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Kaneland School Board congratulates spelling bee winners

SUGAR GROVE – Todd Leden, superintendent of Kaneland District 302, announced that those in attendance at the Board of Education meeting Jan. 29 have the great pleasure of meeting some of the best spellers in Kane County.

Leden then introduced the top performers in the spelling bee, which was held Jan. 23, from the elementary schools in the district, including Blackberry Creek’s Jack Nelson, John Stewart’s Audrey Walker, John Shields’ Winnie Phillips and McDole’s Daniel Somerlot. Phillips was the overall district winner.

All students at each of the master speller's respective schools will transition to trimesters next school year after a recent decision by the board of education.

That decision was made despite there being differing opinions from the Kaneland Board of Education regarding shifting to a trimester schedule for kindergarten through fifth grade during its meeting Jan. 17.

Ultimately, the motion made by board member Peter Lopatin carried for a shift of early childhood through fifth-graders to trimesters beginning in the 2018-19 school year and for the additional report card and progress report dates to be added to the district-approved calendar.

Lopatin stated that he had no concerns with the change.

“I support this,” he said. “From my perspective this is more of the purview of the administration of the district than of the board and that’s why I don’t think we have to weigh-in heavily on this issue. This is building operations to me. This is an administration issue, not a policy issue.”

Lopatin, fellow board members Shana Sparber and Aaron Lawler, and Board President Teresa Witt approved the shift so the motion carried, despite Board Vice President Ryan Kerry, Board Secretary Gale Pavlak and board member Pedro Rivas voting no. Lawler showed some hesitancy, pausing 10 seconds before voting aye.

The proposal for the shift stemmed from research and discussions with other districts that have already made such a shift and have noted numerous benefits for both the students and staff.

Flexibility with set routines, the additional time between report periods for student-focused discussions with goal setting and the ability to self-monitor progress were some of the reported benefits.

Kerry didn’t see any new positives.

“I asked a lot of questions when this was presented at the last meeting and I never understood the logic behind it or the benefit versus the current system,” he said. “I kind of got the impression that it was change for the sake of change. I never understood why, so if I can’t understand why, I’m not going to support it.”

The five required parent communication points proposed with the trimester shift require a first trimester progress report, parent conference and report card in early October, early November and late November, respectively, along with the second trimester report card in late February to early March and the third trimester report card on the final day of school.

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