Board Briefs: March 2022 Curriculum Workshop

boe march 2022 curriculum workshop

The District 58 Board of Education held a Curriculum Workshop on Monday, March 7, 2022 at O’Neill Middle School.

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Professional Learning

District 58 implemented a new math curriculum last school year, and all schools adopted a math curriculum-related school improvement goal for this school year. Curriculum Coordinator Christine Priester shared some of the ways that District 58 has supported teachers and administrators in achieving their math goals, including using instructional coaches and providing time for in-depth math resource exploration.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Justin Sisul said that teachers complete weekly surveys regarding their professional learning time. The District 58 administration team reviews survey feedback to ensure that this program continues to be beneficial and to inform improvements. Sisul reported that feedback has been very positive.

Grade K-5 Social Studies Committee

Curriculum Coordinator Eleni Gajewski, Fairmount Fifth Grade Teacher Bob Luciano and Pierce Downer Fourth Grade Teacher Heather Howland reported that the Grade K-5 Social Studies Committee piloted two social studies resources this school year and surveyed students and staff on their experiences with the resources. After reviewing survey feedback and sharing their experiences, the committee recommends the Board of Education adopt the Savvas myWorld social studies curricular resource for kindergarten through fifth grade, beginning in fall 2022.

Sample social studies materials will be on public display at the Downers Grove Public Library and at the District 58 Office for the next 30 days. The Board of Education will have the opportunity to formally adopt these resources at its April 11 meeting.

Elementary General Music Committee

District 58’s Elementary General Music Teachers Stephanie Coates, Bradley Kirby, Bridget Patton, Kali Sheldon and Anne Zmuda shared their experiences incorporating the Quaver music curriculum into their instruction over the past couple of years. They emphasized how Quaver is engaging, customizable and can be implemented seamlessly into District 58’s music curriculum. The teachers recommended that District 58 formally adopt the Quaver music curriculum, and the District will formally present this recommendation to the Board at the March 14 business meeting. 

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Curricular Audit Committee

Sisul and Assistant Superintendent for Special Services Jessica Stewart reported that the SEL Curricular Audit Committee audited District 58’s SEL curriculum, Second Step, in 2018 and found that it was well-aligned to state instructional standards and met the District’s needs. However, the District lacked a standardized SEL assessment to evaluate students’ competencies. Over the past few years, the SEL Curricular Audit Committee has evaluated several SEL assessments, and in 2019-20 completed two short pilots. 

Board members expressed a desire to review some sample questions from the assessments and the data that came out of the pilot before moving forward. Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell noted that there have been some data privacy concerns reported in the media regarding Panorama (one of the pilot assessments), and the District will seek out information from other districts that have implemented it. There have not been any final decisions made regarding SEL assessments and conversations remain ongoing.

State’s Equity Journey Continuum

The Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) Strategic Plan calls for equity data to be included in every school district’s Illinois Report Card beginning in the 2022-23 school year. Each district will be rated in three areas: student learning, learning conditions and educator background. ISBE will give school districts access to all the data points they will use to inform their ratings. When available, the District will review this data and assess how to meaningfully incorporate it into its own data review processes. 

Data Analysis and Presentation in District 58

As a follow-up to the February Curriculum Workshop, Sisul provided the Board with a history of how the District has presented assessment data with the key performance indicator and goal setting process. The Board will review districtwide and school level aggregate data, districtwide aggregate data by grade level, and consistently identified subgroups. Board members or administration may identify specific areas to analyze further and report back. Sisul will meet individually with Board members to share possible data templates and presentation options, which the Board will discuss at the May Board meeting.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Friday, March 11 at 7 a.m.: Financial Advisory Committee Meeting at O’Neill
  • Monday, March 14 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at O’Neill

District 58 Board of Education members are: Darren Hughes, president; Gregory Harris, vice president; Kirat Doshi, Melissa Ellis, Emily Hanus, Steven Olczyk and Tracy Weiner, with Dr. Kevin Russell, superintendent; and Melissa Jerves, board secretary.