District plans improvements in technology, academic programs

by Megan Jones, Editor-in-Chief 

During the week of Jan. 15, District 214 approved school and district improvement plans as required under the No Child Left Behind Act; some of the highlights within the plan include improvements in incorporating more technology into the classroom, adding more intervention for struggling students and increased professional developments.

“We have been trying to invest in bringing mobile devices to the hand’s of students that will help their academics,” Dr. Lazaro Lopez, principal, said. “For example, we will be holding iPad training sessions for teachers and already hold many iPad pilots throughout the district, which is helping develop digital curriculum and practices to support a connected classroom.”

The plans included new programs such as homework clubs, literacy labs and extra support for non-native speakers.

“In many ways, the District plans are a compilation of Wheeling. We already have a student resource center for English Language Learners to help them be successful,” Dr. Lopez said. “We provide other interventions to provide support through WHS; we use software and additional staff for those struggling.”

District officials hope to recommend more parental involvement strategies and activities to ensure more academic success.

“We hope to bring all parents together, despite their background,” Erin DeLuga, associate principal, said. “I want to bring the leaders of the PTO and the Latino Family Nights together to plan how parents can get more involved in academics.”

While only 11 Illinois high schools made yearly progress last year, all schools in District 214 exceeded the state’s ACT composite score of 20.6.

In recent years, WHS has expanded through its use of creating career pathways, such as the medical careers pathway. Currently underway include a communication pathway, which will feature the fine arts department, and a research and development pathway which will incorporate English, fine arts, social sciences and foreign language.

“I am most excited to see that we have accomplished so much in terms of pathways to help students look at the school and use it as a step towards their future.  Regardless of your area of interest, I hope students will be able to have the chance to earn an internship, college credit or a type of certification. To be able to add that to your resume can open up so many doors. That might be the quality that helps you get a scholarship,” Dr. Lopez said.