District 181 Board approves Advanced Learning Plan
Updated: April 8, 2013 6:07AM
HINSDALE — An Advanced Learning Plan has been approved in District 181.
“It’s about every child in every classroom having the opportunity to be challenged and learn at a level that is appropriate for them,” said Kurt Schneider, assistant superintendent for pupil services.
The plan increases the academic rigor for all District 181 students, something administrators say provides a head start in meeting requirements of new academic standards that go into effect in Illinois for the 2014-15 school year.
But the 6-0 vote by the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 Board did not come without concerns, specifically from board members Brendan Heneghan and Yvonne Mayer who urged more discussion because there is confusion among parents on what it means for each student.
“Many parents haven’t been paying attention to this because with it being called an Advanced Learning Plan, they think it’s only for gifted or advanced learners,” Heneghan said.
Mayer, whose term expires in April, urged the next School Board to closely review the status of the Advanced Learning Plan each year.
Mayer said she is concerned the plan won’t properly meet the needs of special needs students or those who struggle to keep up, though board member Marty Turek had a different take.
“By addressing advanced learning we had a spectacular opportunity to address all students,” he said. “This program is absolutely right for what we’re trying to do. We must expect more from our kids, and this program will evolve.”
An early February survey of District 181 teachers showed overall support for the plan, although there were several comments of concern and questions.
“As with anything new, the teachers have questions and are anxious to learn more about and be further trained on any curricular changes,” said Heather Scott, co-president of the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Teachers Association. “We all want is best for students and this is a shift in how we deliver instruction. With adequate training and preparation, we know that teachers will continue to provide students with an excellent education.”