Rochelle News-Leader | Secondary School Board: School Improvement Plan 2022-2023 presented


ROCHELLE – At Monday’s monthly meeting of the Rochelle Township High School Board of Education, a presentation was made by RTHS Principal Chris Lewis and Deputy Principal David Perrin on the district/school improvement plan. school for 2022-2023.

RTHS district/school improvement priorities include student behavior expectations, teacher expectations, on-track performance, reading and math growth, school behaviors, SAT growth and college and career readiness.

“We’ve taken a lot of different directions over the last two years and those are things we really want to focus on or ‘tighten up’ this year,” Lewis said. “Before last year, some students hadn’t been to school for about a year and weren’t in the building. So there were behavioral issues and we’re working to clear up those expectations so kids have a clear concept of what’s going on.”

Lewis said on-track performance has been “a big topic” at school over the past two years, with a number of students not being in person at school and straying from the track for graduation.

“The big thing in high school is getting credits,” Lewis said. “We’re getting closer to being on the right track with this and it’s something we still need to focus on and we’re still not out of it.”

The RTHS Student Profile Initiative is the main component of the district/school improvement plan for 2022-23. The student profile is the “central point” of all key data points related to the student’s goals at the RTHS. First-year students create a student profile during orientation and track and update it while at school. It includes a goal narrative, college and career readiness benchmarks, earned GPAs/credits, courses matching student goals, SAT performance, academic behaviors, and links to career information.

The school improvement focus in 2020-21 was online learning with students attending school remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that in 2021-22 was social-emotional learning , as all the students were returning to the building.

“I’m excited about our focus this year because I feel like we finally have the chance to be proactive rather than reactive,” Perrin said. “We have been responsive for the past two years due to the pandemic. This year, we’re going to go back in time a bit and try to bring things back to normal. We will focus on the student profile. This tool is something that was put in place in 2016 or 2017 and it’s kind of like an individualized education plan for each child. Our mission here is to prepare children for their future and the best way we have to do that right now is through this student profile.

The student profile is built around what students need to do during their time at RTHS to prepare for their goal after graduation, whether it be a career, military or university.

Freshman Profile goals include declaring a student profile goal, demonstrating growth in math and reading from Fall 2022 to Spring 2023 based on the STAR test, and earning of 5.5 credits by June 2023. Sophomore goals include improving teacher grades on academic behavior in their freshman year and earning 11 credits by June 2023. Junior goals include passing the SAT test and achieve benchmarks and/or expected growth based on their PSAT 10 scores and earn 16.5 credits by June 2023. Senior student goals include being career and/or college ready based on their individual student profile goal and to graduate in May 2023.

“A student can change their goal at any time,” District Superintendent Jason Harper said. “We can run multiple profiles for them to compare. And then we give them at least annual opportunities to edit their student profile to be more accurate.

Tutoring

The board unanimously approved a two-year contract for a 24/7, 100% online tutoring service for RTHS students with a company called Paper. All students will have access to the software at no cost to families.

“Obviously it’s not meant to replace our teachers, but we do know that students are potentially working on their schoolwork 24/7,” Harper said. “They can connect with any device at home and at school. They will have access to online tutors for all kinds of subjects that we offer. We have seen other districts turn to products like this one to offer support to students during the hours when they are not with us.”

Harper said the tutoring service is not video chat-based and all tutors are vetted and trained by Paper. The district plans to get usage data after the program begins and see how students are using it. Part of the service includes the ability for students to have their papers proofread and return suggested corrections to them within 24 hours.

“It’s a service that we’re going to push and provide,” Harper said. “We’ll see how our students and teachers use it and I think it can be a good addition to the things we have in place.”

Principal’s report

During his principal’s report portion of the meeting, Lewis said the district recently held its new teacher orientation program ahead of the school year beginning Tuesday. RTHS has eight new teachers this year.

“We had hires this summer,” Lewis said. “One thing I’m really happy about, even though it’s not a typical summer and you don’t want to do this every summer, is that we’re fully booked right now. If you’ve read anything about teacher shortages, you know there are plenty of schools that can’t say that. We have everyone in place and we are really happy to be able to serve our children with full staff here.

Budget

The board held a special budget workshop meeting prior to Monday’s regular meeting. District Business Manager Kevin Dale said the provisional enrollment for the RTHS is currently 929 students. Last year, the district expected 865 students for this year.

“We’ll have a final count once everyone’s here,” Dale said. “Registration data will not be confirmed until the October housing report. You can see in the data that the drop in enrollment is consistent except for this little bump right now.

Forecast revenues for the year are currently $19.9 million with forecast expenses of $19.5 million with a surplus of $402,000.

A formal hearing on the budget will take place before next month’s meeting and the budget will be voted on at the regular meeting following in September.

Use

The board unanimously approved the resignations of Andrew Evangelista (choir teacher and choir director), Victoria Evangelista (math teacher) and Mae Furman (special education teacher at Focus House) as well as the hiring of Cory Ellis (choir teacher and choir conductor), Angela Pabon (substitute bus driver), Michael Palmer (maintenance), Jonathon Sandoval (custodian, second team), Veronica Hernandez (paraprofessional), Nicole Canfield (math interventionist), Ron Duval (music department mentor), Justin Otte (assistant boys athletics coach and volunteer assistant football coach), and Deanna Jacobs (volunteer volleyball coach).

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