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Sycamore School District 427 dicusses Illinois Report Card data

November 15, 2018 GMT

SYCAMORE – Sycamore School District 427 officials said some Illinois Report Card data suggesting one school in the district is underperforming might be a little misleading.

District 427 board members listened to a presentation from Kris Webster, director of curriculum, about recent Illinois Report Card data from the 2017-18 school year during the board’s meeting Tuesday at North Elementary School.

“It helps us know where to target, where to celebrate and where to keep growing,” Webster said.

There are four possible designations that state schools are given for this year’s report card, with “exemplary” including the top 10 percent of schools in the state, “commendable” with a graduation rate of at least 67 percent, “underperforming” and “lowest performing.” Out of the seven schools in District 427, Webster said, six fell into the commendable category with only one – Sycamore Middle School – designated as underperforming.

Webster said that doesn’t mean the entire student body within the middle school is underperforming. She said the one listed underperforming group within the middle school were students with special needs, and that was because they just missed the mark with math assessments but performed adequately in other subjects.

“From what we could tell, it was very close,” Webster said.

Superintendent Kathy Countryman said the school will still be classified as underperforming with the new Illinois Report Card school designations, even if the rest of the building is performing at an adequacy range. She said the report card data suggest that the rest of the student groups within the school performed well but the data still can give valuable information to the district on whether additional resources could be beneficial for children’s academic development, especially with Illinois taking part in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act program starting this year.

“Ultimately, our goal is to be exemplary, and we always strive for that,” Countryman said.

Webster said that, while the Illinois Report Card is an important measure of success, it’s only one assessment for the district’s students. She said the district will still focus on each student as a person and not as a number.

“It is one piece of a much bigger picture when we look at our kids,” Webster said.