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updated: 2/17/2014 3:44 PM

Second Engage200 session focusing on student achievement

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Student achievement will be the topic Wednesday when Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 holds its next community engagement session.

The topic was chosen by the facilitating team for Engage200, the community engagement program designed to collect input to help shape the district's future.

After reviewing feedback from more than 400 people who attended the first of six Engage200 sessions in January, the team determined student achievement was a top priority.

Facilitating team co-chairman Scott Brown said the second session will focus on efforts and resources currently used to improve student achievement, along with how the achievements of District 200 students compare to students in similar, nearby districts.

The session is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. at Monroe Middle School, 1855 Manchester Road in Wheaton. Anyone who lives in District 200, including those who don't have children in school, is invited.

Refreshments, free child care and translation assistance will be provided. Brown said there are also plans for improved parking, which will be available at the DuPage County Fairgrounds.

Participants will break into small groups to discuss and write down key issues and opportunities facing the district in regard to student achievement.

Before the groups start working, Faith Dahlquist, assistant superintendent for educational services, will give a presentation on the topic.

"I think the presentations hopefully will invoke some sort of emotion, either encouragement or discouragement," Brown said.

During a State of the District presentation at the first Engage200 session, Superintendent Brian Harris said 92 percent of students graduate in four years and 95 percent of the Class of 2013 planned to attend a two- or four-year institution. He said the district also exceeds state averages in all academic areas.

However, student performance on the ISAT, PSAE and ACT tests in District 200 is slightly below what students at nearby "benchmark" districts are achieving, Harris said.

For example, 75 percent of District 200 students in grades three through eight had an ISAT score that is considered "proficient," compared to 83 percent of students in Elmhurst Unit District 205 and 82 percent of students in Barrington School District 220.

In addition, only 73 percent of District 200 11th-graders received proficient PSAE scores, compared to 81 percent in Naperville Unit District 203 and 78 percent in St. Charles School District 303. And the average composite ACT score for District 200 students is 23.5 out of 36, compared to 24.1 in Indian Prairie Unit District 204.

Residents who are unable to attend can send suggestions by emailing engage200@cusd200.org or calling (630) 682-2000. Videos from the meeting and verbatim summaries of suggestions collected during the small group gatherings will be available at cusd200.org.

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