| || A Letter from the Superintendent: |
Dear Queen Bee Families,
I hope that this letter finds you well as you prepare for the winter break and holiday season. This has been an exciting year in our schools as we have undertaken some significant changes in our Literacy Program and as we prepare to embark on a journey to improve Math instruction district wide for the coming school year. Watching the hard work of our students and teachers as they meet new and complex challenges is the most rewarding aspect from my perspective. I am proud to lead our district forward and I am confident that our collective efforts will result in bright futures for our students.
The State of Illinois recently released the results from the mandatory state assessment of Literacy and Numeracy, PARCC. The PARCC, Performance Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, was a new assessment last year and we are preparing to administer it again beginning in March of 2016. This assessment is aligned to the Common Core State Standards as they appear in our New Illinois Learning Standards. This standard is a more challenging standard than the previous Illinois Learning Standards and we fully expected our scores to reflect the increased complexity and rigor. It is important to note that the standards assessed by the PARCC are international standards when previous standards were only benchmarked to a state standard. This means that the PARCC results are simply different results that cannot be fairly compared to ISAT results.
The good news is that we are committed to using these results as they were intended to be used. Our schools will use the results to inform many of our instructional decisions as other measures of student growth and learning do. The PARCC results provide us with valuable information and we intend to make full use of them as we work with each student in our school district.
The results themselves are focused on English Language Arts and Math at the grade level appropriate to each student. Each student’s performance was assessed as a Performance Level in the following manner:
Standard Not Yet Met
Student Partially Met Standard
Student Approaching Meeting Standard
Student Met the Standard
Student Exceeded the Standard
The initial analysis of our results led to the identification of areas of strength as well as opportunities for improvement in our instructional program. Our students exceeded State Averages in 3 of the 6 grade levels assessed and almost 1/3rd of our student scores were characterized as Approaching. These performances indicate that our English Language Arts program is moving steadily toward a more rigorous standard and that our students are meeting this challenge. Our efforts in English Language Arts this year will strengthen these scores.
Math is our opportunity to make a significant improvement to our instructional program. We are not satisfied with our performance and we were not surprised by our scores. We had already undertaken an overhaul of our Mathematics Instruction from K-8 for the 2015-2016 school year. Our teachers, administrators and specialists will begin training in a comprehensive program of Mathematics instruction during the Winter and Spring. We will fully implement this resource in August of 2016 and are confident that this implementation and associated teacher training will benefit our students in a significant way.
Individual student scores will be sent home next week. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your building principal. You can find the district scores by clicking on this link www.iirc.niu.edu
Enjoy the time off with your children and have a safe and relaxing winter break!
Victoria L Tabbert
Superintendent of Schools