The Board of Education at its meeting April 21 unanimously approved personnel changes that pave the way for more robust support and enrichment for students K-2.
The model, called Learning Support, provides an integrated approach, allowing many more students to get help or extend learning when they need it and in all core subject areas. The change involves reorganizing some job functions and creating new positions of Instructional Assistants. The Instructional Assistants will be assigned to the three grade levels and will collaborate with teachers to provide support, extended learning or enrichment to all students.
“Everyone will have a critical role in collaborating and ensuring that each child is achieving and growing,” Chief Academic Officer Jen Hester told the Board.The new model will be more collaborative, flexible and allow teachers to enhance what they have already been doing in the classroom. “This is a continuation of the differentiation that is already going on in the classroom,” said Hester. She said assessing students frequently, analyzing the data and revising instruction to meet the needs of each individual learner – called differentiated instruction – plays an important role in every elementary school’s Rising Star School Improvement Plan and is considered a best practice.
Under the new model, to be implemented in the 2014-15 school year, Instructional Assistants will be assigned to each grade level K-2 in the school. They will be trained and will collaborate with teachers and work under the direction of a teacher on how best to help students. These assistants can work one-on-one with a student, in small groups, or help students during whole class instruction, as needed. “The administration believes that this system of support will be more responsive to the learning needs of our students than our current system allows us to be,” said Superintendent Dan Bridges. In the current model, used for 25 years, a small number of students are pulled out of the classroom for reading help in kindergarten and first grade in a program called LEAP. Also, small numbers of students are pulled out for some limited enrichment or reading assistance.
This new model required releasing staff in four categories of positions - LEAP assistants, Kindergarten LEAP assistants, reading assistants and enrichment assistants – and creating new positions called Instructional Assistants. Full-time staff in these positions will have recall rights to the new positions. Bridges said that the current assistants are important to the new model as they know our children, schools, programs and teachers.
It is expected that with this new model, the need for external interventions will decrease. “We have what we need to be successful and we feel strongly that we will be successful,” said Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Kitty Ryan. She said that principals support the program. For more information on the Learning Support model, please see the FAQs by clicking here
Dozens of teachers, staff, parents and community members were celebrated at the District 203 Awards Night April 16. The theme of the evening was “Many Stories … One Mission.” Among the highlights were the District 203 All Stars, Proud to be 203 Award, the Arlo Schilling First-Year Teacher Award, the Rebecca Smith Andoh Award, a keynote presentation by the State Teacher of the Year nominee and announcement of 34 NEF grants. Click here for names of winners and details.
Educators from Naperville District 203, Indian Prairie District 204 and Wheaton Warrenville District 200 have partnered together to create expanded learning opportunities for our students. The Expanded Learning Opportunities program or eLo is a consortium offering online high school courses for the 2014-15 school year. The courses are taught by current teachers from District 200, 203 and 204.
The goal of the program is to expand learning opportunities for students, provide them with high quality teachers and curriculum, and increase flexibility. The three school districts are jointly offering the following online courses next year: Government, Consumer Economics, English, Geometry, Health, Chinese, U.S. History, and Web Design. For additional information, including how to apply for online courses and available FAQs, see the full story.