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District 302 opens transfer options for Stewart families

SUGAR GROVE – Kaneland School District 302 officials will open options for families who wish to transfer their students out of John Stewart Elementary, which fell short of meeting every standard required for Adequate Yearly Progress for a second consecutive year.

Because Stewart receives Title I funding, a failure of any subgroup to meet AYP standards for two consecutive years requires the district to offer a choice for students to attend other schools in the district that have met the standards. All other district elementary schools – Blackberry Elementary, John Shields and McDole – met the standard, and Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler recommended all schools be designated as possible destinations for those who opt to switch.

The district will receive the requests, and it then will make the placements based on transportation needs, class sizes at individual grade levels and available services for individual student needs.

But district officials praised the overall performance at Stewart, and they said their strong preference is for students who attend Stewart to remain there for the remainder of the school year.

The decision was made at Monday night’s school board meeting that took place at John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove. Meetings in September will be there instead of the district offices in Maple Park.

Stewart met the standards with the overall student body, but one subgroup, economically disadvantaged students, fell short in reading, something school board member Joe Oberweis noted.

To meet the standards, every subgroup had to have at least 85 percent of students meet or exceed the standard, and that standard will rise to 92.5 percent next year.

“This is more about unrealistic standards than it is about horrible performances,” Oberweis said.

Board member Tony Valente defended Stewart as “a really good school.”

Schuler talked about the timing of such moves, and he showed the board a letter that will need to be sent out to Stewart parents.

He said it was his preference that students stay at Stewart at least through parent-teacher conferences in November, and those wishing to switch can do so after Thanksgiving.

He said he hasn’t heard from many parents on the subject, and he said about 10 to 12 families attended an informational meeting last week at Stewart.

The district would have to pay for transportation for any students who leave Stewart.

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