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posted Apr 23, 2019, 6:13 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Apr 23, 2019, 6:16 AM ]

The school board election for Orion Community Unit School District #223 was held on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.  Four seats on the seven-member board of education were filled at the election and will serve four-year terms expiring in April 2023.  The official election results are as follows:  Four-year term:  Kimberly Nightingale (Rural Township)  358; Julie Abbott (Rural Township) 351: Peter R. Nedved (Colona Township) 331; Karl Kane (Western Township) 324; and David Harris (Rural Township) 209.  Kimberly Nightingale, Julie Abbott, Peter R. Nedved, and Karl Kane were elected for four-year terms expiring in April 2023.  Thank you candidates for your interest in Orion Community Unit School District!


posted Apr 5, 2019, 12:43 PM by Bobbi Thomsen

Baccalaureate and Graduation are a culmination of thirteen years of education for graduating seniors, and it is fitting that they be treated in a dignified manner.  We respectfully request that all participants and spectators act in a manner that will bring credit to the ceremony.  Thank you!  OHS Baccalaureate will be held on Sunday, May 12, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., in the OHS Gym.  OHS Graduation will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., in the OHS Gym.  8th Grade Promotion will be held on Thursday, May 30, 2019, at 6:00 p.m., in the OHS Gym.  


posted Apr 5, 2019, 12:37 PM by Bobbi Thomsen

Congratulations and best wishes to this year's Orion School District retirees:  Scott Briney, Principal & Teacher, 34 Years; Patty Colburn, Teacher, 33 Years; Rhonda Cox, Teacher, 33 Years; Lynn Dunn, Bus Driver, 40 1/2 Years; Lynn Lang, Bus Driver, 24 Years.


posted Feb 21, 2019, 1:41 PM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Mar 4, 2019, 7:25 AM ]

At the February 20, 2019, Board of Education meeting, the Board voted to revise the current school year calendar, due to the use of excessive snow days this winter.  Revisions include:

Friday, March 22, will no longer be an early dismissal day, as it will now be a full student attendance day.

Friday, April 19, will now be a student attendance day, with a 1:30 p.m. early dismissal time.

Monday, April 22, will now be a full student attendance day.

We will be using our Emergency Days at the end of the school year.  May 24, 28, 29, 30, and 31 are all full student attendance days now.

At this point in time, the last student attendance day will be Monday, June 3, with an 11:30 a.m. early dismissal time.

Thank you for your understanding.


posted Jan 8, 2019, 12:16 PM by Bobbi Thomsen

As Illinois school children return to school after their holiday break, I am writing to remind the driving public to be alert for children making their way to and from school.

Sadly, this year has seen at least eight kids across the U.S. killed by motorists who failed to stop for school buses loading or discharging passengers.  Five of those kids were killed over two days in November, including a 9-year-old Rochester, Indiana, girl and her 6-year-old twin brothers,.  It is illegal to pass a school bus whose red stop lights are flashing in all 50 states.

A one-day survey of 38 states by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services recorded 84,000 incidents of motor vehicles illegally passing stopped school buses.  That was in just one day.

My office has kept a close eye on these studies.  As part of our Toby Tire School Bus Safety program, we emphasize the dangers of crossing the street, no matter the purpose or time of day.  Our efforts have produced positive results.  We lead the nation in school bus safety and have compiled an enviable record of fatality-free miles covered by our school buses.

School bus safety has been a priority of school administrators, teachers and parents, as well as my office during the 20 years I have served as Secretary of State.  We warn children to always look both ways while crossing the street.  That means all the time, not only while crossing in a school bus loading zone.

School bus safety is a responsibility to be shared by everyone in the community, not just parents and school officials.  We all are stakeholders in the safety of our communities' children.

I encourage those with school-aged children to take time to remind them of the fundamentals of student transportation safety:
  • Stay away from strangers.
  • Always look both ways while crossing the street, even in bus loading zones.
  • Maintain decorum on the bus by speaking in normal tones and always staying seated.
  • Always stay clear of the 10-foot "danger zone" that surrounds the bus.
We must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect our children and ensure they get to and from school in a safe and responsible manner.  We owe our children nothing less.

Jesse White
Illinois Secretary of State


posted Nov 29, 2018, 8:41 AM by Bobbi Thomsen

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released C.R. Hanna Elementary School's annual School Report Card on October 31, 2018.  The Report Card shows how well C.R. Hanna is progressing on a wide range of educational goals. The State Board has identified C.R. Hanna Elementary School as an “Exemplary” school. The designation means that C.R. Hanna is performing in the top 10% of all schools statewide.  The rating is based on several data points, which include the 2018 PARCC scores, chronic absenteeism, and student growth. C.R. Hanna Elementary School is strongest when we all work together. The C.R. Hanna staff works really hard to make the learning environment a place that students want to learn and grow.  Also, we would like to say a big “THANK YOU” to the C.R. Hanna parents for all the work they do at home to help prepare our students each and every day.


posted Sep 19, 2018, 5:40 AM by Bobbi Thomsen

The school district's Extended School Program (ESP) is currently full!  We will post openings on our website when they occur.  Thank you!  

Testing of drinking water sources at C.R. Hanna Elementary School

posted Dec 20, 2017, 12:18 PM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Dec 20, 2017, 12:25 PM ]

Testing of drinking water sources at C.R. Hanna Elementary School was performed on November 10, 2017.  The testing is required by The Lead in Drinking Water Testing Bill (LDWTB) which was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner effective January 17, 2017.  

The LDWTB requires elementary school buildings constructed prior to January 1, 2000 serving 5th grade and below to test the following sources:


  • Drinking fountain and drinking sources in buildings
  • Classroom sinks in classroom under 1st grade (kindergarten and pre-kindergarten)


Water testing followed protocol recommended by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the LDWTB.  All water sources have two samples collected.  The first collection at each source is a “first draw” sample.  Water collection occurs in first draw samples after sources were unused for at least eight (8) hours.  The second sample at that source is collected after 30 seconds of flushing.  The two (2) samples are intended to help identify if any concentrations are originating from the fixture or the potable water piping leading to the fixture.


Lead most frequently gets into drinking water by leaching from plumbing materials and fixtures as water moves through a school’s distribution system. Even though the drinking water you receive from the water supplier may meet federal and state standards for lead, your facility may have elevated lead levels due to plumbing materials and water use patterns.  Leaching can occur for several reasons but the most significant is corrosion which can occur if water is acidic.


Lead in new plumbing and plumbing repairs was banned in 1986.  This ban did not entirely eliminate lead as 0.2% lead is still allowed in solder and 8% lead is allowed in piping systems.  Pre-1986 plumbing systems have a higher potential to leach lead into drinking water.


Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful to human health.  Young children, those 6 years and younger, are at particular risk for lead exposure because they have frequent hand-to-mouth activity and absorb lead more easily than do adults. Children’s nervous systems are still undergoing development and thus are more susceptible to the effects of toxic agents.  Lead is also harmful to the developing fetuses of pregnant women.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has developed the following guidance for reducing lead in the drinking water in schools;


“3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools: Revised Technical Guidance:  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):  October 2006 Version”


While there is no known safe level of lead in drinking water the guidance lists a recommended action level of 20.0 parts per billion (ppb) of lead.  Effectively when lead concentrations are at 20.0 ppb or greater some action should be taken to reduce the concentration in the affected outlets.


The LDWTB requires the District to provide notification to parents identifying each location with a detected concentration exceeding 5.0 ppb.  The concentrations of lead in samples at the following location(s) exceeded 5.0 ppb;


·         HCS-2A: first draw room 102 right sink – 12.5 ppb

·         HWF-2B: first draw room 102 left sink – 5.33 ppb

·         HCS-3B: first draw room 103 right sink – 11.0 ppb

·         HCS-6A: first draw room 104 sink – 10.1 ppb

·         HWF-6B first draw room 104 drinking fountain – 6.26 ppb

·         HCS-8A: first draw old art room sink – 7.46 ppb

·         HWF-9A: first draw room 106 east drinking fountain – 6.68 ppb

·         HWF-9B: flush room 106 east drinking fountain – 8.25 ppb

·         HWF-10A: first draw room 106 west drinking fountain – 6.39 ppb

·         HWF-10B: flush room 106 west drinking fountain – 6.81 ppb

·         HWF-15A: first draw small gym drinking fountain – 12.3 ppb

·         HS-16A: first draw nurses bathroom sink – 10.9 ppb

·         HS-16B: flush nurses bathroom sink – 8.53 ppb

·         HKS-21A: first draw south sink on west wall kitchen – 15.7 ppb

·         HKS-22A: first draw north sink on west wall kitchen – 50.6 ppb

·         HCS-25A: first draw room 115 sink – 14.2 ppb

·         HCS-26A: first draw room 116 sink – 21.8 ppb

·         HWF-26B: first draw room 116 drinking fountain – 126 ppb


Based upon the results of this testing the District is taking the following steps:


  1. Sinks that exceed the recommended EPA action level will be taken out of service or labeled to avoid using as a drinking or cooking source.
  2. Drinking fountains that exceed the recommended EPA action level will be taken out of service.

      3.   The 3 samples in bold print will have the faucets replaced and will be retested.


Please click on the attached file listed below (water test report 122017) to view a complete copy of the water testing report.  If you should have any questions regarding the water testing that was performed you can contact Mr. Blessman at 309-526-3388.


For additional information about lead in drinking water you can visit the USEPA’s website;


posted Nov 17, 2017, 6:17 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Nov 17, 2017, 6:21 AM ]

Goal Area 1 – Student Achievement/Curriculum

The Board of Education shall support the curriculum at each grade level within the District ensuring each grade is aligned to the Illinois standards.  Subjects of focus shall be Math, English/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Health.  The Board shall assign the Administration the task to assess the district’s overall curriculum and give a status report and proposed plan moving forward.  The Board shall then determine how it will support the chosen direction.

Goal Area 2 – Programs and Services

The Board of Education shall support professional development opportunities for the staff targeted at those individuals developing skills and resources that help advance the district in its educational offerings and improve student learning.  Utilization of this shall be reported to the Board every semester including some detail on how the particular learning was shared amongst the staff organization.

Goal Area 3 – District/Community Relations

The Board of Education shall support and promote the accomplishments and informational news of the school district by holding an annual meeting sometime between now and the end of the first semester of the 2018-19 school year.  This event shall be used to inform and engage our community furthering their understanding of district and community achievements.

Goal Area 4 – Facilities

The Board of Education shall support the development and maintenance of our educational facilities through the development of both a short-term plan (5 yrs) and a long-term plan (20 yrs).  These plans will incorporate end-of-life projections of key facilities.  Development and prioritization of these plans shall begin and be driven through the Buildings and Grounds Committee. 

Goal Area 5 – Finance

The Board of Education shall be fiscally responsible in how we spend the tax payers’ money to support and provide a top quality education for our kids.  We will continue our yearly budget planning and incorporate a “what if” planning strategy into these fiscal plans.  This overall fiscal responsibility shall be measured during our annual audit which measures the days of cash-on-hand as we strive to maintain our current level or slightly increase that while still providing a high quality education for our children.

Goal Area 6 – Technology

The Board of Education shall support the definition, development, and execution of a technology plan for the district as determined by the Administration and Technology Committee.  This plan shall be focused on how the district evolves with changing technology to support the various grade levels of education.  The Board shall then determine how it will support the chosen plan.


posted Mar 20, 2017, 11:29 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Mar 20, 2017, 11:31 AM ]

Federal law requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to administer certain assessments to all students who attend public schools in the state.  Please click here to view a letter from the Illinois State Board of Education concerning student achievement assessment.

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