Special NWSC President and Council Board Meeting

Northwest Suburban Council is hosting a Q&A with Superintendent Dr. Thompson for our Council Board members and Local Unit PTA/ PTSA Presidents. The purpose of this meeting is to allow each local unit to share the same understanding of the referendum with their local school community.

Local Unit Presidents (or your representative), please join the Council board for this important discussion with Dr. Thompson on:

Tuesday, August 30th at 7 pm in the ESC (administration building behind the Bakers Square), room 121.

Understanding ESSA

Source: One Voice Illinois

Understanding-ESSA-logoPresident Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law last December. ESSA reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and made substantial changes to the previous version of the law known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Many of these changes focused on moving responsibility for improving education from the federal government back to the states.

These changes were discussed in a workshop at the National PTA Convention focused on the law’s effects on family engagement, accountability, and assessment. The law calls for parent input on many of the requirements, and Illinois PTA is helping to provide that voice. A new website called Understanding ESSA helps to explain the details of ESSA and to track its implementation.

The website allows you to:

ESSA will significantly change how schools interact with families, how schools educate children, and how schools are held accountable. Check out Understanding ESSA to help follow these changes and use the Education News tag on the right-hand side of One Voice Illinois to find Illinois PTA’s information on ESSA and other education issues.

August 15: Presidents/Board Meeting

It’s almost time for that 1st day of school so it must be time to ramp up our PTAs. Please join the NWSC Board at Emmett’s tonight at 7 PM for our 1st Presidents/ Board meeting of the year.

Thank you to everyone who was able to send a representative to LUP night Tuesday. If you were unable to get someone to pick up your membership cards, LUP and tax letter please contact Mikel Eppenbaugh at mikel@ilpta-d37.org directly.


News from National Convention—The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Source: One Voice Illinois

PTA Convention 2016 LogoOn December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, a significant change in how federal, state, and local governments will guide your child’s education for the next decade or more. While you can read the full 449 pages of the bill, a workshop at the 2016 National PTA Convention in Orlando highlighted the key points that families need to know about the new law, and National PTA is creating an array of materials to distill this information into bite-sized pieces.

ESSA—The Basics

ESSA is divided into eight “Titles,” each of which address a different aspect of federal education funding and requirements. The two titles of largest interest to families are Title I, dealing with schools with high poverty levels, and Title IV, dealing with funding for student support, charter and magnet schools, and family engagement. Overall, ESSA reduces the high-stakes testing of No Child Left Behind, makes states responsible for defining success for students and schools, and requires that children be provided a “well-rounded education.”

ESSA and Family Engagement

Family engagement is crucial to student success, so much so that schools would have to spend $1,000 more per student to see the same increases in student achievement that come from an involved family member. ESSA recognizes the important role that families play in education. In fact, the word “parent” is the fourth most mentioned term in the entire law, just behind “state education agency.” For many of the decisions that states and school districts will have to make, families are to be “meaningfully consulted” for many of them.

Under ESSA, Title I schools must have a written parent and family engagement policy that welcomes all families. As part of this policy, each school must have a family meeting annually to explain what students will learn, the assessments used to measure student progress, the state’s academic standards, and the proficiency levels that students are expected to meet. In addition, 1% of the Title I funds are to be used for parent and family engagement. These funds can be used for teacher’s professional development on family engagement, home visiting programs, sharing best practices, and collaborating with other organizations like PTA.

Title IV of ESSA is focused on improving every student’s academic achievement. As part of Title IV, Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) are to be created to help school districts effectively engage families in in their children’s education. The SFECs are a new and improved version of the Parental Information and Resources Centers (PIRCs) that were part of ESEA/NCLB. The SFECs are to help implement more evidence-based approaches to family engagement.

While ESSA creates the SFECs, it is up to Congress to fund them each year. PTA is advocating for at least $10 million in funding for the SFECs (their authorized level in ESSA), an amount far less than the $39 million that the PIRCs were funded for under ESEA/NCLB. As of this writing, Congress has not appropriated funds for the SFECs, so contact your Senators and Representative today to ask for their support for family engagement. PTA has provided a pre-written letter that only requires your name, e-mail, and zip code (to identify your Representative) and two minutes of your time.

ESSA and Accountability

A significant part of ESSA was making states and local districts more responsible for the quality of students’ education. States will define their own academic standards and school accountability measures. States may also define their own teacher evaluation systems, but those systems are not required and do not have to include test scores as part of a teacher’s evaluation. The law specifically says that states cannot be required to adopt specific standards or particular assessments, accountability systems, or teacher evaluation models.

States will still need to produce a school report card, and Illinois’s report card is considered by many to be the best in the country. There are also minimum requirements for a state’s accountability system in ESSA. These are:

  • Student assessment (see section below)
  • A second academic indicator (e.g., student growth, high school graduation rate, etc.)
  • English language proficiency
  • At least one other indicator of school quality or student success (e.g., Advance Placement classes, family engagement, discipline reports, attendance, etc.)

Note that states are not limited to only one extra indicator in that last requirement. Connecticut uses 12 indicators to measure school quality. Illinois is also planning to take a broad approach in measuring school performance.

In addition, ESSA requires school districts to provide students with a “well-rounded educational experience,” as defined by the state, and provides grants to help school districts meet this goal. Among the areas that such funds can be used are:

  • Accelerated learning courses (e.g., Advanced Placement and international Baccalaureate programs)
  • College and career guidance and counseling programs
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, including computer science
  • Foreign language courses
  • Music and arts programs
  • Programs to teach American history, civics, economics, geography, and government

ESSA and Student Assessment

ESSA still requires states to have annual assessments in Math and English/Language Arts in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. States must also have a science assessment once in grades 3-5, once in grades 6-9, and once in grades 10-12. ESSA also requires that no less than 95% of all students or any subgroup of students participate in the state assessment.

While ESSA still requires annual assessments, it reduces the high-stakes nature of those assessments and provides resources for states and school districts to eliminate redundant assessments. Under NCLB, student scores were the sole determination of school performance, and schools that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) were subject to reduced funding, school reorganization, and other penalties. Because of the punitive nature of these consequences, many school districts significantly increased the number of assessments that they did in order to identify those students who could meet or exceed state standards with a little extra support.

Because student scores on an annual assessment are only a part of a school’s performance under ESSA, these assessments do not have the high-stakes accountability that they did under NCLB. In addition, ESSA calls for states to provide additional funds and supports to help schools not meeting the state’s measure of school performance rather than reducing resources. With the reduced emphasis on a single assessment of student performance determining a school’s performance, districts can move away from heavy use of their own assessments and focus only on those that help teachers measure and improve student success.

Illinois has already begun this process by developing a Student Assessment Inventory tool for school districts to evaluate how they are using assessment, what information they are receiving from those assessments, and where redundancies can be eliminated. The pilot project of this tool in three Illinois school districts resulted in a significant reduction in local assessments, improved professional development for teachers to create their own assessments for their classroom, and improved information on student performance to help teachers support their students’ education.

Additionally, Illinois’s State Assessment Review Committee (SARC) is currently conducting a PARCC Listening Tour to collect feedback from students, families, teachers, and administrators about this past spring’s PARCC assessment in Illinois schools. You can fill out a short survey to provide your feedback to the committee.

All feedback will be included in the SARC’s final report.

Breakfast After the Bell Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

Source: One Voice Illinois

logoThese days, it is hard to believe that the entire Illinois legislature could all agree on whether the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, but unanimous agreement has actually occurred. Senate Bill 2393 (SB2393), which amends the School Breakfast and Lunch Program Act, has passed the House with a 113-0 vote and the Senate with a 58-0 vote and now awaits the governor’s signature.

The act would introduce “Breakfast After the Bell” to make school breakfast more accessible to the students who need it the most by serving it after the start of the school day. One in five students in Illinois struggles with hunger, but the state ranks 42nd in the US in providing breakfast to students. Because of this access gap, more than half of the children in Illinois who depend on free or reduced-price lunch start their school day without school breakfast.

In many schools, breakfast is served in the cafeteria long before the start of the school day. The Breakfast After the Bell Bill would address this issue by serving breakfast as part of the school day, eliminating children not having breakfast because of timing, transportation schedules, or social stigma.

Students can’t learn on an empty stomach, and this bill would make school breakfast more accessible to over 175,000 children.

While the bill would allow local school boards to opt out of the Breakfast After the Bell program if it results in financial hardship, every high-need school in Illinois would see increased revenues by switching to Breakfast After the Bell due to increased federal funding for higher participation in the school breakfast program. If schools with high rates of poverty reached an ideal 70% school breakfast participation rate, it would bring in an additional $42 million of federal funding to Illinois schools.

Scott Riddle, Principal of the Beardstown Middle School/High School, wrote in the Quincy Herald-Whig about his school’s experience with Breakfast After the Bell: “Since implementing a breakfast after the bell program, we’ve seen the behavioral and financial benefits firsthand. We’ve seen fewer discipline problems and improved academic performance. We also have seen a decrease in our absences and tardiness, which increases our attendance and results in additional funds for our school. Financially, the breakfast program more than pays for itself.”

Illinois PTA is a supporter of Breakfast After the Bell and a partner in Rise & Shine Illinois, a group that worked to pass this legislation. With unanimous support from the Illinois legislature, the bill will almost certainly be signed by the governor. Ensure that your school district adopts Breakfast After the Bell so every child in your school can start the day fed and ready to learn.

Summer Training Schedule

We have the official NW Cook training Schedule for June. I wanted to send an electronic copy to everyone so you can send it out to your elected Exec. Committee and your Appointed Committee Chairman. Remember that anyone can attend any of these workshops – even if they are not in a specific position.

Reminder that all elected board members are required to attend Road to Success within 6 months of their election and Committee chairman are encouraged to take it as well. Presidents are required to take the President Course and Money Matters 101, Treasurers required to take Money Matters 101 and encouraged to take 201. We hosted the Council course at a President’s meeting so many of you have already done that one:)

I am excited to be teaching the membership class again and encourage your membership chairs to join me. We share a lot of great ideas, resources, and strategies.

Joan Scovic will be presenting the Reflections workshop that is a great resource to reflections chairmen.

Please let me know if you have any questions about these training. NW Cook is proud to be able to offer these courses to help provide the tools of understanding about the PTA and resources for our local units.

Download/Share: Summer 2016 Training Flyer

May 9: NWSC Spring Fling

I wanted to send out some last minute info about our Spring Fling Annual Dinner tonight at Conyers Learning Academy:

Drop off Basket Raffle baskets prior to 5:45 pm if you have not dropped it off already

Arrival Check-in 5:45 pm
Please tell your guests- board members and Principals to go in the Local unit Check in lines in the CLA vestibule for faster check in
Make sure to put 1/2 of your ticket in the basket raffle item of your choice

Food Pantry Collection tables inside Gym:
Remember to bring items for the Food Pantry to get an extra ticket for the Basket Raffle Drawing and to help those in need.

Dinner begins at 6:00 pm
We are still needing help with putting out food and helping switch from dinner to dessert. If you can help- please come up to Jody by the buffet at the event and she would welcome your help.

Meeting begins at 6:30 pm
Meeting Minutes: March 15, 2016 General Membership Meeting Minutes More copies will be available at the event. Election and Installation of officers, recognition, etc.

Raffle Basket Drawing – Will take place prior to Workshops

Workshops begin at approximately 7:30pm

Presidents: (front left table- facing stage) Jeanette Harris, Incoming NWSC President; Past President, Lincoln PTA
Kris Ahlgrim, VP Programs, NWSC PTA/PTSA; Past President, Lincoln PTA
Treasurers: (front middle table) Jen Zelazny, President, Lake Louise PTA; VP Legislation, NWSC PTA/PTSA
Membership: (front right side) Julie Holdeman, President, NWSC PTA/PTSA; Incoming IL PTA Membership Marketing Director
Fundraising: (back left table) Mariann Beach, Ways & Means Chair, Lincoln PTA
Free Stuff: (back middle table) Kerri Bloom, President, WCJHS; Treasurer, NWSC PTA/PTSA
Family Events: (back left table) Jim Tileston, President, Pleasant Hill PTA
Julie Boldt and Rupal Patel, Multi-Cultural Event Co-Chairs, Pleasant Hill PTA

May 23: SPARK Workshop (Just Give Him a Whale)

Come to this free workshop that is open to anyone in the local community. Considering the fascinations, passions and interest areas of learners, powerful new ways of viewing these areas as positive teaching tools that calm, motivate and improve learning will be illustrated. Dr. Patrick Schwarz will include learning standards-based academic content, developing social connections, minimizing anxiety, boosting literacy learning and mathematics skills, expanding communication skills and much more!

Dr. Patrick Schwarz is a dynamic and engaging professor, author, motivational speaker and leader in Education (Inclusive Education, Special Education, General Education, Educational Leadership) and Human Services. He is a professor at National Louis University, Chicago. Patrick’s company is Creative Culture Consulting LLC. He is the author of From Disability to Possibility, You’re Welcome (with Paula Kluth), Just Give Him the Whale (with Paula Kluth) and Pedro’s Whale (with Paula Kluth). His new book is From Possibility to Success.

Monday, May 23, 2016 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Walter R. Sundling Junior High School
1100 N. Smith Street, Palatine, IL 60067

Time to Register Your Local Unit for 2016-2017

Each Local unit needs to register their local unit and leaders with IL PTA by May 15, 2016. Registration is being done ONLY online at illinoispta.org – clicking on Leadership Resources link.
(if you prefer to get a paper form, contact Iinois PTA, P.O. Box 907, Springfield, IL 62705-0907 | 1-800-877-9617 | Fax: 217-528-9490 | info@illinoispta.org)

IL PTA asks that you supply name of your local unit, various specifics to your local unit: principal contact, elected officers name, phone, address, e-mail, membership, newsletter, cultural arts, legislation, and and other officers you want to submit.

If you do not have all your offices elected or have vacancies- that is fine. Send IL PTA the information that you have and you can always update it in fall or at a later date.

Registration is REQUIRED in order for your local unit to receive your IL PTA Local Unit Packet and Membership Cards this August prior to the start of school.