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Although the District 202 goals for 2010 – 2012 were just adopted last February, the School Board heard June 28 that progress was already being made in some areas.
“Each year at this time, we do like to bring to you the first results as we end the school year,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “By fall, this chart will begin filling in quite a bit.”
Dr. Judy Levinson, director of research, evaluation and assessment, reported to the Board that some of the data used to evaluate progress against goals, such as Prairie State Achievement Examination results and gains from the EXPLORE test to the ACT, will be available in the fall.
She also explained that the 2008-2009 school year was being used as a benchmark against which progress would be evaluated.
The District has four overall goals in the areas of literacy, numeracy, well-being and budget/finance.
Literacy and Numeracy
Within the Literacy and Numeracy Goals, data was available to assess the objective of increasing by 10percent the percentage of black and Latino students enrolled in honors-level and AP classes.
The objective for honors was achieved for black and Hispanic students in English and History and World Languages, and for black students in math.
The objective for Advanced Placement was achieved for Black students in History, Hispanic students in Math and for both black and Hispanic students in World Languages.
“We’re always looking for options for students … saying ‘stretch, stretch’,” said Laura Cooper, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “That’s been developing over the past couple of years. They’ve been moving slowly but systematically.”
“What we’ve seen is that the teachers of the mixed level classes convey to students their high expectations,” said Dr. Witherspoon. “… how many of [them] can and should be accomplishing the honors-level credit. When the teachers raise their expectations, it’s remarkable what can come of it.”
Board member Gretchen Livingston suggested that the District consider offering AP- level classes to students earlier than in their junior or senior years. “Our students might be open to a challenge earlier,” she remarked.
Within the Well-Being goal, the objective to “reduce by 10 percent Ds and Fs in all subgroups in all departments” was met for all except for 9th- and 10th-grade Hispanic students.
Another objective within well-being, “reduce by 10 percent the number of reclassified students,” was only met only for Hispanic students in the second semester.
A third object within the well-being goal, “increase by 15percent the number of students enrolled in courses that lead to dual credit or industry-recognized certification” was met in both areas.
Board member Deborah Graham asked what the explanation was for the reduction in Ds and Fs.
“I think it’s part of a trend that had been continuing over the past several years,” said Dr. Levinson. She said that the 2008-2009 school year had seen a spike in Ds and Fs, for which administrators did not have an explanation. “This is more like what we used to see and also better,” Dr. Levinson said.
Budget and Finance
The District met four out of the five objectives contained in the budget/finance goal. The District maintained cash reserves at 38 percent (5 percent above the 33 percent requirement), increased grant funding by more than 10percent, secured two major grants and met with local legislators.
Ms. Livingston noted that not only had the District met with State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg as was indicated in the report, but also with State Representatives Robyn Gabel and Elizabeth Coulson on several occasions.
“It hasn’t gotten us very far (with regard to the State budget problems),” she said. “But we keep doing it.”