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By CAROL THILMONY
Rantoul Press correspondent
FISHER – Enrollment figures remain about the same in the Fisher school district today compared to 2005, but one major change has developed — the number of low-income students.
Superintendent Barb Thompson told the school board at its November meeting that the district report card shows an increase in low-income students from 13 percent in 2005 to 26 percent last year.
That number has climbed even further this year — to 36 percent, Thompson said.
She said that if that number reaches 40 percent, the district will be required to serve breakfast to those students.
Grade school Principal Jim Moxley said that though students in grades three-five (sixth-grade scores were not higher) who took state tests last year scored higher than the state average in all categories and higher than the past two years, the school did not make adequate yearly progress because of the performance of one sub-group.
Moxley also told the board that 85 percent of the students who moved into the school this year have special needs.
He said his staff is working to line up the school’s math curriculum with the state’s new common core standards. A committee of staff members is meeting twice monthly to implement the state’s Rising Star program, a requirement because of not meeting AYP.
Moxley said Rising Star “seems well thought out,” something he can’t always say about state programs.
Junior/senior high Principal Tom Shallenberger said last year’s junior class state test scores were 10-15 percent higher than the previous year. He has made a list of students at that level and in the seventh and eighth grades who are close to meeting the standards. He has given that information to his staff, and those students are being targeted this year and being given an extra push.
To improve the curriculum Shallenberger is recommending that both earth science and algebra be taught in eighth grade instead of high school. He said if any students fail those classes they would be able to retake them in high school.
Shallenberger said 27 students attended an ACT practice test on a recent Saturday. He said he charged $10 each to register and refunded the students’ money when they showed up.
During second semester learning lab, teachers will offer an ACT seminar to prepare students for the test all Illinois juniors are required to take.