Mendota District 289 receives Commendable Schools rating


Beth Wackerlin, District 289 director of teaching and learning presented an overview of the data from the Illinois Report Card at the Nov. 25 Board of Education meeting. Blackstone, Lincoln, and Northbrook Schools all received a Commendable Schools rating.

"We really looked at our strengths and areas where we could do a little better. I think it was pretty impactful when you look at the growth," she stated.

In Science and English Language Arts (ELA), seventh and eighth grade students scored higher than state average with a 14 percent increase in from last year in science.

Although scores were lower than state average from third and fourth grade students, Wackerlin believes the students know the information but need improvement in relating that information to the test questions.

District wide, students were above the state average in Science and ELA and slightly below in Math.

Wackerlin noted that there were obvious areas in need of improvement on the IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness) assessment. "Even in areas where students scored high, we noted specific questions where scores were low. Now we need to make sure we expose our students to those questions," she added.

Wackerlin also commented that parent data is not available from the 5 Essentials Survey. At least 20 percent participation is needed to configure the data. "We have never had enough parent feedback," she said.

The Illinois Report Card is available online at illinoisreportcard.com and on the district's website at m289.org.

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Board members shared information from sessions they attended at the Illinois Association of School Boards Annual Conference, Nov. 22-24 in Chicago.

Sessions attended included transparency and finances, strategic communication, school finance for board members, resolutions, and culture and positive psychology.

Sean Pappas, board president, also noted that he attended an Executive Search Process session as Kristen School will be retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. "Now is the time to start looking for our next superintendent," he commented.

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The Board presented the tentative tax levy. "The tax rate has been pretty stable through the years," said School.

The tentative levy does not exceed a 5 percent increase, so a hearing is not necessary. Based on an EAV (Equalized Assessed Value) of $226 million, the District expects to receive $5,921,184. The tax rate will decrease by two cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

"I am proud that we have been fiscally responsible with our dollars," said School.

"Just coming off teacher negotiations, it is important for people to recognize that what we bring in from the levy, by far, the largest amount goes in to the Education Fund, which is where salaries and benefits are taken out of. It goes in and comes right back out. It is by far the largest expenditure of this district," stated Teresa Komitas, board member.

The tax levy will be posted at the District offices until the December board meeting on Dec. 19.

In other news:

School noted that the State currently owes the district $143,647 for transportation reimbursement, a pre-k grant, and special education dollars.

Eighth-grade boys' basketball coach Courtney Nave resigned. School said they will seek a replacement to finish out the season.

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