Message about NCLB and school choice from the Superintendent
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law affects public education in many ways and at many levels. One of the most obvious is the requirement that every school and every subgroup make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in reading and math. Each year, the bar gets higher on what it takes to make AYP; by 2014, 100% of students are expected to meet or exceed standards. If any reporting sub-group in a school does not score highly enough to make AYP, then the whole school is categorized as not making AYP.
Churchill began offering Choice in the 2011-2012 school year. The law requires that after two years of not making AYP, a school must offer Choice to its students (if the school also receives federal Title I money for disadvantaged students, which Churchill does). Choice means that families can elect to attend another school in the district and the district must provide transportation for them if they live outside the regular transportation boundaries.
District 41 takes its student growth in learning seriously and is never satisfied when any child has not learned to his/her potential. Churchill provides a strong learning environment with talented teachers and committed leadership. The success of each child is important to the school. Most children at Churchill are doing very well, and where there are challenges, Churchill is addressing them. This very same thing can be said about each one of our schools. Just because a given school may not have large enough subgroups to report subgroup performance to the state, that does not mean that there are no children with challenges due to language, special learning needs and so forth. If you think your child is doing well in school, then there is no reason to think of changing to a new environment.
Here I'd like to make a personal observation: Churchill families have always seemed to me to be devoted to their school and to feel that the school's diversity brings riches that more than offset challenges. I think of the Fall Fest or the Talent Show, which draw incredible participation and demonstrate a powerful spirit of community and commitment to Churchill. I think of the teachers who dedicate themselves to their students. Churchill families and staff are pained to have their school given the Choice label, but they know that their children are loved as individuals, are learning every day and are happy at Churchill.
Some opportunities we do not seek but they help us grow and learn. We see this as an opportunity to gain clarity around our purpose and to surround each child and each other in our continuous journey of improvement.
Ann Riebock, superintendent
Below are links to information on NCLB and Choice: