Central District 51 Newsletter

Fall 2020

A Message From the Superintendent

Central 51 Families,

Nearly six months after we were forced to close our buildings to in-person learning, we finally have students back in schools. Since Monday, March 16, 2020, students have been limited to remote learning after the COVID-19 restrictions were put into place by Governor Pritzker. At times, that feels like a lifetime ago. After months of tracking data and ever-changing guidelines, developing reopening options, and planning by our Central 51 Board of Education, administrators, teachers and staff, we have made it through our fifth week of in-person learning at Central!

Life in our schools is very different from last year, but the goal of creating the best possible learning environment that we can still remains our focus. Our principals, teachers and staff are doing everything they can to ensure that our students are actively engaged and learning no matter if they are here in person or if our students are learning remotely. It has been amazing to witness our teachers and students interacting and learning together in and outside of our classrooms.

We know the tremendous challenge that parents and students were faced with as we transitioned to our blended schedule this year. We cannot thank our parents and students enough for your continued support and flexibility as our district navigates the pandemic. Updates will continue to be provided each Friday which summarize the number of students and staff who are in quarantine, isolation and those that have tested positive with COVID-19 in our district.

One of the goals of the administration at Central is to ensure we are communicating with our parents and keeping them up to date on district news. The district office will provide a glimpse of what is happening district-wide a few times throughout the year in our district newsletter. We encourage you to also follow us on our social media sites to get frequent updates on the fun things that are happening at Central.




If you have questions regarding Central School District 51 please don’t hesitate to contact me at (309) 444-3943 or at dheidbreder@central51.net.

Dale Heidbreder, Superintendent

Budget Highlights

  • The primary objective of the Central 51 budget is to provide the greatest educational opportunities for our students within a balanced budget.

  • Central School District 51 has an annual budget of around $12.7 million.

  • The Board of Education’s main priority has been focused on our students and academics. Despite these very difficult times, the District has maintained fiscal responsibility without elimination of student programs or student opportunities. The Board has been adding and expanding programs (S.T.E.M., Art, Spanish).

  • The District continues to operate soundly despite the past reductions by the State of Illinois to Mandated Categorical Grants, Evidence-Based Funding/General State Aid(GSA), and Transportation revenues. It is expected that the district will lose about $154,475 by not receiving the last Transportation payment from the State for FY20.

  • Central School District 51 anticipates revenues at $12,831,166 and expenses are projected at $12,919,772. The District is utilizing dollars in reserve to cover the additional $88,606 needed this fiscal year.

  • Central School District 51 has received the highest rating of Financial Recognition from Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) every year since fiscal year 2016.

Revenues by Source - FY2021

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Expenditures by Objects without Construction Costs - FY2021

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Student Enrollment

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Each year the administration and Board of Education analyze our 6th day total enrollment for Kindergarten through 8th grade. Central School District 51 saw a decrease in enrollment from 1,407 students last year (2019-2020) to 1,346 for this school year (2020-2021).

Breaking down the enrollment numbers:

  • 4-8 CIS Students = 810

  • K-3 CPS Students = 536

  • Total =1346

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  • Full Time Remote Learners –168 students (12.5%)

  • CIS students transferred to private school – 2

  • CIS students transferred to homeschool – 7

  • CPS students transferred to private school – 8

  • CPS students transferred to homeschool – 23

The Central School District 51 Board, administration and staff are continuing to monitor our enrollment.

Construction and Renovation

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing videos of the new spaces throughout our schools. Friday, October 9th was a huge milestone. We had our last Regional Office of Education inspection at 10:00 a.m. and that completes our construction and renovation projects. While we had hoped to have an in-person grand opening event to showcase the amazing transformation of our schools, circumstances would not allow that to happen. The improved spaces and additions are worth showcasing. Community and family support was key in making these incredible new learning spaces become a reality.

We appreciate the work of Brian Faulkner and Jesse Hoerr at P.J. Hoerr, Inc. for helping us create these videos that show the projects from beginning to completion.

Click links to view construction videos.

Band, Art and Choir Rooms


New Exit

New English Language Arts Curriculum

Throughout the 2019-20 school year, teachers in grades K-8 worked to evaluate and select a new English language arts curriculum. Below are some of the highlights of Reading Wonders.

Trent Halpin, Curriculum Director

Components of Reading Wonders 2020 (Kdg-5th)

  • Foundational Reading Skills

  • Differentiated for every student (struggling readers, gifted and talented, English Language Learners)

  • Spelling & Vocabulary

  • Handwriting- Manuscript and Cursive

  • Science and Social Studies Standards embedded

  • Writing- Genre writing

  • Social Emotional Learning opportunities

  • Digital access for students at home

Components of StudySync (6th-8th)

  • ELA Skills (comprehension, reading, writing, research on inquiry)

  • Integrated Reading, Writing, Language, Speaking and Listening

  • Differentiated for every student (struggling readers, gifted and talented, English Language Learners)

  • Social Emotional Learning opportunities

  • Digital access for students at home

  • Digital tool allows to provide frequent additions and updates to materials (Current Events)

New Staff at Central

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Row 1, from left to right

  • Maggie Bagley, Social Worker
  • Kimberly Burd, Early Childhood Teacher
  • Ashley Cherry, CPS Paraprofessional
  • Brittany Emmons, CIS Girls PE

Row 2

  • Michelle Evans, CPS Cashier
  • Chad Fletcher, Custodian

Row 3

  • Tate Hardesty, Assistant Baseball Coach
  • Joshua Harper, 6th Grade Resource Teacher
  • Sarah Harper, 8th Grade Paraprofessional
  • Sarah Heffta, new position at Central as CIS Library Aide
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Row 4

  • Janni Johnson, Early Childhood Paraprofessional
  • Shawna Lee, CIS Cafe
  • Nathan Lutman, Custodian
  • Gail Massa, CPS Counselor

Row 5

  • Brittany Miller, 7th Grade Social Studies
  • Mandi Perko, 4th-8th Grade Reading Intervention
  • Kaelee Potter, 4th-6th Grade Life Skills
  • Anna Underhill, 8th Grade Literature

Row 6

  • Sarah Weech, Life Skills Paraprofessional
  • Lori Whitney, CIS Counselor
  • Kelly Whitton, 1st Grade Teacher
  • Dustin Ziegler, Golf Coach

October is National Principals Month

The Central 51 Board of Education passed a resolution recognizing the work of our principals and assistant principals at the Board meeting Thursday, October 8, 2020. The Illinois Principals Association has declared the month of October 2020 as “National Principals Month” in coordination with the efforts of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the American Federation of School Administrators, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, working with the U.S. Congress, to designate “National Principals Month”

Principal Appreciation Day provides learning communities an opportunity to publicly recognize the work, commitment and importance of principals, assistant principals, and deans throughout the state. Lifetouch and the IPA invite all teachers, students, parents, and community members to perform some act of appreciation on Friday, October 23rd to acknowledge the leadership of building administrators in Illinois’ public and private schools.

Principals and assistant principals are educational visionaries, instructional leaders, assessment experts, disciplinarians, community builders, public relations experts, budget analysts, facility managers, special programs administrators, and guardians of various legal, contractual, and policy mandates and initiatives. They are entrusted with the education and development of young people, the most valuable resource. We appreciate all that our principals and assistant principals do every day for our students, teachers and staff.

Substitute Teachers at Central SD 51

Substitute teachers are needed each day to cover for teachers or paraprofessionals that are away from the classroom due to illness, professional development, meetings, etc. With the unique circumstances of this school year, we know more substitutes will be needed to keep our students learning in the classroom.

Becoming a substitute teacher can offer flexibility to those who cannot commit to a full-time position. Central Dist. 51 currently pays $120 per day for substitute teachers and $110 per day for substitute paraprofessionals. This is a great way to supplement your income while maintaining a flexible schedule.

If you are interested in becoming a substitute teacher or aide at Central but do not currently hold a Professional Educators License or Substitute License, there are several options for obtaining a license:

  • SUB - A traditional substitute license can be obtained by individuals with a bachelor’s degree.

  • ELS(PARA) or STS - Two other options are available to those with an associate’s degree or 60 college credit hours. Both options include some restrictions. The first option is to apply for a ELS (Para) license. This license will only allow you to sub for paraprofessionals/aides. The second option is to obtain a Short-Term Sub (STS) license. With the STS license, you cannot sub for paraprofessionals and the license is non-renewable.

  • PEL - Most certified teachers receive a Professional Educators License (PEL). Individuals with a valid PEL can sub without obtaining an additional license as long as the license is registered in Central’s region.

To apply for a substitute, short term substitute, or PARA license:

1. Create an account in the Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) at:


2. Bring in or mail an official transcript (in the original unopened envelope) to the Regional Office of Education (ROE #53) at 414 Court Street, Suite 100, Pekin, IL 61554. To be considered official, transcripts must be submitted in the sealed envelope from the college or university or be sent directly by the institution. Transcripts received that are not in a sealed envelope from the university or sent directly from the university will be considered unofficial and cannot be used for evaluation purposes.

3. Once you have signed up for an account, and the ROE has your transcript, you may log in and choose “Apply for a Sub License” (or short-term sub license).

4. Once the license is granted, it will say 'Issued' in your account. You must then register your license for Region 53 by logging into your ELIS account and clicking 'Registration' in the Action Center.

In addition to obtaining the appropriate licensure, substitute teachers are required to present a fingerprint based criminal background check and an employment physical. The fingerprint based background check can be completed at the Regional Office of Education in Pekin, IL. Appointments can be made online at: https://calendly.com/printsroe53

For more information on obtaining a substitute teaching license, please go to the Regional Office of Education’s website at: https://www.roe53.net/substitutes

Once you obtain your license, fingerprint based background check and employment physical, you can complete an application for Central District 51 at: https://www.applitrack.com/central51/onlineapp/JobPostings/view.asp?FromAdmin=true&AppliTrackJobId=239

Please contact Heather Ford at (309) 444-3943 ext. 2405 or hford@central51.net with any questions.