District 181 slows down transition plan for gifted program
Administrators and teachers in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 discuss plans for a five-week accelerated math class for about 50 seventh-graders. | Chuck Fieldman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 28, 2012 8:24AM
While the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 Board agreed Monday to give the administration more time to refine a transition plan for the next school year, approval was given for a five-week accelerated math program for about 50 seventh-grade students.
A transition plan is being created for the 2012-13 school year because of several changes anticipated in the gifted program for 2013-14, based on a recent assessment by an outside consultant.
The administration presented an initial plan at an April 9 committee meeting and formed four work groups of teachers and administrators to developing plans for various academic areas. Input from parents, community members and staff was elicited through a community engagement meeting, staff survey and email.
“We had set an April deadline, but we did decide to slow things down so that we can come up with the best plan for our students,” said Superintendent Renee Schuster. “We need more time to complete our full planning process. It’s important, though, that we do have a transition plan in place for next year because we don’t want to do nothing while we work on changes for 2013-14.”
Board members, administrators and teachers seem to agree on the idea of a more rigorous math program districwide. While other specific plans for math could be forthcoming, the board gave the OK for administrators to set up the five-week accelerated math program for 25 seventh-graders at Clarendon Hills Middle School and 25-30 seventh-graders at Hinsdale Middle School.
Those students, now taking standard math, will receive intensive study in pre-algebra over the final five weeks of the 2011-12 school year and/or an optional summer school session. Participating students, who make up about 20 percent of all district middle school students in standard math, will be tested at the conclusion of the pre-algebra course and moved on to Algebra 1 in eighth grade if they meet standards on the exam.
The transition plan suggests curriculum compacting in math for students in second and third grades. That would allow students learning at a faster pace. Students in second grade will delve deeper into number sense and math reasoning. In third-grade math, the curriculum will be compacted, allowing some students to also complete the fourth-grade curriculum.
“Everyone in this community thinks we should increase the math rigor,” said board member Yvonne Mayer.
Mayer said she would like to see more consistency between offerings in different subject areas.
“We are going to have a crash course in pre-algebra for math so that students can move ahead to Algebra 1, but there’s no chance to move ahead in social studies,” she said.