School Board Capsules

Here’s what’s going on at District 205

The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board held a regular meeting on Oct. 8 at the District 205 Center, 162 S. York St. All seven board members attended the meeting. Board president Kara Caforio noted at the beginning of the meeting that the board would not vote on anything during the evening. She described the meeting as a study session and stated the board would analyze data presented at the meeting.

There were no public comments.

Lincoln teachers receive ‘Shining Star’ awards

The board presented its Shining Star awards to Shelley Rzewuski and Corie Fagan, who are both first-grade teachers at Lincoln Elementary School. The board presents its Shining Star awards to staff members who make a positive impact on students and staff of the district.

Key performance indicators studied

The majority of the meeting featured a presentation and discussion about key performance indicators within the district. Those indicators include graduation rates and average scores in standardized tests. Mariann Lemke, the district’s executive director of research and program analysis, provided the board with several statistics about district students. Lemke noted the district’s vision of having all of its students be college-, career- and life-ready when they graduate from high school. Lemke stated that about 84 percent of the students from York High School’s Class of 2018 enrolled in college within the first year after grading from high school. That number is about five percent higher than the national average of 79 percent. According to the most recent figures, about 66 percent of York graduates graduate from college in six years or less; the national average is about 53 percent.

Lemke also presented SAT average scores for the district’s 11th-grade students in 2018 and 2019. The students’ average score in the standardized test’s evidence-based reading and writing component was 571 in 2018 and 566 in 2019. District students’ average math score in the SAT was 583 in 2018 and 572 in 2019.

Lemke also provided figures of district students’ SAT averages by the race and ethnicity of students. Other figures showed the average test scores of English Language Learner (ELL) students, students from low-income families and students with an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Lemke stated there were some significant gaps in some averages among students in and out of different groups. According to the most recent results, the SAT evidence-based reading and writing average (EBRW) score for ELL students was 373, while the average score among non-ELL students was 573. In math, the SAT average score for ELL students was 366, while the average for non-ELL students was 579. In the subgroups of students from low-income families and students with IEPs, the average SAT scores were also lower than the averages of students outside those groups. Among students with IEPs, the average EBRW average was 448; it was 579 for students outside of that group. The average SAT math score for students with IEPs was reportedly 420; the average for students outside of that group was 588. Among students from low-income families, the average EBRW score was 457; the average for students outside that group was 584. In math, the average for students from the low-income families was 447; it was 592 for those outside of that group.

Discussion of post-secondary experiences, AP, ACP classes

Lemke provided additional figures, including the percentage of York seniors who had at least one post-secondary experience in high school. Examples for post-secondary experiences include Advanced Placement (AP) courses, Advance College Project (ACP) courses, dual-credit courses and courses with industry certification. Nearly 85 percent of the members of York’s Class of 2019 completed at least one post-secondary course while in high school.

According to figures provided in Lemke’s presentation, the four-year high school graduation rate of district students has been about 95 percent in each of the last three school years.

Third graders reading at or above their level

Another statistic mentioned during the presentation provided information about the number of district third-graders who were reading on their grade level. According to the statistic provided by the district, 79 percent of the district’s 2018-19 third-graders met or exceeded their reading level.

Presentation discussed

Commenting on the presentation, board member Christopher stated that he saw flat progress, and flat was not good enough. Board member Jim Collins said he would like to see district trends over a longer term instead. He added that he would like to see how the district’s key performance indicators compare to the best public districts in the state.

Nikki Tammaru, the district’s assistant superintendent of learning and leadership development, said the district is focusing on providing personalized and rigorous instruction for all students. When board member Karen Stuefen asked a question about homework, Tammaru responded that she has worked in school districts in Aurora and Glendale Heights. Tammaru said District 205 is the most affluent district she has worked in during her career. Tammaru said some students may not have the support at home to do homework. She added that what will impact them is teachers using high-level strategies and maximizing every minute they have with each student.

The board held its second meeting of October earlier this week on Oct. 22.