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Dist.U-46 Board hears committee presentation

By Seth Hancock
  The instructional initiatives committee of School District U-46’s Citizen’s Advisory Council (CAC) gave an update to the Board of Education at its meeting on Monday, June 17.
  The report stated that the committee was “a reformation of the Curriculum Committee” with committee member Tracy Kelly saying the purpose of the committee is “to inform parents about current and upcoming instructional processes and programs that U-46, that will help their children succeed.”
  The committee held presentations with U-46 staff during the 2018-2019 school year regarding updates to the Chromebook rollout, career pathways, physical education (PE) initiatives, transitional math, dual language and full day kindergarten (FDK).
  The Chromebook rollout presentation gave an update to one-to-one technology in the district according to Kelly who said “the reason for those Chromebooks was to hopefully enhance the learning experience.”
  The career pathways presentation provided information from townhalls held by U-46 regarding the transition at secondary schools to the system.
  “We just tried to focus on getting feedback and using that feedback provided by the community to ensure that this project best serves the needs of our students,” Kelly said of the presentation.
  The presentation on PE initiatives, according to the report, focused on PE changes through technology as well as secondary courses that will allow students to receive certification as lifeguards or referees. Also discussed is an independent PE course that will be piloted in the 2019-2020 school year.
  In March, the previous board approved of the independent PE course to be piloted with 50 total students at both Bartlett and Elgin high schools and 25 at the DREAM Academy before full rollout in 2020-2021 with a projected 200 students at all five high schools.
  The course is mostly completed online with students having to post 150 minutes of physical activity each week with heart rate monitors with teachers continuously monitoring and providing feedback. Students would meet with the teacher 10 to 12 times a semester during 0 hour, before school, while students would still have to take state mandated fitness tests.
  The presentation on transitional math concerned the concept of the course which is expected to help seniors who may need extra math preparation before college.
  The dual language update provided the “desired outcomes” of English language learners courses according to the report as well as an update on the dual language program as it rolls up to high school.
  The FDK presentation focused on feedback from staff and parents as it is now in its third year. Kelly said that “now these students are taking the MAP test,” and “we’ll be able to see next year how that’s working out.”
Kelly added: “We need to be paying attention to the possibility of how the kids are getting ready for the future grades, and we’re going to revisit this one next year.”
  Next year’s planned presentations will be on Naviance/Explorer, one-to-one technology, assessment and school report cards, career pathways, FDK, dual language and curriculum update.
  Kelly said the committee wants to communicate better with parents to increase turnout to the presentations.
  Sue Kerr, the board’s president, asked if the committee has looked at topics that may better attract parents.
  “That’s what we were trying to do,” Kelly said. “We found that if the topic was interesting to somebody, then they would come. Otherwise we wouldn’t see them. So we’re trying to make it interesting for everyone all the time.”




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