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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Attendance up at 709Connect

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  • An effort to boost attendance at the latest 709Connect community engagement workshop appears to have worked.
     
    Kelly Scarfe, co-chairwoman of the 709Connect coordinating committee, told District 709 School Board members on Oct. 16 that attendance was “40-plus higher” at last week’s workshop on facilities than it was at the Sept. 25 workshop on school finances, meaning about 100 residents were there.
     
    “Better yet, there were 35 people who attended their first workshop,” she said.
     
    This was the fourth workshop. Attendance had fallen dramatically since the inaugural workshop Aug. 30, so organizers got parent organizations and teachers involved and sent numerous emails to increase the crowd.
     
    Also, child care was provided by Morton Education Association members and qualified Morton High School students.
     
    Scarfe said based on responses from workshop attendees, they were surprised by the ages of the district’s buildings and the fact that no additions had been built for 30 to 40 years until four classrooms were added to Grundy, Lettie Brown and Lincoln elementary schools this summer.
     
    There also was a consensus that the district should look into purchasing land to meet future facilities needs, Scarfe said.
     
    The next workshop is Nov. 1. It will focus on curriculum. A Nov. 29 workshop is planned to discuss recommendations the coordinating committee will make to the School Board Dec. 11.
     
    Information about 709Connect workshops is on the district’s website, www.morton709.org.
     
    Also Oct. 13, board members learned from high school Principal Marjorie Johnson that the school’s internal review team has begun the state-mandated Rising Star Continuous School Improvement Process.
     
    The process was launched because the school did not make Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind Act the last two years.
     
    “We were a little nervous at first, but we have a strong academic school, rated among the best in the country, and a solid academic culture, so we feel this process will be beneficial in the long run,” Johnson said.
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