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New Middle School Class Designed to Prepare Students for the Future

The Enhancement Class was added to the curriculum after testing showed students were not meeting the soon-to-be-implemented nationwide Common Core Standards.

“Our goal is to make sure our kids are prepared.”

That’s what Principal Keith Wood told parents Tuesday night during a community forum on the new Enhancement Class that will be launched in the fall for roughly two thirds of middle school students.

“Whatever they choose to do after high school, we want them to be prepared and on track for college and a career,” added Christy Vehe, VVSD’s Director of 6-12 Math and Science.

The Enhancement Class was added to the VVSD middle school curriculum following a review of 2011-2012 school year MAP testing that showed that while many VVSD students were meeting grade level benchmarks as defined by the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), they were not meeting the more rigorous soon-to-be-implemented nationwide Common Core Standards.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Dr. Wood said. “The goals we have set for our kids are attainable, but they are not attainable if we do not provide supports.”

Based on all three 2011-12 MAP assessments, classroom grades, teacher recommendations and ISAT scores, VVSD identified students who needed additional support in reading and/or math. Those needing the most support will take the Enhancement Class five days a week. Others will be in the class three days or two days a week. All class periods will be 44 minutes.

“Don’t be worried that your child will be bored,” Dr. Wood said, pointing out that classroom time will be a combination of individualized one-on-one and small group instruction along with a personalized technology learning experience utilizing Odyssey’s Compass Learning program. “These kids will be constantly engaged.”

According to industry experts, the Compass Learning program is not “skill and drill games” like some old-fashioned computer-based learning software. The program relies on researched based instructional activities that guide each student through assigned lessons based on identified areas of strength and areas in need of further development. Their performance will be monitored by both the software and VVSD teachers with lessons constantly adjusted to assist in continual progress.

“Every child will have access to this program at home,” Vehe said. “We encourage parents to get involved.”

Students won’t receive a letter grade in the class. Report cards will reflect either “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.” Participation in the various levels of the class will be reviewed at the end of each semester with changes made based on MAP assessments and teacher recommendations.

“We want to be sure our kids are ready for high school,” Dr. Wood said. “And when they leave high school, we don’t want them to be at a competitive disadvantage. We want them on a level playing field and ready to go.”

Editor's note: The following is a press release issued by Valley View School District.

Child of GOD June 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
For years the schools have been passing kids that should not be passed. Teachers complain about teaching (I hear it all the time) and parents don't work with there kids. For years we have been setting up our kids to fail and I don't think this will work, I hope it does, but if you have teachers that no longer have the passion to teach, that we are setting up to fail.
Mickey July 06, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I agree with Laura. I really hope this works. My daughter will be participating in this class. I agree that A LOT of the teachers don't have the passion. It's just a 9 to 5 to them. Some of my son's 8th grade teachers just did not want to go that extra mile. They have the impression that it was MY responsibility. Really? If I could home school I would. If I had the passion to be a teacher I would. No. They're the teachers & that's what they get paid to do by our tax payer money. I'm a single working mom & I bet they make THRICE as much as I do!! I hate when they complain they don't make enough money! Yet they live comfortably.

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