MT. VERNON — —
Principal for Mt. Vernon Township High School, Wes Olson, said three instructional initiatives discussed to improve educational performance at the school are going well.
Olson said the high school has been using Aimesweb, which provides benchmark and progress monitoring through testing. He said the program only tests through the ninth grades and the high school wanted to move to a system that tested through graduation.
He added the school is moving to the Northwest Evaluation Association program, which helps provide information so student learning can be more individualized to their problem areas.
“For what we need, we really feel this is going to help us,” Olson said, explaining that freshmen through junior year students would be tested twice a year to be assessed.
The second part of the initiative will be to utilize OdysseyWare, an online program to help students learn better. Students will be able to access their individualized program from school or home, Olson said and individual classes can be developed for students depending on their learning deficit.
The third part of the initiatives discussed was to move students to one to one learning with the use of technology. The hope, Olson said, is that every student will have a tablet device by the time the new school is built in 2015. Until then, the school been able to procure Title 1 money to purchase Kuno tablets for freshmen core classes.
Assistant Principal Julie Littlefair said the device is much like an iPad, except developed more for educational programming. She said the initial purchase will be for math and English and said she hopes they can purchase more tablets for the fall that will be used for social studies and science.
Assistant Principal Rob Pipher was also at the meeting to discuss attendance, discipline and grading data with the board. He said he compared data from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year so results would be comparable.
He said the A, B and C grades were up by 5 percent, while failing grades were down by 3 percent. Pipher added the amount of students who are on track for graduation is improving and there are only 36 senior who are not on track, but the school is working to remedy that issue.
In other business the board:
- Approved the finance report and were informed the second installment of tax dollars have been received since the finance committee met last week;
- Approved the resignation, employment and one request for a leave of absence;
- Approved the first reading of the board policy updates;
- Approved the establishment of a fund for the Freshman Academy Activity Account, the money will be raised through fundraisers.
- Approved placing the tentative tax levy on display for public viewing and comment. There will be a public hearing at the Dec. 17 board meeting, with a Truth and Taxation hearing to follow;
- Approved a resolution to present to the county board regarding the possible reorganization of the Regional Office of Education; and
- Approved a school construction grant agreement between District 201 and the Illinois Capital Development Fund.