Danville school board to get update on high school seminar period

Danville school board to get update on high school seminar period

DANVILLE — School board members this week will get a closer look at one of the high school's new initiatives taking place through the School Improvement Grant.

Principal Phil Cox said he, transformation officer Ericka Uskali and Robin Twidwell, the Consortium for Educational Change facilitator, will update board members on the new 30-minute seminar period at their meeting on Wednesday.

It's the first of many updates the team plans to make throughout the three-year grant period to keep the board and public informed as programs are put into place and officials receive data on how they're working.

The seminar period takes place during fourth period, from 10:10 to 10:40 a.m. It was created by combining the 15-minute homeroom period with 15 additional minutes of daily classroom time that was implemented throughout the district this year.

Since school started on Aug. 26, Cox said high school students have been learning skills for academic success such as time management, note taking and using the Skyward student database management system to check their attendance, homework assignments, grades, etc.

Students also have been working on setting goals. Teachers will chart their progress every three weeks.

Starting next week, Cox said, students who are falling behind in math and reading will receive additional instruction and assistance to help get them back on track. Students who aren't will do activities that are relevant to their grade level.

For example, "seniors will be involved in college prep activities such as filling out applications for scholarships and financial aid," Cox said. "We'll also bring in speakers from different businesses and industries so they get a feel for what professions are out there.

"For freshmen, it's all about making a successful transition," he continued. "How do you calculate GPA, track your credits and working on all of those important study skills."

The School Improvement Grant targets underperforming schools in the state that are committed to raising achievement. The high school will receive up to $2 million each year over the next three years to implement initiatives to develop a classroom and schoolwide system of academic and behavioral interventions and supports, to use data to drive instruction and professional development and to ensure that students are college and career ready.

Also at the meeting, Associate Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat will give a presentation on the Making the Grade Conference that will held Oct. 1 at the high school.

During the event, community volunteers will meet one-on-one with ninth- and 11th-graders for about five to 10 minutes to review their progress at school, to give them words of encouragement and motivate them in their studies, among other things.

Superintendent Mark Denman said the school is still seeking more volunteers, particularly those from the business sector and areas outside of education.

The first session is from 8:30 to 10:05 a.m., and the second is from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Volunteer training sessions will be held from 8 to 8:25 a.m. and 10:10 to 10:40 a.m. on the day of the conference. Volunteers are recommended but not required to attend, and those who are unable to attend will receive instructions upon their arrival.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Melinda Bailey, the associate superintendent's secretary, at baileym@danville.k12.il.us or 444-1012.

Meeting set Wednesday

The Danville school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/18AM2Ho.

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