Volume 23, No.4 | Monday, October 28, 2019
News from the October 22, 2019 meeting
State Scores Show Growth in Math, English
Results of the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) that was administered to third- through eighth-grade students in March and April of 2019 show student growth in each subject and school. The IAR is the state standardized test that measures student attainment of Illinois Learning Standards in English language arts and math.
When combining all grades and schools, the percent of students meeting or exceeding expectations on English language arts climbed 6 points in 2019 to 68%. Individual averaged school scores range from 72 percent to 66 percent.
In math, district-wide scores climbed 4 points to 66 percent of all students meeting or exceeding expectations. Meadowbrook School saw the highest average, where 76 percent of students meet or exceed expectations in math.
The Illinois Science Assessment is taken by fifth-grade and eighth-grade students. Results show a continuous climb in student performance, with a combined score of 79 percent proficient in 2019 for the district, up 8 points over the previous year.

Results will be available to the public after noon Oct. 30 at illinoisreportcard.com. A review of student performance in comparison to area districts will be presented at the November meeting. This year’s NWEA Map assessment results will also be shared at the November Board meeting. 
Principals Share Improvement Efforts
As part of the report on Illinois Assessment of Readiness at the Oct. 22 Board of Education meeting, district principals provided examples of what was done last year as well as work taking place this year to improve teaching and learning. 

English Language Arts
At Northbrook Junior High, Principal Dr. Scott Meek said last year every grade-level team evaluated daily lesson plans to make sure they were aligned to learning standards and that learning expectations were clearly articulated to students. Assessment results showed that our students struggled in writing and reading informational text in comparison to literary texts, he said. To address this, teachers continue to expand writing opportunities and ensure consistency in classroom literacy experiences. The junior high this year added more variety in non-fiction texts and writing prompts through a new resource called Amplify.

Last year, the elementary principals evaluated teaching practices to ensure all three schools were implementing the instructional strategies of the Literacy Studio curriculum with fidelity, said Westmoor Principal Mary Sturgill. Instructional facilitators supported teachers at each school with 4- to 8-week coaching cycles. This included co-planning, reviewing student performance results, modeling lessons and modeling conferring with students: the core strategies Literacy Studio curriculum. This year, a new grammar resource is being used for first- through fifth-grade.

District Receives Top Financial Ranking
District 28 received the highest financial rating designation, Financial Recognition, from the Illinois State Board of Education for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.
The district’s financial profile earned a score of 3.65 out of 4, qualifying for the highest category of financial strength based on five categories defined by the state. The school district’s financial profile was developed by the state to help monitor school district finances.
The district’s designation as Financial Recognition is based on: fund balance to revenue ratio; expenditures to revenue ratio; days cash on hand; percent of short-term borrowing and percent of long-term borrowing. The district has no debt.
Board Reviews District Audit Report
A representative from the firm Lauterbach & Amen, LLP, presented the annual report on the district’s financial performance, noting the district met all requirements in reporting and accounting. Read the full story

Board Approves Proposed Property Tax Levy
The amount of property tax revenue the district is requesting for the next budget year is 4.99% higher than the previous year, however the actual amount of property tax revenue the district will receive will be calculated based on the December 2018 Consumer Price Index of 1.9% plus new property growth.

The board approved a proposed levy request of $37.4 million, which will be finalized and approved at the Dec. 17 meeting. Read the full story
In Brief....
Group to Focus on Diversity/Equity/Inclusion

The district will begin to lay the groundwork for developing a philosophy and vision statement around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The district’s strategic plan, which was developed through community surveys and forums, weaves DEI concepts throughout the plan in its mission, vision and goals.

Superintendent Larry Hewitt and a volunteer staff committee began exploring this topic last year. “These are big concepts and we need to develop a philosophy so we all understand how we are going to meet our strategic goals,” Dr. Hewitt said.

A consultant who has worked with dozens of schools, both private and public, and community organizations across the country will facilitate the work. A working group will draft the philosophy and vision, and a larger advisory group of staff members and parents will provide feedback throughout the process.

The resulting philosophy and vision for diversity, equity and inclusion will guide the district in curriculum development, social-emotional learning, understanding and appreciating our differences, and designing professional development.
NBJH Focuses on Preparing Students for PSAT 8/9

Northbrook Junior High has implemented several steps this year to help ensure students are ready for the PSAT 8/9 assessment for high school, including:

  • Eighth-grade teachers worked with a representative of the College Board to learn more about the content of the PSAT 8/9.

  • English language arts and math teachers are modeling for students using think-aloud exercises during various content units to help them understand the structure of exam questions.

  • Math teachers have administered a new “screener” to identify students who required some additional review of math skills. Teachers then worked with Math Instructional Specialist Nikki Penherski to plan small group and individual support for students. Math teachers, along with NBJH Principal Scott Meek and Director of Learning Michelle Jackson, are currently working with these small groups during math class, X-Block time, and tutorial.

  • To help ensure these new methods are working, the math instructional specialist is meeting regularly with Assistant Superintendent Kris Raitzer, Scott Meek, and Michelle Jackson and is working alongside 8th-grade math teachers to discuss and plan for small group and individual support for students.

  • Lastly, a PSAT 8/9 slide show recording was developed by the College Board and made available to parents through the last two NBJH school newsletters. It provides a general overview of the exam. Parents have also received additional information from GBN about PSAT administration.
Township Districts Collaborate on Common Interests

Township superintendents collaborate monthly on common issues. Highlights include:
  • Northfield Township school districts are exploring a shared services agreement to supplement their partnership with North Suburban Special Education District.
  • For the 2020-21 school calendar, all township districts plan to begin school the same week as the high school and maintain the same winter and spring breaks. There are variations on some of the state holidays. the first draft of the District 28 school calendar for 2020-21 will be reviewed in November and the final draft will be approved in December.
  • The districts are in the process of updating their emergency preparedness plans. In order to improve communications, they are creating a consistent language for staff and first responders. 
  • District 225 is continuing to review the high school placement process. If there are any changes, they will communicate with parents as soon as they are able. 
Communications Advisory Committee Meets

A committee of 20 volunteer parents, two board members and four administrators met for the first Communications Advisory Committee (CAC) on Oct. 15. The committee reviewed outcomes from the Illinois 5Essentials Parent Survey and the district Parent Communication Survey. Then they broke into small groups to discuss the findings and explore topics. Each group summarized their discussions and reported out to the whole group. The administrative team will review the topics and questions posed by the CAC. At the next CAC meeting, Nov. 12, members will explore next steps in parent programming and communication. 
Want to Know More?
Livestream/archive video
The Board of Education meetings are now live-steamed on the District 28's YouTube Channel.

Tune in at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 for the next board meeting, or view the archived streamed meetings on the You Tube Channel.
#28Empowers #Innovate28
District 28’s official hashtags! You can search the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to monitor posts from teachers, administrators and the district accounts. These hashtags help us tell the story of Teaching, Learning and Caring in District 28 and the innovative teaching and learning around Learning First.