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About Us

Our Story

Welcome to Effingham Unit 40. For your convenience, we put together a District Dashboard that provides our stakeholders with the ability to view how the district uses its resources to ensure student growth is occurring. Additional information, including the school report card, is available on the district's academic performance page.


As Superintendent of this district, I would like to start by thanking so many people for what we have already accomplished the first half of this school year.  It is truly amazing what can happen when so many people work together for the benefit of our students and community.  Please continue to work with us as we venture into 2024 and what this year has in store for us as a community and an educational institution.  Tonight, I want to share with you where we are, celebrate many, many good things that we have experienced over the first half of the year (but will not be able to share everything due to time), and then discuss some challenges we foresee for the future. TEAMWORK is so important for our students, staff and community as we slide into 2024!

I emphasized at our opening day this school year to “BE INTENTIONAL” in all that you do this year.

The success of our district over the course of the past six months is credited to our teachers, teachers’ aides, bus drivers, custodians, nurses, administrators, board members, our students, our parents / guardians of our children and our amazing community.  The community continues to rally around our school system in a manner that is to be commended.  It takes a “Community” to raise a child and I have seen this first hand, time and time again, over the past several months.  In the end, what is best for our children has come to fruition, and again I say “THANK YOU”!!!!

The district currently has 2,318 students enrolled.  There are a total of 107 children enrolled at Little Hearts.  Of those 106 attending, 25 are children of Unit 40 employees.  East Side Preschool is home to 130 preschool aged students. ELC is home to 141 kindergarten students.  South Side is home to 274 first and second grade students.   Central Grade School is home to 498 students in 2nd through 5th grades.  Effingham Junior High School has 470 students currently enrolled - 6th (149), 7th (154) & 8th (167) grades.  Effingham High School has approximately 718 students enrolled in grades 9-12.

We have 6 Board members elected by the community to set policy and direction for the district.   

Those current board members are in the process of interviewing and selecting an additional board member to fill the seat that was vacated last month.  So very soon the board will be fully staffed with seven members.  We have been BLESSED to have individuals that are willing to give of their time for continual improvements to our education process.  Employees of the district include 16 administrators,190 certified teachers, and 191 classified staff including bus chaperones, bus drivers, cooks, custodians, lunch supervisors, maintenance, nurses, secretaries, and teachers’ aides.  The district covers 127.7 square miles. 



Financial Summary:  (Kelsey Baker)

The following reflects an estimated comparison from FY22, FY23, and FY24 budgets fund balances:

                                        June 30, 2022:                June 30, 2023:              June 30,2024: (estimate)




FY24 (Estimate)





O & M












Social Security / IMRF




Working Cash








Fire Prevention








Big 4 Funds





Financial Trend Data: (Kelsey Baker)


Assessed Valuation

Total Extension


Increase over Prior Year

EAV Increase

Extension Increase












































The revenue from taxes paid in FY12’ =$12,095,502.17 compared to FY22’$20,195,400.56.  The tax rate FY12’ = 3.2575 compared to FY22’ = 3.4806, which is a 0.2231 increase in 10 years although EAV increase was 15.07%.  Over the past 10 years the EAV of property has increased $186,225,896. In 2022 EAV of property was $580,225,896 from $394,000,000 in 2012, which translates to $8,099,898 increase in extension to the district.  Thank you, taxpayers and the community, for continuing to support our schools.  We spend an immense amount of time trying to create a budget that will provide us with the funds to educate our students in a manner that is very pleasing to our community.  The State is doing a better job for the most part in providing us with our allocations in a timely manner. We have begun working with Frontline Analytics on the new Financial Software in order to make financial projections.  This will also help the board when making decisions, projections, and future financial decisions impacting the district.  


Little Hearts Early Childhood Center - (Jennifer Fox)

Little Hearts Early Childhood Center takes care of our youngest learners, ages six weeks to six years. We have seven classrooms at Little Hearts - babies, wobblers, toddlers, twos, and three preschool classrooms. There are a total of 107 children enrolled at Little Hearts.  Of those 106 attending, 25 are children of Unit 40 employees.

At Little Hearts, we lay the foundation of learning in all areas of learning including communication and language, social emotional development, gross and fine motor development, and cognitive growth.  

Effingham Unit 40 were pioneers in operating their own childcare center. To meet this vision, the district purchased Little Lambs Early Childhood Center and worked diligently to transition the operation to district ownership. Little Hearts opened on July 1, 2023. It is the mission of Little Hearts Early Childhood Center to provide:

A warm, loving, and nurturing atmosphere, where children feel safe and loved,

Developmentally appropriate, high quality learning experiences, and

Individual instruction to meet the needs of the whole child for future success in school and life. 

We are striving to provide quality care at an affordable rate to clients of Little Lambs Early Childhood Center, Unit 40 employees, and the community at large. Our goal is to maintain quality childcare for our children, give our staff and community members support in balancing parenthood and their jobs, provide competitive wages and benefits to our employees while decreasing the cost of childcare for our clients. 

Our employees at Little Hearts received many added benefits that they did not have previously including paid sick leave, insurance options including medical, vision, and dental coverage, life insurance, and a retirement program.

For Unit 40 employees, one immediate advantage is that our employees may opt to have nine month care versus 12 month care, thus saving families from paying for childcare over the summer months, resulting in a savings of $2,000-$2,400 depending on the age of their child. 

Although we allow our Unit 40 employees to opt for nine month care, the center is open 12 months, only closing for Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and the Fourth of July. The center is open from 6:30-5:30 daily to meet the unique child care needs of each family.  

At Little Hearts, we are a self-funding organization. We work diligently to apply for grants to offset the costs of the center. We have acquired a Smart Start Transition grant, totaling $187,000. We have also received a Kobalt Trust Grant to fund our Technology for Tots initiative. This grant allowed us to buy new IPADs to use in our classrooms. We have also received the state’s Preschool for All Grant which will completely fund two of our preschool classrooms beginning April 1. The classrooms recently received the white glove treatment, receiving all new toys, curricula, and instructional pieces. Many new furniture pieces were added as part of the classroom overhaul. The grant will also fund two certified teaching positions, two paraprofessionals, lunch and snack, classroom materials, professional development, 4 Chrome books, and additional support for the classrooms. Beginning in December, those classrooms have begun their transition to Preschool for All Classrooms so that the staff can be properly informed, trained and prepared for effective implementation in April.

Little Hearts is currently recognized with the Silver Circle of Quality. We are currently applying for the Gold Circle of Quality which is the highest level of recognition and will lead to increased funding. In preparation for the evaluation, the center has been working with staff on professional development and improved classroom practices. In addition, a portfolio of evidence is being assembled in preparation for the site visit and interview that is a part of the process.

Continued professional development and employee growth is a goal of the center. Currently, eight different employees are pursuing degrees in early childhood. We have worked with each employee to obtain a scholarship to cover all expenses of higher education. All employees have been trained in all required DCFS and ExceleRate trainings resulting in 30 additional hours of annual trainings.

The Little Hearts organization is composed of very caring individuals who have been very patient and supportive as we have worked through transitions this year. They have embraced the changes and have remained committed to serving our littlest learners. They are an incredibly collaborative, flexible group of individuals who are very appreciated.

We are extremely excited to work throughout 2024 to improve our quality of care and programming offered at Little Hearts Early Childhood Center. While we have made drastic gains in the last six months, we know that the next year will hold even more opportunities for our staff, parents, and children.


Eastside Elementary - (Lacy Althoff and Jennifer Fox)

East Side Preschool is home to 130 preschool aged students. East Side has a half day program with different sessions in the morning and the afternoon.

There are two special education classrooms at East Side that serve students who have developmental delays or special education needs that are better served in a smaller class size with additional support. These classrooms have a maximum of ten students who are taught by a teacher with support from one to two paraprofessionals.

In addition, there are three general education classrooms that are funded through the Preschool for All Grant. These classrooms have a maximum of 20 students and are taught by a teacher with support from a paraprofessional. The Preschool for All Grant was a new grant that we acquired in January of 2023. Therefore, this year has been the first full year of implementation using the Preschool for All mandates and curriculum. As a result of the grant, in May of 2023, our three PFA classrooms received the white glove treatment, meaning they were outfitted completely with new furniture, toys, teaching tools, and curricula. The Preschool for All classrooms utilize a plethora of instructional strategies and curricular pieces to meet the needs of all students in a play based, developmentally appropriate environment. Those pieces include Michael Heggerty phonemic awareness program, ECERS classroom structure, Second Step SEL curriculum, Creative Curriculum, Early Learning Systems Assessment system, and Fundations for literacy instruction. The overhaul of our preschool classrooms has increased our resources and offerings for our young learners.

East Side Preschool provides students with additional support according to their individual needs. Our classroom teachers are all certified not only with an early childhood degree, but they all have their special education certification as well. We also have two magnificent speech teachers on site who provide both push in and pull out speech services for our students. Other services include counseling, social work, hearing services, vision support, and physical and occupational therapy.  

In addition, East Side Preschool serves community walk-in speech needs. Nine students are currently being served as community speech students.

The school team extends their services to many in the community through the screening process. The teaching staff is highly involved in the screening process, providing developmental screenings for students aged birth to five. Screenings are held on a monthly basis throughout the school year to all children in the community. The team provides feedback to parents regarding their children’s development and helps them to connect with resources to meet their children’s needs. Thus, the teaching team supports not only the 130 students enrolled at East Side but many others within the community.

East Side works closely with many entities in Effingham to support our young learners and families. They work with Head Start, Early Intervention, medical professionals, outside therapists, childcare centers, the library, and Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education. They create many opportunities to extend learning beyond the classroom. They have guest speakers, field trips, Family Nights, monthly library visits, and special activities that are embedded into their schedules.

The heartbeat of every school is determined by the team within the school, and the preschool team at East Side Preschool is second to none. The teachers, paraprofessionals, custodian, secretary, nurse, itinerants, and administration are truly a family. They are flexible, dedicated, and passionate about serving students and supporting each other. They make an incredible difference in the lives of our students and set them on the path to success in kindergarten and beyond. We are blessed to be able to make a difference in many young lives and appreciate the families who allow us to work with their youngsters!


Early Learning Center (Kindergarten) - (Jennifer Fox and Lacy Althoff)

Our focus at the Early Learning Center is to build a strong foundation of learning in kindergarten! Our innovative teaching team implements a dynamic, challenging curriculum and seeks to provide creative learning opportunities and differentiated instruction to allow each student to grow to his or her unique potential. Throughout the year, we strive to build a partnership between home and school and to foster a lifetime love of learning for our students.  ELC is home to 141 kindergarten students.  It is our mission to provide a strong, nurturing academic foundation and a positive first experience for all students attending The Early Learning Center.

The Early Learning Center has successfully implemented a new ELA curriculum with fidelity.  Fundations is a structured literacy approach grounded in the science of reading to make early literacy learning fun with a multisensory approach.  Wonders reading curriculum focuses on fostering a love of reading in all children.  Exploration of a variety of texts, combined with daily instruction in reading, writing, and listening skills allows focus on the whole child and develops critical thinking and a love of learning.  We have seen significant growth in the students at ELC and the teachers are encouraged with the implementation of the new ELA curriculum. 

The Early Learning Center implemented a Mystery Reader Program that focuses on books from The Monarch book project.  The Monarch is designed to encourage children to read critically and become familiar with children’s books, authors, and illustrators.

Promote discussion of common, high interests books

Empower students through voting choice.

Encourage a culture of reading for joy.

Math in Focus, the math curriculum at ELC, is in its third year of implementation.  Math in Focus is built on research from Singapore math emphasizing problem solving as central to learning.  The program approach uses manipulatives, diagrams, modeling and abstract symbols to build math understanding.  The hands-on math activities and manipulatives allow learners to experience concepts in a concrete,fun way.  This year students that can count to 100 join our 100s Club and will receive a pair of 100 glasses to wear on the 100th day of school.  ELC implemented a schoolwide game of bingo to reinforce the teen numbers and add fun to our math practice. 


ELC uses Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) schoolwide to teach and model good behaviors and promote school safety. High Five Bootcamp allows all teachers time and strategies to model expectations with rules, and procedures at ELC.   The implementation of the High Five Store reward allows students to be rewarded for good behavior and following rules and expectations with High Five Tickets.  High Five tickets can be used to purchase items and activities from the High Five Store each week.  Playing a game with the principal is an example of a positive reward for good behavior at ELC.  

ELC is continually looking for ways to extend learning beyond the classroom. This year they have had presentations from Ag in the Classroom, a Veteran’s Day Assembly, guest speakers, the NED Show to promote a Growth Mindset, and Animalogy Assembly featuring live animals and instruction on their habitats and characteristics. There are also many schoolwide activities that students enjoy, promoting a positive, unified school culture. They have enjoyed our Family Read Night, friendship feasts, a Christmas Sing-A-Long, and holiday celebrations. We are still looking forward to our 100’s Day celebration, Dr. Seuss week, Fun in the Sun activities, Spring musical presentations, assemblies, and our field trip to Ballard Nature Center in the spring.

We are blessed to have an incredible team of teachers, interventionists, paraprofessionals, administrative assistants, cooks, custodians, cafeteria monitors, guidance counselor, social worker, parents, volunteers, and community members all uniting to form a powerful partnership for learning and to help us achieve our mission.


Southside Elementary - (Cheri Marten and Jessica Reeder)

South Side is home to 274 first and second grade students. There are eight sections of first grade, six sections of second grade, and two self-contained special education classrooms. The remaining two second grade classrooms are housed at Central Grade School. At South Side, we strive to engage, educate, and empower everyone who walks through our doors!

South Side is fortunate to have an active PTO that supports staff and students throughout the year. The PTO meets monthly and has provided opportunities like the Jingle Bus, Christmas gifts, Book Fair and Family Reading Night, and plans to have an end-of-the-year field day. All of this is accomplished through one large fundraiser at the beginning of the school year. 

Social emotional learning continues to be a significant focus for everyone at South Side. We continue to utilize the Bucket Filler school-wide recognition program for acts of kindness. Students are recognized weekly for being a Bucket Filler in someone's life. This year, there continues to be a focus on supporting staff with trauma informed practices as it relates to the educational environment with a new focus on staff wellness and self-care. 

Additionally, we have added a social emotional classroom that provides daily intervention on self-regulation and coping skills. This has allowed our students with the highest social emotional needs to receive consistent explicit instruction to recognize how their body is feeling (in a calm state, in a heightened state, and a dysregulated state) and how to become regulated to return to the classroom and work as a student.

Throughout this school year, our English Language Learning population has nearly tripled from last year. This has provided new challenges and learning experiences for students and staff alike. We continue to explore ways to support our ELL students and families while also learning from their cultures and experiences. We are very thankful to have an ELL teacher and paraprofessional who supports our school in helping these students and families.

Also new to South Side, is a bi-weekly technology class with a focus on computer science! This has given students a new opportunity to gain computer skills that were not previously taught until 3rd grade. Students and staff have loved these lessons and it has been fun watching students gain more confidence in the technology realm. 

Academically, South Side continues to fully implement a comprehensive math curriculum with the addition of a new ELA curriculum this year. We are proud to say that both curriculums are being implemented with fidelity and we are seeing significant student growth in both areas. Along with the comprehensive curriculum, we pride ourselves on offering a differentiated approach to teaching along with comprehensive intervention services in both reading and math. 

Finally, EVERYONE at South Side works hard at meeting the needs of the whole child; this includes paraprofessionals, kitchen staff, custodial staff, secretaries, volunteers, and teachers. We are thrilled to say we have excellent educational staff that go above and beyond to meet the needs of each student. Overall, staff members are certified for their particular teaching assignments. Those who are not certified are currently working towards that particular certification. Furthermore, the staff is highly collaborative and very close knit functioning like a true family!


Central Elementary - (Todd Schuette and Aron Spicer)

Central Grade School is home to 498 students in 2nd through 5th grades.  There are eight sections each of third, fourth, and fifth grades, and two sections of second grade.  We have three self-contained special education classrooms, and five special education resources rooms.  Reading and Math interventions are also offered.  The mission of Central Grade School is "doing whatever it takes so that all will learn and know we care."  

Central Grade School is a nurturing community dedicated to empowering young minds and fostering creativity. With passionate teachers, engaging activities, and a supportive environment.  We strive to inspire a love for learning in each child.


At Central Grade School we unlock the potential of children and help them soar to new heights! 

We use a school-wide approach called "Umbrellas for Peace" that focuses on kindness, responsibility, respect and positive thinking. Student assemblies are held throughout the year that focus on these character traits.

We reach a high level of academic achievement as determined by state and district standards. We commit to a comprehensive system of support to assure this outcome. Differentiation of instruction is used to meet the different ability levels throughout our 2nd-5th grade classrooms.

We enjoy embarking on this incredible educational path with each of the students at Central Grade School!


Effingham Junior High - (Charlie Schwerman and Jordan Andruch)

Effingham Junior High School has 470 students currently enrolled -6th (149), 7th (154) & 8th (167) grades.  

At EJHS students are asked to take more responsibility for their daily approaches as well as being challenged to grow daily by a highly qualified staff that believe having strong positive relationships with students is the foundation of all learning and growth in education. 

One of our main goals at EJHS is to get students involved and let them explore and determine their personal interests. We do this using a wide approach of teams, clubs, groups and activities.

EJHS students must pass 2 out of 4 quarters and have a passing average of 60% for all four quarters to pass the class. Students must pass 4/5 core classes to be promoted. CORE SUBJECTS INCLUDE:  math, science, social studies, reading and language arts

EJHS Culture Blueprint

Educational Excellence: Using the whole child approach to promote long-term development and success of all students.

Healthy - Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.

Safe - Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.

Engaged - Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.

Supported - Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.

Challenged - Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.

Maximum Effort and Reflection: Better today than we were yesterday – Better tomorrow than we were today.

Power of the School: Exceptional commitment to each other and to the work necessary to achieve our purpose.

The strength of a team is determined by the strength of the connections on the team.

Committed to Each Other

Committed to the Students


Effingham High School - (Kurt Roberts and Tony Pullen)

Effingham High School has approximately 718 students enrolled in grades 9-12. We are in the process of establishing foundational truths that give us guidance in all that we do. These truths include:

Caring about students and staff builds necessary relationships for learning.   

Mutual respect for everyone is required for a positive learning experience and healthy culture.

Being present and engaged is required for success.

Time spent at Effingham High School is valuable and important.

Quality and timeliness of work is important to the development of skill and character.

All people must feel safe and secure for optimum learning to occur.

We are committed to provide a number of different opportunities for students to explore their different interests, and then provide opportunities to do advanced skill work in areas of particular interest to a student. To that end we have programs of study that include:

Dual Credit-20 classes that offer students opportunity for Dual Credit These include classes in the 

follow departments: Math, English Science, Business, History and Career and Technical Education

Certifications-Included in Health Occupations and Child and Day Care programs

CEO- Entrepreneurship

CTEC- Construction trades program

Upper Level courses-Anatomy, Chem II, Physics, Psychology, Accounting, four years of foreign language (Spanish and French), Advanced Art, Wind Ensemble

Coop Education-cooperative work program between the school and local businesses where our students work.

 Ag Classes-Our students are able to take agriculture classes offered at other area schools

Tech/computer class- Web Design, MultiMedia, -Adding multiple computer classes in the fall of 2024

Graphic arts and design- Culminating into a print “business” run by students

HeartBeats Cafe-Student run cafe

We know that it is incredibly important for students to feel like they belong. To that end we strive to provide a number of different opportunities in a wide range of interests for our students to engage in “extracurricular” activities. This includes sports, band, drama, clubs, activities, etc.  This would also include social events such as Homecoming, Prom, Water Olympics, pep assemblies, speakers, etc.

We have also made a commitment to develop a sense for serving others.  This can be seen directly through our National Honor Society and required Civics Hours for all senior students, and it can be seen indirectly as well through Student council who uses the Powder Puff game to raise funds for a charity, and our staff that donates “Friday Jeans” money every year to a different cause or charity.

An activity we participated in last school year really sums up who we want to be at Effingham High School.

We designed, printed and gave every staff member and student a t-shirt with the following printed on the back.

We have the HEART to make a difference.  -Effingham High School


Special Education Department - (Jenny Seachrist)

The Effingham Unit 40 special education staff strives to ensure all students can learn and creates an environment for our students that focuses on student growth both academically and social emotionally.  Effingham’s staff provides instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.  The staff consists of 35 special education teachers, 62 paraprofessionals, 2 ESL paraprofessionals, 7 speech language pathologists, 3 school psychologists, 2.5 social workers, 2 nurse paraprofessionals and 2 nurses throughout 6 buildings.  

Effingham Unit 40 School District strives to provide a full continuum of educational services based on each student's educational needs. The programs range from speech services only, push in/pull out special education services, to self-contained programs for students with extensive needs.  Effingham is a member of the Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education that provides Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Adaptive Physical Education Therapy, Vision, Hearing, Vocational Educational Services and Fresh Start Learning Programs.


Curriculum - (Chelle Beck)

The curriculum for our district spans preschool through high school graduation. Our district’s strategic plan focuses on curriculum in goal 5 in the areas of exploration opportunities and challenging curriculum. We are currently compiling existing exploration opportunities district-wide and will then work toward a gap analysis to identify future needs. We are also working on a cyclical process using our data to help drive our curriculum and instruction needs. Abre will be a huge asset in enabling us to make more impactful decisions in a quicker way and with more confidence as we work toward our strategic goals.  

For textbooks and core instructional materials, approximately every 7-8 years we rotate the main curricular areas to review, purchase, and adopt core programs. Under review currently is grades 6-12 English Language Arts. In addition, we are looking into materials to be used for the new Computer Science courses that will be offered in the upcoming school year. Finally, we are planning to offer Advanced Placement Government for the upcoming year which will require an update of materials to be sure students are adequately prepared. Our goal is to have recommendations for purchases for the board no later than the May board meeting. 

January begins the state-required test season. We have various assessments ISBE requires our students to take. Typically, by May, all state-mandated assessments are completed. ISBE releases preliminary results to districts throughout June, July, August, and September; and then the results are provided at the November board meeting. The list of state-required assessments follows:

ACCESS: English Language Learner students only in Grades K-12

Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR):  All students in Grades 3-8

Illinois Science Assessment (ISA): All students in Grades 5, 8, 11

PSAT 8/9:  All students in Grade 9 

PSAT 10: All students in Grade 10

SAT:  All students in Grade 11

DLM:  Alternative Assessment given to a very small number of students with disabilities in Grades 3-11

National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP):  

Physical Fitness Assessment:  All students in Grades 3-12


Technology - (Emily Flach)

After our network issue in February 2023, the technology team has been working hard to support and secure the 4,000+ staff and student devices and other technology equipment that are required to provide the best learning environment for our students in the digital age. 

For cybersecurity, we continually monitor activity with our antivirus platform and filtering product, enforce two-factor authentication, and have implemented stricter password policies (even for our youngest users, 1st-5th grade students). In August, we replaced every copier in the district with new machines. We assisted in the South Side renovation by updating technology infrastructure and devices.  The current 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 9th grade classes and South Side teachers and all administrators were issued new laptops. Approximately 150 new desktops were installed at the Board Office, Transportation, EHS, and South Side.  With USAC funding, we updated our WAN and LAN infrastructure and have plans for fiber builds to the EJHS warehouse and EHS sports complex. We implemented a new ticketing system for staff and students to improve workflow and efficiencies and the tracking of technology inventory. With a focus on security, 50+ additional security cameras have been installed throughout the district as phase one of three.

For upcoming projects, we are excited to bring SMART interactive flat panels and new desktops to Central, new laptops for teachers at ELC and EJHS, and new laptops for next year’s 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th grade classes. We are also establishing policies and practices on the use of AI and plan to conduct additional audits to improve our security posture.

Finally, we are thrilled with the addition of our new marketing/communications specialist. We will be working behind the scenes on some exciting updates to our website, app, and communication platforms over the next several months. Stay tuned!


Effingham Counseling Report - (Chelle Beck)

The counseling staff at Effingham Unit 40 comprises two main positions:  School Counselors and Social Workers. Our district has a total of 8.0 FTE School Counselors and 2.5 FTE Social Workers. These positions work in conjunction with one another:  School Counselors typically deliver whole class lessons for all students in the buildings and run small groups for some students based on needs. Social Workers typically deliver services to students with special needs in small groups or individually. These positions are distributed as follows across the district:

East Side - 0.25 FTE Social Worker

Early Learning Center - 1.0 FTE School Counselor; 0.25 FTE Social Worker

South Side - 1.0 FTE School Counselor; 0.5 FTE Social Worker

Central 1.0 FTE School Counselor; 0.5 FTE Social Worker

EJHS 2.0 FTE School Counselors; 0.5 FTE Social Worker

EHS 3.0 FTE School Counselors; 1.0 FTE Secretary; 0.5 Social Worker

Together, they maintain a comprehensive list of community contacts and resources that can be used for students and for families, and they collaborate with the Mentoring Program that runs grades 3-12 as well. Many of them serve on the School MTSS Team, on the District MTSS Team, or on both. Several participate on the district leadership team that is developing a district-wide plan to implement trauma-informed practices in a consistent manner district-wide, but they are still researching the best avenues for this.


Buildings and Grounds - (Todd Thoele)

Here at Effingham Unit 40 we continually look to improve our facilities and keep them looking good. A key part to that is the 22 person custodial staff and 4 maintenance men that take pride in making Unit 40 a clean, well maintained, and desirable place to work and learn. We are always looking for new ideas and ways to improve. Some of our most recently completed projects are; new parking lot with lighting at ELC, EHS library renovation, and Southside Elementary renovation. Future projects that are currently being planned to have work done soon are; Central Grade School library renovation, digital marquees for EHS and EJHS and district wide upgrade for HVAC building automation. Other Projects that are being researched and on the horizon include, LED lighting throughout the sports complex, solar field for power, and a complete high school parking lot renovation and upgrade. 


Food Service - (Ryan Elsasser) 

The food service team here at Unit 40 is having a great and challenging year so far. We would consider the challenges welcome though because they are good ones. We have seen large increases in meals served because of the CEP Program and free meals for any student. The breakfast meals served this year have doubled and some even tripled. We feel this is awesome because we know kids learn better when they aren’t hungry. We have had to increase hours in some buildings just to support the influx of new breakfast eaters. We are trying new products regularly to try and expand the menus we serve. What a privilege it is to serve and enrich our students' lives.


Transportation - (Kristin Harvey)

35 employees

17 schools

51 vehicles in fleet

AM riders- 29 routes transporting 1428

PM riders - 27 routes transporting 1716


PTO - (Todd Schuette and Aron Spicer)

Our Parent Teacher Organization at Central School is amazing.  Our PTO offers many activities for our students and staff at Central School.  The PTO provides funds and volunteers to support many extra programs.  Central School is very fortunate to have extra support available for our students and staff.  Here is a list of items the PTO contributes on an annual basis.

$4500 for staff to purchase reward and classroom supplies.

$3800 for the Discovery Education classroom licensure.

$3710 for the Central School students and staff to attend a movie at RMC Cinemas.  This experience also pays for popcorn and a drink for all in attendance.   

$2200 for staff Christmas luncheon and Teacher Appreciation meals.

$1700 for Umbrellas for Peace t-shirts for the entire Central School staff. 

$1200 for the purchase of new Library Books for the Library. 

$1200 to support AR and Behavioral reward treats.

$995 for Dennis Regling Magic of Science Show assembly for all grade levels at Central School.

$200 for Bingo Cards for Central School reward activities.   

$166 for portable DVD players that can be checked out from the library. 

$150 for pizza parties for individual students that reach 100 AR points. 

Volunteer and plan our Central School Book Fair.  

Volunteer, plan, and raise funds for our Central School PTO.  These funds provide positive and memorable experiences for students while they attend Central School.  


Unit 40 Education Foundation  - (Todd Schuette)

The Unit 40 Education Foundation began with the vision of some of Effingham’s business leaders, teachers, administrators, and caring citizens of our community. They created a non-profit foundation to raise money that could be given back into our school district to help all students in every grade and classroom.

Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible and generated through many different sources: fund raisers, community business leaders, class reunion donations, memorials by individuals and families, individual community member contributions, and many other sources.

The Foundation directs money from these donations to benefit the students of Effingham Schools in many ways. Classroom teachers can submit grant requests for classroom resources that will enhance students' learning, such as technology tools, band instruments, grief counseling materials, library books, reading materials, infant simulators, and lab equipment.

One of the founding goals of the Foundation was to present a scholarship to each graduating senior of EHS. We’re not there yet, but we still strive toward that goal. In 2023, there were 67 seniors receiving scholarships through the Foundation, given by local businesses, community members, and directly from the Foundation, and the number continues to grow.

The mission of Effingham Unit 40 Education Foundation is charitable and educational.  Effingham Unit 40 Education Foundation is committed to promoting, enhancing, and assisting in the funding of public education in Effingham Community Unit School District 40 through the receipt and distribution of tax-deductible contributions for the benefit of students enrolled in Effingham Community Unit School District 40.


What is the State of the District? - (Andy and Kelsey)

Listed below is the District Strategic Plan that was created during the 2023 - 2024 school year.  As you look at the plan, I would ask you to please think about how you might partner with us to promote the success being sought in this journey.  We are putting students first.  Our students are learners, leaders, and our best hope for this community, state, and country. They are excelling because of excellent administrators and faculty, an outstanding classified staff, parents who are involved in their lives, and a community that values and supports them at a very high level.  It takes a great community to raise a child and we have many elements in this community to promote the success of our students. 


Specific things we have been working on this year are:

Promoting the positive programs, activities and achievements of our students and staff.

Seeking potential direction from community stakeholders, U40 staff, administrators and board members for a vision surrounding our facilities.

Continually looking at programs to provide our students with the best education possible.

The implementation of a robust alumni database for many reasons but most importantly to provide more opportunities for open lines of communication.

Enjoying the opportunity to support, lead, listen, learn, care, and make a positive difference.

Striving to expand our vocational offerings to provide more skill specific opportunities such as plumbing and electrical skill sets.

Increased efforts and resources for social emotional support for students. 

Planning for the expansion of computer science offerings in our high school.

Some real challenges looking us in the face are:

A growing population of students in areas in which we are understaffed.

Unpredictable economy / revenue sources (i.e. the state, federal government)

Increasing number of unfunded state mandates.

Lack of housing in our area for staff moving to the area.

Competitive wages in relation to those outside of education.


After one and a half years as the Superintendent of this fine district, I can honestly say we have great students, staff, administrators, board members and community members.  I have felt very supported from many within the district and the community.  I would just ask that we continue to create a more cohesive bond between each other and between our education system and our community.  After all, we are all on the same TEAM!!!! Trust is very important to me and I desire for that to continue to grow within our district and with the school and community!! The future of our educational institution weighs heavily on you as a community.  Education is changing at an alarming rate and we must be ready to embrace these changes.  We will continue to be transparent with what our needs will be and options of how to attain those needs.  We again appreciate your support for our systems as we are only as good as you help us be!! 


As 2024 rolls in, let’s pray collectively for increased unity amongst our community, state and country.  Let’s reach out and help one another in times of need.  Let’s slow down and enjoy those dinners with the entire family that could begin to diminish as we get back to normal.  Let’s take a few extra minutes when we are around others to value what they are saying rather than listening long enough to suffice a belief that we heard what they said and off we go.  TIME is precious.  We have a community that CARES - please continue to build on those beliefs that we all possess for the future of our children.  We have a community that supports the educational process for their children.  With these two combinations, our students are destined to SUCCEED over the next five months and beyond.  I ask that you communicate with your child’s school on a regular basis so we can work together for our children.  Stay the course with us, please!!! #OURWHYISYOURSUCCESS!!

This three to five year District Strategic Plan was created during the 2023 - 2024 school year with the help of many community stakeholders, educators, administrators and board members.


Mission Statement: Engage, Educate and Empower the Heartbeat of our community

Slogan: Engage, Educate, Empower; Effingham

Vision: To ignite and nurture passion, to develop talent, and to create successful lifelong learners


Core Values and Beliefs: In Effingham…

We value individual contributions, opinions, and beliefs to build trust for a successful team.

We respect individuals: their unique lives, passions, and talents.

We honor responsive and coordinated communication.

We celebrate the achievements and victories of all.

We value the respectful exchange of ideas and celebrate our diversity.

We believe the safety of all is crucial for effective learning.

We foster all to realize their potential and develop through personal growth.


Strategic Plan Goals


Plan and centrally locate Pre-K – 5 facilities.

Make all Pre-K to 12 facilities state of the art learning centers.


Ensure that adequate financial resources are in place to achieve the mission, vision, and core values of the district.

Allocate finances for competitive compensation to attract and retain quality administrators, teachers, and staff.


Ensure a safe and secure physical learning environment for all students and staff.

Implement a process/system that provides social and emotional support available to both students and staff.


Implement a Unit 40 strategic marketing plan which includes a cohesive rebrand and highlights self-promotion.

Build a coordinated digital and print calendar/newsletter.


Provide exploration opportunities from start to finish that allows for student choice and control.

Ensure challenging curriculum to open doors for all students.


To continually integrate the MOST current technology in all aspects of learning while constantly evaluating staffing needs.

The opportunity to have hands-on specialized technology.