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Skype will help students in IW Learning Center

Joy Swearingen J-P staff

Science teacher M. J. Palmer offered ideas for making the best use of the Illini West High School learning center, during the regular board meeting November 20.

Palmer said by using Skype, a student who is assigned to the learning center can listen in to classroom lectures, follow classroom discussion and ask questions.

At the October meeting, Principal Scott Schneider had discussed some concerns about students at the learning center, who were missing their regular class instruction time. He had offered strategies for making the center effective without a net loss of class credits.

"This (using Skype) is one more tool we have available to use," said Palmer, in an interview about integrating the learning center and classroom. "It's good for any type of class, but it works especially well for classes that have more board work and examples, like business, science and math."

Illini West students are assigned to the learning center in their building as an alternative to being in the regular classroom for a variety of reasons, including short term disciplinary action, recapturing missed credits using computer-based learning, or inability to function best in a regular setting.

Palmer said the cost associated with the idea is about $50 for a microphone the teacher wears. Most teachers have smartboards that would connect to the student's learning center computer.

"We are trying to stress that students in the learning center for varied reasons are getting the same education as those in the classroom." Palmer said.

"A student could be in in-school suspension for a couple of days. We would use this method so the student would not miss out on lecture time."

Homework pages and even tests can be sent to the student, and the monitoring teacher in the learning center would proctor the test.

In other business, the board discussed the tax levy resolution for 2019, and set the public hearing on the tax levy for the next board meeting, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19.

Andrew Willis, math teacher at IWHS, is organizing a student ESports team.

IHSA has introduced video gaming as an emerging sport. Willis will direct the team which has great interest among students.

Superintendent Kim Schilson explained there may be a need for buying an additional bus.

"In the past, when a bus has needed service, the company we buy from would provide us with a loaner bus. They will no longer do that," Schilson said. She is pulling together numbers for the cost of buying a bus that would be available as a spare.

After executive session, the board approved Lyle Klein as head wrestling coach, Zak Huston as assistant wrestling coach, and Tim Schilson as a volunteer wrestling coach.

The board accepted the retirement of Carol Walker, planned on March 25, and the resignation of Steve Wood.

The board approved fundraising requests - a paint night for National Honor Society, music trivia and 50/50 drawing for Class of 2020, and selling cupcakes by International Club. An overnight trip to a tournament was approved for the wrestling team.

Around 90 30-year-old band uniform jackets were declared as surplus since new jackets were purchased this fall.