With a “goal of continuing to move every child forward every year,” Supt. Edward Condon said he believes Roosevelt Middle School will continue to improve and bring the district to “exemplary” designations across the board.
The last time all schools in the district received “commendable” was two years ago, according to Condon. Willard Elementary made an improvement for the following year and was joined by Lincoln Elementary in 2022. However, Roosevelt is not far behind.
“At the same time Roosevelt Middle School is continuing to show growth in the ‘commendable’ category,” Condon said, praising the school for their achievements in IAR and the science assessment.
The “exceptional” performance from Roosevelt Middle in the science assessment, which requires students to apply their science skills on the test, earned the school a 79% proficient rate in the category, with 43.3% of students achieving the “proficient” level and 35.9% achieving “exemplary” level. According to the report, the state’s “exemplary” level was 17%.
“That is a really significant accomplishment that shows the progress that they are making,” Condon said. “They are showing continued progress overtime.”
Roosevelt also scored higher than the state’s average in their English language arts growth percentile, as well as in mathematics. According to Condon, the average learning gains hovers around 50%. District 91 surpassed that state average, which for English language arts was 49.8%, receiving 55%. Roosevelt Middle alone received 52.9%. In math, Roosevelt outshined the state’s average of 49.7% with their 56.5%, which was just slightly under the whole district’s average of 58%.
“As far as that reflects in actual measurement, schools that are showing growth between 55% and 60% are showing very good progress,” Condon said. “Schools that are showing growth in excess of 60%, that is an excellent student growth goal.”
As the student growth filters through the district, Condon said he believes they will continue to see ongoing progress both for individual students and schools.
“The continued focus in increasing alignment, instructionally, has been a really important step to ensuring that all students are getting the high-quality level of instruction that is necessary for them to be successful,” Condon said.
That “alignment” has come through across all grade levels to not only ensure teachers in the same grade teach the same content, but also to take into consideration vertical alignment- collaboration across different grade levels from one grade to the next, which ensures there is a lot of communication and collaboration across the grade levels.
Since the science assessment is only given to students in fifth, eighth, and eleventh grade, Roosevelt Middle is the only school in D90 that received a percentage for students achieving performance level, scoring 43.3% proficient and 35.9% exemplary in 2023.
The middle school received higher percentages than the state’s average, which were 35.2% proficient and 17% exemplary.
Adding another school to the ‘exemplary” designation is not the only achievement D90 is celebrating on the 2023 report card.
An area of strength Condon pointed out was that the district saw a decrease in the achievement gap between white and Black students in both English language arts and math since 2022.
According to the Illinois Report Card, ‘achievement gap’ is the “persistent difference in academic performance between different ethnic and racial groups, income levels, gender, and special student groups.”
In both English language arts, the gap between white and Black students decreased by 10 percentage points, while in math, it decreased slightly.
The achievement gap also decreased between male and female students, going from 17% in 2022 for English language arts to 14% in 2023, a difference of 3 percentage points.
In math, the male and female achievement gap also closed in, dropping from 6% in 2022 to 1% in 2023.
However, it was not all improvements as the achievement gap between whites and Hispanics has widened in both English language arts and math since 2022.
The achievement gap between Hispanic and white students increased in English language arts from 2022 by 9 points and by 6 in math.
“This merits careful attention and consideration in ways we can address needs that are not being fully met,” Condon said.
The district would like to see their chronic absenteeism rate decrease. While still smaller than the state’s, which for 2023 was at 28.3%, D90 had 13.4% of students absent for at least 10% of the school year.
“While there are many reasons why a student may need to legitimately miss school, if there is more the district can do to provide support or assistance to minimize absences, we should be working towards that goal,” Condon said.
While the reasons could vary, Condon said the district needs to take action to ensure the reasons are not attributed to bullying, adding that school should be a place where everybody feels like they belong and are included.
“I am really proud of efforts that our faculty and staff have made, particularly since the pandemic, to try to focus on strengthening already strong relationships they have with kids, to make sure kids feel like they belong at school,” Condon said, attributing that as part of the social emotional learning the district has leaned into. “If there is more we can do as a district to make sure they feel welcome and want to be here…we will continue on that front.”