Board Briefs: February 2022 Curriculum Workshop

feb 2022 boe curriculum workshop

The District 58 Board of Education held a Curriculum Workshop on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022 at O’Neill Middle School. View the agenda. Watch the meeting video.

Evidenced-Based Governance

District 58 is creating new key performance indicators to better track progress toward student success

District 58 partnered with ECRA, an education strategic planning firm, to develop its 2018 Strategic Plan and related key performance indicators, or KPIs. Broadly, KPIs are data points that measure progress toward a goal. Since District 58’s original KPIs expire this year, several curriculum committees have begun developing new KPIs. The District partnered with John Gatta from ECRA to help frame this conversation.

Gatta provided the Board with a progress report of this work. With Gatta, the District developed a set of draft student success KPIs that align with the existing Strategic Plan and the school improvement process. When finalized, each indicator will be connected to specific metrics, benchmarks and annual school improvement goals. District 58 would track its progress using a dashboard. The goal is to use KPIs to drive student success.

While work is ongoing, the draft KPIs are:

  1. Academic Proficiency
  2. Academic Growth
  3. Social and Emotional Competencies
  4. Communication
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Collaboration

Gatta added that Co/Extracurricular Activity Participation and Access to Advanced Programs may be considered as possible indicators as well. 

The new KPIs, and the associated dashboard, would give teachers and administrators more dynamic ways to analyze academic data and track progress toward school improvement goals. It would also give parents and community members easier access to the District’s achievement and progress toward its goals. The District is still finalizing its KPI benchmarks and some metrics. This work will continue this month, with the goal of seeking Board approval on the first two draft KPIs (Academic Proficiency and Academic Growth) in the near future. Board members asked a variety of questions related to metric/benchmark development, school goal development, long-term goals and more.

View the KPI slideshow presentation.

Dual Language Committee Update

District recommends creation of Two-Way Dual Language Program

District 58’s Dual Language Program (previously called Biliteracy Program) opened in 2014 for kindergarten and first-grade students with Spanish-speaking heritage. Through this program, students learn in both English and Spanish. There are currently 50 students in grades K-8 enrolled.

District 58’s Dual Language Committee has been reviewing the program’s structure since 2017. The committee completed extensive research, had discussions with dual language experts, requested and reviewed community feedback, and held committee meetings to discuss the program’s future. Based on the above, the Dual Language Committee and District 58 administration recommend the following programmatic change:

  • Creation of a Two-Way Dual Language Program: If approved, this program would open in fall 2022 for incoming kindergarten students who are native English or Spanish speakers. As before, students would receive instruction in both English and Spanish. With the Board’s support, the District would begin building out the details of a two-way program. Initial research shows high community interest in such a program; if approved, the program would start out small. 

Board members showed interest in this program but shared concerns regarding its budget impact. The administration shared that the program’s budget impact has been a part of the conversation. As the program gets built out, the District will share more information with the Board and community. 

View the slideshow presentation (slides 4-23).

Middle School Scheduling Committee Update

Two proposed middle school scheduling changes would enhance student support opportunities

After three years of research, discussion and meetings, District 58’s Middle School Scheduling Committee recommends two schedule changes, effective next school year. These changes are intended to give students additional opportunities for support without any major impacts to the school day. The changes are:

  • Creation of the Student Advisory Period: The Student Advisory Period would be a 15-minute period at the start of each day (Tuesday-Friday), which would include school announcements, executive functioning supports, school-day preparation and more. On Mondays, the Student Advisory Period would be a 30-minute social-emotional learning instruction time; this is already embedded into the current middle school schedule (no changes to Monday will be made).
  • Homebase Becomes Student Support Period: Middle school students currently have a split lunch/homebase period in the middle of the day. Homebase currently serves as a study hall period. Through the new “Student Support Period,” students would access interventions, social-emotional groups, enrichment activities and other supports during this time, or they can continue to use it as a study hall. 

These recommendations do not change the school day length, early bird classes, passing periods, lunch period, busing schedules or the Monday early release schedule. The Board showed support for these changes.

View the slideshow presentation (slides 24-30).

Math Committee Update

Committee is creating path to double math acceleration, adjusting middle school math offerings

The Math Committee examined District 58’s current math curriculum structure and made several recommendations for implementation in 2022-23. The recommendations include revising the single-grade math acceleration criteria for students, creating a defined path for double-grade acceleration in math for students, and adjusting the middle school math course offerings in light of the acceleration criteria and the addition of the student support period in the middle school schedule. The District’s Math Committee will meet again next week to finalize the details around all of these recommendations and criteria, after which a detailed communication will be sent to all families outlining the specifics of the changes. That communication is expected before the end of the month. 

View the slideshow presentation (slides 31-48).

Public Comment

The Board of Education received one public comment from a District 58 parent regarding several curriculum topics, including the District’s presentation of MAP growth data, the public availability of MAP student assessment data, and the District’s acceleration process, among other topics.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Monday, March 7 at 7 p.m.: Curriculum Workshop at O’Neill
  • 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.