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October 17, 2007





OCTOBER 17, 2007



The Education Committee of the Board of Education of Rich Township High School District 227 met on October 17, 2007, in the Media Center at Rich East High School, Park Forest, Illinois.


Mrs. Brookins called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.


Present: Brookins (Chair), Imoukhuede (Member), Moten (Member/7:30 p.m.)


Also Present: Mrs. Owens, Mr. Hunigan, Mrs. Treichel, Mr. Koutavas, Mr. Dwyer, Dr. Leak, Mrs. Toth, Mr. Sterling, Mr. Abrams, Ms. Bowen, Ms. Ragland, Ms. Muhammad, Ms. Anderson, Ms. Bailey, Ms. Madison, Mr. Walker, Mr. Pfau, Mr. Sterling



Student Management System


Mr. Koutavas gave an update on the Student Management System.  He noted that 26% of the parents/students are looking at PowerSchool on any one given day.  Mr. Koutavas noted the various reports that PowerSchool can generate.  A sample copy of a report card was displayed. 


Mr. Koutavas went over the 2007-2008 technology budget.  He noted that a new system of notifying parents is being considered, which is called Connect-Ed.  This system will deliver thousands of personalized messages in minutes with one call. 


Mrs. Brookins asked what parents do if there is a technical glitch in PowerSchool.  Mr. Koutavas stated he will work on that. 


Ms. Muhammad asked who she is to contact if she has issues with PowerSchool.  Mr. Koutavas responded that he will add an e-mail contact and telephone number to the website.


Mr. Imoukhuede asked if the system was capable of completing the Master Schedule.  Mr. Koutavas responded that the District will be sending a team for training in how to do the Master Schedule on PowerSchool.  As soon as January comes, the District will be starting the Master Schedule process on PowerSchool.


Mr. Hunigan stated that the Board and community should be proud of the amount of technology that has been integrated into the buildings and into instruction.


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D/F Rate


Dr. Leak introduced Mr. Will Dwyer, Assistant Principal for Athletics and Activities at Rich Central.  Mr. Dwyer spoke on D/F rate interventions.  He noted that no student will receive an F without a minimum of two documented academic interventions on PowerSchool.  He noted that Rich Central has introduced a Student Mentoring Program. He talked about the advisory period, which is used as an enrichment period.  In addition, there are school-wide study tables before school and after school and Saturday workshops are beginning.  The schools are trying to make it more difficult to fail than to pass for a student.


Ms. Toth noted that students at Rich East are given the opportunity to make up assignments that are received with a grade of 70% or less.  The school is providing binders for the students to keep their assignments in.


Mr. Dwyer noted that when students attend the study tables, they sign in.  This information is brought back to him and is put in the students’ files on PowerSchool.


Mrs. Brookins asked how many students are attending the different study tables.  Dr. Leak noted that, data wise, she can pull up on PowerSchool data on all the various interventions being used.  She will have it for the next Education Committee meeting.


Dr. Leak noted that PowerSchool does not save historical data for midquarter.  Mr. Koutavas added that the District will extrapolate data and put it into Excel. 


Mr. Imoukhuede noted that he would like to see a minimum 2.0 requirement for graduation.  He would like a report on this at the next Education Committee meeting.


Mr. Walker stated that it sounds as if the District has a comprehensive program for interventions.


Mrs. Moten asked what part the guidance counselors are playing in the intervention program.


Mr. Dwyer responded that the guidance counselors go into the advisories and work with the students.  They have developed individual plans for the students.


Mrs. Brookins asked if there will be a 4-year plan in place for every freshman.


Dr. Kirkwood responded that Rich South has an award-winning Horizon program.  Every student meets with a counselor.

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Mrs. Brookins noted that she would like to see data on the 4-year plans for Rich East and Rich Central – what the counselors are doing.


Mr. Pfau asked about mid-quarter report cards.  Mrs. Brookins responded that the District is sending them out.



Requirements for Each Grade Level


Dr. Leak noted the District needs to set the bar on the requirements for each grade level.  The students need to pass their core classes before they move from one grade to another.  In order to matriculate from freshman to sophomore year, students should pass freshman English and math, and the same for sophomores to juniors and juniors to seniors.  In addition, the District would like to put into place, beginning with 2008-2009, that students need to pass English, math, science and social studies to move on to the next grade level.  Dr. Leak noted that each campus has over 100 students who will be affected if this is put into place.


Mrs. Brookins noted that the District needs to look at the students who were enrolled in the old math curriculum – Algebra A and B, etc.  Dr. Leak responded that the District does need to work with these students.  Mrs. Owens asked if these students will be ready for the PSAE.  Dr. Leak responded they will need additional support. 


Ms. Anderson asked about students making up classes in their senior year and the ranking of those students.  Correspondence courses are listed as an “S” or “U” and not put in rank.  She asked to have this looked into.


Dr. Leak responded that she will look into this process.


Mrs. Owens asked if correspondence courses are aligned with the District’s curriculum.  Dr. Leak responded that NovaNet is aligned.  She said she will double check regarding other correspondence courses.


Mrs. Owens asked that the administration also look at the grading system for these classes.


Mr. Abrams stated that the District has been working with ENI in the development of assessments for science.  He noted students are being encouraged to take three years of science although the requirement is two years.



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English Curriculum


Dr. Leak discussed the novels read by the students in the various years.  She stated that “To Kill a Mockingbird” was the only freshman book with the “N” word.  Excerpts of “Black Boy” were being used, and they did not have the “N” word.  “Of Mice and Men” has been removed from the sophomore English curriculum.  Three additional books have been added to the choice list for sophomores.  These books do not have the “N” word.  Mr. Imoukhuede asked why “Of Mice and Men” was being used at Central this year.  Dr. Leak responded that it was in the cycle and had already been used in the curriculum. 


Mrs. Moten spoke and said that all books with the “N” word should be removed altogether. 


Dr. Leak mentioned the play “Fences” by an African American author.  This is read by juniors.  It does contain the “N” word.


Mrs. Moten stated that she is sure the District can find something else for the students to read.


Dr. Leak noted that she had checked several other school districts, some from the South, and their reading lists were very similar to our District’s.


Dr. Leak noted that if “The Adventures of Huck Finn” is removed from the curriculum, the District has to rewrite the curriculum and resubmit it for the audit for the AP curriculum for 2008-2009 school year.  The District also has to find another book to replace “Huck Finn.” 


Mrs. Brookins asked how many students actually pass the AP exam.


Dr. Leak responded that she will have this information by the next Education Committee meeting.



PSAE Discussion


Mrs. Moten noted that the District needs to communicate how it is touching every student in its efforts to increase the PSAE scores.


Mr. Pfau was recognized.  He stated he was at the Olympia Fields Education Commission meeting where the mobility of the student population was discussed.  He noted that it could be the District’s scores are lower because of this.  He asked to get data of the

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students who are taking the PSAE who go through the foundation schools and those from other schools outside the foundation schools.


Mrs. Moten noted there should be a process in place to bring the students who come from outside the foundation schools up to speed. 


Mr. Imoukhuede asked about a test for transfer students. 


Dr. Leak noted that the Explore is given to all freshmen.


Mr. Imoukhuede stated he felt that the sophomores and juniors coming into our schools should also be tested.


Mr. Imoukhuede stated that he has observed that the District has students coming to school with their anatomy exposed.  He said this is very distracting.  The District needs to enforce the rules regarding dress. Staff should set an example.


Mrs. Brookins stated that the grade level requirements need to go to the board for a vote.


Mrs. Muhammad asked about a student who does not have classification status to be in a certain grade level. 


Mr. Hunigan responded there are going to be activities tied to certain grade levels.


Mrs. Moten noted that the District needs to keep track of which students are at a certain grade level.


At 9:05 p.m. Mrs. Brookins adjourned the meeting.