Superintendent Blog

Brian Kurz, EPG Superintendent

Superintendent Board Report: April 27, 2020

April 28, 2020

EPG Board of Education held a regular meeting on Monday, April 27th. Below is a link to my notes that I share with staff and the media.

Board Report: April 27, 2020

EPG's Remote Learning Plan

March 30, 2020

El Paso Gridley Remote Learning Plan

Introduction

El Paso Gridley CUSD #11 joins other schools around the world who are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. We exist to meet the learning needs of students.

Therefore, EPG’s remote learning plan is grounded in these principles:

  • Maintaining relationships is the basis for all remote learning activities and;
  • Continuity of learning is essential for growth and development.

To accomplish these principles, EPG will adopt a remote learning model that:

  • Maintains focus on essential standards of each course;
  • Provides learning opportunities to engage students;
  • Focuses on student learning over compliance and grades;
  • Provides feedback on assignments (sometimes using grades), but will provide summative credit (not grades) for spring 2020 courses.


Guidance

This document was created based on Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Remote Learning Recommendation during COVID-19, published March 27, 2020. This document will be updated as more information is available. This ISBE document is referenced by page numbers in this EPG document. We have also used ISBE COVID-19 website for executive orders and updates. As additional updates and information are received from ISBE, adjustments will be made to this plan.

Questions regarding this document should be addressed to any of the district administrators:

  • Brian Kurz, Superintendent
  • Amber Buss, Director of Instruction
  • Kelly Throneburg, JP Principal
  • Tim Fairchild, CT Principal
  • Robby Tomlinson, JH Principal
  • Joshua Krone, JH Dean
  • Brian Quam, HS Principal
  • Dan Erwin, HS Dean


Communication with Students/Families

Our primary goal during remote learning is to give our students some stability and social interactions outside their “shelter in place.” We want to provide learning opportunities for our students while also checking on their wellbeing. The district will use a range of communication tools including, but not limited to: email, phone calls, video conferencing, Google Classroom, Remind, and Bloomz.

The primary communication tool will be regular emails from building principals. These emails will inform community members about how each school will handle various aspects of Remote Learning Days. Specific building questions can be addressed to building principals via email.

School offices are closed at this time. If parents would like to contact by phone, they may call the EPG District Office. It will be open from 8:00a - 12:00p during regular school days. Staff will be primarily working remotely.

All teachers are encouraged to establish “office hours” to help with consistency and also to put up boundaries for communications. The district expectation is that the teacher works with the building administrator to set those times and methods.


Communication with Colleagues

Communication is not just between a teacher/student, but also colleagues. We will have various opportunities for departments, grade levels, and full faculty to work together.

  • The primary communication method for staff will be email. Employees will check their email multiple times each day.
  • We will have 4 Remote Planning Days to help facilitate communication and planning. Those days will be: March 31, April 1, April 2, and April 3.
  • Remote Learning will begin April 6th until school is back in session.


Transition Planning

When schools reopen for physical attendance, we will first focus on the social and emotional adjustment of students back into the school setting. The exact details of that transition will be determined once a return date has been set.

If in-person instruction is to resume during the spring 2020 school year, we will focus on providing learning opportunities to students based on the essential standards of each course. While we may give grades as feedback tools on assignments, the quarter and semester will only count as “credit”.

March 17 Referendum Update: Sample Language

March 6, 2020

The time for EPG residents to vote is coming up soon. Click the video to the left for more information.

If any individual, family, business, or group would like more information please reach out to me at 309.527.4410. We want to do whatever we can to answer your questions and provide you information so you can choose which option you believe is best for EPG.

Here is what the question will look like on the ballot:

EL PASO GRIDLEY COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 11

PROPOSITION TO ISSUE $20,000,000 SCHOOL BUILDING BONDS

Shall the Board of Education of El Paso Gridley Community Unit School District Number 11, Woodford, McLean, and Livingston Counties, Illinois, build and equip a new school building in Gridley, Illinois, alter, repair, demolish, renovate and equip portions of the existing facilities of the District, make site improvements and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $20,000,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?

__ YES

__ NO

Information Session at Jefferson Park

January 22, 2020

Tuesday evening (1/21/2020) we held an informational session at JP. The EPG teachers were a huge help in arranging (and providing) childcare. Approximately 70 community members came to the discussion where information was presented about the upcoming referendum. The three main points were:

1) We want to go about the referendum process in a way that builds unity. That is more important than the outcome of the March 17th vote. If you feel we are not doing that, please let us know.

2) We want to be as open and honest with community members about the process, the options, the reasoning, and provide every bit of information we can to help voters make their mind up as to which option they believe is best for the district. If you feel we are falling short in that effort, let us know how we can do better.

3) We want to be very clear as to what the options are. A "no vote" means we will do the health life safety repairs on the JH campus and the tax rate will stay the same. A "yes vote" means we will build a new junior high and the tax rate will stay the same.

If you want to dig in a little deeper, you can find the slides from the meeting here: Click for Slides

Community Night Feedback

January 22, 2020

The second EPG Community Night was held in the Junior High Gym. With 169 people in attendance, I shared some information about the upcoming referendum. We then asked for feedback from those in attendance. There was discussion at each table around three questions. Feedback was collected from each participant and catalogued by question below. You can click on each question, see what was asked, and feedback provided. The numbers to the right of the question are the number of other cards that had the same response.

Question 1: What things are important to consider when building a new school?

Question 2: What would you change about current facilities? What new ideas should we consider if we are building a new EPG Junior High?

Question 3: How did you learn about this meeting? How can we communicate more effectively and openly?

Superintendent Board Report: December 16, 2019

EPG Board of Education held its Regular Meeting on Monday, December 16th at 6:30p. Click below to see a summary of the meeting.

Board Report: December 16, 2019

Spring 2020 Referendum Question Language

December 15, 2019

At the School Board meeting scheduled to be held at Centennial School library at 6:30pm on 12-16-2019, the Board members will discuss adopting the proposed referendum language that was presented at the November 2019 School Board meeting. The language is as follows:

“Shall the Board of Education of El Paso-Gridley Community Unit School District Number 11, Woodford, McLean and Livingston Counties, Illinois, build and equip a new school building in Gridley, Illinois, alter, repair, demolish, renovate and equip portions of the existing facilities of the District, make site improvements and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $20,000,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?”

If this proposed language is adopted on 12-16-2019, the form on the ballot for the elections to be held on March 17, 2020 would look like this: Click here for sample ballot.

Superintendent Board Report: November 25, 2019

EPG Board of Education held its Regular Meeting on Monday, November 25th at 6:30p. Click below to see a summary of the meeting.

Board Report: November 25, 2019

November 5, 2019

EPG Community Night Feedback from October 29, 2019

The first EPG Community Night was held on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 in the Centennial School gym. Participants provided feedback on index cards which were compiled following the meeting. Those comments and responses to them are compiled below. You can see that information by clicking on the purple "EPG Community Night #1 Comments & Responses" button just below this text box. (This is not a thoroughly written document. The intent is to provide some brief answers that provide some insight. This information is also being considered the November 12th night is being planned.)

If you have questions you would like answered - or feedback to share with me or the Board of Education, please click the link below. I believe the questions that have been submitted by the "Referendum Feedback Form" have been addressed in EPG Vlog #4.

Please consider coming out to EPG Community Night #2 on Tuesday, November 12th at 6:30p in the JH Library.

October 31, 2019

EPG Community Night #2: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 6:30pm

EPG Community Night will be Tuesday, November 12th at 6:30p in the JH Gym. Come out and learn more about the options that will be on the ballot at the Spring 2020 referendum. A "yes" vote will be for a new junior high in Gridley. A "no" vote will be to fix the current facility to meet minimum Health Life Safety standards. We will talk more about those options on November 12th.

If you have questions you would like answered - or feedback to share with me or the Board of Education, please click the link below.

October 11, 2019

Video Blog: Spring 2020 Referendum

This spring we are planning on a referendum to decide whether to build a new EPG Junior High in Gridley or repair the structural needs of the current EPG Junior High. The left is a video that gives a summary of what we are discussing with the Board of Education. Our intent is to communicate as effectively as possible. This is one of several videos we will post sharing information about the pending referendum. The first one is on the left side of this blog. Future videos will be in that same location. We hope they are helpful in sharing information. We also want your feedback. If you have questions you would like addressed - or comments to share with me or the Board of Education, please click the button below.

Superintendent Board Report: October 28, 2019

October 29, 2019

EPG Board of Education held the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 30th at 6:30 p.m. This meeting included an update from the FY19 audit, approval of the FY20 budget, and the annual budget hearing. For more specifics on the meeting, click the link below.

Board Report: October 28, 2019

Superintendent Board Report: September 30, 2019

October 1, 2019

EPG Board of Education held the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 30th at 6:30 p.m. This meeting included an update from the FY19 audit, approval of the FY20 budget, and the annual budget hearing. For more specifics on the meeting, click the link below.

Board Report: September 30, 2019

Superintendent Board Report: September 16, 2019

September 18, 2019

EPG Board of Education held a special session on Monday, September 16th to learn and discuss information regarding future facility planning for the EPG Junior High campus. The Board of Education is planning to hold a March 2020 referendum on whether or not to build a new Junior High in Gridley, or to repair the current Junior High in Gridley.

Board Report: September 16, 2019