Dongola School District superintendent Dr. Paige Maginel, left, discussed challenges facing rural schools with the executive director of the Illinois Association of Rural and Small Schools, Dave Ardrey, center, and Illinois State Board of Education member Dr. Kevin Settle, right. Photo by Lindsey Rae Vaughn.

Challenges of Illinois rural schools addressed

Dr. Kevin Settle from the Illinois State Board of Education and Dave Ardrey, executive director of the Illinois Association of Rural and Small Schools, visited Dongola School on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Settle, who has been on the board for about a year, joined with Ardrey to get a personal look at rural schools in Illinois.

A wide range of topics were discussed by Dr. Settle, Ardrey and Dr. Paige Maginel, who is the superintendent of the Dongola School District.

Topics that were covered included the evidence-based model of funding, challenges facing small and rural schools, and the impact of a teacher shortage, both for Dongola and  in the State of Illinois.

“These visits are helping me so I can see the rural schools,” Settle said, who noted that he wanted an equitable education for all students.

Ardrey said it was important for members of the state board to visit Illinois’ rural schools. Such visits give board members an opportunity to meet with local school officials and to hear their concerns.

Ardrey suggested that an understanding of issues facing rural schools can’t be gained until people step inside their doors.

Settle and Ardrey also visited Lick Creek Elementary School and the Cairo School District.

Maginel said she was very excited for Settle and Ardrey to come and get a firsthand look at the school. 

She also highlighted Dongola’s dedicated staff, their incorporation of technology in the classroom and the Union County school’s growing band program.

“We refuse to let that go,” Maginel said about offering fine arts at the school.

Settle and Ardrey finished their visit with a tour of the school.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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