Clarence E. Culver School in Niles Elementary School District 71 has been designated a 2019 Exemplary School by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Culver School also earned the designation in 2018.
Only the top 10 percent of all schools in the state are rated “exemplary,” making it the highest designation a school can receive. ISBE rates all schools in the state on the basis of a comprehensive set of criteria including student academic growth, achievement on state assessments in reading and math, and student attendance.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of all our students and staff,” said District 71 Superintendent John Kosirog. “Our caring teachers bring out the full potential of each child. It is rewarding to see our school community recognized with the top designation.”
Over the past year, the percentage of Culver students meeting or exceeding state standards increased in nearly every grade level and subject area. In 2019, 86 percent of Culver students exceeded, met or approached state standards in English language arts (ELA) while 76 percent exceeded, met or approached state standards in math.
The Niles District 71 Board of Education approved a strategic plan in 2017 that set the stage for the ISBE designation. The strategic plan focuses on continuous improvement to enhance the rigor of the curriculum and prepare students for high school and beyond. To achieve this goal, district stakeholders worked collaboratively to develop a curriculum based on state standards, implement proven intervention strategies for struggling students, and increase access to early-childhood education.
Building on that spirit of continuous improvement, District 71 is in the process of rolling out a new ELA curriculum this year in kindergarten through 6th grade. Classroom, from the educational publisher Fountas & Pinnell, takes a systematic approach to reading and writing instruction. “F&P Classroom aligned with our philosophy of responsive teaching using an inquiry-rich, multi-text approach across multiple instructional contexts. In this system, you teach individual readers, not a program,” said Culver reading specialist Barbara Montcalm.
According to Board President Matt Holbrook, “We are excited that Culver School is again recognized as one of the very best in the entire state. We a committed to making District 71 a community of excellence and we are all thrilled about the honor.”
The 2019 report card for Niles Elementary School District 71 and Culver School can be viewed at: https://www.illinoisreportcard.com.