D203 Board: Instructional Assistants

Changes in Support Staff

The Board of Education for School District 203 has approved a plan to restructure its learning support model.

In doing so, 71 full and part-time reading and enrichment assistants will lose their jobs, including those in the K-LEAP program, (kindergarten reading intervention) and LEAP program (reading intervention for first and second graders).

Instead, there will be 48 assistants, all full-time, with some of the former assistants possibly being hired back and all will work collaboratively with the teacher to keep both gifted and struggling students inside the classroom rather than pulling students out of class for one-on-one assistance.

This didn’t sit well with some of the community, saying that the plan was poorly communicated and poorly executed.

“Up until four weeks ago those who were affected by this proposal were told that their programs were continuing. They were told to order supplies and had begun doing so. Imagine the feelings of betrayal and distrust that arose when they were told on the Thursday before Spring break that everything was changed. Their programs were gone and their jobs were gone.”

“I’m sure that many of you think you’re not eliminating enrichment or LEAP, merely replacing them with a different delivery method. But make no mistake, with this change you are eliminating known programs in favor of an ambiguous program that lacks accountability and you’re gambling that the prerequisite level of curriculum will be provided to any of our students.”

After nearly two hours of deliberation amongst the board and administrators, there were still some concerns.

“It’s great if it works perfectly but what about when it doesn’t? Or if the leader of the building is out or there’s a whole new team or there’s young teachers?” said board member Susan Crotty. “It just really scares me.”

But in the end, the decision to move forward with the plan was unanimous, with board members dispelling claims that the program was not well thought out.

“There’s so much thought that has gone into it. Apparently communication could’ve been better but it doesn’t change the fact, at least in my opinion, this is what’s best for our students and doing anything less would be doing a disservice to them,” said board member Mike Jaensch.

The changes will go into effect for the next school year starting in the fall.

Bids Approved

Also at the meeting, under consent agenda the board approved a number of bids for various projects and purchases.

Those bids are for:
-A new playground at Beebe in the amount $117,000
-Roof repairs at Lincoln Junior High totaling just over $2.3 million
-The purchase of 18 school buses amounting to $1.2 million
-Additions and renovations to the entrance at Madison Jr. High amounting to $769,000
-Renovations to the science labs at Naperville North for $230,000
-Ductwork and ceiling replacement at Naperville North High School and Lincoln Jr. High for $1.5 million

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