BOE APPROVES THINK TANK RECOMMENDATIONS WITH REVISIONS
At its Monday, March 11 meeting, the Board of Education (BOE) unanimously approved Think Tank proposals for the elementary schools. The administration presented the BOE with a recommendation that had been modified from the one previously discussed by the BOE on Feb. 25, modifications that created a consistent implementation at all four schools.
-For 2013-2014, the recommendation lays out teacher specialization in grades 2 through 5. Teachers in these grades will teach either literacy/social studies or STEM/math (science, technology, engineering and math). The district will still be using its current science curriculum. The recommendation also lays out multiage class groupings for grades 4/5 in literacy/social studies.
-For 2014-2015, multiage at grades 2/3 in literacy/social studies; implementation of the new STEM curriculum (developed around the Common Core science standards that will have been released).
-For 2015-2016, multiage in STEAM/math at grades 2/3 and 4/5 (for an authentic standards approach); arts infused into STEAM and into literacy. (STEAM is science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.)
The recommendations grew from the district's Long-Range Plan, and its desire to better prepare students to succeed in the 21st century. The Think Tank work was also motivated by the need to meet the rigor of the new Common Core academic standards, standards that are generally at least one grade level ahead of the former Illinois standards.
Two key ideas form the basis for the proposals:
1. Provide personalized learning to give each child what they need when they need it. Multiage classrooms will enable teachers to better meet the needs of their students by somewhat narrowing the range of learning needs in each classroom.
2. Help teachers become more expert in their fields so they can take their students deeper into rigorous Common Core material; by specializing in a content area, teachers will be better able to do this.
This spring, the Think Tank work will transition to Team 21, a new component of the Teams for Excellence structure that replaces the Learning Leadership Team.