Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 23, 2012

Plan to help boost South Central test scores

Effingham Daily News

FARINA — A new  improvement plan for South Central schools could boost test scores.

    The Rising Star District School Improvement Plan was approved by the South Central Board at its meeting last Tuesday, although it had been in effect since Sept. 28.

    “There are hundreds of things we’re looking at and trying to make changes that would help,” said Superintendent Rick Batchelor. “This way, we write everything down, we go to the plan and we see what we can do. This way, the plan doesn’t just sit on a shelf with no one looking at it.”

    The Rising Star plan requires schools to keep an updated plan for academic improvement every two years after it has been approved. Batchelor said the plan keeps the district honest in its long-term goals.

    “The last time we sat down as a group, we were able to start work on 14 of about 25 or 30 of our goals,” he said.

    The Rising Star plan is intended to streamline the way students learn, as well as prepare them for the state common core.

    “We’re working on some of the ways we can deliver our curriculum,” Batchelor said. “We’re working on ways to make our curriculum better for our students. It’s designed to help us do better.”

    The plan allows for a group of administrators from each of the schools in the district, as well as a teacher from each building and the superintendent, to take an all-day training course at Kaskaskia College to better work with their students.

    Ultimately, Batchelor said the changes South Central could apply from the plan could better allow the students to meet statewide educational guidelines and prepare for standardized tests.

    “The benefits are going to be across the state,” he said. “It’ll align our curriculum with the common core so we’re not doing the same thing year after year. Students are going to be exposed to a lot of different things. For example, if every history teacher is teaching the Civil War, it might help if students are just exposed to something different.”

    Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.