The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 22, 2013

D118 board looks at changes

New plan part of application process for grant


DANVILLE — Danville District 118 school board members will consider Wednesday whether to approve a proposed plan to improve student achievement at Danville High School.

The proposed plan for transformational change at the high school is part of the application process for a $6 million federal school improvement grant administered through the Illinois State Board of Education.

Superintendent Mark Denman said the proposed plan, which was presented during a public study session earlier this week, has been revised.

“We’re incorporating things that we’ve heard,” he said. “We’ve made some revisions and additions based on suggestions from the board and the community.”

Some of the changes include a mentoring component and the creation of an advisory council of continuous improvement.

During the study session, some school board and community members questioned how a proposed 30-minute intervention/enrichment period would work.

“The team feels the 30-minute period is the best way to meet those objectives,” Denman said.

This is the first time that DHS has been eligible for the grant. Eligibility for the grant is based on a school’s performance on the Prairie State Achievement Exam. The district must apply for the grant by the end of the month.

The competitive school improvement grant would infuse $6 million over three years to improve teaching and learning at DHS.

While there are no plans to dismantle the house structure implemented a few years ago at DHS — which has been credited for increasing graduation rates and attendance rates — student achievement still needs to be improved, particularly on the Prairie State Achievement Exam.

The district’s proposed plan for transformational change at DHS includes:

The plan proposes to improve student achievement by implementing curriculum aligned to Common Core State Standards, develop and implement common assessments schoolwide and develop academic and behavioral interventions.

The grant requirements include:

The proposed changes at DHS outlined in the plan include:

If awarded, the grant would fund several new positions at the high school to implement the transformation model, including the transformation officer, behavioral interventionist, a data analyst and lead teachers. In addition, the Consortium for Educational Change — a nonprofit partner selected by the district — would guide the district through the process of including student growth in teacher evaluations and would provide a full-time position onsite at DHS to support the reform efforts.

Also on Wednesday, school board members will:

Pre-registration was held during parent-teacher conferences on March 21 and 22, but parents can register at the home school their child will attend at any time.

Children are eligible for kindergarten if they turn 5 on or before Sept. 1, 2013. Parents are asked to bring a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate, up-to-date physical and immunization records and proof of residency.

Denman said the proposed fee increases include selling locks for lockers for $4 rather than $3; issuing DHS student parking permits for $9 rather than $7; and increasing the price for a full-priced lunch by 10 cents.

The price increase will not affect the cost of breakfast or reduced-priced lunches. Those prices will stay the same.

Under the proposal, a full-priced lunch will increase to $1.95 from $1.85 at the elementary schools, to $2.05 from $1.95 at the middle schools and high school, and to $2.70 from $2.60 for adults.