School district building crisis protocol app — and students can help

This school year, Belleville District 201 faculty will be developing an app that will give teachers access to emergency procedures currently only available in physical paper copies. And Superintendent Jeff Dosier said high school students will likely have the opportunity to help.

The students might be those studying technology, Dosier said.

This effort to bring written procedures into an electronic format will help if a crisis does unfold on one of the campuses, Dosier said, because it puts the information on a device that most teachers already carry: a cellphone. The emergency procedures cover everything from bus crashes to active shooters.

Dosier said the district has not yet started creating the app.

Also new this school year is another option for school administrators to communicate with parents and students. Within the next month, Dosier said the community will be notified about the opportunity to opt in to text messaging-based alerts from District 201.

The alerts will include information about school closings — snow days, for example — as well as emergency situations.

“Right now, we have the robo calls,” to get that information out, Dosier said. The text messages “will allow us to have more instantaneous communication.”

Dosier said the district will continue to update the community from its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Students traveling nearly 1,000 miles away

High school students studying culinary arts in Belleville will be taking a field trip to Florida next year.

The Belleville District 201 School Board approved the “Cook Around the World” trip that takes place April 20-24 in Orlando during its Monday night meeting.

Students in American studies classes will also travel Nov. 8-11 to Gettysburg, Pa., and Harpers Ferry, W.Va., with board approval Monday.

Students will pay for their trips with help from fundraisers.

Principals recognize students, faculty

Belleville West High School students Eli Tieman and Donald Holm were recognized by Principal Rich Mertens during the meeting for being named National Merit Scholarship Commended Finalists.

Eli has a perfect 5.0 GPA, ranking No. 1 in his senior class. He plans to study mechanical or chemical engineering, and he’d most like to do that at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the California Institute of Technology.

Eli founded the first robotics team at Belleville West, which has been awarded the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for an exceptionally well-designed robot, according to Mertens.

Donald has a 4.48 GPA and is ranked No. 51 in his senior class. While taking honors and advanced placement courses, Donald has also been involved in volleyball, lifeguarding and the school’s Spanish club.

Among Donald’s top college picks are the University of Illinois; Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; or the University of Wisconsin.

Mertens said both students were among the top 50,000 high scorers out of 1.5 million applicants.

The following faculty members were also recognized for excellence:

▪  Belleville West vocal music teacher Jeannine Moeller, or as her students call her, J-Mo.

▪  Belleville East social studies teacher Mary Guest, known to her colleagues as “Mother Mary.” Guest is in her final year as a Lancer before her retirement.

In other business

The school board also voted to approve the following:

▪  An agreement between the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education and the school district for the 2016-17 Stay-In-School Program.

Dosier called it “a great idea.”

“This is a program that the regional office of education is running to allow students who have had discipline issues to attend school rather than be out of school,” Dosier said.

▪  Creation of a new scholarship, the Reynolds Scholarship, in memory of a longtime teacher in District 201. Students will be notified by the district about how to apply.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes