The benefits of co-teaching can clearly be seen in the sixth grade language arts class taught by Ms. Corush and Ms. Byrne at Middle School South. While one is presenting, the other is moving about the room answering questions and checking in with students. As the students went through a lesson using their new Chromebooks, the teachers made sure that each student understood the directions and no one was left behind. At other times, the two were jointly teaching together, interacting with each other and the students within the curriculum while modeling and providing background knowledge.
“Co-teaching is a powerful tool and strategy,” said Ms. Corush. “With two of us teaching, one can focus on the curriculum while the other focuses on each individual student.”
Co-teaching is an all inclusive approach to teaching in which students, including those with special needs, are taught in the same classroom. There are more opportunities for specialized instruction, small group and one-to-one learning, and increased opportunities to differentiate to meet student needs.
“One of the benefits is that students are exposed to the teaching styles of both teachers. This approach increases the opportunity to differentiate for all students’ needs,” said Ms. Byrne. “The teachers bring their different styles and expertise together to meet all students’ needs.”
Superintendent Nick Brown reported that things went smoothly on the first day of school on August 23. Principals, teachers and staff were excited to welcome their students. A few buses were delayed due to construction work on Route 60. He said that the district considers the first weeks of class as an important time for teachers to get to know their students. He also said that the schools are connecting with parents through numerous events, such as curriculum nights, parent meetings, and orientations.
Mr. Brown discussed a major event for the middle schools. About 1,500 middle school students are receiving their Google Chromebooks this week. Middle School North students received their Chromebooks on Monday and Middle School South received them on Wednesday.
Enrollment numbers were a topic of discussion as the district works to accommodate an increasing number of students. Mr. Brown said that this is a volatile time for enrollment. Numbers are going up and down each week. He expects the numbers to be more stable in October. He said that the schools have been creatively handling space challenges not only this year but for several years. For instance, health and art classes are taught in two portable classrooms at Elementary South, and other schools have moved a few classrooms into cafeterias and libraries. He commended the principals for doing a great job with staff to make these displacements work.
Mr. Brown provided details on his conversation with management at the Cuneo/Loyola Mansion and Gardens property located at 1350 Milwaukee Avenue in Vernon Hills. He said that the district can expect 120 children between kindergarten and eighth grade to live in the 128 new homes that will be built over the next three years. The Board is expected to make its decision on which district schools these students will attend by mid- to late October.
Board of Education President Sonali Patil gave an update on the Bagels with the Board meetings, in which board members met with the public to listen to their perceptions about the district. She said that while attendance was low at the meetings, there were opportunities to promote the district’s community survey and increase the number of surveys completed by both English and Spanish speaking residents. The survey will close on August 31. The results will be shared with the public.
In her president’s report, Ms. Patil urged parents to be patient and considerate as busing challenges get worked out over the first weeks of school. She assured the community that if a school bus is delayed, school officials know, and there is no need to contact the schools.
The Cook Memorial Public Library District recently announced the winners of the 2017 Super Summer Reading Trophies. For the second year in a row, Elementary School South won the south division with 45.5% of its students signing up for the library’s summer reading program. Additionally, the library called out the School of Dual Language for showing the most improvement over last year’s statistics. The school increased its participation by 8%. The library congratulated the schools for their achievements.
Children entering kindergarten are taking a big step in their lives. On August 18, many of them took practice rides on school buses to help them adjust. More than 150 children and parents road 18 buses. They were greeted by the principals and staff at their schools. They received building tours and the children got to spend time playing outdoors before the buses drove them home. One Elementary North parent said, “I know my son is excited and anxious. This bus ride helps him adjust. Now he knows what a bus ride is like.”
The first day of school is Wednesday, August 21st! Summer is passing quickly. In fact, on August 9, schools will mail letters with class assignments and bus schedules to all enrolled students. Middle schoolers are also reminded to work on their summer reading assignments:
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