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Students, staff share some goals for new school year

Updated: September 15, 2012 6:20AM

ALGONQUIN — Jacobs High School senior Sirena Galvan, 17, of Carpentersville wants earn a “B” average this school year, she said.

Junior Hari Manikandan, 16, of Carpentersville knows he wants a career in finance after he graduates and wants to develop the skills to help him meet that goal, he said.

Sophomore Matt Wolf of Carpentersville isn’t as sure what he wants to do. The 15-year-old said he’s dabbled in Jacobs’ writing club and he’d like to commit to that, to see what extracurriculars his friends are doing and maybe try them out, too.

Even Community Unit School District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy has a goal for the new school year, he said.

“My goal this year is to be in more classrooms,” Bregy said.

The superintendent had started a “Teacher Swap” last year, his first heading up District 300. That program had him take over one teacher’s classroom each month while that teacher observed the same grade level in another school building, then compare notes.

This year he plans to visit three teachers’ classrooms to offer immediate feedback, he said. That’s three school, multiple classrooms at each, each week.

“Starting your day someplace different three times a week I think is a pretty good goal. It’s an overwhelming goal, but I can do that,” he said.

Bregy also shared his priorities for the Carpentersville-based district in a video message presented to teachers Friday as district faculty and staff returned to their schools.

Those priorities include RtI and PBIS, which are intervention programs for students struggling with learning or behavior; aligning curriculum and testing with the Common Core Standards adopted by the state of Illinois; and Quantum Learning. Quantum Learning is a five-part teaching and learning methodology that addresses all learning styles.

If those priorities sound familiar, that’s because they’re the same ones District 300 shared before the start of last school year at a staff rally at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

“The first day, I focused on five really familiar initiatives. Things are really changing fast in the state. We know staff feels extremely burdened when there’s a new school year and they sit back and think, ‘What’s the initiative of the year?’ ” Bregy said.

“We made it very clear we want to maintain some consistency in what those are.”

New priorities include the administrator evaluations measuring student growth required this year by Illinois law, something that likely is coming for teachers in the future, Bregy said.

They also include the district’s strategic plan, which was pushed back last year as it made a priority of opposing legislation to extend the economic development area around Sears headquarters. District 300 collected data from focus groups with students, parents, board members and employees, and will use that this year to develop a plan.

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