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State Sen. Bertino-Tarrant visits Channahon technology class

Illinois State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant , D-Shorewood, paying a visit to Channahon District 17’s Pioneer Path School Monday to watch a fourth grade class learn computer coding.
Illinois State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant , D-Shorewood, paying a visit to Channahon District 17’s Pioneer Path School Monday to watch a fourth grade class learn computer coding.

CHANNAHON – State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, got a sneak peak at what Channahon grade school students will be learning in their computer labs next year.

School District 17’s instructional technology resource teacher, Renee Bogacz, told school board members at Monday’s board meeting that Bertino-Tarrant, who used to be a principal in the district, had contacted her after reading an article in a Shaw Media publication on the computer code project scheduled for next year at all four Channahon schools.

Bogacz scheduled a time for Bertino-Tarrant to visit Mary Valentino’s fourth-grade class at Pioneer Path School for a sample of how young students will be introduced to coding.

“She was very, very excited,” Bogacz said. “She was absolutely knocked out at how the students were so natural at it. Some of the kids took to it so quickly.”

Computer coding, or programming, is a computer language that is written by people to instruct computers to perform certain tasks, like creating a web page or writing a game.

According to Bogacz, when students learn how to code, they also learn problem-solving skills, higher-order thinking, critical thinking and creativity.

Also at Monday’s school board meeting, the district extended its school year to make up for weather days this winter. Four days were added to the year’s calendar, making the last day of school for all students, except eighth-graders, June 4.

The eighth-grade graduation ceremony was moved to 6:30 p.m. June 2 at Minooka Community High School, South Campus.

Five members of the district’s wrestling team also were honored at the meeting for qualifying for state competition. One, Jerad Price, took second place at state. Head coach Bill Stonich introduced Jerad,  Kole Vaught, Jack Malloy and Danny McMillin to the board. Another state qualifier, Jack Ryan, was absent from the meeting. The team was 14-4 this year, Stonich said, and all but one of the state qualifiers have been with him for all four years.

The board made several personnel decisions, as well, including authorizing an honorable discharge for kindergarten teacher Kelsey Nichols. As enrollment numbers in the district decline, the number of classes also will decrease, including kindergarten, which will go from six classes this year to five next year. Nichols’ class is the one that will be cut.

Superintendent Karin Evans said Nichols will be greatly missed and that she was a very good teacher.

In other action, the board:

• Approved granting tenure status to two teachers: Ted Martin, at Three Rivers School, and Molly Stanek, at Channahon Junior High School.

• Accepted the resignation of Amy Neal as an aide at N.B. Galloway School. The board hired Christi Smith as head track coach and Megan Flynn as a substitute custodian.

• Approved an upgrade to its Barracuda web filter. The upgrade with three years of updates will cost $8,586, minus an approximate credit of $2,200 for the district’s existing filter.

• Will replace 33 network switches at the junior high and a router at N.B. Galloway School for a total cost of $79,867. Many of the switches are more than 10 years old, the board was told, and getting new ones will decrease the failure rate.

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