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Students reading at 4th-grade level is cause for concern in District 218

Despite another successful year in the eyes of the school board, issues of reading levels still remain in District 218 high schools.

More than 100 students in the district who participated in the Reading Plus programs at Richards, Shepard and Eisenhower High Schools were reading at a level of fourth grade or below, according to a Reading Plus report that was revealed at Monday night’s district board meeting at the Administration Center in Oak Lawn.

The program, which has been used by the district in recent years, allows students to gain exposure to non-fiction novels and other pieces of literature at their appropriate grade level.

According to the report, the data shows that while some students have progressed, there has been a dull in progress toward the appropriate grade reading level the students should be at.

At Eisenhower high school, there were 59 students in the program at the beginning of the year with a reading level of fourth grade and below, however, in May there were 54 students.

At Richards High School, the amount of students in the program with a reading level of fourth grade or below decreased by seven from 42 to 35. At Shepard High School, the number decreased by eight over the school year from 57 to 49 students.

While the program yielded some results, some board members expressed hesitations and fears about the results that are displayed and what is impacted the students in the classroom.

“There is a boredom factor,” said board member Johnny Holmes. “You have to engage in the program…These kids have missed the foundation that others have gotten and that foundation is a family-like atmosphere.”

In addition to the reading levels, the board discussed various factors such as semester course failures, which decreased at all three schools.

The meeting, which drew approximately 30 spectators, was used as a review of the just-completed school year, while keeping an eye looking toward the future.

In other news from the district:

• The board mulled the concept of a neuropsychology clinic opening at the beginning of the fall term in the administration center.

The project, which reached some hesitation from some board members would create a clinic for students of district 218 to get what is being called the latest and greatest in neuropsychology. Along with other school districts, the clinic would hire several interns who are licensed school psychologists seeking licensure for neuropsychology who are willing to front the cost of their interns. The amount of interns would vary from year to year based on the amount of people seeking the licensure.

Board President Marco Corsi expressed hesitation and fear of the unknowing information that had not been hammered out such as the costs of utilities, whether the other school districts are invested for the long haul and the financial burden.

“You don’t know what these expenditures are,” he said.

• Board members kicked around a revision to the weighted grade policy, which had four parts to it. The board approved the first part, which included the weight of honors and advanced placement courses. The board approved the motion to have AP and honors courses carry an additional 1.0 weight to the grade point average.

The remaining three parts of the motion were tabled for a later date. Those proposed parts were an elimination of class ranks, dual credit being awarded for AP and honors level courses, and making core and foundation classes available toany student in need of modified curricula.

• The board discussed various building and maintenance projects for the summer including lawn care at Eisenhower, mechanical repairs at the Delta Summit Learning Center, a new childcare classroom at Shepard and new lighting and roadwork at Richards. 

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