Common Core Standards bring growing pains
By Jason Arndt~Correspondent
Consolidated District 117 is one of the districts in Illinois facing an uphill battle to meet the new Common Core Standards applied by the Illinois State Board of Education in 2010.
“The new standards have certainly been a challenge as far as both of our departments,” said Antioch Social Studies Chairperson John Walker. “Like all of the departments in our districts, we have a lot of work to do.”
Walker, a teacher at ACHS, presented the yearly progression at ACHS and Lakes Community High School at its monthly Board of Education meeting at Lakes High on April 18.
The Common Core Standards in effect at all schools in Illinois are center more on skills rather than general aptitude.
Walker and Lakes Community High School Chairperson Rebecca Holst collaborated together to form a common curriculum for both schools at the beginning of the 2012 school year.
“All of the Social Studies and Global studies teachers got together at the end of last school year in order to fully understand the standards,” Walker said. “Now a year later, we can say progress has been made. But more has to be done.”
Compared to the previous curriculum standards applied by the ISBE, the new benchmarks are centered around skills and how they can be applied in a more interactive format.
“We are using interactive maps that can be utilized on our website by students,” Walker said in regards to concerns related to basic geography skills.
The School District’s new objective is to start students early by teaching United States History freshman year and increase the standards through students’ senior years.
In addition, to applying more skills-based studies, the new effort by Illinois is to better prepare students for college.
Another new development through the collaborated efforts of both schools is to utilize technology to the highest degree possible.
District 117 has added multiple networking databases students can utilize and network to share ideas and gather information.
“Allow me to say this collaboration is awesome,” said Antioch High School Principal John Whitehurst. “Working together to form a common goal.”
Field issues at ACHS
Five years following the opening of the Sequoits Field Hockey and Soccer fields, the District is faced with fixing and expanding the fields for a myriad of reasons.
Jennifer Nolde, Superintendent of Human Resources with the District, presented figures nearing $130,000 to expand both fields for Antioch to use for regulation games which requires an 80-yard addition.
The fields were constructed on an old landfill in 2008 and there have been concerns regarding the ground composition including uneven surfaces and weak soil.
Nolde is attempting to seek assistance by inquiring about the availability of land used by District 34, the district holding the area’s lower grade levels.
Despite skepticism by the Board of Education they remain optimistic and confident Nolde will find a solution to the issue.
Nolde declined to comment on whether the Antioch Village Board will need to become involved.
“The District is looking at several options regarding fields and I cannot say, at this time, if the Village will become involved,” Nolde said.