English/Language Arts focuses on reading, writing, and communication skills. The essential components include: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Spelling, Writing, and Speaking/Listening. We are transitioning to a workshop model of teaching in all of our kindergarten through 8th grade ELA classrooms. Currently all K-8 classrooms use The Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing produced by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project for writing instruction. At the start of the 2020/21 school year all kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms will implement The Units of Study for Teaching Reading and The Units of Study in Phonics. The same year, 7th and 8th grade classrooms will implement the Units of Study for Teaching Reading. At the start of the 2021/22 school year, 3rd through 6th grade classrooms will implement the Units of Study for Teaching Reading. The goal of implementation is to provide literacy instruction that is aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards and has been validated by research.
Mathematics instruction is aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards for Math which is focused on helping students achieve a conceptual understanding of math content grounded in focus, coherence, and rigor. Focus requires very specific content instruction at each grade level. Coherence requires a logical learning progression that is built from year to year. Rigor provides an equal balance of conceptual understanding, application of math knowledge, and math fluency. Currently, our kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms use Eureka Math to support instruction while 6th through 8th grade classrooms use Middle School Math Solution by Carnegie Learning.
Science instruction is aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards which are based on the Next Generation Science Standards. The goal of instruction is to aid students in developing an understanding of science and engineering concepts and to apply that knowledge in several different contexts. Currently, our kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms use the Exploring Science series by National Geographic while 6th through 8th grade classrooms use Science Fusion by Houghton Mifflin.
Standards Based Grading
District 109 currently uses a traditional letter grade reporting system. In the coming years, we will be transitioning to a standards based reporting system. The purpose of a standards based report card is to assist students and parents in understanding specific learning expectations for each content area. Essentially, a standards based system provides more information about student progress than a traditional letter grade report card. At the start of the 2021/22 school year we expect to have a standards based report card in place in all kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms with 3rd through 8th grade following suit at the start of the 2022/23 school year.
In order to meet the needs of all learners, we have multiple structures in place. Three forms of data are used to identify the top 5% of 3rd through 6th grade students locally at each elementary school. These students are placed in a cluster group among classrooms at all of our buildings. The same data methods are used to identify the top 5% of 7th and 8th grade students at our junior high. These students are placed in accelerated classrooms for ELA and Math. The classroom teachers that are given the responsibility of serving our gifted students attend additional professional development opportunities and are also provided with quarterly opportunities to collaborate with fellow gifted teachers.
In accordance with the Accelerated Placement Act, School District 109 has procedures in place for acceleration. This includes opportunities for early entrance to kindergarten and first grade, opportunities for accelerating a student in a single subject area, and opportunities for “whole grade” acceleration. The ISD109 Acceleration Process can be found by clicking this section.
Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR)
The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) is the Illinois state achievement test given in the spring to all public school students in grades 3 through 8. The test measures a student’s general math and English language arts skills. The IAR is fully aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards, is taken on a computer and is designed to provide information about student progress toward the long-term goal of college and career readiness.
Illinois Science Assessment (ISA)
The Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) is the Illinois mandated test given in the spring to all public school students in grades 5 and 8. The ISA is a comprehensive, computer-based exam that includes life, physical, Earth and space sciences with engineering and technology embedded. The ISA is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards for Science incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards.
Parent Involvement Specialist
In an effort to better serve the needs of our District #109 families we offer a variety of free parent education opportunities. These parent discussion groups, parent education workshops, parent book reads, and personalized home visits are provided throughout the school year. We encourage your participation as a way to help promote a stronger partnership between school, family and community; and because we know that parent involvement is one of the most critical ingredients for your child’s school achievement, and for teaching the life skills of success. To gain more information please contact Anne Whiting at (708) 496-8722 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.