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updated: 8/20/2013 9:52 AM

15 Dist. 203 students switching schools under 'choice' option

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Parents of 15 elementary students in Naperville Unit District 203 have taken the district up on the "school choice" option it was required to offer under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Superintendent Dan Bridges told school board members Monday about the results of the choice option, which was offered in a letter sent the week of Aug. 5 to parents of students at Beebe and Mill Street elementary schools. The 15 students who will be switching schools represent about 1 percent of the combined population of the two elementaries, which was roughly 1,500 last year, according to 2012 school report card data.

Of the 15 students using choice, 11 will be attending Highlands Elementary and four will be heading to Meadow Glens Elementary on Wednesday, the district's first day of school.

District officials had said they expected few parents to move their children from their "home school" because of a commitment to the neighborhood school concept and a belief in the quality of education offered throughout the district. Last year, Mill Street was the only school in the high-performing district required to offer choice, and two parents used the option to send their children to a different school.

This year, Beebe and Mill Street schools had to offer choice for different reasons -- Beebe because its students failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, on standardized tests, and Mill Street because it had to offer choice last year, and a school must make AYP two years in a row before the choice requirement is lifted.

Bridges said District 203 will focus on development efforts in the classroom, assess individual student growth and use testing data to guide improvements throughout the year.

"Overall we were pleased with some of the growth that we saw in our schools," he said, "even those that had to offer choice."

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