Illinois State Report Card 2020
Each year, the State of Illinois releases a state report card that covers a variety of academic and school climate metrics to help paint a picture of teaching and learning in schools across the state. In school year 2019-20 state standardized tests were not administered due to the pandemic but the state was still able to capture several other important metrics including the following:
9th Grade On Track:
The State Board of Education defines ninth graders as “on track” as those who have earned at least five full-year course credits (10 semester credits) and have earned no more than one semester “F” in a core course (English, math, science, or social science). Course credits from summer sessions are not included in this calculation. Experts view this indicator as a key predictor of high school success.
In 2019-20, School District U-46 implemented Freshman Success teams at each of our five comprehensive high schools. These teams include administrators, teachers, counselors, and support staff from the school. They meet at least once per month to review 9th grade data and determine areas to address as it relates to instruction, curriculum, climate and culture, family connections and grades. The teams aim to ensure 9th graders make a successful transition from middle school to high school, and that we continue to develop and offer systems in place to support students, staff, and families when needed. We are continuing that work this year with the investment and addition of a new high school role; the Assistant Principal of Freshman Success, at each of our five comprehensive high schools. In 2019, 88.3 percent of U-46 freshmen ranked as “on track” according to this metric compared to the state’s overall average of 88.8 percent The state notes that the suspension of in-person instruction March may have impacted results.
Advanced Placement Classes:
- Across our five high schools, we have used the AP Potential tool from the College Board to identify students prepared to succeed in AP classes and tests and we then encourage students to enroll in AP courses.
- We have an open enrollment policy for AP courses, and any student who is interested can take a course
- The District covers the cost of the first AP exam annually for every U-46 student, and out schools who receive Title 1 funds cover the cost of all AP exams for all students.
- The District provide each AP teacher with the opportunity to conduct Saturday review sessions with their students (above and beyond the school day)
- We ensure that all AP teachers attend a summer institute every three years, which includes 3-4 days of professional development over the summer.
- AP teachers attend at least one full-day of professional development annually.
- AP courses prepare students for the rigor of college.
- Dual language programming has led to more students taking the Spanish AP exam. The District covers the cost of all students in Dual Language who would like to take the Spanish AP exam.
- We have expended out dual credit offerings for the early college program (from 45 - 100 seats)
- We had 44 Dual Credit graduates in 2019, 47 in 2020 and expect another 47 to graduate with Dual Credit in 2021.
- We are now offering in-high school dual credit courses where students are able to take dual credit courses through Elgin Community College taught by our qualified high school teachers
- We have had an intentional focus on strengthening our CTE curriculum to gain accreditation by national organizations in order to ensure students are getting access to high quality, rigorous programming that will result in an industry-recognized credential
- We continue to work on developing programming that will increase the number of pathways that we offer so that students who participate can earn industry credentials and/or dual credit in partnership with Elgin Community College.
- Three Pathways currently lead to an industry credential: Automotive, Welding, Precision Manufacturing. BEACON Academy graduates also receive an Adobe credential. Students progress through three courses (one per year in their sophomore, junior, and senior year) in order to gain the instruction and hours so that they can obtain the credential.
- All students completing a full pathway are eligible to test for a credential. Each credential is earned from a nationally recognized accrediting body that ensures the level of knowledge and skill meet the demand of current industry practices. In 2918-19, nearly 90 students earned credentials in Automotive Technology, Precision Manufacturing or Welding Technology.
Seal of Biliteracy:
U-46 issued a special honor to the Class of 2020 graduates who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English. One hundred and eighty-two members of the Class of 2020 earned the State of Illinois Seal of Biliteracy and 252 students the Commendation, given to students who have demonstrated significant progress toward achieving a high level of proficiency.
“That's more than 400 awards in seven different languages!” said Jacob VandeMoortel, U-46’s Coordinator for K-12 Social Studies and World Languages, adding that students who earn the Seal qualify for two years of credit in that language at any Illinois post-secondary program.
The percentage of students identified for gifted programming in U-46 ranks higher than the state average overall and for every ethnicity, except American Indian and Pacific Islander. We attribute these gains to the following programming components: talent development, universal screening and the use of building norms.
Talent development at all Title 1 Schools permits us to support all learners by providing access to direct instruction in critical thinking skills before we identify students for gifted services. Universal screening at 2nd and 6th grades is systematic screening where all students are considered in the candidate pool. Thus removing a barrier of prerequisites to be tested for gifted programming.
The District’s universal screening process was reinstated in 2013. The use of local norms at the building level is a way for us to honor the talent and abilities present in all populations.