Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills District 181 ahead of curve on new standards
Updated: March 15, 2013 11:27AM
HINSDALE — Implementing recommendations of an Advanced Learning Task Force should leave the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 in good shape in meeting requirements of new academic standards that go into effect in Illinois for the 2014-15 school year, administrators said.
The Illinois State Board of Education has adopted new math and English language arts standards for kindergarten through high school known as the New Illinois State Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core. The goal is to better prepare Illinois students for success in college and the workforce in a competitive global economy.
“Our advanced learning plan really does a nice job aligning with the Common Core,” said Kevin Russell, director of curriculum, assessment and instruction.
The School Board will discuss the plan more at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Hinsdale Middle School, though a final decision on implementation will be made later.
“This is a start,” said Kurt Schneider, assistant superintendent for pupil services. “We will continue to look at what we’re doing.”
Schneider said advanced learners are students who are high performing, or have high potential, in an academic subject, or subjects.
“When all kids get challenges, kids rise to that level,” Schneider said. “It’s no longer about everyone getting the same third-grade book. It’s about every child in every classroom having the opportunity to be challenged and learn at a level that is appropriate for them.”
Schneider said proving teachers with opportunities during the school day for more collaboration is very important. For example, instead of teachers having a planning period during which they work alone, scheduling would allow teachers to interact during those periods.
“You have to modernize your instruction,” Schneider said.
The advanced learning process allows for the flexibility of grouping students in the classroom based on their needs, Russell said.
“This isn’t what parents were used to when they were in school, and we have to do a parent education piece to help them understand,” Schneider said.
A survey of District 181 teachers showed overall support for the plan, although there were several comments expressing concerns about scheduling of both students and teachers. Schneider said concerns will be addressed.