District aims to expand access
This is in response to a guest column in the June 16 Daily Herald headlined "Transparency a concern as schools consider 'de-tracking.'"
As President of the District 214 Board of Education and Superintendent, two long-time public servants, our intent is to provide facts and context around the district's Earned Honors pilot program at Elk Grove High School this past school year and our expansion of the pilot at Rolling Meadows High School this next year.
Throughout the years, the district has piloted, in small numbers, potentially significant curricular changes before bringing them to the board for review and consideration. We do so because we want to ensure the efficacy of the potential change prior to implementing something on a larger scale. We learn from pilots, make necessary adjustments, and determine whether the data supports the district bringing the potential change to the Board of Education for consideration. Some pilots work. Some don't. But we don't make changes based on guesses, assumptions and suppositions as our children's futures are at stake.
After significant research, last year Elk Grove High School embarked on an early stage Earned Honors pilot. The results were incredibly positive with 69% of ninth graders earning honors credit in Written and Oral Communication, an increase across all demographic groups. With demonstrated proficiency in Advanced Placement-aligned skills and newfound confidence in their potential, our students are poised for greater academic and community achievements.
Expanding access to more students does not reduce opportunities. Expanding access enhances opportunities for students, without watering down the content being delivered or the academic experience for students.
You can see from the above results why the district is looking to continue to expand this pilot to Rolling Meadows High School this coming school year. Rolling Meadows will continue to offer Advanced Placement sections for students who want to take advantage of those courses. All other students will have an opportunity to earn regular credit or Honors credit.
Our intent, as always, will be to monitor the effectiveness of the pilots this upcoming year to determine whether the administration will be ready to make a recommendation to the board next spring or if we need to continue a pilot phase or if we should discontinue the pilot. We will make that decision based on the data and academic success of our students.
Our sender districts do an outstanding job of preparing students for high school, and as those eighth graders matriculate and discover their futures here in District 214, our district empowers them to maximize their potential and create their own personalized pathways.
We are incredibly proud of the students, parents and staff in our D214 school community, and on behalf of the district and the Board of Education, we will continue to work hard to provide the best education possible to every student who walks through our schoolhouse doors on a daily basis.
• William "Bill" Dussling is president of the Board of Education for Northwest Suburban High School District 214. David R. Schuler is superintendent of the district.