Gillespie superintendent: schools to start remotely

Gillespie superintendent: schools to start remotely


Enquirer~Democrat managing editor

Students in the Gillespie Community Unit School District No. 7 will begin the 2020-21 school year remotely, superintendent Shane Owsley said during a July 20 meeting.

“The big announcement obviously is we’ve worked hand in hand with the union and met multiples times with regards to what the school year will look like for Community District 7,” Owsley said. “At this point it’s time to let our families and staff know that we plan to start remotely for the start of the 2020-21 school year. It has not been an easy decision for anybody. We know that remote learning may not provide the best educational setting for our students but it does provide the safest environment for our students, so we are going to start the 2020-21 school year retemoly and we’ll re-evaluate that as time goes along.”

The decision to begin remotely was not officially voted on by the board members, though Owsley said the board has been involved in the discussion process.

“It’s an administrative decision, but it will be discussed by the board and the county health department,” Owsley said by phone Tuesday.

The board will be re-assessing the remote learning process every three to four weeks, according to Owsley.

For now, extracurricular activities such as sports, are on hold.

“Sports will be suspended until further notice,” Owsley said. No change on this will be made until the school gets more guidance, according to Owsley.

The board approved changes to the school calendar, which include not having class on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“If needed, school buildings could be used as a polling place,” Owsley said.

Learning schedules

The “educational content delivery” times for Ben-Gil Elementary, according to the district’s remote learning plan, is 8:45 a.m  to 1:45 p.m. with 11:15 to 11:45 designated as lunch.

Prep time is 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. and 1:45 to 3:30 is set aside for meetings.

Gillespie Middle School and High School are going with an “A” and “B” day schedule 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with lunch from 11 to 11:30 a.m.

On “A” days, periods 1 and 2 will be before lunch and Period 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

On “B” days, periods 4 and 5 will be before lunch and Period 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Prep time is 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., with 1:30 to 3:15 p.m.set aside for meetings.

Teachers are to share weekly learning plans with students and families every Monday (or the first instructional day of that week) at 8:30 a.m.

Additional information can be found at the school district web site, which is

The school calendar can be found at:

Board actions

At the recommendation of technology director Mark Carpani, the board approved the purchase of HP ProBook education edition laptops at a cost of $50,487.20.

Carpani recommended buying an additional 80 computers to get every kid in grades 6 to 12 covered with new devices.

Owsley said the district may be eligible to receive state funding for the technology improvements.

The board approved adding the law firm of Kriha Boucek as authorized legal counsel for the school district.

Vanessa Barrett was hired as an assistant high school volleyball assistant coach and seventh grade volleyball coach.

In addition, the board agreed to rehire all winter and spring coaches. This includes Casey Sholtis (head boys basketball coach), Matt Brawner (assistant boys basketball coach), Dan Edgerton (assistant boys basketball coach), Jake Kellebrew (volunteer assistant boys basketball coach), Kevin Gray (head girls basketball coach), Paige Niemeyer (assistant girls basketball coach);

Spring 2021 coach list

Jeremy Smith (head boys baseball coach), Tim Wargo (paid assistant baseball coach), Adam Tallman (volunteer assistant baseball coach), Dan Smith (volunteer assistant baseball coach), Michelle Smith (head girls softball coach), Jim Matesa (volunteer assistant baseball coach), Beth Fields (volunteer assistant softball coach), Mike Bertagnolli (head boys track and field coach), Jack Burns (head girls track and field coach) and Jerrod Herron (high school assistant track and field coach).