Connect with us on Facebook
WARREN, IL – On Tuesday, Sep-tember 11th, parents, grandparents and other community members were invited to the first State of the School, an event which detailed the progress of Warren Schools in the academic classroom, extracur-ricular activities and career techni-cal education programs. Following a meal prepared by the school’s cooks, Warren Schools Superintendent Shawn Teske gave a quick summation of the district’s core values, academics and finan-cial outlook. The district’s vision core values, which were revamped in 2014, focus one five areas: respect, responsi-bility, compassion, integrity and service. Teske then showed a chart that tracked the school’s progression in academics, based on an upward trend on the PARCC tests in Math and English Language Arts. The school has improved from just below state average in 2015 to just above state average in 2018. Teske also detailed some of the changes to the building itself, which looks a lot different than when the parents of today’s students roamed the halls. Recent upgrades or addi-tions included a new parking lot, a greenhouse, new flooring and new security in the form of lighting and cameras. Teske also detailed the district’s financial situation. “The district has regularly finished the year with positive fund balances,” Teske said. He also detailed the $1,938,750 bond, which is set to be paid off in Fiscal Year 2021. “The state has been a little more reliable with funding, knock on wood,” Teske added. Warren High School Principal, Josh Knuth then gave out some information on Competency Based Education (CBE), a new pilot pro-gram of which Warren was one of 19 school districts to be accepted in the state of Illinois. CBE is a system where the school personalizes education to the student, allowing a student’s own interests, goals and pace to dictate the structure. The general goal of CBE is to ensure that stu-dents are acquiring the knowledge and skills that are deemed to be essential to success in school, higher education, careers and adult life. While Warren is still in the plan-ning stages of exactly how to imple-ment CBE, Knuth says “the sky is the limit.” People in attendance went to the three rotations: academic classrooms, career technical education programs and extracurricular pro-grams. In the academic classroom, teacher Nicole Stendahl talked of Donors Choose, an online fundraising organ-ization for educators. Due to local funding and an anonymous donor from New York the school was able to purchase flexible seating, includ-ing a standing table converter, exer-cise balls, two round tables, four padded chairs, an area rug, counter cushions and an accent lamp for room 302. Stendahl also gave a quick summary of Response to Interven-tion (RTI), a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. RTI consists of six-week cycles that involve indi-vidualized student plans, frequent parent involvement and detailed documentation of interventions. Teacher Sarah Robbe then gave a brief presentation on a new nine-week class she teaches to eighth graders, pre-engineering. The course features robotics and going through the design process. For the career technical educa-tion programs, agriculture teacher Sydney Groen began by showing off the greenhouse, which was built before last year school year. The temperature can be set with shade cloth, a boiler and air conditioning helping to regulate the tempera-ture. They are currently adding light-ing to the greenhouse and will be working on hydroponic units, which will allow them to grow plants with-out soil, for their next project. Brett Janecke detailed his indus-trial arts classes, which have gone out on the job in Warren to help build a garage and a man cave. They also are finishing up a deer blind and will build tables, planters and sheds among other things. Gayle Doersam talked about her family and consumer science classes, which make foods using vegetables grown in the school garden at Meridian Park. They also dehydrate and freeze vegetables for later use. Warren Athletic Director Joel Wild gave a presentation on extracur-ricular activities. First, he gave an update on the Warrior Open golf outing, which saw profits increase 55 percent this year. Sponsors dou-bled from their previous high. Something new that the school is proud of is their athletic sched-uler, which allows people to look at practices and games for a particu-lar sport, as well as choir and band. You may also download the app to get notifications on game changes (postponements, re-scheduled games or game time changes) or reminders for games. The school is also work-ing on a website purely for extracur-ricular activities that is working but in the early stages yet. The event also gave members an opportunity to meet new music teachers Ashley Almquist and Chelsea Schmit.