Mannheim School District 83 retained the services of TJ Consultants in the Fall of 2016 to review the programing and instructional strategies at Enger School.
This report that was issued in the Spring of 2017 can be found at this linkEnger School Review Executive Summary Mannheim School District 83 2017 ,
It is now clear that Norridge SD 80 and Elmwood Park Unit District have reviewed the report and strongly feel that they need to bring some of these programs in house rather than leave them to LASEC.
What is quite confounding is where is the outrage from the other Boards of Education that are members of LASEC.
Why has not Rosemont SD 78, Franklin Park SD 84, Union Ridge SD86 and the other members not demanded immediately corrections and requested why these deficiencies have occurred within the operations of LASEC ?
Questions should be being asked by member school district Board Members is why senior members of the LASEC were not immediately replaced due to the glaring deficiencies that this report has revealed.
The report notes that “there was found that their was no articulated or data-driven process to guide the analysis and determination of what curricula and interventions best met the complex and diverse range of students’ needs. Staff commented positively on an increase in curricular options but that it is most often left to the individual staff members to determine what to use in the classrooms with defined scope and sequence for the program. Additionally there was considerable confusion to related to what the focus of the program should be, ie., academic, social-emotional, functional life skills. ”
The reported further noted that their was not a clear process or rationale on how resource decisions were made.
The evaluators clearly noted that the staff cared deeply about the students, the families and their colleagues.
While additional instructional resources were cited as strength, time to plan effectively, to make decisions collaboratively and to focus as a program on goals is not currently in place. There were repeated comments on no process to pilot, train and analyze new methodologies. Enger School does not currently have a cohesive long-range plan and staff tends to work more independently in classrooms or levels creating their own curricular designs and processes. There are very few program meetings that articulate the focus, the vision of the future of Enger School and how to best meet the changing needs of the program.
There appears to be a pervasive lack of clarity, direction on the evolving purpose of the Enger program, with several staff commenting on the perceived shift away from functional skills, lack of connectedness to district, the special education cooperative and the high school districts. Staff conveyed concern on the current enrollment, wanting more leadership and direction of how the program is evolving. The Staff indicated that there was no a clear understanding of the mission, vision or core goals, thus lacking articulation on how that might guide practice.
It is clear that the resource allocation process at Enger is vague, somewhat reactive and both staff and parents commented that there is a need for greater alignment between the resources determined and the service delivery. It is unclear what determining factors were considered before proposing staffing needs, classroom configurations or additional supports.
LASEC and Mannheim School District 83 has not demonstrated transparency by publicly releasing this report that was completed in the Spring of 2017; and they have not clearly and openly established priorities in response to this report, and sequenced to maximize the important foundational areas of focus for the 2017-2018 school year and beyond.
How many of the member school board members of the LASEC CoOp had the opportunity to review this report ?
Have the member district school superintendents discussed the content of this report with their school board members ?
Have the parents and community members seen this report and been assured that these problems are being corrected ?
This report is symptomatic of the issues being raised by Elmwood Park Unit District 401 and Norridge School District 80. Thank goodness for the leadership of the Norridge and Elmwood Park School Districts in pursuing the effective usage of taxpayer money in providing special education services for the students of their Districts. The rest of the CoOp school board members need to “board the train” that has already left the station.
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