Minooka High program helps students succeed
By Kris Stadalsky For The Herald-News July 24, 2012 9:22AM
Updated: September 6, 2012 6:02AM
MINOOKA — With stacks and stacks of information and three years of data collecting under their belts, Minooka High School Principal Bob Williams rolled out the first model showing student progress tied to college readiness standards.
“This is the first piece of data we can really look at,” Williams said.
Three years ago when the district unveiled its updated strategic plan, administrators and teachers began collecting data that allows them to track student growth through standardize tests, among other ways.
When students enter as freshmen, they are given the Explore test. In their sophomore year, they take PLAN, and in their junior year, they take the ACT test.
Now in the third year of the strategic plan, educators can see which areas students are growing and in which areas they need more work.
The growth model can be viewed as the entire student body, by subject, by grade level and even by student.
It not only helps educators with teaching methods, it can be shared with students so they can see where they need work and can take responsibility for monitoring their own performance.
“We have made great strides with all the things the staff has been going through to accomplish this,” Williams said. “It makes it all worthwhile.”
The data provides an intricate picture, and with that, a way for teachers to translate it into alternative teaching methods to help students learn more efficiently.
The first goal is to improve growth and achievement of all students, regardless of learning abilities.
“This is one of the best coaching models out there,” Williams said.
The strategic plan ties the district’s curriculum to college readiness standards. The goal is for all students to be college-ready when they graduate, whether or not they intend to further their education.
“Kids weren’t meeting the targets a few years ago,” Williams said.
Now all that has changed.
In areas where students are not achieving expected growth, the model provides information on what needs to be looked at so it can be corrected.
In a separate report, Vice Principal Dan McDonnell said that 8.1 percent of eligible MCHS students are enrolled in advanced placement courses.
Seventy-nine percent of those have earned a three or higher on the exams, which most universities accept as college credit, a 12-point jump over the previous year.
“That’s by far the highest jump in school history,” McDonnell.