District 163 Announces More Spotlight Awards


The ISBE has recognized Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163. (Photo: Wendy Heise)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Illinois State Board of Education has recognized Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163’s Mohawk Intermediate Center, Blackhawk Intermediate Center, and Beacon Hill Primary Center as 2007 Spotlight Schools and cited Forest Trail Middle School with a 2007 Academic Improvement Award for its significant improvement over the last two years. This is the third consecutive year that Mohawk has received the Spotlight award and the second consecutive year that Blackhawk and Beacon Hill have received the award.

“A number of schools receive the Spotlight School award, but it is not as common to receive the recognition in subsequent years,” said Superintendent Joyce Carmine. “Each of our schools that administered the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) for more than one year has been cited by the state for their academic success. Once again I credit the Board, administrators, teachers and parents with this achievement. We have worked together to provide the programs and atmosphere that support a strong educational system for our students.”

Noted School Board President Virginia Ford, “It is extremely gratifying that our teachers’ and students’ hard work is recognized by the state. Our constant goal is to provide a quality educational program that addresses the needs of all of our children and that bears out our core belief that all children want to and can achieve high standards. The upward trend we are experiencing over the past few years indicates we are achieving our goal.”

Spotlight School Awards are granted to schools with an enrollment of at least 50 percent low income students in 2007, at least 60 percent of the students meeting or exceeding standards in both reading and mathematics in 2007 and at least 50 percent meeting or exceeding standards in reading and mathematics in 2005 and 2006. Schools must also have made Adequate Yearly Progress in 2006 and 2007.  Academic Improvement Awards are granted to schools showing an improvement in the percentage of students who met or exceeded standards of at least 7.5 percentage points in state test scores in both reading in mathematics between 2006 and 2007 or showing an improvement of at least 15 percentage points in state test sores in both reading and math between 2005 and 2007 and showing an upward trend in state test results.

In 2007, Beacon Hill’s composite score was 93.25 percent meeting/exceeding AYP, Mohawk’s score was 68.75 percent meeting/exceeding AYP, Blackhawk’s score was 72.15 percent meeting/exceeding AYP, and Forest Trail’s score was 67.85 percent meeting/exceeding AYP.

“Our scores continue to move upward because our staff is committed to excellence, the students desire to do their best, our parents and community members provide continuous support, and we have introduced the district wide Professional Learning Community (PLC) this year, which supports our initiatives in a number of ways,” said Blackhawk principal Bessie Boyd. “As we continue to move our school from good to great using the techniques and strategies of the PLC model, we expect to continue to close the achievement gap for our students.”

Mohawk co-principal George McJimpsey remarked, “Mohawk is honored to receive the Spotlight School recognition for the third consecutive year. Our dedicated teachers have expended a great deal of time and effort to assure that our students were prepared for ISAT. Parental support and our students also are integral components for establishing success. We also acknowledge the superintendent and school board for making programs and materials available to us that enable us to reach our high expectations of student performance and achievement.”

Noting Beacon Hill’s academic success, principal Ericka Patterson said, “While ISAT is one snapshot of students taking the test on one day, we are very pleased with being named a Spotlight School. We believe that our continuous improvement has been the result of reviewing a variety of assessment data, determining critical areas of need, discussing strategies for effective instruction, and most importantly, focusing on what students know and are able to do.”

“I am extremely proud of the hard work of Forest Trail’s staff and students that has brought recognition from the State of Illinois and garnered the school the Academic Improvement Award. Our goal is now to become a Spotlight School.