who decorated it. This is another example of our students and staff representing VIT in a positive light outside of the school building. Gracias, Spanish Club and Señora McGregor.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Students, Families, Snow and Great Fun

I made a quick collage of a few pictures from a great afternoon at the 1st Table Grove Winter Play Day. Fun activities and good food all afternoon! The day included a human dog sled race, kids craft and cookie activities, free lunch, Santa, reindeer, Clydesdale wagon rides, and a parade.
The VIT Marching Band braved the cold and entertained the crowd during the parade.
It was great to see such an outstanding community response to a new idea and new reason to get together.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Foggy Mornings and Safe Buses

I just wanted to say "thanks" to our bus drivers for driving the last few mornings in fog like this. It is easy to take the school bus and the job the drivers do for granted, but they are an important step in the educational process. Often, they are the first step in the process. Without safe buses, many children and parents would have an additional hurdle to jump to get to school. The big yellow buses and the people who drive them are valuable members of our district and the past few mornings bring their value to the forefront.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Final General Session

This morning's final session is a motivational program led by the founder of the WWII Honor Flight Program that provides free trips to the Washington DC War Memorials. The theme of humble and selfless veterans is one that we could all emulate a little better everyday.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Final Session for Saturday

Today's final session is an important seminar in the planning and setting of goals for our district.

Great Mini-session

I spent a little time with the administrative staff from Hillside 93 today discussing RtI intervention designs and scheduling. Hillside is a k-8 district with about 511 kids. Relatively small for a suburban district. The team was very engaging and presented some outstanding ideas, along with informative data sheets.

First small group session of the morning

Educational Conference

Today I am attending the Annual Triple I Joint Conference. I will be attending numerous workshops and seminars focused on school improvement, educational innovations, and district leadership. I will update my day as it continues.

Sent from my iPhone

Education Conferece

Friday, November 22, 2013

Family Night at VIT Elementary: Native American StarLab

On Thursday November 21st VIT Elementary hosted a Family Night event centered around our StarLab. The theme was Native American Constellations. In addition to the StarLab itself, Mrs Shaw provided a narration of many stories surrounding several constellations. Other activities included Mrs. VanTine painting faces, Mrs. Lawson leading students and families in the making of zodiac sign rain discs, Ms. Wenndt leading an art project, Mrs. Heaton hosting a reading of Native American stories, Mr. Schmersahl directing Tee-Pee designs, several high school students assisting with other activities including necklace making and printmaking. In addition to the activities, dinner was offered to families. My wife and I served VIT Elementary's "world famous" hot dogs with chips and a drink. 120 people had dinner at the school. According to Mrs. Becker, 188 people went through the StarLab program and over 200 attended. The evening was a great success. It is always great to get kids and parents into the buildings for programs that are both educational and fun.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Educational Support Personnel

Good Morning! This morning the certified staff of VIT provided an amazing breakfast as a "thank you" to the Educational Support Personnel of VIT schools. The ESPs at VIT include individual and classroom aides, bus drivers, kitchens staff, custodial staff, maintenance and mechanical staff, book-keeping, and secretarial staff. The service of this group of employees is invaluable in the day-to-day operation of our schools, safety of our students, and positive educational atmosphere. Often when people think of schools they think of teachers and principals. In reality, there are many more people who make the system work. Our buses run every day, twice a day just on regular route pick-up and drop-offs. We run a practice bus every evening. Field trips and contests require day time drivers. Of course, someone has to keep those buses runing. We have students who require one-on-one aides to be successful members of our school community. This is sometimes a very challenging job for those who work with the best interests of those students in mind every day. Our kitchen/cafeteria staff create menus and provides lunch and breakfast everyday on a limited budget and with limited staff. The custodial staff keep our buildings clean and sanitary during the day and after hours. The office staff works with the teachers, other ESPs, administration, students, and parents daily. This group has the most direct contact with the most groups of school and community members. These people really are our front-line when it comes to dealing with the public. I truly appreciate the efforts of all of our staff. Today, we celebrate the Educational Support Staff and all they do for VIT CUSD #2

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New .com Roll-outs

Recently at the Elementary level, parents of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders were given login and password information for a website called This website allows students to practice core skills at home. Math and Reading reinforcement at home or at McDonald's, or on a Smartphone that all students have access to. The cost for this access is only a few dollars per students and the district feels that this is a great resource and a great value. At the High School level, parents and students will soon be introduced to This website is an amazing resource for 9th graders through seniors. It includes: Interest surveys, learning styles surveys, skills match, career interests, resume building, educational mapping, goals setting, college and career planning, and so much more. The school can only touch the surface of what parents and students can utilize at home. This service is free to our district. We hope that you will find these tools useful in your child’s educational progression and future planning.

Veterans Day Assembly 2013

Tuesday was a special day at VIT Elementary. The school children recognized our local veterans for all of their efforts on behalf our nation. The school was decorated with patriotic artwork. Mrs. Willison put on a great program with lots of great music. The elementary choir, high school choir and whole K-6 student body performed during the musical program. Students led those gathered in the Pledge of Allegiance, Star Spangled Banner, and a Moment of Silence. Students also presented facts about Veterans and Veterans Day. After the program, all the elementary students went through a reception line to say "Thank You" to all the veterans that attended. Following the assembly, the veterans were invited to stay for coffee and dessert provided by the VIT Elementary teachers.

Race into Reading Reward Day

What a great day we had at VIT Elementary on last Thursday! We recognized all those students who met their reading goals during our Race into Reading Incentive Program. So many kids met their goals. About 100 were recognized in front of their classmates. After the recognition ceremony, all the students were treated to drinks, popcorn, and the movie Cars 2. After the movie and lunch, the kids were treated with a real race car. A local racer named Steve Lance Jr. brought is race car down from Cuba as a backdrop for reward pictures for those who met their goals. The car was so popular that all the kids had their picture taken next-to or in it! A special thanks to Steve for donating his time to our students. I have included a picture of his car at the bottom of this post. Ashley Strode was our randomly drawn winner of the Grand prize. She won an authentic race-used tire from Dale Jr's 88 car. Look for pictures in the next Argus. A special thanks to Mrs. Shaw, Ms. Becker, Mrs. Hampton, Mrs. Hunt, and Mr. Churchill for helping with the special day.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Busy Time of Year

Things are really happening around here during the early part of November. Here is a list of "things" keeping our kids busy outside of the daily academic schedule:
  • Parent - Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.  I hope to see all of you here.
  • Scholastic Book Fair at both building Wednesday and Thursday
  • PTO Fundraiser - The elementary kids are selling products and treats to fund the PTO which in turn provides needed funds and resources for the elementary school.  
  • High School classes are having fundraisers of their own.
  • Race Into Reading Program is winding down. The reward day is scheduled for Thursday and the kids are excited. We had about 100 kids meet their reading goal. We will have a fun-filled day for those who met and those who did not. Each year we will try to get more and more students involved in the reading incentive programs.
  • Winter Sports are Heating up
  • Fall Sports Banquets for HS sports is 11/15
  • Family StarLab Night and Hot Dog Supper is scheduled for 11/21
  • Learning Farm is being rolled out for all students to use at school and at home. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

8 Things We cannot Accept in Education

you'll get run over change picture quote

While I normally try to put my own thoughts into this blog, today I have simply copied another
person's work. I read this blog post yesterday and could not agree more with it.
I hope you take a few minutes to read Justin Tarte's views on our current state of education:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

8 things we can't accept in education

We can't accept what's been done 
in the past as the 
only way to do things in the future.
 Obviously changing just for the sake 
of changing is not appropriate, but we
 can't ignore the changes that are
 happening all around us, and as such
 there must be corresponding changes
 in education.

We can't accept not teaching
 the 'whole' child. More and more 
frequently our students are entering our
schools with needs that extend far 
beyond just 'learning.' In order
 for education to be successful,
 we can't ignore the external
 factors that play a critical role
 in what we do in education.

We can't accept working in 
isolation and working in silos.
The world is rich with opportunities
for collaboration and
there is no possible way
to argue that we aren't stronger
as a team and stronger working together.

We can't accept that our content is more important than 
the relationships we establish with our students. It is with
 almost absolute certainty that students won't care about your
 content if they don't care about you. Develop strong relationships
 to truly bring your content to life for your students.

We can't accept and continue to allow educators to believe
 that integrating technology into instruction is optional.
As individuals, we can choose to ignore the influence of
technology in society, but as educators we are robbing our
students of experiences they will need to be successful.

We can't accept and continue to think that learning is 
limited to what happens within the four walls of a classroom.
 Learning can't be contained and learning can't be defined
by man-made structures. Learning is everywhere and
learning is all around us... education needs to acknowledge it.

We can't accept and continue to believe we have 
an achievement gap. In reality, we are facing an 'opportunity gap'
that continues to divide the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' between
equitable and equal access to educational materials and resources.

We can't accept and can't allow ourselves not to be
 held accountable. We as the educators are responsible for
 what happens in our schools, and it's that responsibility that
 makes working in education awesome.

JUSTIN's Link:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Eating Lunch At School!

I just wanted to say "Thank You" to all the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other relatives who took advantage of our National Take Your Parents to Lunch Week Program. We had approximately 90 adults eat at school over the course of four days. Our staff  and students appreciated having you all in the building. We hope to have even more the next time we make such an offer. A few GIANT  “Thank Yous” to those who assisted me in organizing and implementing the entire event: The Kitchen Staff for preparing many extra meals. Mrs. Curry and Mrs. Snowden for comprising and organizing the requests and sending out the notices. And finally, the lunchroom aides for dealing with the chaos and excitement each of the 12 lunch periods during the event.
Thanks again,
Have a great day!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Conference Day 2&3

Day 2 at the Annual IASA Conference included a "new superintendents" workshop, vision 20/20 workshop, a workshop on impending insurance changes, and a rather gloomy forecasting presentation from the Illinois State Board of Education. In the ISBE presentation, it was announced that next year we may be looking at a more severe proration of our state assistance. Currently, we are funded at 89% of the state rate of approximately $6100/student. Next year it may drop as low as 85% and there is no guarantee that the State will not lower the foundation level from $6100ish. This combo would be disastrous for us and all schools downstate. This morning (Day 3) I am attending a technology 1:1 workshop that focuses on Google Chromebooks. The Chromebook is the device we are currently leaning towards deploying in the near future. After this workshop - it is back in car and up to Astoria for a Common Core Workshop.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, October 10, 2013

IASA Annual Conference Report 1

Today, is the second day of the Annual Illinois Association of School Administrators Conference. The conference is held in Springfield, Illinois. There are 800+ school district in Illinois and it would appear that most of those districts have sent their superintendents to this conference. Yesterday, I attended a workshop with superintendents from our western Illinois region, as well as superintendents from the Chicago area and other larger districts. It is very informative to listen to the issues that affect rural and large districts in different ways. Each day has keynote speakers and breakout sessions. I have attended a financial workshop and student growth model breakout session to this point. Today, we are hearing about the IASA's new Vision 20/20 plan to make the voice of school leaders, teachers, students, and parents the sounds that our legislature listens to. This program is an exciting change in the mindset is public education leadership from reactive to proactive. I will share more on this initiative over the next few years.
Have a great day!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, October 7, 2013

Great Homecoming Weekend

I just wanted to congratulate our kids on a great homecoming weekend. The high school administration noted how much fun the students seemed to have during the week. They were very involved and energetic during the different spirit days. The volleyball team was victorious on Thursday and the football team won a great game over North Fulton on Friday. I attended my firsat South Fulton homecoming dance on Saturday and was very impressed with our students’ behavior and appearance. It looked as though they were having a very enjoyable evening.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

This afternoon we have been experiencing some severe weather around the area. The storm that blew-up quickly this evening was pretty fast and intense. As I went out to check on the weather and get the football teams inside before it got worse, I was reassured by the fact that the coaches were already bringing the kids in. They had started heading in at the first sign of lightning. As the clouds began to swirl a little, the JH FB coaches had the players in the halls preparing for the worst. As a parent of an athlete and supervisor of staff, I was pleased with and appreciative of the decision making of our football staff. It just goes to show you that we do put the safety of our students and student-athletes first. Let’s hope the weather calms down for the rest of the night. Have a Safe Evening

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Elementary School Parent Resources

I have attached a copy of a letter I am sending home on Wednesday with our elementary students: We are sending a Home and School Connections newsletter home this week. These newsletters are excellent resources for parents of young students. They provide ideas, insights, and strategies that you may find useful in your day-to-day educational interactions with your children. We hope that you take the time to read the newsletter and share the information with your student(s). We will be sending home a new version each month. In addition, we will send home special “themed” editions throughout the year.

Come and Enjoy Lunch with Your Student!!

National Take Your Parents To Lunch Week Dear Parents, Grandparents, and Guardians, To celebrate National Take Your Parents To Lunch Week (10/14-18), we are going to try something new. We are extending a lunch invitation to the parents and guardians of our elementary students. If a parent or guardian is unable to attend, a grandparent would be a welcomed lunch partner. Due to our limited cafeteria space, we have to get a little creative with scheduling. We will split each grade’s participation over two days. Opportunities for having lunch at school with your student(s) are as follows: October 15, Tuesday: 11:00 -11:30 Kindergarten 11:30 -12:00 Second and Fourth Grades 12:00 -12:30 Fifth Grade October 16, Wednesday: 11:00 -11:30 Kindergarten 11:30 -12:00 Second and Fourth Grades 12:00 -12:30 Sixth Grade October 17, Thursday: 11:00 -11:30 First Grade 11:30 -12:00 Third Grade 12:00 -12:30 Sixth Grade October 18, Friday: 11:00 -11:30 First Grade 11:30 -12:00 Third Grade 12:00 -12:30 Sixth Grade Contact the school if you did not receive the invitation that was sent home with students. We look forward to seeing you in the lunchroom.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Friday's School Improvement Day

As many of you are already aware (if you aren't - your kids are!)we will be dismissing early on this Friday, September 27th. Students will be released at 11:30 and 11:40. The purpose of a School Improvement Day is to provide some guidance, skill development, training, and or professional development to our staff. The goal of these trainings is to create a more informed and better prepared staff. This Friday, the staff will participate in training on an online gradebook. Once the staff has had a couple of months to practice with the new gradebook, the gradebooks will go live online. Once this happens, parents and students will be able to check grades in real-time at any time of day. Each parent and student will have a unique log-in and password that will allow them to see only grades and attendance figure for themselves and their child(ren). We are excited about his new technology, but we want to make sure we have a working knowledge of all the "bells and whistles" before we open it up to the parents. Also, the elementary staff will receive training on food allergies and Epi-Pen use. We have two other dedicated School Improvement Days scheduled for February and March. The February training will focus on content delivery, core subject alignment, and other instructional practices. I hope this helps you understand what we do here at VIT on School Improvement Days. Have a great day.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Good Morning, Over the next few weeks our schools will be conducting a number of state-mandated emergency drills. Today, students on certain buses will be participating in emergency exit drills. We are also, holding a fire drill at the JSHS today at 9AM. The elementary building will conduct a fire drill on Friday at 10AM. On Friday, I will be conducting a review of our emergency/crisis response plan. I will be talking with local law enfoecement and emergency fire/rescue personnel during the meeting. I will keep you as informed as possible over the next few weeks regarding emergency drills. Have a great day!

Friday, September 13, 2013

FB Friday

Looks like a great night for a South Fulton Rebels / Bushnell Spartans matchup at Hanson Field on the WIU campus.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Due to the fact that we had a full day of school today, I was able to visit with the 3rd grade and thank them for a great gift I received from them last week. They gave a me book, in which, they detailed their likes and dislikes about VIT. It also included three things I should know about each of them. The book is great! Of course, 90% of the dislikes revolved around heat - to be expected after the last few weeks. To thank them, I went into their classroom and told them three things I like about VIT and one thing I disliked. I told them that I believe small classes were great places to learn. I also, mentioned how happy I was with the teachers in the elementary building. My final "like" for the day was that the kids here are great to be around. They are so polite and well behaved. My one dislike was - HEAT! I then told them them three things they should know about me. I even brought in a show-and-tell item. I brought one of my bicycles for them to look at. It is a pretty cool mountain bike with really big tires. I thought they might like - and they did. I told them that I ride my bike everyday (and they should also), I used to be a high school baseball coach, and I have two children in the VIT school district. I then listen to stories and answered questions for a while. I had a great time interacting with the students and repaying their kindness from earlier in the week.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Frustrating Morning

This picture descibes my day as I tried to decide weather(I chose that usage on purpose) or not to dismiss early. I am sure that it could also represent teachers working in the heat, students trying to stay engaged in the heat, and parents trying to plan for the dismissals. Choosing to dismiss early today was a very difficult decision. Temperatures right on the bubble, the fact we have not had a full day of school all week, the cancellation of practices, and the hope that today could be the last day of the heatwave all factored into an argument on not dismissing early. On the other hand, walking the buildings and classrooms four different times this morning led me to a couple of obvious observations: 1. Our building are heating up and doing so from 11:00AM on. All week, at 10:00AM, I said "this isn't too bad - we will be fine if it stays like this!" I knew that it was just wishful thinking. Once these buildings get in a pattern of high heat and little to no cooling overnight, they heat up quickly by mid-day. 2. Our students, especially elementary students, are worn-out. The indoor heat has a cumulative effect on them. It isn't like riding a bike or running around a shade tree. The indoor heat can be oppressive and does nothing to support learning. Finally, with the hope of temperatures staying cool fading, these two observations in mind, and the personal belief that parents and caregivers deserve at least two hours in a non emergency situation to prepare for early pick-up, I decided on 1:20 PM and 1:30 PM. As always - if you have any questions, concerns, or comments - Please call me at the school at 758-5138.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Here We Go Again :(

TODAYS' PHONE MESSAGE and additional information:

Good Morning, this is a weather related message from VIT schools - due to the revised forecast of temperatures reaching 100 degrees later in the afternoon; VIT schools will release students early today - Tuesday September 10. There will be no Afternoon Pre-K. The JSHS will dismiss at 12:50pm and the Elementary will dismiss at 1pm. Please make transportation arrangements with your respective school office. If your student cannot obtain a ride - they may stay in air conditioned areas at school. Tonight’s JH football game as been mutually postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

As a reminder, in an earlier blog post, I detailed the process and the reasoning behind early dismissals. Also, please feel free to call with any concerns or questions.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Early Out Today Monday 9/9

Today we will get out early at 12:50 in the JSHS and 1:00 in the Elementary school. The temperature today is expected to reach a real feel of 100 by 3 pm. Varsity and JH FB will move practice to 6 pm. JV FB will play tonight at 7pm instead of 6pm. 5-6th grade Girls BB is cancelled for tonight. Hopefully the next three days will be the last of this heat wave. Today's temperature is forecast to be 20 degrees higher than last year on this date. I would encourage you to make arrangements for a possible early dismissal for tomorrow as well. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during these hot days.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Junior High Football Game Time Change

Saturday morning's 7th grade FB game has been moved up to a 9:00 a.m. due to the forecast of higher temperatures.

Great Morning......

This Thursday has started out in great fashion. I had a nice ride to work on my bike. The weather was perfect and the sunrise was awesome. I followed that up with breakfast with the students in the cafeteria. I sat with Taylor, Perry, and Maddie. We talked about New toy cars, our eggs, cereal and chocolate milk (who knew?), and the book fair. After breakfast, John Marshall dropped in for a visit. It is always nice to see him back in the schools. To top it off, the VIT Marching Band was practicing outside my window. As they marched past, I could not help but think how great they sound. I am a huge fan of Marching Bands - especially ones with a great drum section and ours sounded pretty darn good. So hopefully, the rest of the day will be as awesome as the morning has already been.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Fair This Week

Good Morning, I thought I would take this opportunity to remind the parents of our elementary students about the upcoming Scholastic Book Fair on Thursday and Friday of this week. There will be a great selection of books, in a wide variety of ranges and grade levels. We will have everything from Star Wars and Judy Moody to Pete the Cat (a VIT Elementary Favorite). Reading is an important skill and great leisure activity for young and old. Independent reading is a great way to boost critical thinking skills, creativity, and school success. If you have time to visit our Book Fair, please do so. If not, our staff will be happy help your students pick out appropriately leveled and priced books to bring home and read this weekend. I have included two links with information on the positive effects of reading and tips for increasing reading time and skills in your students.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cooler Weather Expected This Week - We Hope!

Well, maybe it isn't quite that cold - but this morning felt so much cooler than last week. It will still get pretty warm in the building for the next few weeks. Please send your kids in layers if they are cold in the mornings. By late afternoon, it can still be pretty warm in here. I truly appreciate everyone's understanding and patience during last week's heat spell. Hopefully, the next week worth of blog posts will NOT be weather-related! Have a great day.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Early Dismissal AGAIN....

Today was another hot day and another early day. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Enjoy the holiday weekend and get ready for some cooler weather!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More of The Same........Hot Hot Hot!

It is another heat wave today. Our students are starting to really feel the cumulative effects of being in the heat for the last few days. It has been heating up quicker and quicker in the morning. Friday's forecast has changed to a slightly lower real-feel temperature during the day. We will see how our buildings cool down tonight and what the forecast calls for in the morning before making any decisions on early dismissal. We have moved the varsity FB game to a 7:30 start as a precaution. The HS blood drive is being rescheduled for a cooler date. If you plan on attending the FB game Friday night, please plan for the heat, humidity, and possible rain. We look forward to cooler temperatures next week and some normalcy for parents, staff, and students.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Early Out Today

Today we let students out early because the forcasted temperature for today with heat index was 105 degrees. The kids had toughed it out Monday and Tuesday and today was just going to be that much hotter. Tomorrow may be more of the same. I hope my calls are not getting the point of being "just another school call." AlertNow is a great tool and I hope you appreciate the value it adds to the district as much as I do.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The How and the Why of When We Dismiss Early

I thought I would take a moment to talk about weather related closings and early dismissals. No one wants to cancel school or dismiss early when it can be avoided. The problem with extreme heat is that it creates an uncomfortable learning environment and can be particularly difficult on the younger grades. Additionally, long bus rides are often required by many students to get home. Our buildings are not air-conditioned and the majority of our busses are not air-conditioned. Here in Illinois we are conditioned for dealing with heat and humidity to greater extent than maybe our neighboring states to the North and East might be. With that being said, a forecasted real-feel of 102, 105, 107 etc. is not the normal heat/humidity highs for this time of year. It is always hot when school starts, but this is an extremely hot stretch and our decisions to stay full days, dismiss early, or cancel school are all made with the best interest of our students in mind. We try to announce schedule changes early enough to allow for planning or schedule changing for parents - whenever we can. The following information regarding school attendance and weather can be found at the Illinois State Board of Education Website: The section begins with the following statement - that I take very seriously: A major responsibility of a local school superintendent is the health and safety of your students. As far as sports and the coop are concerned we try to error on the side of caution. Often the weather is better outside than in. All practices that cannot be moved to a better time are voluntary and the coaches are directed to provide plenty of physical breaks and water breaks. With the coop this often creates issues regarding busses and gym/practice field space. We work as closely as possible with Astoria when these issues arise.

Temperature Related Events

The Junior High Football Game for Tuesday August 27th has been pushed back to a start time of 6:30PM. This a precaution that we are taking, in coordination with Astoria and Lewistown, due to the excessive heat. We are taking the steps we feel are necessary to put our students in the safest possible environment with the least amount of disruption.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Early Dismissal for TUESDAY 8/27


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Great Last Few Days of Summer

Great start to the school year!
The past three days have been a great experience. We had a great turn-out for Meet-Your-Teacher Night on Thursday. Friday was my first day with the entire district staff. I came away excited about the prospects for this year. We talked about areas of positivity and those areas that are in need of a little extra attention. We had a great breakfast together and spent some time socializing as well.
Meet the Rebels Night was well attended and the pork chop sandwiches were awesome. At the FB scrimmage, I was introduced to a fellow mountain biker and by 7:30 a.m. the next day, we had met up with a few more guys and were on the trail at Spring Lake.
Two days of Table Grove Days about wore my wife and I out. We played Bingo, watched the bike rodeo, helped with the box car races, ate corn dogs, and had dinner at the fish fry!
Like I said, not a bad start to the school year. To top it all off....Bernadotte fish fry on Sunday and kids at school on Monday (I am sure some parents are quietly anticipating that day). Have a great week
Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Meet Your Teacher Night

I just wanted to say "Thank You" to all of the parents and kids that attended our first ever Meet Your Teacher Night. We had an excellent turn-out. More than 75% of our students showed up to meet their teachers and drop off school supplies. Also, "Thank You" to the staff of V.I.T. Elementary for making the students and parents feel welcome. It looked like all the kids enjoyed their visit and left happy.

FY 14 District Budget

What a great picture of "if only!" This picture grabbed my attention earlier this week when I was working on the school budget for 2013-2014. Wouldn't it be nice to have one of these trees out back? We could use it to offset all the cuts handed down by the state. Unfortunately, there is no such tree on our campus. This year's budget is again a study in surviving on less state support. With that being said, I am confident that over the next couple of years we can work to keep our fund balances healthy and our schools vibrant. It will take a combination of fiscal responsibility, out-of-the-box thinking, cooperation, community support, and forward thinking and planning. I think that this next picture does a great job expressing how we can best use our resources...
Together with the staff and communities of the VIT Educational Community, we can work together to provide a rich and effective curriculum in the best possible atmosphere for our students. For those interested, the tentative budget for FY 14 will be on display at the district office for the next 30 days. Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quick Update on Football Facilities

Check out what a little paint and a lot of hard work can do!

Community Gathering in Vermont

This past Saturday, my family and I attended the Vermont Tractor Show and parade. We took the opportunity to meet with as many new faces we could find. I have always felt it was important to attend community celebrations. First, you get an opportunity to meet people and talk about the community and the school. Second, there is usually good food being cooked somewhere. Whether there is a food truck, fish fry, or big grill involved - you know you are in the right place. This event was no exception. The American Legion of Vermont cooked up a choice of ribeye or porkchop sandwiches. I had both, and they were delicious. On top of that, there was popcorn at the Vermont Library and homemade ice cream at the Tractor Show. Last, and most important, there are usually kids/students running around having fun, marching in the parade, or selling this-and-that. It is important to see our students in roles outside of the classroom and school setting. We had students marching with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. There were girls marching with the Girl Scouts. They were also selling cookies.......yes. There were HS and JH kids driving tractors in the parade. In the end, the weather was awesome, the people were friendly, the food was great, and the kids were outside doing something positive for their organizations and their community.