Superintendent's Note

From the desk of Jim McKay

Posted: December, 8, 2015 - 12:06pm

PARCC Assessment

During the 2014 - 2015 school year, CHSD 117 elected to assess a select group of students on the state issued PARCC Assessment for the first time ever. This assessment was given in two parts, over multiple days, and was a replacement for the PSAE.  Soon, the results of the PARCC assessments will be released and the District wants to share accurate information regarding its scores.

Each student, who took the assessment, will be given a scaled score in the areas of Math and English Language Arts (ELA). The scores are then broken down into five categories:
• Score of 1 - Did not meet Expectations for College & Career Readiness
• Score of 2 - Partially met Expectations for College & Career Readiness
• Score of 3 - Approaching Expectations for College & Career Readiness
• Score of 4 - Met Expectations for College & Career Readiness
• Score of 5 - Exceeded Expectations for College & Career Readiness

Illinois considers a score of four or five to meet college and career readiness standards. When Illinois released the preliminary results in September, just over one-third of the students in the State scored at a level four or five.

While Illinois student achievement scores have dropped significantly, part of this drop in scores is also related to how “meeting or exceeding” State Standards is measured. PSAE used a 4-point scale in which scores of 1 and 2 are below State Standards. PARCC uses a 5-point scale in which 1, 2, and 3 are below standards. However, PARCC has defined a “3” as close to or “approaching” standards. I realize this may be confusing!

• In 2014, 54.3% of Illinois students met or exceeded State Standards on the PSAE, which the state is no longer using.
• In 2015, 33% of Illinois students have a strong understanding of the State Standards on the new PARCC.

An initial analysis of District 117 results indicates that a much higher percentage of our students scored at a level four or five then the state average of students taking parallel assessments. Further, when students who scored a three are included (as some states and districts are doing), our district’s percentage of students meeting state expectations, are consistent with those we had achieved in the past.

During the coming weeks, if your student took this assessment, we will be sending you a copy of your child’s score report. Additional information about the PARCC Assessment is available at UnderstandTheScore.org and ISBE PARCC Place. Should you have any questions regarding this assessment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the administration at your building.

Yours in Education,
Jim McKay

post Archive
  • Posted: August, 7, 2017 - 4:55pm

    State Funding for Schools

    I want to provide residents of Community High School District 117 information regarding state funding for schools in Illinois for the 2017-18 school year as you may be familiar with this issue through the news media and other sources.

    Due to the inequality associated with the current Illinois school funding formula and its significant adverse consequences particularly to school districts with the greatest economic need, the legislature has developed a new funding formula designed with evidence based criteria to equitably support state funding for schools.  To date, the legislators…

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  • Posted: May, 31, 2017 - 11:36am

    EVERY STUDENT SUCEEDS ACT (ESSA)

    ISBE submitted the ESSA State Plan for Illinois to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on April 1, 2017.  On April 10, 2017, ED identified a section of the plan that it considered incomplete.  This section included measurements of interim progress for academic attainment, graduation rate, and English Learner proficiency.  In the plan submitted on April 1, 2017, ISBE stated that it intends to develop measurements of interim progress based on three-year baseline data and that this data is currently unavailable due to not having three years of data from which to determine a baseline…

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  • Posted: April, 24, 2017 - 10:43am

    State Budget Impasse

    There is an effort statewide by many in a variety of public and private sectors including educators currently encouraging our state legislators to formulate and pass a responsible and responsive state budget. Below, are some of the consequences and concerns shared by many as a result of the current budget impasse.

    All areas of society, including Illinois public school students, have suffered the consequences of Illinois’ financial problems over the past couple decades. For nearly the past two years, Illinois has operated with just a partial budget for education and “stopgap”or band-aid…

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  • Posted: January, 5, 2017 - 11:51am

    Community High School District 117 asks the voters at the April 4th Election

    The Board of Education passed a resolution (December 8, 2016) that places a question on the ballot of the April 4th, 2017 election.  The question asks voters of the District whether all Board Members should be elected At-Large.  District residents will have the opportunity to cast their vote regarding this question at the Tuesday; April 4th, 2017 consolidated election.

    The reason for the question stems from the current difficulty in sustaining representation from the unincorporated areas of the District.  Since at least 1965, it has been required that the unincorporated…

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  • Posted: November, 28, 2016 - 1:59pm

    Positive Power of Our Schools

    The holiday season should be a positive, sentimental and enduring time filled with family gatherings and friendship.  Unfortunately, too often, this idyllic time is not enjoyed by our students or families but rather represents a time of struggle both financially and emotionally.  Compounded with the unprecedented negative rhetoric of recent political campaigns and the ongoing pockets of civil unrest, in our country, our students may be even more vulnerable. 

    That is why it is critically important to reaffirm the strength and positive power of our schools. Community High…

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  • Posted: September, 30, 2016 - 12:00am

    Far Too Common!

    On September 29th, the national evening news reported once again on a tragic school shooting at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina. The threats of violence in schools and society are becoming far too common and sadly, in my opinion, creating a new “normal”.  While Community High School District 117 encounters threatening situations occasionally, it never becomes easier for parents, students, staff or our greater community to accept.  These threats of violence are senseless and require immeasurable resources on the part of our schools and communities.  We take these…

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  • Posted: August, 30, 2016 - 11:02am

    Illinois Class of 2016 average ACT score up slightly as national average declines

    SPRINGFIELD — Results released today in ACT’s annual score report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2016,” show Illinois’ graduating seniors achieved an average composite score of 20.8, an increase of 0.1 over last year’s score. The national average composite score on the ACT fell from 21.0 to 20.8.

    “Our graduates continue to show progress,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The work of improving opportunities for all students and increasing the pace of progress is one we approach with urgency.”

    Illinois’ graduating…

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  • Posted: August, 8, 2016 - 7:44am

    WELCOME BACK!

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    While you were on summer break, the District was working hard to improve our…

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