At its meeting Wednesday, Oct. 22, the Summit Hill School District 161 board approved plans that will help continue the success of the district's schools.
School Improvement Plans are required by the state for each school. Summaries of the plans for the district and grades kindergarten through eight were presented at the board meeting and unanimously approved by all board members present. Stacey Borgens was absent.
District officials presented the plans, which will be available on the district's website in the coming weeks.
Overall district standardized test scores available for the fall through Northwest Evaluation Association, or NWEA, have shown improvement over last year, and other behavioral data based on referrals indicates that the district's anti-bullying program is working, Bridget Nolan, director of special education, said.
The district will continue its focus on a system of establishing behavior standards and rewarding students for good behavior as well as its tiered response system to catch students who may be falling behind academically or have behavorial needs.
The district is also continuing its implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. D161 is in its second year of a three-year plan to incorporate the new, national standards and phasing out the old standards as well as updating the curriculum to align with the standards.
This can be seen in kindergarten through fourth grade with the increasing use of nonfiction texts in classrooms. The plan for those grades includes continued use of testing and other data to drive instruction and a focus on tailoring instruction to individual students. Kathy Bisch, Arbury Hills School principal, said the district continues to see benefits of before- and after-school tutoring services, so those will remain for this year.
The plan for grades five through eight includes providing more opportunities for teachers to collaborate and share ideas; staff training on incorporating the English and language arts Common Core Standards for those grade levels; and closely monitoring student growth.
As students advance into these grade levels, teachers and principals are using more student-centered activities to increase students' critical thinking and teamwork.
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