How was school today? What are you working on?
I’ve asked my daughter those questions hundreds of times, and I’m sure that your children would tell me they hear those same questions regularly from you.
The answers your kids give you may be a bit short on detail, though, so I thought I would share briefly some of what is happening in our schools, framed around our Board of Education-approved goals for this 2018–19 school year….
I can assure you that we are focused fully on high levels of student growth and achievement for our students at all grade levels. For example, our elementary and middle school students are benefitting from their teachers’ increasing application of differentiation and monitored practices in small groups to meet their individual needs. In early childhood and kindergarten classrooms, play-based instructional practices are being explored and enhanced–recognized as rich opportunities for meeting our young students’ developmental needs. In middle school, we’re designing targeted and innovative opportunities to make the FLEX period engaging and challenging–and to inspire deeper exploration. Fine-tuning high-quality literacy instructional practices, fully implementing our Bridges math program and new fine arts learning standards, and connecting curricular themes across subject areas are other ways we’re preparing our students to succeed and thrive.
Likewise, we’re continuing our work to build capacity and engagement levels across the District, embedding into classroom instruction authentic opportunities for social emotional learning and to increase our understanding of interculturalism. Later this school year, we’ll build on the work of the Community Focus Group we hosted last spring by engaging a multi-stakeholder group in developing and sharing with our community our commitments around our District values. In addition, we’re focused on supporting students in cultivating interests and assuming leadership roles and responsibilities.
How was school today? Be confident that–for every child in every District 96 school, and for our faculty, too–we’re working to make every day a day of learning and growth.
Considering Acceleration: Policy and Procedures
Effective July 1, 2018, the Accelerated Placement Act required Illinois public school districts to adopt and implement policies on academic acceleration. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that school districts have equitable and effective assessment and placement practices regarding academic acceleration.
All children who demonstrate appropriate ability and who may benefit from accelerated placement may be considered.
The policy provides opportunities for acceleration via several avenues: for early entrance to Kindergarten and Grade 1 and for acceleration in either a single subject area or for a “whole grade” (“skipping” a grade).
Early entrance. District 96 parents requesting that early entrance to Kindergarten or to Grade 1 be considered for their child must request it by April 1 in the calendar year in which August enrollment would occur. To be eligible for Early Entrance assessment, a student must be turning 5 years old (for Kindergarten) or 6 years old (for Grade 1) after Sept. 1 and no later than Dec. 1.
Who will qualify for early entrance to kindergarten?
Assessment by District 96 faculty and staff must reflect no concerns with the student’s social emotional functioning. Further, his or her academic achievement must be significantly above average (in the 99th percentile) for the student’s chronological age in all areas assessed.
For the 2018–19 school year, of the five students assessed requesting early entrance to either kindergarten or Grade 1, one student qualified for early entrance to Grade 1.
Acceleration. At prescribed times in the school year, a student may accelerate in a single subject or a whole grade. A tiered system accommodates students scoring in the 99th percentile at one, two, or three grade levels above students of his or her chronological age. Please note that there are time restrictions for acceleration to some middle school courses because they are prerequisites for future coursework.
NWEA MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessments that all District 96 students take provide faculty and staff with initial information about what students know and help identify those ready for more rigorous curriculum. Then, secondary assessment provides a content-specific, standards-based understanding of a student’s academic readiness for more rigor and accelerated placement.
Single subject acceleration. In District 96, a student who demonstrates academic readiness in math OR reading, as well as social-emotional readiness, can be accelerated grade levels in math or reading.
Whole grade acceleration. In District 96, a student who demonstrates academic readiness in math AND reading, as well as social-emotional readiness, can be accelerated grade levels.
Considering the whole child. Throughout acceleration assessment, District 96 faculty are considering the whole child and whether acceleration is developmentally appropriate. To that end, a tool known as BIMAS2 provides norm-referenced data on teacher perceptions of a student’s social skills and attention. Faculty also are committed to partnership, giving parents the opportunity to review with Curriculum administrators the results from initial, secondary, and social-emotional assessments and discussing school district recommendations for final placement based on results.
• CLICK HERE to view more information about early entrance/acceleration request process and requirements.
• CLICK HERE to view the language for the District’s Policy 6:135: Accelerated Placement Program.
Welcoming Our New School Resource Officer
District 96 welcomed School Resource Officer Ashley Krozel from the Buffalo Grove Police Department at the beginning of this school year. She comes very highly recommended by her predecessor, Officer Cliff Paul, with whom she worked for many years.
Officer Krozel is new to District 96, but not to her role. She has been a school resource officer for 6 years in neighboring School District 102 and St. Mary’s School in Buffalo Grove. Her face is already familiar in our schools as she works to educate our students to equip them to make good decisions. She engages in frank discussions in our middle school classrooms about social media use and online bullying and teaches our younger students in age-appropriate conversations about actions they can take to be safe.
A parent of a six-year-old and a preschooler, she notes, “I’m very passionate about this position. The students’ well-being and safety are my utmost priority. And I’m not forgetting about staff and parents…. I want to be sure that everyone feels happy and safe before and during school, and after it lets out for the day.”
If you would like to email Officer Krozel with a question, you can send it to [email protected].
Welcoming Our Community Parent Liaison
I’m also thrilled to introduce Lubna Andrabi, our District’s new community parent liaison. Many of you will recognize her name, having encountered her as an active PTO volunteer and an involved parent during her children’s years when they were District 96 students. Hers is a new role, created to welcome new families and work with our parent organizations to invite participation and support their work.
Lubna is helping to meet the needs of our diverse demographic. She has been inspired by her work as a founding member of our Guiding Coalition of Interculturalism (GCI) parent group and is eager to meet and engage parents through her leadership of our Parent Network. She also will attend and participate in our Thought Exchange Partnership (previously known as the Parent Review Committee).
Our District continues to support and look for more ways to serve parents. We offer you varied opportunities to understand and support your children’s learning, to build an informed collaborative community, and to equip yourselves for your parenting role. If you have questions or want to learn more about ways you can become involved in this important work, please contact Lubna at [email protected] or call 847.459.4260, ext. 8136.
I’m so energized and excited by what I see and hear in our classrooms and in KCSD96 teacher/leader meetings district-wide. A great year of learning is underway!
What are we working on in school? Ask your student again!
--Julie Schmidt, Superintendent of District 96 Schools