Showing posts from December, 2017

D205 Implements Fountes and Pinnell Testing in Elementary Grades

In 2016, the District updated its Key Performance Indicators to include reading at grade level by the end of third grade.  Research on brain development and literacy acquisition clearly supports the importance of ensuring that students are proficient in reading in the early primary grades, as those who are not rarely catch up.
To support this important priority, District 205 began Fountes and Pinnell (F&P) testing at its elementary schools this year as a part of the new English Language Arts Curriculum.  In this system, teachers assess their students formally three times per year and informally throughout the year.  Every teacher knows the exact “instructional” and “stretch” reading level for each student and flexibly groups students accordingly throughout the year in their daily literacy blocks.
Additionally, grade level teams use Acceleration Time to provide targeted instruction (interventions and enrichment) for students based on individual need.  They utilize F&P data to …

Administration Presents Plan for Dual Language Implementation in D205 for 2018-19

At the December 12 Board of Education Meeting, English Language and World Languages Coordinator Ariana Leonard and Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Leadership Development, Dr. Mary Henderson, gave a stellar presentation to the Board of Education recommending the addition of a two-way Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program at Fischer Elementary School beginning the fall of 2018.  A Dual Language Committee comprised of administrators, teachers, and parents has been meeting for months to plan for the ultimate recommendation that was advanced this month.

Dual Language emerged as a priority during a multi-year community engagement process, Focus 205, and has been under consideration by the District for years.  The Board authorized the administration to move forward with planning for implementation when the administration presented its 2017-18 student achievement objectives at the July regular Board meeting.

In this model, native Spanish speaking students receive their EL services …

Property Tax Freeze Would Have Massive Impact on D205

In August, the State of Illinois passed a budget that included significant changes to the way it funds schools.  It is an attempt to bring more equity to what was one of the most structurally unsound systems in the country.  The problem is that for equity to be truly realized, a massive influx of additional funds would be required, and it will be a long, long time before District 205 sees any consequential increase in the amount of general state aide it receives.  
As it currently stands, D205 is almost entirely reliant on local revenue to fund its schools, with 89% of its revenue coming from local sources.  Due to Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, or PTELL, the District's annual levy can only increase over the previous year by the rate of inflation not to exceed 5%, plus any new growth.
However, this could change as legislation on a property tax freeze passed the House this fall.  Though the Illinois State Senate did not bring the property tax freeze legislation to the floor f…