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Local News

Yorkville school board gets e-learning summer school update

Board of Education receives update on summer e-learning programs

Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education members and district staff talk and listen during the Monday, June 8 school board committees of the whole remote meeting.
Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education members and district staff talk and listen during the Monday, June 8 school board committees of the whole remote meeting.

YORKVILLE – Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education members received an update on the district’s summer school e-learning programs during their Monday, June 8, Committees of the Whole remote meeting.

Nick Baughman, associate superintendent for learning and instruction for the district, said about 319 kindergarten through fifth-grade students and about 106 sixth- and seventh-graders have enrolled in remediation summer school. He said about 60 students also have enrolled in the district’s extended school year program targeted toward special education students, and 45 students have enrolled in the district’s dual language summer school program.

“And Camp Acceleration has increased quite a bit from last year,” Baughman said.

Baughman said about 135 students have enrolled in the camp – with the first day being Monday – this time around, as opposed to the about 85 students who enrolled last year. He said about 216 high school students enrolled in the high school’s summer school program’s first semester, which began last week.

Baughman said the district’s kindergarten through seventh grade summer school experience program and dual language programs also begin next week.

Yorkville High School Principal Dave Travis said the high school has started the remediation process with about 174 students since May 26 who had not successfully completed coursework last semester. He said it’s a little less than 10% of the school’s student population, and those students account for a total of 407 courses.

“Some students only had one course, some students may have had five courses that they were in true remediation for,” Travis said.

Travis said that’s about five times the typical amount of incomplete courses the school sees by the end of the semester.

“So it’s a pretty large amount for us,” Travis said. “However, when you think about the number of students who earn Ds or Fs at the end of our semester, it’s within that range.”

Part of why the data presents the way it does so far is because of Illinois State Board of Education guidelines that include the issuing of incomplete grades as opposed to failed grades, Travis said. About 26 of those students identified as needing remediation have not reached out to the school, and their parents are not engaging, either, he said. And no grades will be given if that continues.

Travis said the group is composed predominantly of freshmen and sophomores, who make up about two-thirds of the group. He said there were very few seniors who needed remediation, but most of those students weren’t in jeopardy of graduating.

“But we’re trying to finalize some things up for them for their post-secondary experience,” Travis said.

Travis said 50 of the students had individualized education programs, or IEPs, meaning they had documented special needs. He said more than half of the students who needed remediation also used free and reduced services and were students of color.

“So a lot of our at-risk populations fell into this bucket of students [who] did not successfully complete the semester,” Travis said.

As of Monday, Travis said, 26 of the 174 students have been completely remediated, meaning they finished all work they were supposed to and are earning a pass or letter grade for course. He said about a third of the group has remediated at least one course so far.

Travis said the district previously hired 17 academic coaches for the school, with the majority supporting students in multiple content areas and six specialists for single subjects such as math, Spanish, health or drivers education. He said the school is at about the middle of the $13,300 budgeted for remediation-related costs.

“So overall, we’re in pretty good shape,” Travis said.

Baughman said the e-learning model has given the district the opportunity to become more proficient in using online learning platform analytics to get a better idea of where students are academically, especially for students in seventh grade or above. He said that includes monitoring assignment submissions, tracking student page visits, seeing whether students are participating in different collaborations and certain discussions, competencies and mastery of certain skills and seeing how many lessons have been completed by students.

Baughman said once the district has more data and time at their disposal through summer school, staff can have a better idea where learning gaps are with students.

Board President Lynn Burks said it’s good to have the preliminary figures so far. However, she said, the board needs further official documentation of the situation and to take a look at those buttoned-up analytics from the last spring quarter.

Burks said she would like to see more finalized data sooner rather than later, so the school board can better understand where the district has been and where it is regarding student success.

“We are well into summer,” Burks said. “We should know where those gaps are immediately so you can address those in process.”

Yorkville School District 115 Superintendent Tim Shimp said during his report portion of the remote meeting that district staff still are working on the finer details of what the fall will look like and what the district’s options are. For now, he said, high school staff are working on a high school graduation tentatively planned for 4 p.m. June 27 in the school’s bus loop, with more information to follow.

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