PEORIA, IL -- Former Supt. Grenita Lathan may be gone from Peoria School District 150 but she has not been forgotten.
A letter she wrote in December 2014, asking for a bill for supplies to be paid on July 1, 2015 has surfaced, and caused board critic Terry Knapp to question it at the District 150 School Board meeting on July 20.
He said the situation may be "deceitful and fraudulent," and asked the board to investigate.
The district's budget had not been developed for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Here is a recording of the public comments:
Board critic Sharon Crews addressed the need for high school summer school so students could retake courses they have failed. A copy of her comments will be posted below.
The board has introduced a new way for the public to comment: a comment box on the table by the door. Written comments there will be distributed to board members, board president Martha Ross said.
-- Elaine Hopkins
Here is the comment of Sharon Crews:
Tonight I would like you to consider the benefits of a return to high school summer school. In 2012-13, approximately 635 high school students failed a semester of English. Probably approximately the same number of students failed an English course in the following two years. My guess is that many of those estimated 1800 students have not yet made up the English course. My FOIA request did ask if, when, and how these courses were retaken and the grades received. For understandable reasons, the research department found it too difficult to correlate the courses failed with the data about the courses retaken. Of course, students fail other required courses that could and should be made up in summer school.
At one time, the District did not allow students to take two English classes at the same time—which meant summer school was a necessity. The reasoning was that students who struggle with English will struggle even more when they have two English classes every day—and the chances of failing yet another English class is a definite possibility. Class size is, also, adversely affected by students repeating required classes during the school day.
I found that the three-hour summer school classes allowed me to spend more time with individual students who needed extra help. During the school year, struggling students find it difficult to juggle requirements of four to six classes. In summer school, they can concentrate all their efforts on one or two subjects. A negative that is really a positive is that the threat of summer school is an incentive for students to work harder.
Of the 635 failures in 2012-13, at least, 198 retook the course with Compass Learning. The cynic in me believes that Compass Learning only helps with scheduling and meeting the NCLB goal of raising graduation rates by giving students an easy way out. I doubt that Compass Learning follows the adopted English curriculum. English classes require students to respond in writing and in discussion to literary works. How are those requirements met with computer learning? Students do not realize how much they are being cheated of real preparation for their futures. District 150 cannot achieve academic success without summer school.
Please check into the possibility of using Title I funds for summer school if self-funding is out of the question.
As an aside why were course titles changed from English 1-8, to English 1-4 Semesters 1 and 2? I don’t see the advantage.
Dr. Kherat, I am pleased to see two bids awarded tonight—we haven’t seen bids very often.