turning point

Chicago Heights School District 170 has announced that three of its staff have been selected to serve as presenters at the prestigious Illinois ESSA Conference 2017 to be held in Chicago next month.

Garfield School's Diane Kostovski and Shannon Vera, and The STEM Academy's J. R. Entsminger will represent District 170 making presentations on the first and final day of the event.

Kostovski and Vera's presentation, entitled, "Foldables, Anticipation Guides, Storyboards, and much more!" will detail ways in which English Learners benefit from explicit instruction and scaffolding to assist in making content information comprehensible.

"We are looking forward to the conference and hope to provide educators with strategies to make instruction engaging and understandable for English Learners," Kostovski said.

Entsminger's presentation "Curriculum Integration / Project Based Learning," will focus on teaching methods in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.

"The PBL process is both challenging and time-consuming but results in students acquiring deeper learning skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical analysis which will be essential talents for success in the 21st century," Entsminger said.

The theme of this year's conference is unique as Illinois moves from No Child Left Behind to ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). A new state plan will reveal education as a shared effort that must provide fair access to high-quality education for all including those students coming from low-income homes or who have special needs. Engaging with parents, community organizations, civic leaders, and local resource providers will help schools become the center of a healthy community.

The conference and presentations will focus on solid research-based teaching strategies; on the creation and implementation of successful parent and community engagement activities; and on effective district and school leadership approaches to improving student achievement.

Conference topics will include early childhood education, the use of technology in teaching, assessment, school administration, education for homeless students, new approaches to content-focused teaching, English learning, classroom management, professional development, STEM learning, and much more.

"We are extraordinarily proud that three members of the School District 170 family have been selected to be presenters at this year's ESSA Conference," said SD170 Superintendent Tom Amadio, "and believe that this honor is an acknowledgment of the many great things happening in our schools!"