NAPERVILLE — After two weeks to study the elimination of the LEAP reading intervention program and elementary enrichment pull-out sessions, the Naperville District 203 School Board is expected to make a decision Monday.
At the April 7 meeting, Superintendent Dan Bridges urged the board to table an vote on the eliminating the positions of reading specialists and enrichment assistants because the district plans to implement a new learning support model in the 2014-15 school year that Bridges says will benefit kindergarten through second grade.
The plans calls for hiring instructional assistants to collaborate under the direction of the classroom teacher. The new instructional assistants’ day would include working with small groups of students, conducting assessments of students, collaborating with teachers on student progress and managing student behavior, among others. Additionally, the assistants will be trained at a minimum of four times a year in math and literacy instruction and other areas in order to support the learning in the classroom.
Because this is a change in philosophy and not policy, the board will not vote specifically on learning model change itself.
The board would vote on whether to authorize the dismissal of educational support personnel, which in effect gives support to the new plan from the administration. Should the board authorize the move, the positions of LEAP (reading intervention), K-LEAP (kindergarten reading intervention), reading assistants and enrichment assistants would be eliminated. Currently 31 full-time and 40 part-time staff people fill those positions.
If the such move is made, later this spring the board would need to authorize the district to hire for the position of instructional assistant. The administration is calling for 48 full-time people to fill those roles. The full-time educational support personnel whose jobs were eliminated will have “recall rights” for the instructional assistant jobs and will be hired for the new positions based on seniority.
The move has meet strong opposition from LEAP specialists as well as enrichment supporters.