The Forest Park Middle School will have a new full-time Reading and Math Specialist position after the Dist. 91 school board unanimously supported a proposal to create the post at its Thursday night meeting.

The board will formally vote on the item once a candidate has been recommended for hiring, which Superintendent Randolph Tinder said he expects to occur within the next couple of months.

“This is a way to address some of our deficiencies as well as to provide support to those kids in need,” said Tinder.

When the current eighth grade class entered the middle school, its teaching staff was reduced by one due to the relatively small size of the class, according to Tinder.

With one of the largest classes in recent memory set to enroll next year, however, the decision was made to increase the teaching staff to its former level, but to hire a specialist rather than a regular teacher.

The school is currently designated as not making adequate yearly progress according to the standards of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, as only 33.3 percent of its students met or exceeded state standards in math last year, compared to the 47.5 percent minimum set by the act. Under 25 percent of African American eighth graders at the school met the state standards.

In reading, 57 percent of the district’s students met state standards on their ISAT tests.

Responding to questions from board members, Bukowski said that students who receive the extra assistance would be divided into several classes which would meet throughout the day in order to avoid overly large class sizes.The students would take the extra class in place of a study hall, she said.

Bukowski said that the program could be funded in part by state funds secured through a textbook loan program.

Board supports continuation
of Outdoor Education retreat

The school board unanimously agreed to support a proposal to assist in funding the district’s annual Outdoor Education retreat for fifth graders.

Supt. Randolph Tinder noted that, in recent years, the program’s price has gone up and as a result, its enrollment has gone down. Still, he said, a survey of fourth and fifth grade parents showed overwhelming support for continuation of the program.

“Everyone thinks it’s the highlight of their elementary educational career,” he said. The cost to attend the three day and two night program is currently $125.

The board voted to pay half of the cost of the program rounded up to the next $5 increment, and to cover the remainder of the cost for low-income students who cannot afford the trip.

District to hire superintendent search firm

The board voted unanimously to seek a proposal from the Glenview-based firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates to conduct a search for the district’s next superintendent.

Current superintendent Randolph Tinder will be stepping down in 2007 to focus on his duties as president-elect of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

The board is not required to solicit bids before hiring a search firm because it is considered a “highly specialized service.”