At the outset of the Sept. 27 board of education meeting, board members and administrators from Lincoln-Way High School District 210 paid tribute with a moment of silence for former board member, Jay Fagan, who passed away Sept. 21. Fagan served on the board for 35 years. He was first appointed in April 1971 and served until November 1981. He was reappointed in July 1984 and resigned in January 2007.
Over the last five years a list of strategies aimed at motivating student performance have been implemented with concrete results, said Sharon Michalak, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. The district's team of educators focuses on:
- Preparing learning objectives for each and every lesson plan. What made it work were statements and explanations at the beginning and the end of each instructional lesson.
- Providing feedback within 48 hours to students on the stated objectives of the lesson
- Insisting on the use of summaries to teach learning skills, patterning techniques, thinking and writing
- Encouraging student self-assessment and adjustment
- Building vocabulary and memory strategies
Since the above teaching methodologies are now an everyday part of the instruction process, Holland said three more motivational strategies are on-board for implementation this year. While lecture, discussion and hands-on activities are integral to the instruction process, Michalak has spotlighted the use of graphic organizers to assist students in identifying patterns, think through problems and write about the subject at hand.
Additionally, Holland said the newest curriculum initiatives are moving to ensure both corrective and enrichment activities in regard to student progress. The key his providing "additional opportunities that allow students to demonstrate learning," she said.
Finally, teachers are utilizing plans that intentionally offer opportunities for intuitive thinking by activating and building "background information" for the purpose of "advanced" organizational skills.
District's annual audit gets high marks from accountants
After a thorough check up of its finances, the high school district got a clean bill of health in the annual audit performed by . The formal approval of the report is expected at the Oct. 11 board meeting. However, the report highlighted the fact that the operating cost per pupil for the last four years has decreased each year. This year the cost per pupil decreased by $457, bringing the total spent on each student to $11,688.
In an effort to adhere to the Illinois State Board of Education's new auditing requirement, the district is required to list where resources are shared with other school districts or outsourced to another school district. Specifically speaking, said Stacy Holland, director of community relations, the three areas that Lincoln-Way District 210 pools resources are:
- Curriculum Planning with feeder elementary districts
- Health insurance through the Lincoln-Way Area Affiliation, the consortium of districts that come together in the health insurance pool.
- Special Education through Lincoln-Way Special Education District 843
The costs for building and grounds were featured in a report before the board as well. Last minute preparations and more during the month of August at all four high school campuses came in within 1 percent of last year's expenditures for the same time period, according to Holland.