Progress in Our Schools...
As our work-in-progress continues, we are justly proud of innovations and creative strategies recently put in place to enhance our educational program and those on the immediate horizon. Among them are:

Advanced Placement —

Participation — In 2007-08 we had 292 students (6% of the district’s enrollment) taking 445 AP exams. For this past test year (2013-14), there were 914 students, or 17% of the district’s enrollment, taking 1417 AP exams.

Pass Rate — Our AP exam pass rate in 2007-08 was 45%. This past testing year it was 46%, with the number of testers increasing by 68%.

Offerings — We have added the following AP courses to our curricular offerings over the last 6 years:
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Physics I and II (formally AP Physics B)
  • AP Physics C
  • AP Literature, Language & Composition
  • AP Government
  • AP Microeconomics
Additional information regarding AP can be found on the District's Teaching & Learning webpage:

Physics First —

The 2014-15 school year represents the final year of implementing this curricular change. At the end of this school year, all students will have been exposed to the core courses of physics, chemistry and biology. Students will have an opportunity to continue studying science in the senior year (2015-16), as we are going to be offering two semester courses: Geology and Introduction to Astronomy.

Since making this conversion, the district is now able to offer four years of physics on top of the required core science courses. Students can take Honors Physics First, AP Physics I, AP Physics II and AP Physics C. Currently we have 7 sections of AP Physics I at the sophomore level, and these students are also taking Honors Chemistry.

Career Practicum —

District 228 is providing more opportunities for students to earn dual credit, career certificates and college credit either during or after school. A student enrolling in Career Practicum will be able to create his/her own pathway based on post-secondary plans. Pathways include: College (enrolling in a college course); Certification (participating in programs such as EMT, pharmacy technician, etc.); Real World (conduct job shadows, research careers, producing career portfolios, etc.); and Virtual (engaging in digital learning opportunities).

Academic Learning Centers —

Building off of the “Freshmen Learning Center” concept that we began a few years ago, each high school also has an upperclassmen learning center. These centers monitor students’ grades and provide tutoring assistance to students with grades lower than a “C.”

Freshmen Learning Centers were established at all four high schools in the 2011-12 school year. Sophomore/Upperclassmen Learning Centers were added in the fall of 2012.

Semester 1Semester 2

First semester failures have been reduced by 32% since 2011, and there has been a 37% reduction in second semester failures since 2011.
(This data represents the total number of failing grades not the total number of students with failing grades. Some students have multiple failures.)

College and Career Readiness —

Over the past three years our district has made great strides in the implementation of the Common Core Standards — now required by the State of Illinois — in not only our core curriculum but also in our assessment process. Courses in both English and Social Studies are aligned to the core and focus heavily on the development of reading and writing skills that are driven by content based materials. To advance writing in these departments, we have developed a system of writing prompts to address not only student growth but to address skill deficiencies and to look to improve our instruction based on the use of three data points.

The Social Studies department has adopted the Document Based Question (DBQ) model to focus on students using evidence to support their position on a given topic. The Language Arts department has followed this model with the development of Informational and Argumentative writing prompts that are supported by passages with relevant information. In both departments, students are asked to use the given information to develop these essays which are assessed using a Common Core based rubric. In writing these prompts, students are asked to use information from multiple sources and provide accurate in-text citations. This type of writing supports the research process as well as providing the students an opportunity to practice for the writing that is part of the PARCC exam. These writing prompts in both departments are given to all of our sophomore and junior students and assessed by district theme graders that have been trained to evaluate student writing according to our rubrics.

New Courses —

Over the last two years, we have made changes to our course offerings to provide more opportunities for students. These changes are summarized below:

Family & Consumer Science:
  • Culinary Management
  • Advanced Food Preparation & Catering
  • Both of these semester courses provide students with the opportunity to earn their Safety and Sanitation Certifications
  • Students can earn their Early Childhood Education Level I certification through Child Care courses
Fine Arts:
  • American Music – semester course added for students who do not want to perform but have an interest in music
Social Studies:
  • Criminal Law – semester course
  • Statistics
  • Digital Literacy – incorporates use of iPads, Common Core Reading & Math Standards, Career Cruising
  • Personal Finance – help students understand and prepare for post-secondary plans
  • Both semester courses will replace the existing Microcomputer Interdisciplinary Applications (MIA) course
  • Geology – local
  • Introduction to Astronomy
  • Both semester courses provide an opportunity for students to continue their science experience in the senior year
The 1:1 Initiative —

Starting in the fall of 2015, our incoming freshmen will be the first class to have a majority of their curriculum delivered to them via iPad. With few exceptions, we are moving away from hard copy books and novels and embracing the digital age. By moving towards digital learning, we will be preparing our students for their future. Whether college-bound or career-bound, students will benefit greatly from learning through technology.

College & Career Centers —

Through our emphasis on college and career planning through the College and Career Centers, 47% of graduates reported that they are attending a four-year college/university and 29% of graduates will attend a two-year college this fall.

This is just a sample of our work-in-progress . For more details about these and other initiatives, log onto the District's website ( ) or contact Dr. Corinne Williams, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.