Wilmington 209-U students honored for academic excellence

WILMINGTON 209-U STUDENT Sawyer Cravens accepts his certificate of achievement from SIS Principal Venita Dennis and joins his classmates during a special honors ceremony at the Wilmington School Board meeting on Feb. 13. The students were honored for their high performance on the 2022 Illinois Assessment of Readiness test. Photo by Marney Simon.

Marney Simon

It was a full house at the Wilmington School District 209-U meeting on Monday, Feb. 13, as more than 200 students, family members and friends packed the small gym at Wilmington High School to honor the academic excellence of dozens of Wilmington students.

The school board honored those students who exceeded standards on the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) in 2022.

The IAR is the state assessment and accountability measure for students in public schools across the state. Students are measured in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. The IAR is administered to all students in grades 3-8.

District wide, 55% of students in District 209-U met or exceeded standards in ELA in 2022, an increase of 5% over the previous year. In math, 41% of 209-U students met or exceeded those standards, up 4% over the previous year.

“We do these assessments every year in March and April, so they’re coming up again for 2023,” Assistant Superintendent Kevin Feeney told the board and those in attendance at Monday’s meeting during the presentation. “The state scores measure the students’ progress in four different categories. So, students either do not meet standards, partially meet standards, they are approaching standards... or they exceed standards. The students here tonight exceeded standards. I think most of the students would tell you, it’s not an easy assessment, The state makes sure of that, the state standards are rigorous and they’re based off of the Common Core standards.”

Feeney noted that statewide in 2022, 30% of students met or exceeded standards across both ELA and math, demonstrating the rigorous nature of the testing and the standards the students work to reach.

“Only 3% of the students in the state exceeded standards, so these students tonight represent the top 3% of all students in the state of Illinois,” he added.

Feeney also noted that students in Wilmington have been able to keep up with academic standards even through the pandemic and the recovery.

“Covid did have an effect on academic achievement, not just across our state but throughout the country,” Feeney said. “One of the things we’re very proud of here in Wilmington in our district is that we did not see the decline in academic progress that many school districts did across the state. The reason for that is, our school board, our administrators, our faculty, and you as parents made the decision that we would give our students an opportunity to learn in school. Many students throughout the state, throughout the country, were learning virtually at home. I think in hindsight, our politicians and those making those decisions realize now that it did have a negative impact on achievement and academic success. So, I think our students were very fortunate and we’re thankful that all the people in this room helped make that decision for us.”

The district will honor those high school students who excelled on their SAT tests during the regular monthly meeting in March.

Elementary and middle school students who were honored are:

3rd Grade ELA — Maeve Bryant, Ryder Meskill, Ian Mitchell, Katherine Staton

3rd Grade Math — Noah Beck, Maeve Bryant, Sawyer Cravens, Madelynn Cutter, Aiden Dumycz, Grace Keane, Ryder Meskill, Ian Mitchell, Aryanna Princko, Nolan VanDuyne, Benjamin Walsh, Audrey Woodard

4th Grade ELA — Kaylee Lovig, Baylee McInerney, Madison Rivera, Jackson Sweeney, Jackson VanDuyne

4th Grade Math — Aiden Lawson, Kaylee Lovig, Jackson VanDuyne

5th Grade ELA — Nicholas Pridemore

5th Grade Math — Shawn Schnittger

6th Grade ELA — Lailah Beck, Amara Bown, Amy Chiappetta, Cecilia Corlett, Cole Cutter, Samantha Cutter, Ethan Delgado, Haylee Fritz, Hunter Kaitschuck, Abigail Kinnett, Reagan Mossell, Chase Rabideau, Layla Reno, Jadyn Sorensen, Colin Strong, Mckenna Vantilburg

6th Grade Math — Amy Chiappetta, Samantha Cutter

7th Grade ELA — Addison Billingsley, Sally Clifford, Morgan Farrell, Lucas Galik, Noah Kerwin, Gabrielle Kluk, Samantha Liaromatis, Declan Moran, Nash Rink, Hailey Romano, Bella Rowe, Addison Schlieper, Ryan Schraeger, Brodie Strong, Miley Swearengen, Keeley Walsh, Gracie Wilkins, Anna Williams, Klaudia Zahora

7th Grade Math — Noah Kerwin, James Neagle

8th Grade ELA — Alana Bown, Peyton Buza, Nathaniel Cupples, Mark Gable, Grace Jones, Olivia Mosley, Delaney Redwitz, Adrianna Reta, Nicholas Simek, Rachel Smith, Alexis Strohm

8th Grade Math — Mark Gable, Alexander Lawson