D203 looks to improve academic performance at Mill Street School
By Hank Beckman For The Sun November 21, 2012 11:54AM
Students and parents line up outside Mill Street Elementary before the first day of school on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 24, 2012 7:05AM
School District 203 it taking steps to improve performance at Mill Street Elementary, the lone District 203 elementary school receiving Federal Title 1 funds to fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress two years running.
“I knew the situation (when I began),” Mary Baum, first-year principal at Mill Street, said. “My experience is working with high at-risk populations.”
Baum admitted the situation was difficult, but not impossible, saying, “It’s certainly not an insurmountable problem.”
Mill Street’s failure was not having 85 percent of its Hispanic or economically disadvantaged students meeting or exceeding state standards in reading.
The consequences are that students have to be offered the opportunity to switch to other schools that did make the grade, along with transportation to the schools paid for by the district.
Different remedies are in the works.
Some are centered on the school itself and include new collaborative opportunities for students and more professional learning opportunities for teachers.
The district is also increasing English Language Learning staff at the elementary level.
Baum has confidence in the Rising Star Improvement Plan, on which the Mill Street plan is based.
“The Rising Stars is very comprehensive and research-based,” she said. “It provides for differentiated instruction and looks specifically at each child and makes adjustments as necessary.”
Whether an elementary school makes Adequate Yearly Progress is based on results from the Illinois Standards Achievement Test.