Boosting basic skills

By on October 2, 2010

Elementary schools set improvement goals
by David Maas
KANELAND—Kaneland elementary schools will focus on continuing to boost students’ academic skills in certain subjects, particularly writing, in 2010-11, as outlined in their school improvement goals.

The Kaneland School Board on Monday reviewed the school improvement goals for each of the four elementary buildings, presented by Kaneland Curriculum Director Sarah Mumm.

McDole Elementary in Montgomery and John Shields Elementary in Elburn will focus on math and writing skills. Blackberry Creek Elementary in Elburn will focus on writing and reading skills, and John Stewart Elementary in Sugar Grove will focus on writing and phonics skills.

School Board members asked why the four schools have different goals.

“This is the second year I’ve had this worry,” said School Board member Deborah Grant. “Shouldn’t the four schools share the same goals?”

The principals from the four schools were present at Monday’s board meeting and stressed that they all are working toward achieving the same level of writing skill among students; each is using the Writer’s Workshop process to improve writing skills.

In addition, John Shields principal Laura Garland explained how doing things differently can have its advantages.

“Uniformity is not necessarily the best way to meet a student’s needs,” Garland said. “Trying something unique, and being able to let the others know, is a good thing.”

The schools’ goals are part of a comprehensive, peer-reviewed school improvement process under way this academic year in the district, Mumm told the board.

Writing progress

Percentages of elementary students district-wide meeting or exceeding state learning standards in writing, as assessed by standardized test scores:

Grade    2009-09    2009-10
Third    67%    74%
Fifth    53%    63%
Sixth    79%    81%
Eighth    56%    67%