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D181 Board Member Plans Motion to Terminate Middle School ACE Program

Yvonne Mayer says she'll make the motion on Sept. 10 and cited an incomplete set of data provided to the board by the administration in June as the reasoning.

District 181 board member Yvonne Mayer says she is going to bring a motion at the board's Sept. 10 meeting to terminate the district’s middle school ACE program based on the fact that some InView test data was initially withheld from board members earlier this summer.

Mayer, who earlier this year voted against continuing the ACE program during the 2012-13 school year, said at the Board of Education meeting Monday night at that “the board was lied to” in June when it received InView results data that was supposed to be for all District 181 fifth-graders but did not include the information of a number of students, several of whom were admitted into the middle school program.

“I think that it calls the integrity of the entire middle school ACE program into question,” Mayer said.

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Superintendent Renée Schuster confirmed in an email that not every fifth-grade student’s InView information was originally included in the list provided to the board. She said that students with an individualized education plan (IEP) and students for whom English is a second language were not included at first. Schuster said it was less than 10 students.

Several of those unlisted students, Mayer said Monday, scored below the 141 cutoff score but were admitted into the middle school ACE program based on a response to intervention (RtI) process that took place over the summer. Such an identification practice was endorsed by the board .

According to , students who scored close to, but not at or above the benchmark could still be considered for admittance if recommended by a teacher or parent for RtI.

“Parents or teachers also may recommend a student for the RtI process if the student’s abilities may be masked by learning challenges, disabilities, cultural or linguistic diversity,” the transition plan read.

Mayer said she’s in favor of an identification process that provides the opportunity for RtI and is not based solely on one test score, but she’s bringing the motion to terminate because of the missing information.

“The issue for me is why we as a board weren’t given all the data,” Mayer said.

While Board President Michael Nelson and board member Glenn Yaeger both said there was indeed an informational discrepancy, they along with Sarah Lewensohn spoke Monday as though it was not a major issue.

“Although it is true we were not given all of the information, the question is materiality,” Nelson said. “I don’t believe that the materiality is such that it would cause me to change my mind on where we’re headed.”

Board member Brendan Heneghan said he would second Mayer’s motion on Sept. 10, meaning more discussion, more information, and a vote are all likely on the way. 

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