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VCHS receives AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award

The Vandalia District 203 School Board learned at its regular meeting on Thursday, Jan. 18, that Vandalia Community High School had received an honor for its advanced placement courses.

VCHS Principal Randy Protz said he had received an email from the AP College Board informing him that the school had earned the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award.

According to the official website, the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award recognizes schools that “are expanding young women’s access to computer science coursework” in AP Computer Science classes. These schools are honored for either reaching 50 percent or higher in one or both AP computer science classes or whose percentage of female examinees have met or exceeded the school’s female population.

Protz said one thing he noticed when he saw the list of other honored schools was that Vandalia was one of the few public schools from Illinois on the list. Most were either academies or primary.

“We are trying to build  our AP program and give our kids more opportunities outside dual credit,” Protz said. “Another avenue for them to get college credit is to score enough on the AP test.”

In other school board news, Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Garrison said in her report that the Vandalia Junior High School parking lot is one of the next big improvement projects, with the design work getting finished up to start the pageant in the summer 2025.

The board approved the resignation of Nina Ladon, junior high TLC teacher aide.

Jennifer Stufflebean was hired as the junior high TLC teacher aide. Lacie Donaldson was also approved as a junior high ED teacher aide.

The school board also approved the retirement of high school math teacher Heath Strom, who intends to retire at the end of the 2027-2028 school year.

Matt Blankenship was approved as a volunteer assistant baseball coach.

There will be a question on the March primary election asking voters if they approve to allow a 1 percent sales tax to be used for school resource officer and/or mental health supports.

“It is important that the community understands that it is not an additional tax,” Garrison said in her superintendent report. “Voting no does not reverse the previous ballot question and take the tax away. A vote yes simply means it allows local control for each school board in Fayette County School Districts to use the revenue for capital improvements and school safety.”