Gillespie to return to remote learning after Thanksgiving

Gillespie to return to remote learning after Thanksgiving

Posted Nov. 24, at 1:25 a.m.

Plan will continue through at least Jan. 11


Coal Country Times Reporter

Due to continued increases of COVID-19 cases throughout the Gillespie area, the Community Unit School District No. 7 will be transitioning back to remote learning once all students and staff return from Thanksgiving break.

“This decision to take this step back was not made lightly,” Superintendent Shane Owsley said during the district’s monthly Board of Education meeting via Zoom Monday evening. “We know how difficult remote learning is for students, parents and teachers. We also understand that many families and teachers have been resistent to shifting away from in-person instruction.”

Owsley and the board came to a unanimous decision to bring back remote learning full-time. All remote instruction will begin Monday, Nov. 30 and will continue until at least Jan. 11, 2021.

“We believe that these four weeks will help us get through the holiday season that is upon us,” said Owsley. “Based on everything that has happened, we have no choice but to go through with this.”

More detailed information will be available on the district website and will continue to be communicated to homes.

“I’m asking students and parents to always be on the lookout for this information as it will discuss skill distribution, material pick-up/drop-off procedures, attendance policies, grading and specific daily scheduling,” said Owsley.

School report card

CUSD No. 7 principals Jill Rosentreter, Tara Cooper and Angela Sandretto presented the district’s report card.

Due to COVID-19, there wasn’t any standardized testing made available from spring 2020. Because of this, Gillespie Middle School has maintained its Summative Designation of a Targeted School.

“GMS was considered ‘targeted’ due to the underperforming student subgroup of disabled children,” said Cooper. “So, we have created a school improvement plan through connections with the American Institutes for Research. In this plan, we have developed additional schoolwide individual student goals to better accomplish the ultimate vision of academic progress.”

Measures of Academic Progress testing has been used to provide instruction with priority standards as the main focus. Rosentreter and Cooper gave a quick recap and mentioned that they were feeling optimistic about a few of the results.

“In reading, the ninth grade scored a 71 percent average or above,” said Rosentreter. “The sophomores scored an average of 60 percent or above in mathematics while putting together a score of 78 or above in reading. The juniors averaged a 73 or above in mathematics and 81 percent or above in reading.”

“In sixth grade math, we had 50 percent of students score an average grade or higher,” said Cooper. “68 percent of our reading students were average or better. 43 percent of our seventh grade math students were at or above average. 60 percent of our seventh grade students were above average in reading. Eighth grade math featured 45 percent of students that were average or better and  65 percent of our students scored average or higher in eighth grade reading.

Sandretto’s Ben-Gil students are still partaking in the testing process and results will be taken once that is completed.

In terms of student enrollment, Gillespie CUSD No. 7 has remained the same overall despite this year’s pandemic. GHS has seen a slight decrease of 378 in 2019 to 372 in 2020. Ben-Gil has maintained last year’s amount of 624 students. GMS grew from 280 students in 2019 to 301 for 2020.

Over the past five years, Gillespie students have put together an attendance rate of 95-96 percent.

Nine Ben-Gil students, 11 GMS students and 17 GHS students have been classified with chronic absenteeism for 2020.

The total of students that have been chronically truant over the past five years is back to 10 or fewer for the first time since 2016.

The CUSD No. 7 student dropout rate rests at four on average.