Dear Families, Students, and Staff,
As we get ready to start a new school year I wanted to highlight some of the amazing additions to our River Bend Schools that we will be enjoying this upcoming school year.
River Bend School District K-12
Capturing Kids Hearts- At the beginning of the school year all teaching staff and support staff will undergo training to adopt the principles and practices of Capturing Kids Hearts (CKH). The CKH program teaches ways for staff to better engage, connect, and interact with students and one another. Please see the attached summary of the CKH program. We will also have opportunities to include and educate families so that we can both be supporting each other. Our new engagement and culture building program will help us continue supporting a nurturing and positive climate.
Steamer Success Indicators - The Steamer Success Indicator work was started last year by surveying students, families and staff as to what are the critical learning objectives we have as we help young people get ready for life beyond high school. A series of objectives have been identified and will also be added to this update. The first success indicator that will be focused on is attendance. Our goal is to improve student attendance and help families understand the importance of regular attendance at school and at work. As we learn how to best provide and solicit additional information we will continue to seek ways to measure and report the other components of the Steamer Success Indicators.
Titan Lunch and Financial Software- With the ever changing requirements of providing school lunches the decision to leave PushCoin and begin using Titan was made. Titan will allow the district to collect fees but more importantly it will allow the district to provide much more information about breakfast and lunches as well as stay compliant with the many state food service requirements. Questions regarding the new system should be directed to Stacey Collachia email@example.com
New to Fulton Blended Preschool:
New playground- Thanks to some amazing volunteers and a hard working staff, the preschool students have new playground equipment. The old wooden playset was taken down and replaced with a new modern and better accessible play set. New swings were also added.
Preschool for all Grant (PFA) - In the fall of 2022, River Bend was notified about a Preschool For All (PFA) grant. This grant helps cover some of the preschool expenses. It also required us to modify the current preschool model in order to access the funds. The new model will allow us to only serve 20 students in each of our AM and PM sessions. The 20 students will include both regular and special education students. This is a decrease in the total number of students being served. To offset the decrease in the number of students being served at the preschool, a team of district staff completed a new Request for Proposal (RFP) and if accepted by the Illinois State Board of Education, River Bend will add another section of AM and PM preschool as soon as our spaces are remodeled and staff are hired to offer the program for the 24-25 school year. This would allow the district the ability to enroll 80 students annually in our preschool program.
Staffing- Both preschool teachers will be sharing the duties of working with all the students. We believe this model will provide support to both our regular and special education students in a manner that will better meet their needs. This goes above the minimum requirements set forth by the PFA and provides for a lower student:teacher ratio.
New to Fulton Elementary School:
Assistant Principal to be hired- With the recent increase in student behavior issues and the increase in student enrollment, the Board of Education approved a recommendation to hire an assistant principal for Fulton Elementary School. The assistant principal will help Mr. Horse manage student affairs, support curriculum K-8, oversee the preschool and provide intervention support at FES and RBMS.
New staff- Joining the FES school family are Ms. Brianna Bobb as speech language pathologist, Mr. Travis Hartman as 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Jeanelle Iben as 4th grade teacher, Ms. Bailee Spencer as paraprofessional, Ms. Alysha Adams as paraprofessional, and Mrs. Erica Motroni as paraprofessional.
New PK-8 technology teacher- With the increasing demand for students to be technology ready for their future, River Bend will be adding a technology/STEM teacher who will focus on providing technology skills for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Ms. Amy Strehlow transitions from her 4th grade classroom into this new role as we implement foundational technology skills for our younger learners.
New to River Bend Middle School:
New staff- RBMS has two staff members that are taking on new roles. Mr. Thomas Eden will be joining the 8th grade team and will be filling in for Ms. Mote as she will be on military leave for the school year. Mrs. Colleen Temple will also be joining the 8th grade team, as we have added a fourth section to eighth grade for the school year. RBMS is also excited to welcome Corinne Leonhardt and Samantha Brashaw to the building as paraprofessionals.
Secured entry- A small modification to the entrance at the middle school will provide a completely secured entrance. Visitors will be required to enter the office as they walk inside the middle school. The office will then seek information about where visitors are going or support any needs they have. Visitors will be buzzed into the rest of the building through the main office.
Heating and Air conditioning in the office- The 25-year-old heating and air conditioning unit at the middle school needed to be replaced. Thanks to local vendor Boonstra Heating and Cooling the district was able to replace the old rooftop unit with a modern efficient unit which will better manage the room temperatures.
New to Fulton High School:
Administration- Due to a late resignation of Bob Gosch, Jeff Parsons has been elevated to the Fulton High School principal position. Kathleen Schipper, who has been serving as the learning loss coordinator and curriculum director will provide assistance to Mr. Parsons. Mr. Parsons has been in education for 32 years and is excited about taking on the role of the high school principal. He will continue to lead our athletic program as well.
New staff- FHS has four new teachers starting this year! Joe Bacidore will be our third math teacher at the high school, Val Pestka will be teaching English, Coach Jared Wessels will be teaching cross categorical, and Heidi Williams will be teaching science. Maynome Cartee has joined our night cleaning crew as part of the custodial team.
FFA Chapter at Fulton High School - Mrs. Meurs led the charge, and Fulton High School will have an FFA Chapter for this upcoming school year. Mrs. Meurs’ classes will be considered Ag classes and she will be welcoming/recruiting students to join our new chapter. We are excited about the opportunities that can be unlocked for students through this organization.
Bleachers- While not exactly new this school year in May of 2023 the old wooden bleachers were removed and a new set of bleachers were constructed. The new bleachers will allow for much better handicapped seating in the front rows and proudly show off our school colors and FHS pride. I am very excited to note that Mr. Snyder’s construction classes will be putting together an opportunity to purchase and personalize a section of bleachers for anyone interested. Proceeds from the sale of these bleachers will be used to purchase items for the shop classes as well as athletics. Once the final plan is in place, portions of the bleachers will be available for family keepsakes.
Secured High School Entrance - Similar to the bleachers, Mr. Snyder and his construction trades classes revamped the old teachers lounge during the previous school year to create a new, secured entrance for the high school. Everything from the framing, drywall, running electrical, to the cabinets were completed by Fulton High School students. A new intercom is installed for the new entrance to transition fully to the new office space.
Girl’s locker room- The need to provide a better space for our female athletes and physical education classes was addressed by removing the existing lockers and replacing them with lockers big enough to hold individual equipment bags and belongings. The HS administration is working with a small group of athletes to design and decorate the space. Prior to adding the new lockers, classrooms and offices were used to store larger equipment bags and belongings. The new lockers will allow the female athletes to lock and manage their belongings.