District 69 schools not meeting federal testing standards
Updated: December 4, 2011 8:09AM
Skokie School District 69 still is struggling to meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
“(Adequate Yearly Progress) again continues to be the issue that affects all of us,” said Superintendent Quintin Shepherd.
The district serves Skokie and a portion of Morton Grove.
Lincoln Junior High, which houses grades 6-8; Edison School, grades 3-5; and Edison School, pre-kindergarten to second grade, have not met the requirement that of the 95 percent of students required to take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, at least 85 percent meet yearly achievement markers as noted in the 2010-11 state report cards.
At Lincoln, 73 percent met the reading standard, while at Edison 78 percent met the reading requirement and 64 percent the math.
At Madison, the percentage of students making adequate yearly progress was 79 percent for both reading and math.
Shepherd said the problem is a statewide issue, referring to the Oct. 24 newsletter by State Superintendent Christopher Koch.
In his weekly communication, Koch said: “We know that 80 percent of districts and 65 percent of schools not making Adequate Yearly Progress is unjustifiably insulting and not an accurate or realistic reflection of the work going on in our schools.”
Shepherd said District 69 continues to rework its approach, adding that it already has taken four of the six steps for making progress recommended by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
“We know the ramifications, and we’ve taken corrective action,” he said. “We’ve instituted new curriculum, something that’s been in progress for three years.
“We’ve had a significant decrease in management, and we appointed an outside expert — Rising Star — using grant money, so we’ve already have done that.”
The district also has restructured the internal organization of the schools, Shepherd said.
What the district has not done is extend the school year/school day or replace all reading and math staff.
“We take student achievement very seriously,” Shepherd said. “And in reality we have made tremendous progress.
“We’ve improved the instruction that we deliver to the kids.”
Challenges the district faces include a “tremendously high” number of students for whom English is not the first language, as well other groups that struggle, Shepherd noted.
“But we’re making progress,” he added. “We have two ways to look at this: We can feel sorry for ourselves, which won’t do the students any good; or we look at this and know we’re trying, we’re growing.
”We’re not going to just survive, we’re going to thrive.”