In pursuit of exceptional student achievement and continued professional excellence, Elmhurst District 205 has made some changes for 2012-13 that will affect the school schedule at both the elementary and high school levels.
In order to bring District 205’s instructional minutes into alignment with the State of Illinois average, 15 minutes have been added to the elementary day. Students will be asked to report five minutes earlier than the times listed below (at 8:10 AM for grades 1-5 and morning kindergarten and at 12 noon for PM kindergarten) in order to be ready to begin the school day on time.
The following new instructional schedule begins with the 2012-13 school year:
AM Kindergarten – 8:15 AM to 11:05 AM
PM Kindergarten – 12:05 PM to 3:00 PM
Grades 1-5 – 8:15 AM to 3:00 PM
Lunch – 11:05 AM to 12:05 PM
At the high school, where current instructional minutes are above the State average, the change involves an expansion of leadership development opportunities for teachers through additional Student Late Arrival days. High school students will begin their school day at 9 AM every Wednesday, with the following exceptions (when students will report at the regular time):
October 17 – State Testing Day
December 19 – First Semester Finals
April 24 – PSAE Testing Day
May 15 – Senior Exams
May 22 & 29 – Second Semester Finals and Year-End Wrap-Up
As was the case in 2011-12, the middle and elementary school schedules will continue to reflect a monthly Student Late Arrival day, also on Wednesdays. They are as follows: September 12, October 10, November 14, December 12, January 9, February 13, March 13, April 10 and May 8.
The Student Late Arrival instructional schedule will be as follows:
AM Kindergarten – 9:15 AM to 11:40 AM
PM Kindergarten – 12:40 PM to 3:00 PM
Grades 1-5 – 9:15 AM to 3:00 PM
Middle School – 9:25 AM to 3:20 PM
High School – 9:00 AM to 3:11 PM
The 2012-13 School Calendar, which provides a one-page overview of this information, may be found on the District 205 calendar page.
The focus of teachers’ work during Student Late Arrival days will be on developing School Leadership Teams that are part of a larger Professional Learning Community (PLC).
Why? Because in the complex world of 21st century education, collaboration is the key to both student and teacher success. A Professional Learning Community consists of team members who take an active, reflective, collaborative, learning-oriented and growth-promoting approach to teaching and learning.
“The most promising strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement is developing the ability of school personnel to function as professional learning communities” said Dr. Richard DuFour, former superintendent of Adlai Stevenson High School, now an internationally renowned PLC guru.
During the 2011-12 school year, District 205 teacher leaders and administrators participated in a professional learning program which was offered on site by the DuPage Regional Office of Education. Over six highly interactive sessions, led by educational leadership expert Dr. Al Bertani, participants developed and enhanced their PLC skills to create high-performing School Leadership Teams. To view a video which provides insight into this process in District 205, please click here.
Research shows that teacher professional development is the single most important factor in increasing student achievement. “There’s a University of Chicago study, built out of a book called Organizing Schools for Improvement*, which talks about the fact that really strong schools, in terms of their professional learning communities, are ten times more likely to actually improve (student scores) in reading and mathematics,” states Dr. Bertani.
Development of PLCs is a long-time initiative of the District 205 Board of Education, embraced and encouraged by Superintendent Dave Pruneau, and supported by the Elmhurst Teachers Council.
“Educational reform movements are emphasizing that teacher professional learning is a key component of change and an important link between standards and improved student learning,” notes Dr. John Murray of Auburn University. “As students are expected to learn more complex material and new analytical skills in preparation for further education and work in the age of information and globalization, teachers must learn to teach in ways that encourage higher level thinking and performance. A new kind of teaching is needed, conducted by teachers who understand learning and as well as teaching, who can address students’ needs and the demands of their disciplines, and who can create bridges between students’ experiences and curriculum goals.”
Further information on the importance of building Professional Learning Communities is documented in a white paper called Transforming Teacher Work for a Better Educated Tomorrow, released in November 2011 by Advance Illinois.
*Bryk, A.S., Sebring, P.B., Allensworth, E., Luppescu S., & Easton, J.Q. (2010). Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press