Hononegah High School board meets with feeder district boards


Hononegah Community High School cafeteria

School boards in the Hononegah Community High School feeder districts met on Wednesday evening, June 21 in the HCHS library.

Superintendents gave reports on each district's strengths, facility upgrades, shared services between districts resulting in financial efficiency, and opportunities for the future.

Feeder districts include Kinnikinnick, Prairie Hill, Rockton, and Shirland. Together they serve 4,255 pre-K to 8th grade students. Six hundred staff members are employed in the district.

The Hononegah feeder districts consistently rank at the top of the three-county north central Illinois region which includes Boone, Stephenson and Winnebago County.

All four feeder districts consistently score Financial Recognition status, the highest category of financial recognition.

The proven track record of HCHS's feeder districts and the high school district has resulted in maintaining a competitive real estate market in the district.

Annual joint first responder and school safety reviews provide an ongoing dialogue on safety.

All of the feeder districts continue to use ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Fund) grant funds responsibly.

Kinnikinnick, Prairie Hill, Rockton, and Shirland have all implemented improvements through new HVAC and asbestos abatement.

Technology upgrades have included educational software, digital panels, professional development and hardware. Continued refinement of 1.1 Chromebook has also been implemented.

Schools added substitutes, teachers had lower class sizes, and special services were incorporated. Nurses plus after school and summer programming are also in place.

Facility upgrades at Kinnikinick, Prairie Hill and Shirland resulted in new roofing, flooring, security cameras, digital signs, and kitchen renovation.

Shared services between districts include transportation, waste management, bread & milk, printing, English as a Second Language teachers, special education services, and an Instructional Technology coach, which has created financial efficiencies.

Boards looked into opportunities for the future. One of the goals was to provide a rigorous curriculum that is innovative, student-centered and engaging.

The districts are expanding trauma-informed education and care, recruiting and retaining highly qualified staff, especially in hard to fill areas, as well as district leadership positions. Managing an increase in student enrollment due to new household construction in Rockton and South Beloit continues to add more future opportunities.

Hononegah administrators shared highlights of the 2022-2023 school year .

A report featured outstanding accomplishments from the Class of 2023. The average SAT score for the top 25 students was 1400.8 equaling an ACT score of 31.

The school's valedictorian Jason McCallister had a GPA of 4.938 and the salutatorian, Austin Kirwin, had a GPA of 4.896.

More student success resulted in 103 students earning Summa Cum Laude honors at a GPA of 4.0 or better. 33 were Magna Cum Laude- and 14 Cum Laude.

Sixty-eight students from the Class of 2023 were named Illinois Scholars, 96 were AP Scholars (31 AP Scholars, 16 AP Honor, and 49 of the AP distinction).

Seven students were named Commended students in the2023 National Merit Scholarship program.

In Advanced Placement Exams in 2022, students took 906 exams. Of the tests taken, 80.5% scored a three or better . In 2023 HCHS students registered for 999 AP exams.

One hundred and forty-one students earned dual credit in courses taught in the CTE department at Hononegah and 93 credits were earned by students attending classes at RVC.

The HCHS average SAT Reading score was the 36th highest in the state. This was in the top five percent of Illinois schools.

An average math SAT Math score was 54th highest in the state, in the top seven percent of Illinois schools.

HCHS is consistently ranked by numerous publications as a top performing and challenging high school in the state. It is ranked number 76 in Illinois, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings.

HCHS has a dedicated staff of 77% who hold a Master's degree or higher. The district maintains a 95% teacher retention rate.

HCHS uses effective interventions designed to help struggling students through Math and English tutorials, Freshman refereed Study Hall- Check & Connect, Students Offering Assistance,(SOAR), summer school, Credit Recovery- identification of the most at risk students through the schools multi tiered system of Support, Early Bird Bus routes- targeted intervention for students with skill defects in Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 11, and reading plus emotional, social and physical support.

In the past year 68% of students participated in a club or a sport. Fall, winter and spring sports NIC 10 Coaches of the Year were Jorge Pichardo- Girls Cross Country, Brian McGuire- Girls Swimming, John Torrence- Girls and Boys Tennis, and Kaylee Libby- Girls Volleyball, Jason Brunke- Girls Basketball and Tyler DeMoss- Wrestling.

Many improvements were made in the building, including new furnishings for different parts of the school, carpet replacement, new classroom touch digital panels, and electrical upgrades.

One of the highlights in the finances report: Hononegah was awarded $50,000 from the Illinois Maintenance Project Grant 2023 for door replacements and hardware upgrades.

The school worked with Vanguard Energy Services to lock in natural gas prices, providing a savings to the district.

The Hononegah Technology Department services the Winnebago Special Education Cooperative.

HCHS regularly recognizes students and staff each month.

In May, staff recognition was given to Liz McLevige for her work on the “Project Lead the Way” program.

Food Services director Maria Small, Faith Simonson, kitchen manager, and the HCHS food service department received special recognition for coordinating and preparing monthly dinners for school board members.

Riley Dick was recognized as the outgoing Student Council Board Representative for 2023.

Key Club and Student Council members assisted in organizing a Meet the Candidates forum prior to this year's local elections. They were acknowledged for their efforts by Sue Theden, co-president of the League of Women Voters.

Class of 2023 retirees were

  • Judy Adams - Security & DA Office Admin Assistant: 18 years
  • Faith Simonson - Food Service: 21 years
  • Stephanie Ballard - English and Student Support Services: 24 years
  • Bill Heller – Social Studies Department, Fr. FB & Bass Fishing Coach: 34 years
  • Ron Shelton- Physical Education Department: 24 years

Sarah Olson reported on the Student Support Services Department and Susan Bohn reported on action in the library.

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