Superintendent's Note

From the desk of Jim McKay

Posted: October, 28, 2015 - 11:14am

School Accountability

In the ever changing realm of public education, school accountability measures continue to increase which arguably impact students and staff both positively and negatively.  I wanted to share with you the latest from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  The new school report card will be launched soon.  According to ISBE… this year’s rollout will follow a slightly different process than years past due to our transition to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test.

On Friday, Oct. 30, ISBE will post the 2015 Report Card atwww.illinoisreportcard.com, with data including student and teacher demographics, enrollment, district-level financial information, Illinois 5Essentials Survey information, graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment, and freshmen on track. The Report Card will showcase new metrics and features to show a more complete picture of school climate and students’ progress toward college and career readiness.

Recently, Dr. Tony Smith, State Superintendent of Schools, conveyed that parents will receive score reports later this fall for the first Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam administration. These scores will look different than scores from previous state tests and may appear lower than what educators and parents typically expect for some students. This difference does not mean our students know less or are less capable. The PARCC exam scores will reflect higher expectations for what students should know and be able to do to stay on track for college and careers. PARCC exam results cannot be compared to test scores from the state’s previous assessments. The PARCC exam is a drastically different test that uses extended tasks and technology-enhanced items to more accurately measure students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills, which are all necessary for students to succeed in higher education and/or their career field after high school. The first year of PARCC testing will serve as a baseline for test scores and will determine the performance targets for future years. No immediate consequences are tied to the 2015 administration. In future years, scores will be available to educators and parents earlier and, ultimately, will provide them more timely and reliable information to determine whether students need extra assistance or more advanced instruction earlier in their academic career.

More information regarding student and school performance will be provided when we receive it from the state.  Suffice to say the PARCC assessment is very difficult to use as a comparative tool and the data will be confusing given the multiple assessment constructs.

post Archive
  • Posted: September, 7, 2017 - 3:07pm

    U.S. Department of Education approves Illinois ESSA Plan

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Illinois State Board of Education officials say the state’s ESSA Plan incorporates feedback gathered from thousands of online comments and 100 in-person forums and meetings.  Under the Illinois ESSA Plan, multiple indicators of school quality and student growth will be collected and examined, and will be used to help schools perform better under a plan that specifically meets their unique needs. 

    Additionally, the Illinois ESSA Plan…

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  • Posted: August, 9, 2017 - 11:44am

    Welcome Back and While You Were Away

    Let me be the first to say welcome back, we are honored and happy to serve you and our communities!
    I would like to welcome the incoming Freshman Class of 2021!  We also welcome our upperclassman and anyone new to Community High School District 117; we truly look forward to ensuring that every student is offered the opportunity to grow and learn in a positive, safe, and engaging environment. Our dedicated and talented staff strives to realize our mission of Igniting the Passion and Discovery of Every Student.  We are very proud of our unwavering commitment to student growth…

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  • 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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Ignite passion and discovery in every student
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