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Showing posts from January, 2018

D205 Considering All-Day Kindergarten

District 205 has been eliciting input from the community in multiple ways over the past several years to help establish priorities as it develops a comprehensive Operational Plan to guide decision-making in future years.
Three major data points have demonstrated that offering an all-day kindergarten option for families should be a priority for Elmhurst moving forward.  During the 2015-16 school year as part of Focus 205, the District hosted a series of community engagement sessions.  All-day kindergarten emerged as the top instructional priority.  Focus 205 also included a Thought Exchange survey, in which all-day kindergarten, along with enhanced STEM opportunities for students, was identified as a clear community priority.  Finally, in a recent scientific telephone poll conducted October 16-25, 2017, 81% of respondents supported D205 offering access to all-day kindergarten.  Sixty-six percent supported all-day kindergarten being housed at neighborhood schools.  The margin of error in…

D205 Pilots Standards Based Grading at Field and Hawthorne

Last year D205 focused extensively on learning targets.  Learning targets are explicit statements about daily instructional objectives in student friendly language.  Learning targets provide clarity for the learner and allows the students to take greater ownership over their learning, increasing student engagement.
In my personal experience, the typical answer to the parent question, “How was school today?” is, “Fine.”  If parents instead ask their children what their learning targets were for the day, they should be able to tell them.
The importance of learning targets is referenced in my December School Administrator article entitled “Creating Coherence with Instructional Rounds.”  Principals reported that they consider the practice extremely valuable.
In conjunction with the recent curriculum work in ELA and math, the implementation of the new curriculum led to teacher frustration with our current student progress report and system of grading. They found that the student progress r…

District Pilots Defined STEM

District 205 has been involved in a multi-year community engagement process called Focus 205.  Focus 205 has included multiple opportunities for residents and parents to provide input and feedback, and in each instance one theme emerged--a desire for increased and enhanced STEM opportunities for students.

The administration could not agree more.  Examples of movement in this area include the proposed addition of Project Lead the Way at the middle school beginning in 2018-19 and the development of career pathways and interdisciplinary forums at the high school, including plans to establish a business incubator, tentatively slated for launch in 2019-20.

There are many other efforts currently underway at all grade levels.  At the elementary level, makerspaces are now commonplace, and this year D205 is piloting Defined STEM.  According to the Defined STEM website, Defined STEM follows Jay McTighe's Understanding by Design curriculum framework and "provides teachers with standards…