Good News Sunday: DuPage County schools see strong growth after COVID-19 learning loss

Good News Sunday: DuPage County schools see strong growth after COVID-19 learning loss

  • Washington Junior High School learning support coach Sarah Malik works with seventh-grade student Kaniyah Harris in Naperville. Sixty percent of third- through eighth-graders in Naperville Unit District 203 met or exceeded math standards in 2022.

      Washington Junior High School learning support coach Sarah Malik works with seventh-grade student Kaniyah Harris in Naperville. Sixty percent of third- through eighth-graders in Naperville Unit District 203 met or exceeded math standards in 2022. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted11/13/2022 7:00 AM

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

While educators statewide continue to covet growth and proficiency levels achieved before the pandemic, DuPage County school leaders already are reaching higher.

 

Illinois School Report Card data recently released indicates a statewide academic rebound from two years of learning loss suffered during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools throughout DuPage County, however, appear to be bouncing back more strongly and quickly.

Officials said it might take a decade for segments of the state to return to pre-pandemic learning levels. But in Naperville Unit District 203, administrators said pre-pandemic levels will be met and possibly exceeded within just a few years.

"The mindset here isn't just to go back to 'normal,'" said Patrick Nolten, the district's assistant superintendent for assessment and accountability. "We want to get even beyond that and use this past 2½ years as an opportunity to grow and move the district, as a whole, forward to an even higher level of academic and overall excellence. It isn't really enough to settle for what was."

In the Illinois Assessment of Readiness administered in third through eighth grades, 67% of District 203 students met or exceeded grade-level standards for English language arts, and 60% met or exceeded mathematics standards. That's compared to 59% in English and 58% in math in the 2020-21 school year.

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Wheaton-Warrenville Unit District 200 students saw similar improvements. In English, 47.9% of students met or exceeded standards in 2022 compared to 43.9% in 2021. In math, 62.9% of students met or exceeded standards in 2022 compared to 56.7% in 2021.

For the full story, click here.

Firefighter memorial dedicated in Elgin

The Illinois Firefighters' Memorial Plaza at George Van De Voorde Memorial Park at the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum recognizes firefighters who have died in the line of duty across the state, as well as active and retired firefighters who have died each year from Elgin and surrounding communities.
  The Illinois Firefighters' Memorial Plaza at George Van De Voorde Memorial Park at the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum recognizes firefighters who have died in the line of duty across the state, as well as active and retired firefighters who have died each year from Elgin and surrounding communities. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

An idea more than three decades in the making came to fruition recently with the dedication of a plaza to memorialize firefighters who have served in Elgin and throughout the state.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Illinois Firefighters' Memorial Plaza recognizes firefighters who have died in the line of duty across the state, as well as active and retired firefighters who have died each year from Elgin and surrounding communities.

The plaza, on the grounds of George Van De Voorde Firefighter Memorial Park at the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum, came about due to the efforts of neighborhood residents, retired firefighters, past and present museum members, and a steering committee.

The brick-and-stone plaza at 533 St. Charles St. encircles a water fountain and a bronze statue of a firefighter holding an ax.

Elgin Fire Chief Robb Cagann, Mayor David Kaptain and Elk Grove Village Fire Chief Rich Mikel, who is president of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, were among the officials at the plaza dedication.

"This plaza represents and honors all Illinois firefighters and will be a place to recognize, remember and reflect on those who came before us," Cagann said.

For the full story, click here.

Save-A-Pet offers new foster-to-adopt program

Sable, a German shepherd, and Prunella, a brown tabby, are just two animals in Save-A-Pet's "Take Time to Fall in Love" promotion, which aims to find forever homes for some of its overlooked, long-term, and harder-to-place residents.
Sable, a German shepherd, and Prunella, a brown tabby, are just two animals in Save-A-Pet's "Take Time to Fall in Love" promotion, which aims to find forever homes for some of its overlooked, long-term, and harder-to-place residents. - Courtesy of Save-A-Pet

Save-A-Pet, a no-kill animal rescue and adoption center in Lake County, is implementing a new 30-day Foster-To-Adopt promotion called "Take Time to Fall in Love" in its latest effort to find forever homes for some of its overlooked, long-term, and harder-to-place residents.

"This will highlight our overlooked animals that have been patiently waiting for a home as others around them are adopted. It also helps ease some fears of commitment for adopters that may have otherwise walked away simply because of the unknown. We believe a lot of families will gain a beloved companion with this promotion," said Tim Medeiros, adoption center manager.

With the "Take Time to Fall in Love" promotion, the adopter will pay any adoption and rabies tag fees at the time the cat or dog goes to foster. If they end up falling in love, they can finalize the adoption at any time before the 30-day foster period expires. If, for any reason, it is not a good adoption match, the cat or dog can be brought back to Save-A-Pet and the adoption fees will be refunded as long as the return is within the 30-day period.

According to Save-A-Pet, even if it is not a "fur-ever" match, the cat or dog benefits from love in a home environment during this period. Save-A-Pet also gets to learn more about their personality and behavior to set them up for a greater chance of success in their next home.

The promotion will run through the end of the year. For information on Save-A-Pet, and to see the adoptable cats and dogs, visit www.saveapetil.org.

• Good News Sunday will run each weekend. Please visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our Good News Sunday newsletter.

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