The mission of a School District 59 Learning Resource Center is to provide facilities, programs, resources, and activities which will ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information that foster lifelong learning in a global society.
Components of effective District 59 Learning Resource Center programs at the Elementary and Junior High Levels
- The Learning Resource Center makes available electronic and print materials for all students, along with the technology necessary to access these materials.
- The Learning Resource Center serves as an extension of classroom instruction in order to support district curriculum that is in alignment with student learning outcomes, district goals, and state standards.
- The Learning Resource Center provides students with skills necessary for lifelong learning and an appreciation for the enjoyment of reading.
- The Learning Resource Center maintains and manages resources to meet the needs of students.
- The Learning Resource Center continually assesses program effectiveness and adapts to the changing needs of students, staff and the community.
Services and programming offered by the District 59 Elementary and Junior High School media Centers
- The Learning Resource Center provides the instructional, managerial, and technical support for meeting the specific needs of all students and staff within a school.
- The Learning Resource Center staff maintains and manages print resources, electronic resources, hardware and supporting software for use in the school.
- The Learning Resource Center fosters the development of student and staff skills relating to all areas of print resources and technology.
Talent Development Program
District 59 acknowledges that gifted and talented children are present in all levels of society, within all racial and ethnic groups, and come from a variety of family structures and home environments. The learning styles and thinking abilities of these students call for experiences beyond the educational mainstream. The district 59 Talent Development Program is based on the following philosophy:
- that the program serves the gifted and talented students
- that the program is differentiated by curricular materials of greater complexity and/or faster pacing
- that there is commitment to the program by the Board of Education, central administration staff, school administrative staff, teachers, and parents
Current Program Description Identification
In order to more accurately describe the total district identification process, this procedure will be described for each component of the District 59 Talent Development Program.
Informal Primary (Grades K-2)
There is no formal identification procedure for primary children. Students recommended by parents and/or teachers may be given an opportunity for enrichment within the classroom or with the Talent Development resource teacher in pull-out sessions if the teacher has time available to schedule those opportunities.
Formal Intermediate (Grades 3-5)
Formal identification of students entering the program begins in third grade. District 59 tests students with the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAt). Both tests are nationally standardized thus making them appropriate to look at individual student differences. The MAP is administered several times a year in second, third, fourth, and fifth grades. The CogAt is administered at the beginning of third grade and again in the first semester of fifth grade.
Formal identification is based on the scores from the aforementioned tests in the areas of reading/language arts and/or mathematics, and teacher recommendation. Once this information is collected, student scores are placed into a TDP eligibility matrix. The TDP program targets students who place in the top 5% for formal placement into the program.
Junior High (Grades 6-8)
At the end of fifth grade, students are selected for sixth grade accelerated/advanced classes based on performance on the 5th grade Measure of Academic Progress, Cognitive Abilities Test, and recommendations from the classroom teachers and the elementary TDP Resource Teacher. The TDP curriculum at the junior high is delivered during accelerated Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics classes.
What is the ELL program?
ELL stands for English Language Learner. This program is offered by District 59 to children who need assistance in developing the English academic language skills required for school. All children enrolled in this program learn English while studying school subjects. These subjects include language arts, math, science, and social studies. There are two kinds of classrooms in the ELL program. One is a bilingual classroom for students who speak Spanish or Gujarati. The other is an ESL classroom for students who speak other languages. Both bilingual and ESL classrooms teach English using the school subjects. ELL classes are provided at the local school or at a nearby school where teachers can best accommodate the child's needs. When needed, bus transportation is provided for students at no cost.
What is the difference between bilingual and ESL?
Both programs focus on the development of English language skills while learning school subjects. A bilingual classroom places children who speak the same language with a teacher who can instruct in both native language and in English.
Bilingual classes are available for students who speak Spanish or Gujarati, the major language groups found in our district. In this class the native language is used to introduce new concepts and support instruction. An ESL classroom has children who come from different language backgrounds. An ESL teacher uses special teaching techniques to provide instruction. Many ESL staff can speak one of the languages present in the school.
How are children chosen to be in the ELL program?
Children are placed in the ELL program based on the results of several language screening tests. These tests measure the child's ability to speak, listen, read and write in the English language. The goal of these tests is to identify students who need specialized instruction to develop the English language skills necessary for academic success.
What about children who already speak some English?
Research studies have shown that children who speak English with their family and friends may not have the academic language skills needed to be successful in school. Even bilingual children born in the United States may need additional help to learn the English used for studying school subjects.
What are the benefits for children in a ELL classroom?
Children benefit because ELL teachers have special training to help students learn a second language. Their lessons focus on learning vocabulary and developing reading and writing skills, while teaching academic concepts. In a ELL classroom, the instruction is taught in a way that the students can understand. ELL teachers use a wide variety of visual aids and hands-on activities to ensure students' understanding. ELL teachers know how to connect the students' culture and past experiences with new ideas. The amount and difficulty of the work is carefully monitored, allowing children to progress at a challenging pace.
How long will my child be in the ELL program?
Studies has shown that three to seven years is the average time needed to develop the academic skills necessary for children to be successful throughout their school career. The time in the program varies from child to child. Students are often reevaluated to ensure they are making progress in academic subjects, as well as English language development. Formal testing is done with each child every spring. The results of the tests help teachers determine readiness for mainstream classes. As a student's English language skills improve, the child can begin to attend a mainstream classroom for instruction in one academic subject. If he/she is successful, more subjects will be added until the student receives all academic instruction in the mainstream classroom. At that point, the child will be recommended for full mainstream instruction.
How can parents help their children at home?
Children who can speak, read, and write in their native language will learn English more quickly. Parents can help by:
- continuing to use the native language at home
- discussing the lessons that their child is learning at school
- reading to or with the child at home in native language and in English
- taking the child to museums, theaters, libraries and parks