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D118 board votes to add, improve weapons detection systems

Mar. 23—DANVILLE — The weapons detection system at North Ridge Middle School continues to cause bottlenecks of students as they pass through them, with the system not flowing as quickly as at Danville High School and leaving students in inclement weather.

The Danville School District 118 Board Wednesday night approved a four-year lease for $306,846 with BeckTech of Urbana for dual-path Motorola Concealed Weapons Detection systems at North Ridge Middle School, South View Upper Elementary School and Danville High School.

The new systems would introduce weapons detection capabilities at South View, improve the screening process at North Ridge and enhance the screening capabilities at DHS, said D118 Director of Operations Seth Oldfield.

North Ridge currently uses CEIA OpenGate system at its visitor and student entrances, Oldfield said. It's had a higher false-positive rate. The district would use the Evolv system at North Ridge student entrance and the OpenGate system at the front visitor entrance.

South View was scheduled to receive the OpenGate system during fall break 2024, and that school too will have the Evolv system. An unused spare OpenGate system at DHS will be used at South View's visitor entrance.

DHS already has one of the Evolv systems at the Clock Tower entrance. It would receive a second Evolv dual-lane system for the Circle Drive entrance, the closer entrance for events in the auditorium.

The board also approved purchasing FirstNet Rapid Response radio service for districtwide radio communications. Oldfield said there are two-way radios in all buildings, but school officials can't communicate with other buildings in an emergency. The new system is cellular based and secure WIFI. The purchase is for 280 radios for an annual cost of $83,964, with a one-time $277.20 cost.

The board also heard about a learning management system change for dual enrollment. Currently DHS dual enrollment students utilize Blackboard Learning when participating at DACC classes. DACC is switching to a new learning management system called Canvas.

Danville District 118 utilizes Google Classroom to support any online learning provided by the district teachers. While Google Classroom is extremely useful during in-class instruction and for e-learning days, a more robust virtual learning environment would be necessary as the district begins to explore virtual learning options for advanced and alternative learning environments as well as a professional development opportunity for all staff, according to Curriculum Director MaryEllen Bunton.

Additionally, the district has used online learning platforms for credit recovery, alternative learning and hard to offer advanced courses. Students continue to indicate they prefer the district staff and DACC dual enrollment coursework to the online platforms. Credit recovery courses are changing too and may provide some new opportunities for virtual learning.

The district plans to explore the virtual learning opportunities available to students and staff, and officials plan to return to the board with an update later this spring.

In other announcements, kindergarten registration will be April 24 and Centralized Registration for all students for the 2024-2025 school year will be July 31 at DHS.

Board members also learned Danville District 118 will be offering summer school from June 5 to July 23. There will be no school on June 19 or July 4 to celebrate Juneteenth holiday and Independence Day respectively. Some students will be going to Friendly Town in a pilot program.

In other business, the board approved:

* Amending the school calendar for Northeast Elementary Magnet School for the 2024-2025 school year due to construction finishing up. The school would stay on the traditional calendar instead of balanced calendar for the year.

* Replacing 35 desktop, 110 laptop and 1,327 Chromebook computers for $800,245 (lease plus warranty) with IT Savvy.

* Travel expenses of $4,095 for two pre-kindergarten staff and an administrator to attend the Elevate National Early Childhood Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on July 10-13.

* School crisis plans.

* Field trips for North Ridge Middle School 8th Grade AVID — Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. on April 17; Northeast 3rd graders — St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall and St. Louis Zoo — St. Louis, Mo. on May 9; Danville High School JROTC Archery Western Championships — Mountain America Center — Sandy, Utah — April 26-27; and DHS JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge — Camp Keweenaw, Mich. — June 7-12.

* Heard an audit report and accepted the audit results. The audit shows the district having four months of reserves on hand and the district spent more than $25 million in federal funds in 2022-2023.

* Travel expenses for board members Alice Payne and Kim Corley to attend the National School Board Association 2024 Annual Conference and Exposition, in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 6-8, 2024; and for board member Shannon Schroeder to attend the AVID Summer Institute, Strategic Leadership for College and Career Readiness in Dallas, TX, June 17-19, 2024.

* Board policy updates.

* A memorandum of understanding for a research partnership with the University of Illinois for more professional development for special education staff.

* Job descriptions for a clinical professional and a special education alternative coordinator.

* Waiving 2024-2025 school year registration fees.

* Engaging with OneDigital of Chicago for group insurance consulting services for $27,600.

* Dismissal of employees for reasons other than reduction-in-force.