The Glen Ellyn School District 41 board of education on Monday unanimously approved its Think Tank plans that will change classroom structures and implement teacher specialization in elementary schools to work toward the common core standards.
Board members said Monday they look forward to seeing consistency across schools with the changes.
District 41 board member Sam Black said while he still has some concerns about specialization in the second- and third-grade classrooms, teacher survey results showed the changes would be right for students. He said he also remains concerned about the three-year implementation plan, but trusts staff and administrators have students' best interests in mind.
Parents have voiced concern for the plan since it was introduced earlier in the school year, and have asked board members to slow down the decision-making process.
The Daily Herald reported a Saturday morning forum on the issue drew mostly Lincoln Elementary School parents—the only school that would see both of those reforms instituted—some of whom were enthusiastic about parts of the idea, but many of whom expressed concerns about such a major change to their kids’ educations.
The recommendations will be implemented in phases over the next three school years, with most of the changes taking place in the 2013-14 school year, including a new STEM curriculum, implementation of the common core math standards, professional development for implementation of the STEM curriculum and common professional learning community (PLC) time.
District 41 officials said the approved recommendation is for partial implementation of the Think Tank’s proposal in the same way at all four schools. It includes teacher specialization in grades 2-5, multi-age class groupings for grades 4/5 in literacy/social studies and implementation of phase 2 and 3 of the Think Tank proposal. What differs from the Feb. 25 proposal is:
- It calls for consistent implementation at all four schools (the Feb. 25 proposal allowed flexibility in implementation to accommodate the level of readiness for change at each school but the BOE felt it was important to be consistent).
- It does not include any multi-age groupings at the 2/3 level for 2013-2014. (in the Feb. 25 proposal, Abraham Lincoln had proposed multi-age at 2/3)
- It does include teacher specialization in grades 2-5 (in the Feb. 25 proposal, Churchill was not proposing specialization at this level, and Ben Franklin and Forest Glen had proposed it based on staffing, meaning if they had odd numbers of sections they might not be able to specialize at these grades)
- There are no changes proposed for kindergarten and first grade
Phase 2 for 2014-2015 is multiage at grades 2/3 in literacy/social studies at all 4 schools, implement new STEM curriculum
Phase 3 is 2015-2016 is multiage for an authentic standards approach in STEAM/math at grades 2 – 5 and infuse the arts into STEAM and literacy
CORRECTION: The original article included the wrong recommendations and has been corrected to reflect the updated recommendations.
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