Administrators presented District 65’s 2011 Accountability Report to the School Board at a special Board meeting on Oct. 13. The results were previously reported in the Sept. 28 issue of the RoundTable.

Three schools were required to offer parents the option to transfer their students to another school: Oakton and Chute schools because they failed to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act on the 2011 ISATs and are in Year 1 Improvement Status, and Washington School because, while it met the AYP requirements on the 2011 ISATs, it failed to meet AYP in the prior two years.

Lora Taira, chief information officer, said a total of 50 students were transferred to different schools under the parent choice option, 27 from Oakton, 18 from Chute and 5 from Washington.  Of those, 39 were on free- and reduced-fee lunch status, and 7 were English language learners.  Ms. Taira said some parents said they wanted to transfer their children to have better access to childcare or a more convenient location.

Some Oakton parents were critical of the notice given to parents about the option to transfer schools, because it failed to note the progress being made at Oakton and other positive factors about the school.  According to the accountability report, 75.4% of the students at Oakton met standards in reading, which was short of the AYP requirement that 85% meet standards. Thus, the category “all students” failed to meet AYP.

Some positive developments, however, were that black, Hispanic and low-income students met a “safe-harbor requirement” by increasing the number of students in each subgroup that met AYP by 10% more than the prior year. The State did not release data showing how white students as a whole did on the ISATs, but according to the report cards released on Oct. 22, 100% of white third-graders met standards and 75% of white fifth-graders met standards.  

Board member Richard Rykhus asked if the notice given to parents could provide additional information about the school. Assistant Superintendent Mike Robey said the wording of the notice is pretty much determined by federal requirements.

Superintendent Hardy Murphy said the District may be able to send a separate notice with additional information explaining why a school failed to meet AYP, and what progress was being made at the school. He added that even though some schools failed to meet AYP for certain groups, student achievement in general increased, and the schools were moving in the right direction.

At Mr. Rykhus’ suggestion, Board members will receive early notification of any schools failing to meet AYP next year so they can be involved in the notices given to parents.

The District is scheduled to present in the next few months an achievement report using measures that were recently approved by the School Board. Board member Eileen Budde reported at the Oct. 13 meeting that she and Tracy Quattrocki met with Dr. Murphy and Ms. Taira to discuss the format of that report. Ms. Bailey said a time would be scheduled to present the achievement report to the Board.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...