January 4, 2011

EME program provides valuable services for students

For the third consecutive year, students served through the Early Mathematics Empowerment program have experienced significant achievement gains. Educational Services and Human Resource Director John Roubik reported on progress of the program that was initiated in the 2004-05 school year. It is designed to serve first- and second-graders throughout the school year and kindergartners during second semester with additional mathematics instruction, focusing on number concepts and number sense.

The program, which is staff by four full-time teachers and several part-time paraprofessionals, provided mathematic intervention last year for 21 percent of first-graders and 12 percent of second-graders. Some 92 percent of the students served made significant gain in mathematical achievement.

Roubik credited the four teachers who head up the program and the paraprofessionals they work with for the program’s success.

“Without this intervention program, there would be students who we would not be servicing to the level that we do,” Roubik said. “EME has helped strengthen our math program in the district.”

In addition to working directly with students, EME teachers provide professional development to teachers and offer additional instructional strategies to benefit all students.

Woodside presents site plan progress

Woodside Principal James Edmond, Jr., and Associate Principal Tara Villalobos presented School Board members with the third update of their school’s site plan progress. Two tactics indicate that students will:

  • experience social and emotional growth leading to academic success through the strong and nurturing relationship established among all students, staff and families; and
  • demonstrate confidence and academic success when they engage in classroom instruction based on best practice; students who continue to struggle will achieve success through differentiated instruction and intervention to meet their individual needs in mathematics and literacy.

Edmond and Villalobos presented detailed information about intervention strategies and social programs that have been implemented related to each tactic.

To achieve success in the first tactic, the school has implemented Positive Behavioral and Intervention Supports (PBIS), a proactive teaching tool to reduce behavioral concerns and increase class time for students. Other activities have included a study on homework expectations at each grade level, creation of curriculum guides to distribute to parents, book studies about using the classroom environment to improve student learning and achieving results beyond expectations, development of the Student of Service project-based learning organization, state recognition as a Green and Healthy School, increased parent newsletter distribution and implementation of geography and math contest.

The second tactic has been addressed through the creation of four subgroups including reading, mathematics, Response to Intervention (RtI) and technology. Extensive study along with development of teaching tools, plans to meet need of struggling and at-risk students, workshop models, flexible grouping to maximize student achievement, test preparation and staff development opportunities are underway to help in reading and mathematics. The PBIS system and a reconfigured Child Assistance Team program have been implemented as part of the RtI initiative. In technology, staff were trained on use of Moodle, SmartBoards, Mimeo, Senteo clickers, ELMO document reader and various software programs.

Next steps for the school include development of The Responsive Classroom strategies, a multicultural day, diversity opportunities for parents and students, additional PBIS training and continuation of Green and Healthy Schools. A wide variety of curricular and instructional activities are planned to include 21st century skills, differentiated instruction, Common Core State Standards in Everyday Mathematics program, enhanced technology use and other actions targeted to support reading and mathematics.

School Board member Lynn Kristensen said she spent a morning at Woodside. She said that even though the school is large with an enrollment of nearly 700 students, it does not feel impersonal because of the way staff members relate to students. School Board member Deborah Briggs agreed. She said activities such as those of the Green & Healthy Schools program are meaningful and relevant and helps students feel connected to their school.

Edmond noted that there is a direct link between students feeling well cared for and their academic abilities. He said while academic achievement is the priority at the school, staff also want students to be great citizens when they move on.

Two incumbents run unopposed for School Board

Two incumbents whose positions are up for re-election this spring have filed papers to run for the School Board for another term. James Long, whose position is designated from the Village of Lannon, and Mike Hyland, who serves an at-large position, filed papers to run again.

Neither incumbent will be challenged for their positions on the board, so a primary election will not be necessary. The general election will be April 5, and successful candidates will take office April 25.

Personnel business

In personnel matters, the School Board approved position descriptions revisions for instructional leaders and Professional Development Advisory Committee (PDAC) members. The changes better align the responsibilities of both positions with Strategic Plan and School Board goals for vertical teaming, professional development and curricular and instructional matters. In the future, the School Board will be asked to approve a new structure for the PDAC into the Professional Development Planning Committee.

School Board members also:

  • approved the retirement request of Sandra Dziubek, Maple head cook, effective at the end of the school year;
  • accepted the resignation of Marcy fifth grade teacher Jennifer Schultz, effective Jan. 3; and
  • appointed three new cleaners for eight-hour daily shifts – Andrea Diedrick at Hamilton, Sarah Marsh at Lannon and Anthony Minter at Templeton.