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Argo hears humanities department priorities

Argo School Board members heard from Humanities Department head William Toulios at last week’s meeting.

Toulios explained how the humanities are separated into two divisions, social science and fine arts.

ÒWe know we are here for the kids,” he said. Ò(The staff) show it every day.”

Fine arts classes include digital photography, art and music. Music therapy is also used for students with special needs.

Social sciences include AP American history, government, economic law, criminal law psychology, sociology and American history.{{more}}

Toulios said the staff prepares the students for college by making them more proficient with computer programs such as Excel, Word and Power Point.

The department sets five goals based upon reading: exposure, awareness, appreciation, comprehension and application.

ÒIt is project based learning,” said Toulios. ÒWe want to make a fully rounded student.”

He also said this is Òtaking the first steps” toward the PARCC assessment test.

ÒWe score and track all assessments through schoolnet and canvas. It is still in the embryonic stages.”

ÒWe are already doing what is demanded (by the state) to make sure we have an authentic assessment. We are trying to become more tech efficient.”

Students take a criterion reference test, which is more aligned with the PARCC test.

The tests are based on nonfiction and timed reading.

Toulios noted students decline slightly in their second year, calling it a sophomore slump.

ÒI see more growth,” he said. ÒBaby steps.”

Juniors show Òmuch improvement. The initiative plan in reading is working. All our goals are intertwined. Every class in humanities has common core.”

Some of the promotions used for the department include a 9/11 assembly outdoor ceramics firing, a Veterans Day assembly, a field trip to the Cook County courthouse, art competition at Moraine Valley Community College and jam guitar sessions.

A video photography creation made by students can be viewed on Argo’s website.

ÒWe are showing other aspects of the department,” said Toulios.

In other action, the school received an independent audit from Baker Tilly Virchow Krause for the fiscal year ending in June 2014. Argo scored 3.55 of a possible 4 points.

The auditor said two things he would like to see in the future are financial reporting and overseeing of outside operations.

Supt. Kevin O’Mara said, ÒThe district is in good shape for a long time” as it has more than $29 million in reserve.

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