School District’s New Model

School District 203 is adopting a new model for educating students with individualized needs.

Rather than pulling children in grades kindergarten through second who need additional support out of class, a new approach has instructional assistants collaborating with teachers inside the classroom.

“It’s about keeping children in the classroom with the teacher, who knows the most about that child, who is that skilled instructor, and giving her the resources she needs to plan flexibly for those students as their needs become apparent to her,” said Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education, Kitty Ryan.

Under the plan, there will be fewer assistants than before, 48, but they will all be full-time to devote more one-on-one attention to students.

“We were never, ever asked by our superintendent and certainly not our board to reduce cost or eliminate positions. However, as we restructured it, the natural outcome of this was – yes, we did need fewer assistants,” said Ryan. “It never was our intent to go out and do that and certainly as the model evolves and we get it in place, I think if we needed additional support, it certainly would be there. But again, cutting assistance or so called eliminated jobs, was never the driver for this in any way.”

Former full-time staff members may be re-hired for the new position instructional assistants, based on seniority.

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