The Rock Island-Milan Board of Education began their regular board meeting by recognizing the Rock Island High School Drama Team for their success at winning the State title at the IHSA Championship. The team presented the state trophy to the Board of Education. They won with their 13-member performance of “The Elephant Man.” The win marked the first time in 53 years that a school outside of the Chicago area has won the title. Coach Rino Della Vedova directed the production. The team include: Benjamin Simkins, Dylan Luloff, Michelle Bower, Julia Anders, Becca Beswick, Brittany Carton, Erin Gehn, Greer Burke-Anderson, Rachel Petersen, Ali Davis, Katie Frain, Tara Vandygriff and Jenna Hull.
Vic Boblett, Director of Development, drew the early bird Grand Prize ticket for the Night of 1000 Dreams. The lucky winner is Rocky parent Ken Simkins. He will have an opportunity to be a part of the night’s final Grand Prize episode and win a Seven Day Carnival Cruise through the Caribbean. The Night of 1000 Dreams is tonight at the Local 25 Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall. Reservations for the event can be made by calling Please call Joann Fairman at RIHS 793-5950 ext. 2006 before noon. See the silent and live auction list >>
Superintendent Loy congratulated the 47 Rock Island High School Seniors who were inducted into the National Honor Society last Wednesday evening. The senior students produce the entire ceremony, which included honoring the sophomores and juniors. Over the 2008-2009 school year, the Rock Island High School National Honor Society Senior Members contributed 1,166 hours of volunteering at community organizations and in the schools. Read the Web story >>
English Language Learners Program
Assistant Superintendent Kay Ingham presented an update on the English Language Learners (ELL) program. The purpose of the English Language Learners (ELL) Program is to provide students who speak another language with the English skills necessary to succeed in all areas of school and out in the real world. The goal of the ELL program is to enable the students to take full advantage of their education by achieving academic language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. View a Podcast of the video at the ELL presentation >>
The district has seen the ELL program grow in leaps and bounds. In 2005, there were 2 ELL teachers and 62 students. For the 2008-09 year, there are 8 ELL teachers and 273 students in the Rock Island-Milan School District. In the last couple of years the district has seen an increase in refugee families through the World Relief program from all corners of the globe such as Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Thailand, Sudan and Ukraine.
Managing close to 23 different languages and dialects, the school district approaches the ELL program with a combination of common sense and creativity. A non-English speaker will need between one to three years to learn enough English to communicate with others about everyday things. Above and beyond that, a student will need five to ten years to develop the language he or she needs to be successful in academic subjects.
Ms. Ingham also recognized teachers at the board meeting: Debi Goslin, Robert Ochoa, Susan Molina-Padro and Becky Worley for their work and dedication. All of the ELL teachers not only work closely with other teachers in the buildings to ensure the students’ success, but also work with families to see that they are getting the services and community resources they need.
The board heard updates from Cabinet on 8 of the 23 indicators. Student Attendance is at 93.48%. Although the score still remains a cautionary yellow, the high school has seen improvements in its attendance rate due to new implementation of school policies. Referrals and suspensions remain in the yellow category and procedures are constantly being assessed for effectiveness. Special Education placements are at 40 for the year, and regular ed, special ed, parents and staff are all working to see that the students needs are being met. In Fiscal Health, Days Cash on Hand dropped to 160, the result of state payments falling behind by $2.7 million. Certified Staff Absences through the first three quarters is at an average of 6.5 days (green), meaning we will reach our goal if this pace continues fourth quarter. Scorecard on the RISD Web site >>