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Features

DeKalb School District 428 working toward performance improvement plans

District seeks to combat low Tier 3 and Tier 4 ratings

D-428 board of education member Valerie Pena-Hernandez asks about funding and principal support regarding the school improvement plans for low performing schools in the district.
D-428 board of education member Valerie Pena-Hernandez asks about funding and principal support regarding the school improvement plans for low performing schools in the district.

DeKALB – DeKalb District 428 Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jennie Hueber has been working exhaustively with school principals to develop plans to address low-performing schools in the district.

The plans are part of the Illinois State Board of Education’s process to address schools given a tier 3 “underperforming” or Tier 4 “lowest performing” rating by the Illinois Report Card in November. The DeKalb School District 428 Board addressed the plans in the district’s workshop meeting Tuesday. The process also includes receiving funding from the state for action plans.

“What support did the principals have during this process?” board member Valerie Pena-Hernandez asked. “Are we going to allow them the leeway to determine how that money is spent?”

District 428 Superintendent Jamie Craven said specific regulations for how the money is spent will be based on the district’s prioritization of problems.

“After we’ve gone through rubric and identified ‘this is the high need,’ that is where the money is spent,” Craven said. “It’s not like we’re given a check and we can spend it on what we want.”

Tyler Elementary, 1021 Alden Circle, was given a “lowest performing” rating by the report card. Founders Elementary, Littlejohn Elementary, Malta Elementary, Clinton Rosette Middle School, and Huntley Middle School were all rated “underperforming.”

The district will be undergoing a “planning year” for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year, during which educators and organizers from each school will complete an Illinois Quality Framework Supporting Rubric to the ISBE.

The rubric will identify achievement gaps, makeup of buildings, social-emotional concerns, attendance data, special programs and staff tenure. Also identified throughout the process are resource inequities in the schools, such as budgeting and plans for implementing solutions.

“This was a very extensive rubric that we went to,” Hueber said. “Every building did this, and there were lots of conversations. Doing this helped guide the writing of each plan.”

According to the board agenda, work plans for school improvement have been submitted for each school under the Title I School Improvement 1003 (a) grant, which must be approved no later than Feb. 28.

Since Tuesday’s board meeting was a workshop meeting, the board will not vote on the improvement plans until the Feb. 19 board meeting.

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