Chapter 4

  • DISTRICTWIDE CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

    GENERAL OVERVIEW

    The curriculum in School District 15 is continually evaluated by staff members and parents to ensure maximum effectiveness. The Curriculum Advisory Council, consisting of teachers and administrators, researches programs for study and recommends materials which enhance student learning. Parents have a right to review instructional materials used by their child(ren)’s classroom teachers.

    Elementary school classes are self-contained, and junior high school classes are departmentalized. Language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies are taught at all grade levels. In addition, the subject areas listed below are taught at the grade levels indicated:

    Subject Areas

    *Human Growth and Development is taught as a separate unit within the Comprehensive Health curriculum. Content and activities are carefully selected for grade-level appropriateness. Parent involvement is essential for the success of this curriculum. Parents may view materials that will be used for instruction and have the option to withdraw their children from this unit of instruction by sending a written request to the principal. When instruction in recognizing and avoiding sexual abuse is included in any class, parents will receive notice at least five days before such instruction begins and may choose to have their child(ren) withdraw from participation.

    STANDARDIZED TESTING

    Standardized testing serves several purposes. Some of these tests help teachers determine how much academic growth or progress students are making in a given subject area. Other tests help teachers determine the most important areas that require an additional or heightened teaching focus. Different types of testing take place throughout the school year.

    The Illinois State Board of Education mandates four assessments each year:

    • Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)—Every Illinois school district is required to administer an annual state-mandated academic achievement test. In 2015, school districts in Illinois started a new common core aligned achievement test called PARCC. The PARCC assessments include a rich set of performance-based tasks that reflect some of the most important academic skills that we strive to develop in students. PARCC tests are designed to assist teachers, schools, students, and parents understand how critical knowledge, skills, and abilities essential for young people to thrive in college and careers are being developed. The PARCC exam is given to students in Grades 3 to 8.
    • Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State (ACCESS)—ISBE requires that school districts administer ACCESS annually to all students in a second language program. ACCESS measures an English Language Learners’ development and proficiency in English. The ACCESS test is also designed to demonstrate student’s growth toward English proficiency over time.
    • Illinois Science Assessment—Starting in 2016, Illinois school districts were required to assess student knowledge and skill in Science. The Illinois Science Assessment is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and is used to measure student mastery of the Illinois science standards. This test is administered online and is taken by students in Grades 5 and 8.
    • The Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) is an observational tool designed, and not a test, that teachers use to help understand the developmental readiness of children entering kindergarten. KIDS focuses on the knowledge, skills, and behaviors across four key domains that most impact long-term student success. The domains are: Approaches to Learning and Self-Regulation; Social and Emotional Development; Language and Literacy Development; and Cognition: Math.

    In addition to these state-mandated tests, District 15 uses the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing system. Students in Grades 2–8 are tested at least twice a year (fall and spring). Some schools may also choose to administer MAP tests during the winter. The computer-based MAP tests measure individual student achievement in three academic areas: reading, language arts, and mathematics. They accurately reflect each student’s knowledge and understanding, and they measure growth over time. Tests dynamically adjust to a student’s performance level, making test scores more accurate. MAP test results are shared with parents at the close of each testing window. The information provided through MAP testing better enables the District to make appropriate, data-driven decisions at the classroom, school, and District levels. It also allows teachers to make rapid adjustments in instruction to respond to identified student needs.

    For students in Grades K-2, the District uses a short screening measure of students’ reading proficiency using curriculum-based measures. AIMSWEB is the testing system that is used to record student early reading skills including alphabet recognition and sounds, phonemic awareness, and oral reading fluency.

    Other individually administered tests may be required if additional information is needed to provide more targeted educational programming for a child. For example, a variety of processed-based assessments are used, including the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System, Oral Language Assessment, Words Their Way Inventory, and additional classroom-based assessments. Other tests, like the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), a standardized test that measures a student’s verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative abilities is used together with MAP reading and mathematics scores to determine whether or not a student would benefit from academically talented and gifted programming in Grades 3-6. When needed, individual evaluations may also include psychological or educational assessment as part of a case study evaluation for specialized educational services. Parent permission is required for this type of evaluation.

    Please be certain your child has adequate sleep prior to testing and encourage your child to do his or her best when taking the tests. The opportunity for making up tests is limited, so it is important that you schedule doctor appointments or important family commitments when students are not involved in standardized testing.

    No single test can provide a complete picture of a child’s achievement. Classroom performance, teacher observation, and other tests help provide additional information about your child. Parents are provided student’s achievement level and academic growth, if applicable and available, on each state academic assessment. Questions about your child’s test results should be directed to his/her teacher or the school principal.

    For more information on testing, see the District 15 website at www.ccsd15.net/testing.

    STUDENT SUPPORT PROGRAMS

    Academically Talented and Gifted Students

    Overview

    The District 15 Academically Talented/Gifted program is designed for elementary-age students in Grades 3-6 who may benefit from fully accelerated instruction. Students are selected for the program based on an identification process that uses multiple data points to assess a student’s academic and cognitive skills. The curriculum in the program follows Common Core State Standards.

    The Academically Talented/Gifted program uses a multi-age classroom model that combines Grades 3/4 and 5/6 for instruction in all academic and special area subjects. Instruction is specially designed to provide a classroom environment that adjusts and extends the general education curriculum.

    The program’s teachers have participated in specialized professional development to help them understand the needs of academically talented and gifted students. As a result, classroom assignments provide many specialized learning opportunities to challenge and engage students during their time spent in the program.

    Students who qualify for the program typically remain in the program from the time they start the program through the sixth grade. Test results and classroom performance are reviewed annually and a parent conference is held if a placement change is recommended.

    Reading Interventions

    Students who are at-risk readers as identified through test results and teacher recommendation get extra help through the research-based reading intervention programs available at their particular school. (Not all programs are available at all schools.) The school’s reading consultant specialist or a trained program assistant may work with children individually or in small groups, and struggling readers may be assigned to one of the District’s reading intervention programs.

    For more information about reading intervention programs, contact your child’s teacher or the school’s reading consultant specialist.

    Special Education Programs

    District 15 provides special education programs and services for children with disabilities in conformance with federal and state regulations. The following programs and services are available:

    • Early Intervention Transition Services—For all children with disabilities who receive Early Intervention Services and who are turning three years old.
    • Early Childhood Programs and Services—For all children with disabilities from 3 to 5 years of age.
    • Transitional Kindergarten—Considered for children with significant special education and related needs who require a self-contained, special education kindergarten classroom.
    • Speech and Language Therapy—A service for students with speech and/or language impairments that impact their education, to the extent that special education is necessary.
    • Resource Services—For students with mild to moderate disabilities who can progress in the general education setting with supports and services. Students are included within the general education setting to the greatest extent possible, with special education and related services.
    • Instructional Classrooms (LEAP Program)—For students with significant academic disabilities who require a special education classroom in order to make adequate progress.
    • Social/Emotional Academic Learning (SEAL Program)—For students with primary needs in the areas of social, emotional, and/or behavioral learning who require a special education classroom.
    • ACES Day School Program—For students with significant social, emotional, or behavioral disorders who require a therapeutic day school setting.
    • Mild, Moderate, and Severe Cognitive Disability Program (AIME and MILE Programs)—For students with mild, moderate, and severe cognitive/intellectual disabilities who require a special education classroom.
    • Multiple Needs Program—For students with multiple cognitive and behavioral needs who require a special education classroom in an intensive, therapeutic day school setting.
    • Structured for Independence (SIP) Program—For students with autism or other developmental disabilities who require a highly structured special education classroom.
    • Visual Impairment Program/Services—For students with visual impairments who can progress in regular or special education classrooms with supportive services.
    • Hearing Impairment Program/Services—For students with mild to profound hearing impairments who can progress in regular or special education classrooms with supportive services.
    • Occupational Therapy—A related service for students with fine motor and/or sensory needs that impact their education to the extent that special education is necessary.
    • Physical Therapy—A related service for students with gross motor needs that impact their education to the extent that special education is necessary.
    • Social Work Services—A related service for students with social, emotional, and/or behavioral needs that impact their education to the extent that special education is necessary.
    • Homebound/Hospital Instruction—For students who cannot attend school due to a medical condition.
    • Interpreters—Sign language interpreters are assigned to children with a significant hearing loss that interferes with auditory communication (receptive and/or expressive).

    These programs and services are provided for students with specific learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, cognitive disabilities, speech/language impairments, orthopedic impairments, health impairments, traumatic brain injuries, autism, hearing impairments, visual impairments, deaf-blindness, developmental delays, or multiple disabilities. The Illinois School for the Deaf and Illinois School for the Visually Impaired provide educational services for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired. For additional information please contact the Department of Student Services at 847-963-3000.

    All children with disabilities have the right to a free appropriate public education. If you have concerns about your child and believe that he/she has a disability that may require Section 504 Plan accommodations or special education services, please contact your child’s school administrator to begin the referral process. Inquiries regarding Section 504 may be directed to the Section 504 Coordinator:

    Susan Gehring, Section 504 Coordinator
    Assistant Superintendent for Student Services
    580 N. 1st Bank Drive
    Palatine IL 60067
    847-963-3146
    gehrings@ccsd15.net

    If your child is between the ages of 3 and 5, please call the John G. Conyers Learning Academy at 847-963-3400 to request an appointment for a screening. Additional information regarding preschool programming and services may be attained through the Department of Student Services at 847-963-3000.

    ENGLISH LEARNERS

    District 15 welcomes families from all over the world to our learning community. As required by the state of Illinois, District 15 provides programs to meet the linguistic and academic needs of students whose native language is other than English—English Learners (ELs). The purpose is to accelerate English language literacy and value each child’s social and cultural knowledge while creating bilingual and bicultural individuals. The most current demographic report from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) (2017) indicates that 24% of students in the District qualify for second language services although more than 46% percent of our students report that a language other than English is spoken in the home (Fall Housing, ISBE, 2017-18).

    Currently, the district services families from over 70 different languages. The vast majority is Spanish speaking followed by Polish, Korean, Japanese and Telugu. Per state regulations if an attendance center has 20 or more students who qualify for EL services and speak the same language, a district is mandated to establish a Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) program for those students. Further assessment determines what those services may look like in a district. Currently, D15 offers bilingual programs in accordance with state mandates in Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Telugu, Tamil, and Bulgarian.

    For our Spanish speaking ELs, we use the dual language one-way model following the Literacy Squared (Escamilla et al., 2014) framework. Dual language one-way serves ELs from the same language background with the goal of bilingualism and biliteracy. Within this framework, English Language Development (ELD) begins in kindergarten with 45 minutes of ELD daily (80/20) and increases to 60 minutes for grades 1 and 2, 90 minutes of ELD in grade 3, and 2 hours of English Language Arts (ELA) in grades 4-6 with Science and Social Studies taught in Spanish. Students from the dual language one-way dual program enter our Spanish for Native Speakers class for grades 7 and 8. Because the enrollment for the other mandated bilingual programs is limited at each grade level, the district implements a TBE program using the collaboration model and uses co-teaching or small group pull-out instruction with native language support as needed.

    When there are less than 20 students who qualify for the EL program who speak the same language in one attendance center, the district implements a Transitional Program of Instruction in English using the collaboration model in accordance with ISBE regulations. Core academic subjects are taught in English with non-EL students. Services are provided using specific strategies for ELs in a co-teaching or pull-out model.

    Qualifying for EL Services

    The Home Language Survey is required as part of the school registration process. If a language other than English is spoken in the home and indicated on the Home Language Survey, the child must be screened for English language services. The Illinois State Board of Education prescribes the assessment instrument and the qualifying scores for entrance. For students entering kindergarten and the first semester of grade 1, the WIDA MODEL test is given. For students entering the second semester of grades 1-8, the WIDA Screener is given.

    For more information on the English Learner program, visit www.ccsd15.net/SecondLanguage or https://www.isbe.net/Pages/English-Learners.aspx.

    DUAL LANGUAGE (TWO-WAY) ENRICHMENT

    District 15’s Spanish Dual Language program is a two-way language immersion where students are taught literacy and curriculum in both Spanish and English beginning in kindergarten. The two-way dual program consists of native speaking Spanish students and students who speak English or another language in the home. The two-way dual program begins in kindergarten with 80% of the instruction in Spanish and 20% in English. Each year the Spanish instruction decreases by 10% and the English increases by 10% until grade 3 when each language is taught 50% of the day and continues until grade 6. The program will be available to 2018-19 kindergarten students and housed at Jane Addams Elementary and Winston Campus Elementary Schools.

    The goal of the Dual Language program is to develop bilingualism, biliteracy, academic achievement, and cross-cultural competencies for students.

    Students whose home school is Jane Addams Elementary or Winston Campus Elementary School (Spanish Dual Language host sites) will be given preference into the program.

    For more information, please visit Second Language Services / Spanish Dual Language Program (www.ccsd15.net/SDL).

    TITLE I

    The District shall maintain programs, activities, and procedures for the involvement of parents/guardians of students receiving Title I services. An annual meeting of a Title I Advisory Committee shall be held to assess and plan the future directions of the Title I program.

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION

    All students participate in physical education classes. A child may be exempted from some or all physical activities when the appropriate excuses are submitted to the school:

    • A request from a parent/guardian to excuse a child from physical education will be honored for up to three days.
    • For periods longer than three days, an excuse from a physician stating the reason and length of time the child is to be excused from class and exact notification when they can return to activity is required.

    Alternative activities and/or units of instruction will be provided for pupils whose physical or emotional condition prevents their participation in the physical education courses as determined by a person licensed under the Medical Practice Act.

    In order to participate in physical education classes, elementary students need to wear safe, appropriate attire such as:

    • Tied or fastened athletic shoes (not boots, sandals, platform shoes, leather-soled shoes, or shoes with wheels)
    • Clothing that does not interfere with the student’s ability to run and move freely

    Junior high school students are required to have a gym uniform for physical education classes. For the convenience of parents, gym uniforms are sold at cost ($9) at each junior high school. Gym uniforms should be clearly marked with the student’s name.

    INSTRUMENT RENTAL

    District 15 requires students in Grades 5-8 to rent band and orchestra instruments from our District-approved music stores, unless you already have an instrument to use. If a particular instrument is not available to rent from any of our District-approved music stores, your child will be able to rent that particular instrument from the school district for a one-time fee of $35 for elementary students, and $50 for junior high students. Please keep in mind that our district inventory may put limitations on instrument choice. Should you need financial assistance from the District in order to participate in the instrumental program, please contact Adrienne Bailey, Curriculum and Fine Arts Coordinator, at 847-963-3117, or e-mail baileya@ccsd15.net. For assistance in Spanish, please contact Nancy Aguirre at 847-963-3130, or e-mail aguirren@ccsd15.net.

    LEARNING RESOURCE CENTER (LRC)

    The LRC houses a wide variety of educational materials, including books, videos, software, tapes, and other media. The LRC teacher assists students and teachers in all areas of the curriculum. The LRC is open to all children in the school as well as to entire classrooms, small groups, or individuals working on special projects.

    Adult volunteers assist the media center teacher and also help increase its effectiveness. The LRC is a great place to volunteer!

    TECHNOLOGY

    District 15 recognizes that technology serves as a powerful tool to enhance teaching and learning. With this is mind, teachers and students have ready access to devices that allow for content creation, collaboration, inquiry, and problem-solving.

    1:1 Student to Chromebook Initiative

    Preparing students to be successful in a digital age and global economy is a responsibility that Community Consolidated School District 15 takes very seriously.

    Essential skills that students must possess in order to meet the challenges and opportunities that will face them in their families, workplace, and community include the ability to:

    • Think critically and solve problems;
    • Effectively collaborate with others;
    • Take initiative;
    • Access and analyze information;
    • Demonstrate high levels of oral and written communication;
    • Remain curious and imaginative;
    • Remain persistent;
    • Take calculated risks;
    • Tolerate failure;
    • Be resilient.

    —Wagner, T., & Compton, R. A. (2012). Creating innovators: The making of young people who will change the world. New York: Scribner.

    Technology represents a powerful and motivating tool that educators can use to teach, model, and reinforce these essential skills to students. As a result, Community Consolidated School District 15 issues a Chromebook to all students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Students in multigrade classrooms with 6th graders will be issued a Chromebook as well.

    Students will be able to use their individual, district-issued, Chromebooks to access Google Apps for Education which are free learning tools that foster collaboration, exploration, and content creation.

    A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) has been developed to answer many questions that parents and students may have about this exciting new initiative. The FAQ and other information about the Chromebook initiative (e.g., optional insurance plan, claim forms, etc.) can be found on the District’s website.

    INTERNET

    Electronic networks, including the Internet, are a part of the District’s instructional program to help promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication. Students and parents must read and sign the Network Use Guidelines Letter of Agreement before students are granted use of the Internet. A copy of the agreement is available in all school offices.

    Students who have a signed Network Use Guidelines Letter of Agreement form on file will, under the supervision of a staff member, be allowed to use the Internet to access appropriate learning resources. District 15 provides supervision and uses a commercial Internet filtering program to prevent access to materials that may be defamatory, inaccurate, offensive, or otherwise inappropriate in the school setting. It is impossible, however, to control all material, and a user may inadvertently discover inappropriate material. Ultimately, parent(s)/guardian(s) are responsible for setting and conveying standards for their children. Student use of inappropriate material or language or violation of copyright laws may result in a student’s loss of Internet privileges. Parents are legally responsible for their child’s actions.

    VIDEO STUDIO

    Students learn how to use multimedia to communicate as they produce and edit videos with news and events on a daily basis. Videos are viewed by students and staff in the form of morning announcements delivered over the classroom projectors.

    FIELD TRIPS

    Classroom teachers occasionally plan educational trips to extend and enhance curriculum studies. Children must have a signed parental permission form to participate in these trips. The field trip form also provides space for parent permission for children who need medication while on the field trip.

    Field trips are an important part of the educational program, and all students should participate in them if possible. Students who do not turn in signed permission forms and fees by the deadline may be unable to participate and may be assigned to another classroom for the day.

    Student behavior expectations are the same for field trips as they are for the classroom. If there is a significant concern about a student’s ability or willingness to behave appropriately on a trip, there is the possibility that participation could be contingent on the parent accompanying the child. Parents of children who have severe allergies or other medical conditions may also be asked to accompany their children on field trips to ensure the child’s safety.