Illinois State Board of Education

“District Showcase” Debuts as Regular Board Meeting Feature

Quincy’s Irving School begins series of dialogues with State Board of Education

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2002
For Information: 217/782-4648

Representatives of Quincy School District 172’s Irving Elementary School today will describe successful strategies they have used to increase student achievement as the Illinois State Board of Education inaugurates what will from now on be the regular first item on its monthly meeting agenda – the “School District Showcase and Dialogue.”

As the State Board addresses the challenge of how best to support local districts so that all Illinois students receive the best education possible, there is no better place to look for ideas and answers than in the communities whose children are learning, State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller said.

“I believe in creating a two-way dialogue with people who have taken significant steps that help students meet and exceed the Illinois Learning Standards,” Schiller said. “These conversations with the State Board members will allow local district people to explain their successful strategies for improvement and open the door for state level policy discussions about how their methods might be broadly adapted.”

Irving Elementary has faced tough challenges in its efforts to improve achievement. The 2001 school report card shows the district with a poverty rate of 84 per cent. According to the school’s principal, Carol Frericks, this year’s report card will show a rate of 88 per cent.

Frericks, who is beginning her fourth year as principal, says staff and administrators have worked diligently for the past three years to reach this level of success: “We based our focus on a systems approach. By that I mean we looked at the families and students needs and began there. Our entire philosophy is based on doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of the kids.”

She also attributes the school’s success to the fact that their staff development model and school improvement plan are based on a needs assessment approach that is data driven. When she talks about assessment and data she is quick to point out, “I am not just talking about IGAP and ISAT results. We set these kids up for success and every part of the system was engaged. We knew that by the time these kids reached third grade their scores on ISAT were going to be good.”

Carol Mickle, the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, adds, “Yes, we have made a tremendous amount of change in three years and we made a lot of tough decisions along the way. We also recognize that without the extra state and federal funding we received through the Reading Excellence Act grant and the Summer Bridges grant, we would not have been able to reach that goal.”

Joining Mickle and Frericks for Wednesday’s dialogue will be District Superintendent Joe Bocke, District 172 Board President Herb Jackson, and teachers Rose Platt and Christie Dickens, who also serve as Reading Demonstration Coaches who coach teachers in ways to develop and improve reading skills.