After nine years, the district is replacing its middle school language arts curriculum with materials that will support the Common Core standards, new statewide curriculum guides. The District 91 school board approved the new curriculum at their meeting, June 14. Consultant Dr. Carla Carter presented the teachers’ choice for a new language arts textbook series, the Holt McDougal Literature Series. The 120 textbooks for each grade cost around $14,000, or a total of $42,000. Textbooks come with seven years of Internet resources, teachers’ guides, interactive readers and adaptive interactive readers. The new textbooks for grades 6, 7 and 8 will be on display in the D91 offices for one month and the D91 parent advisory council will get a chance to inspect the textbooks, said Supt. Lou Cavallo. The board will vote on adopting the textbooks at their July meeting.

Math enrichment for teachers, grades 3-5

Following a call from principals of the intermediate schools, D91 agreed to pay for extra mathematics professional development for teachers in grades 3-5 through the West Cook Mathematics Initiative Professional Development. Teachers will take classes at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as receiving on-site coaching and seminars from a partnership of math experts at UIC and the West 40 regional education center. Teachers asked for development to brush up their skills after Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests showed that some of the district’s intermediate students were ready for pre-algebra and other advanced math concepts. Teachers can receive hours of college credit for the coursework. Forest Park Middle School already has a math consultant program. “This is a continuation and alignment of an initiative done through the middle school,” said Cavallo.

District eyes middle school bus transportation

Responding to requests from parents for busing middle school students, D91 will consider starting bus service next year. “If it’s something the community is asking for, we’ll look into it,” said Cavallo. The district has previously not offered transportation for students because the boundaries are too small, he said. The Illinois State Board of Education dramatically cut transportation reimbursements last year by almost 42 percent. But Cavallo said Forest Park’s small size makes any transportation ineligible for reimbursement.

– Compiled by Jean Lotus