The District 99 Board of Education held a workshop meeting on November 7, 2016.
The Board recognized the 5 National Merit Semifinalists, 25 National Merit Commended and National Hispanic Merit Scholars from the 2017 academic competition, sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Please see photos of the students and their families here.
North High seniors Amaris Morales, Khadeejah Kurdi, and Angelique Garro spoke about how the AVID program at North High has helped them academically throughout high school and to prepare for college. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, and provides academic instruction, tutorial support and college and career activities for select students. The students have been part of AVID since the program’s inception, and will be part of the inaugural graduating class.
Positively North/Mustang Way Update
Assistant Superintendent Scott Wuggazer gave an update about the Positively North and Mustang Way programs, designed to encourage “respectful, responsible and engaged” student behaviors. The programs include teachers acknowledging students for positive behavior through hand-delivered notes at school. To encourage conversations at home, parents are now notified via email that their student has been recognized. See an overview here and see a report about discipline referrals here.
New Models of Student Success
Superintendent Dr. Hank Thiele updated the Board members about the type of models the state is considering to redefine what it means for students to be “college and career ready.” See the one of the types of models being presented to the Illinois State Board of Education here. This sample model is based on research about what characteristics beyond a standardized test score determine success in college and careers, such as the types of courses a student takes, attendance and involvement in activities. School districts will have the flexibility to adjust the model based on their needs. ISBE has scheduled a “listening tour” for input on accountability measures in the new ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act).
Class Rank Proposal
Dr. Thiele and Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Gina Ziccardi proposed eliminating class rank from student transcripts as many other area high schools have done. Read the report here. They explained how in high schools similar to the size of North High and South High, class rank may tend to hold students back rather than move them forward. In addition, many universities no longer consider class rank as part of their admissions decisions, but instead look more holistically at a variety of factors, including grades and rigor of schedule. District 99 will develop other ways to appropriately recognize students.
“This is a long time coming and the rationale is terrific,” said Board Member Mike Davenport. “I’m 110% behind this.”
Dr. Thiele proposed adjusting the Summer School schedule for 2017, and changing from a five-day schedule to generally a longer, four-day schedule with three days off. He also proposed adopting the same schedule for select 52-week district employees. The change is being proposed in response to the fewer number of summer days scheduled for 2017, as a result of the new “early start” 2017-18 school calendar. The last day of this school year is June 8, 2017, if no emergency days are used, and the first day of school is August 18, 2017. Read the proposal here; see the proposed calendar here. The Board will vote on the Summer School calendar at its meeting on November 21.