During a July 16 regular meeting, the Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education unanimously approved the purchase of around $250,000 in new math textbooks and digital courseware for students at Proviso East and Proviso West.
Nicole Howard, assistant superintendent for academics and student and family services, said that enVision Integrated Math series by London-based educational publishing company Pearson includes a hardcover text book “that will last over time” and a digital license that will last for six years.
“It’s very dynamic, very personalized and it fits in very well with the instructional platforms at each school — competency-based at East and mastery-based at West,” Howard said during the meeting.
The board paid $131,905.74 and $118,876.51 to implement the new math program at
West and East, respectively. The new purchase comes months after the district created a textbook adoption committee that included Howard, math department chairs and teachers from both schools.
“The committee determined that the current series was not meeting the needs of the students,” according to a memo administrators drafted. “It required a significant amount of supplementation and many teachers found it difficult to implement.”
The committee met multiple times throughout the year, with teachers from East and West piloting and reviewing proposed math series that were proposed by two vendors: Pearson and Big Ideas.
The committee selected Pearson in March based on a range of criteria, including the extent to which the math series “encourages student participation” in learning; “makes use of modern technologies that encourage students to apply learning to real world situations;” and “promotes growth towards mastery of standards and allows for flexible pacing,” according to a district memo.
District officials said that teacher training on the new math series, along with teacher resource materials, will be available throughout the next school year. They added that those resources should make the program “easy to implement.”
D209 board votes to renew $243K credit recovery program
During the July 16 meeting, the D209 board also voted unanimously to approve a new, 3-year agreement with Edgenuity to provide online courses for students seeking to recover credits, or who could benefit from academic intervention and acceleration.
District officials, who also entered into a 3-year agreement with Edgenuity in 2016, said that the program has been successful.
“It has served as a source of recovery for afterschool and summer programs, as well as, district sponsored alternative programs,” district officials explained in a memo.
Officials said that this year, three students were able to graduate early due to credits they earned by completing Edgenuity courses.
“Edgenuity has proved to be an excellent investment for us,” said Howard during the July 16 meeting, adding that more than 1,700 students have enrolled in the program over each of the last three years.
The program, she said, has a 75 percent completion rate. She said that, although the program is primarily used for credit recovery, teachers can also use it for content. For instance, students in the district can use Edgenuity to access Advanced Placement coursework, according to D209 board President Ned Wagner.
“I like the idea of challenging families,” Wagner said at the meeting. “If you have a student who is falling behind for graduation, your student has a laptop, they’ve got software; we can point you in the right direction for inexpensive internet service — let’s do it.”
The challenge, district officials said, is getting more parents to know about the resource.
District 209 Superintendent Jesse Rodriguez said during the meeting that Edgenuity is another tool that can be used for advancing equity in the district.
“Two years ago, we reinvested about $1.4 million for personalized learning centers to address credit attainment, so this is another tool, another way to push that agenda by making sure students are able to attain credits,” Rodriguez said. “Equity is about access, providing those opportunities.”
D209 board approves contract with electrical supplier, expects nearly $800K in savings
The board also unanimously voted on July 16 to approve a multiyear agreement with Interstate Gas Supply Inc., in a move that district officials said could bring nearly $800,000 in electricity savings over three roughly years.
District officials said that they had previously been paying for electricity on a month-to-month basis.
“At the time the contract went into this status, contracted rates were higher than the month-to-month rates,” officials explained in a memo. “Now, however, contracted rates are significantly lower than month-to-month rates.”
The contract with Interstate Gas, which will run from September 2019 to August 2022, is estimated to save the district $264,000 each year due to the lower rates.