Curriculum and Instructional Programs

Curriculum and Instructional Programs

The following section contains general information about the District's curricular and instructional programs. Parents can obtain more information about related topics by contacting their building principal or the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning at 847.459.4260, ext. 8020. 

Reporting Student Progress to Parents - Report Cards
The school year is divided into three evaluation (grading) periods for students in grades K–8. Typically, instructions to access report cards online will be sent one week after the close of the grading period.

Reporting Student Progress to Parents - Family/Educator Conferences
In addition to these regularly scheduled report cards, the equivalent of three full days are set aside in the school calendar for Family/Educator conferences. One and one-half days are scheduled in the late fall and another one and one-half days are scheduled in the spring. Conference appointments are scheduled by individual buildings for the fall and spring conference windows.

Since no one report card can fully answer all of the questions parents may have, an individual conference between the teacher and the parents can be of great value in providing a better picture of the child at school and at home.

If, for any reason, a parent perceives a need to confer with a teacher, the parent need only call the school to make necessary arrangements. The intent of scheduled conference days is to provide an opportunity for parents and teachers to come together to share information in a brief conference–not to replace the opportunity for these same people to come together whenever needed. Should you be unable to schedule a conference during the conference times identified on the school calendar, a parent may request a brief phone conference with the student's teacher and individual team members when appropriate. It is not the expectation of the District that teams recreate the conference experience outside the dates/times identified on the calendar.

Procedure for Notifying Parents of Academic Concerns
In order for students to perform satisfactorily, the following procedures are established.
1.  At first signs of difficulty, the teacher will talk with the student.
2.  If work does not improve, the academic teacher will contact the parents.
3.  In special cases, written communication will be sent home.

General Guidelines for Homework
Homework may be given for a variety of reasons including as make-up work, to continue work initiated at school, and to work on projects for which there is a lack of time in class. Homework should have clear directions, have a purpose, and require a reasonable amount of time to complete. Teachers will make an effort to coordinate major homework assignments to avoid conflicts in the use of student time. Recommended time for homework is as follows:
Grades 1-2:   15-30 minutes
Grades 3-5:   30-60 minutes
Grades 6-8:   1-2 hours

Obtaining Homework Information Following Student Absence
If a student is absent for only one day, assignments should be obtained from his or her teacher(s) upon return to school. If the student is absent for a period of two days or longer due to illness, homework requests may be made to the school office. Homework will be available for a parent to pick up within 24 hours. Middle school students are encouraged to obtain information about their daily assignments by checking Schoology.

Guidelines for Student Access to the Internet
Students may use the Internet as an educational resource for their regular school curriculum under the direction of school staff. The District promotes the use of the Internet as a classroom tool. Activities generated by the program are designed to serve the learning needs of all students through collaboration and access to information.

Prior to accessing the Internet, all students in District 96 and their parents are required to sign and have on file an Internet Access Authorization form. This form sets forth certain Acceptable Internet Use Rules and Guidelines and states that activities that violate those rules and guidelines will result in immediate loss of network privileges and/or other appropriate disciplinary action. The Computer Network System Use Policy appears in this Handbook in the section titled Important Notices to the Public

Middle School Graduation
A ceremony is held each year to commemorate graduation from the District.

Exclusion from Graduation Activities. Students who receive numerous or significant disciplinary referrals during the 8th-grade school year may be excluded from participation in graduation activities. (See Disciplinary Referrals)

Overview of Districtwide Curricular Standards
Districtwide curricular standards have been established for all grade levels in all subject areas. See curriculum guides and districtwide standards on the District Website in What Students Learn.

Overview of Districtwide Instructional Programs
In addition to a core curriculum that is articulated with Stevenson High School District 125, the District offers specialized programs in several areas.
Sexual Abuse Prevention Programs. As required by Section 5/27-13.2 of the Illinois School Code, students will be provided with instruction in recognizing and avoiding sexual abuse. This instruction will be provided minimally in kindergarten and first grade, as part of the health instruction program. No student shall be required to participate.  Parents may submit a written request that their child be excluded from this instruction.

Drug Awareness Programs. The curriculum shall include the required instructional activities designed to provide information and instruction on drug awareness and avoidance. The curriculum shall be presented in such a manner that students understand the social, medical, moral, and legal implications of drug abuse in personal terms. The following curriculum objectives should be included in the program:

l.  To increase an individual’s knowledge about drugs
2. To affect an individual’s attitude toward personal consumption of drugs
3. To alter an individual’s drug use behavior, if necessary

The K-8 health curriculum shall include instruction encouraging the following:
1. Development of a healthy lifestyle
2. Understanding of safe practices
3. Improvement of an individual’s decision-making skills
4. Improvement of an individual’s self-concept

Instrumental and General Music Programs. The District supports the development of musical skills and appreciation. The schools offer general music beginning in kindergarten. Orchestra lessons begin in Grade four and band lessons begin in Grade five. Students and parents will be informed of the enrollment procedures in their child’s school. The band, orchestra, and choral programs present concerts throughout the school year.

Physical Education Programs. Kindergarten, elementary, and middle school students must have gym shoes (clearly labeled with child’s name) for gym classes. These shoes also are required when students participate in after-school sports. Middle school students are required to wear the school’s official physical education uniforms. The uniforms may be purchased at registration or throughout the school year from the  PTO. Students must also purchase a lock for their gym lockers.

Title III Program. Students not considered proficient in English based on State of Illinois Criteria receive support through either a Transitional Program of Instruction or Biliteracy Education Program.

Federal Title I Programs. The Title 1 program is a federally funded program offering services to students at eligible school buildings.

Direct efforts are made to involve parents and other representatives of children in planning, operating, and evaluating the Title 1 programs. Additional information regarding these programs may be obtained by contacting either the building principal, the Title 1 teachers at your child’s school,  or the district office.

Acceleration
In response to the Accelerated Placement Act (Public Act 100-0421), the District 96 elementary (Grades K-5) acceleration policy allows for students at any grade level to gain access to accelerated curriculum in a three tiered system. Students meeting the requirements may have access to accelerated curriculum in math or literacy within their grade level classroom, in one grade level above, or in two grade levels above. Middle school (Grades 6-8) opportunities for acceleration are focused on language arts and math on a course-by-course basis. There are acceleration time restrictions for some courses because they are prerequisites for future coursework, and students cannot miss the content of those courses.  Additional information, including specific qualification criteria is available on the district website.

District Special Education Services
District 96 offers a continuum of special education programs and services for eligible children ages 3 through 15 in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA, 2004). The District employs special education teachers, instructional aides, itinerants, and related services providers such as speech and language therapists, school social workers, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to support eligible children with disabilities. In addition, District 96 is a member of the Exceptional Learners Collaborative (ELC). The District contracts with ELC for specific services such as Early Childhood Assessment, Hearing and Vision Itinerant Support, and Audiology. Diagnostic services and case management are also available to families and children under the age of 3 through Child and Family Connections.

Behavioral Interventions for Students with Disabilities
As required by Public Act 89-191, District 96 has established policy guidelines on the discipline of students with disabilities. The fundamental principle of this policy is that non-aversive or positive interventions, designed to develop and strengthen desirable behavior, should be used to the extent possible and are preferable to the use of more restrictive interventions. These guidelines will be furnished annually to the parents or guardians of each student receiving special education services in the District.

Participation in the Patriots Middle School Activity Conference
Students at Twin Groves and Woodlawn Middle Schools will participate in a variety of interscholastic athletic and academic competitions as part of the Patriots Middle School Conference. A copy of the Conference Handbook is available from the principal’s office at either of the middle schools or from the superintendent’s office.

Membership in the Patriots Conference consists of area middle schools located within the attendance boundaries of Stevenson High School. Conference participants include Aptakisic-Tripp Junior High, Daniel Wright Middle School, Fremont Middle School, Twin Groves Middle School, West Oak Middle School, and Woodlawn Middle School.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students may participate in cross country, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, soccer, track, pompons, and Scholastic Bowl. Sixth-grade students may participate in cross country, wrestling, track, and Scholastic Bowl. The Conference will feature balanced teams in soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and the schools may play a non-conference schedule

Eligibility for Participation in Extracurricular Activities
While all students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, achievement and work habits in core academics are the students’ primary responsibilities. Extracurricular activities are defined as those school-sponsored activities that are not assessed on the report card. Because every effort is made to ensure the student’s success in the classroom, eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities will be monitored in the following manner:

1.  Eligibility will be determined on a weekly basis for all extracurricular activities.
2.  A student may be declared ineligible if he/she is not consistently demonstrating (score of 3.0) expected work habits in one or more classes, OR
3.  A student may be declared ineligible if he or she is issued a disciplinary referral by one or more teachers.
4.  A student may be declared ineligible if he/she has accumulated three (3) tardys or absences per trimester.A student may be declared ineligible if he/she has accumulated three (3) tardys or absences per trimester.

The expectation is that, during the period of ineligibility, the student will seek extra help to improve his or her work habits, achievement, and/or behavior in order to reinstate eligibility.

Behavioral Expectations for Extracurricular Activities
Students are expected to attend practice, rehearsal, games, contests, etc., unless excused because of illness or through permission of the sponsor or coach. Behavior at and surrounding all practices and events is to reflect expectations for students representing District 96. This includes proper behavior at other schools, on buses, or anywhere a student represents the District.

If a student’s absence or behavior is detrimental to the group to which he or she belongs, the student may be dropped from the extracurricular activity. In addition, students participating in the extracurricular activities are expected to follow the guidelines and procedures determined by the coach or sponsor. The student and parents will be required to sign a copy of the eligibility requirements and return it to school before participation in the extracurricular activity may begin.

Required Physicals for Extracurricular Activities
Middle school students who plan to participate in interscholastic sports are required to have a complete physical and health examination on file (completed within 12 months of the end of the season for that sport) in the health office before the student may try out or participate. The physical examination form and the interscholastic sports participation form are available at the school office and on the District Website (See Student Health). Parents/guardians of middle-school students are asked to mail or deliver the completed forms to their student's middle school office.

Student Supervision Following Extracurricular Activities
Any child remaining after school for games, clubs, band, orchestra, or any other academic projects with a teacher or for any other purpose should go home immediately after dismissal from the activity. Students should not be walking in the street or cutting through yards. Parents are asked to be on time when picking students up after school.

District Summer School Program
District 96 offers an extended Summer School program in two formats: Jump-Start Kindergarten and Academic Summer School. Tuition waivers may be available for those families who qualify.

Jump-Start Kindergarten focuses on readiness skills (i.e., listening and following instructions) that ease a child’s transition into kindergarten. Activities address literacy, numeracy, and readiness skills.

The Academic Summer School program is for students currently in grades Kindergarten–7 who need additional support and practice in reading and writing. Because the program is intensive, regular attendance is encouraged.

The District sends information regarding summer school classes and registration to parents in the spring. Walk-in and mail-in registration take place during March and April. Enrollment forms are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Out-of-District students will be considered after in-District registration has been completed.

Other programs may be offered by invitation to select students, including support for students identified as ELL or students in the biliteracy program.

Extended School Year Program (ESY) for Students with Disabilities
Extended school year programs for students with disabilities shall be developed based upon the student’s individual needs as determined by the student’s IEP team.