Chapter 3: Teaching, Learning, and Student Support

In this Chapter

Academic Standards

All Illinois schools are accountable to state goals, standards, and benchmarks. The standards are academic expectations for students. As students progress through the grades, content and skills are designed to provide a continuous succession of learning objectives designed to build on previous learning. Students receive a consistent curriculum throughout the district based on the Illinois Common Core Standards developed for each grade level. Collaborative teams of teachers determine essential content knowledge and skills students should know and be able to demonstrate. 

Classroom Assessments

Classroom teachers administer various assessments to provide a picture of student growth and achievement over time. 

Grading Policy

Elementary School

District 146 uses a standards-based grading and reporting system for kindergarten through 5th grade students. The purpose of standards-based report cards is to provide to students and families accurate information and detailed feedback on a student’s progress towards meeting grade level standards.

A four-point number scale is used to represent the level to which a student has progressed toward specific learning criteria of the standard. 

Reporting standards share the teaching and learning focus for the marking period. Report cards will be shared every trimester.
  • A mark of "3" is meeting the expected goal or target for the grade level. 
  • A mark of "4" is extending and indicates student performance is above proficiency. 
  • A mark of "2" is developing and indicates a student is not currently proficient but does not require teacher help during assessments.
  • A mark of "1" is beginning and indicates that student performance is below expectations and requires teacher help during assessments. 
The goal is for each child to reach a proficiency level of "3" by the end of the school year. 

Middle School

All departments will have set weighted categories. Each department will communicate their grading philosophy with students and families at the start of the school year. Each department will report out on summative and formative assessments. Summative assessments are defined as a final check to assess a student’s understanding of a specific concept and/or skill. Formative assessments are defined as informal and formal assessment measures during the learning process that are used to modify teaching and learning.

Graduation Policy

The purpose of a graduation ceremony is to celebrate the academic achievement of students. This is a source of pride for family and friends. A student must be in good standing in order to participate in a graduation ceremony. This includes a minimum of a 1.75 cumulative GPA and regular attendance that is not considered truant. All efforts will be made to work with students and families to create a plan for students to participate in a graduation ceremony when students are at risk for not meeting minimum requirements. 

Standardized Assessments

Student assessment is an important ongoing process throughout the school year. District 146 utilizes standardized assessments to build a learning picture of progress for every student.

Students in grades 3-8 will be administered State assessments. These assessments measure student learning in the common core standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. These assessments are referred to as IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness) assessments. The IAR assessments have the ability to measure a student’s performance through technology enhanced test items. These assessments will occur in the spring.

In addition to IAR assessments, students in grades 5 and 8 will be tested in the area of science in the spring. This Illinois Science Assessment measures scientific reasoning, data interpretation, and scientific concepts using a technology-enhanced assessment.

District 146 utilizes NWEA Map to assess individual student growth in grades 1-8. The MAP assessments are given in the areas of reading and mathematics. 

English Language Learner (ELL) students in grades K-8 participate in the ACCESS for ELLs® language proficiency test. ACCESS provides a standardized measurement of academic language proficiency for ELL students to monitor individual student progress on an annual basis.

Parents receive reports from these assessments that illustrate the student’s individual growth across time.

Assignment Notebooks

Students in grades 3 through 8 receive individual student assignment books. These are provided to students as part of their instructional fees. The notebook helps students keep track of homework assignments and also serves as a communication tool between parents and staff. Sometimes, electronic tools serve this function. A charge of $2.50 will be implemented to replace a lost assignment notebook.

Take Home Folders

In the elementary schools, Take Home Folders are an important means of communication between school, home, and community. It may include samples of student work and messages from the school and other community organizations. Since the majority of teaching takes place in school through discussions and a variety of activities, student’s written work represents only part of his/her learning. Parents are asked to review the contents with their child and return any requested feedback. Keep reviewed information at home unless specified for a return signature.


Homework can be an effective means of fostering academic growth and personal responsibility in students. Teachers make assignments that provide opportunities for students to practice and apply skills taught at school. Although teachers are not required to assign homework, when it is assigned, the homework will reinforce and extend classroom learning. The complete Homework Guiding Principals can be found on the District website.

Meaningful and Appropriate Homework

  • Has a clear academic purpose focused on specific learning goals; 
  • Demonstrates student learning that is used to adjust instruction based on performance; 
  • Promotes ownership by offering choices and being personally relevant; and
  • Instills a sense of competence as the student can successfully complete it without help. 

Makeup Work 

If a student is absent, they will be expected to make up any missed work, including homework and tests. The student will be given the same number of days as they were absent to complete the work. The student is responsible for obtaining assignments from teachers. 

Homework Partnerships and Support

Students: Students are encouraged to do their best, ask for help when a task is unclear, and take responsibility for completing assignments. 

Parents: Help provide a time and place with limited interruptions that can be used to complete assignments. Check in and assist with homework when necessary. The time it takes to complete assignments may vary with each child. If a student is consistently having difficulty completing assignments within the reasonably defined timeframe, please contact the student’s teacher for assistance.

The Homework Guiding Principles can be found on the District website.

Field Trips

Field trips are planned by classroom teachers to enrich and extend learning beyond the classroom. The costs of field trips are paid by families who are assessed a fee for each trip. Written permission slips are required from parents or guardians for student participation. Current student emergency information must be on file. Appropriate behavior is expected while on field trips and any inappropriate behavior may result in disciplinary action and possible exclusion from future field trips.


Assemblies are provided to educate, enrich, and celebrate the accomplishments of students. Each school’s parent group may provide assemblies during the year. Students are expected to behave appropriately during assemblies. A student who is unable to behave appropriately in an assembly program may be subject to disciplinary action.

Study Sessions

Middle School teachers may offer study sessions during lunch or after school for academic assistance. The intention of these sessions is to help students and is not meant to be a negative consequence. Students are encouraged to attend scheduled study sessions. Parents will be notified by the teacher issuing the study session ahead of time and are encouraged to support these opportunities.

English Language Learners

School District 146 offers support for English Language Learners to develop high levels of academic attainment in English, acquire the same academic content, and meet the same academic achievement standards that all students are expected to attain.

Parents/guardians of English Language Learners will be:
  1. Given an opportunity to provide input to the program through the Bilingual Parent Advisory Council, and
  2. Provided notification regarding their child’s placement in, and information about, the District’s English Language Learners program.


Education of Children with Disabilities

It is the intent of the District to ensure that students who may be eligible for services per Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are identified, evaluated, and provided with appropriate educational services.
 It is the intent of the school to ensure that students with disabilities are identified, evaluated, and provided with appropriate educational services. The District provides free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment paired with necessary related services to all children with disabilities enrolled. The term “children with disabilities” means children between the age of three and the day before their 22nd birthday for whom it is determined that special education services are needed. Children with disabilities who turn 22 years of age during the school year are eligible for special education services through the end of that school year.
A copy of the publication, “Explanation of Procedural Safeguards Available to Parents of Students with Disabilities” may be obtained from the District office or on the District website.
Students with disabilities who do not qualify for an individualized education program (IEP), as required by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and implementing provisions of this Illinois law, may qualify for services under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if the student (i) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (ii) has a record of a physical or mental impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment.
For further information, please contact: Kelly Voliva, Director of Student Services, 708-614-4500.

Social Emotional Standards

All Illinois schools are accountable for the implementation of social emotional learning (SEL) standards at all grade levels. District 146 addresses SEL standards through weekly lessons and daily reinforcement of taught skills.  

The social emotional development of students is at the cornerstone of everything District 146 does. Students cannot be successful in school without forming positive relationships with those around them, nor without feeling safe at school. Relationships include student/student, teacher/student, teacher/parent, and parent/student. Part of feeling safe at school includes maintaining high standards for positive student behavior.  

Safe and Civil Schools 

District 146 has long used the practices researched by Safe and Civil Schools. Save and Civil Schools provides a researched-based, positive behavioral framework designed to create productive, safe, and respectful learning environments. The goal of Safe and Civil Schools is to empower school personnel with techniques to help all students behave responsibly and respectfully. Classes in District 146 align with the five basic beliefs of Safe and Civil Schools
  • All students must be treated with dignity and respect.  
  • Students can and should be taught skills and behaviors needed for success. 
  • Motivation and responsibility should be encouraged through positive interactions and through building relationships with students. 
  • Student misbehavior provides a teaching opportunity.
  • Collaboration is critical. All school staff members must work together to help students behave responsibly and to meet student needs. 
The CHAMPS curriculum, which is part of Safe and Civil Schools, is used throughout District 146 as a framework for teaching students expectations, appropriate responses, and how to work together to support all students. The CHAMPS curriculum is based on the above common beliefs and following process: 
  • Self-reflection: If student behavior is irresponsible, school staff should reflect on what they can do to help the student. 
  • Utilization for data: Objective information about behavior is important in planning and making decisions about behavior. 
  • Structure of success: All school settings should be organized to promote successful behavior from students.
  • Collaboration: Helping students behave responsibly is a shared responsibility of all school staff members. 
Implementation of CHAMPS is evidenced by behavioral expectations posted in common areas throughout buildings, and visuals that serve as quick reminders for students in the hallways.  Those “common area expectations” are taught to students at the beginning of the year and reinforced throughout the year, as needed. In the classroom, learning expectations that relate to specific activities and part of the daily schedule are posted. Classrooms are structured for success, students are taught how to be successful in the classroom, and teachers observe student behavior, interact positively, and correct fluently throughout the school day. Students who may require more support or direct teaching are provided individualized interventions, as needed, by their teacher or grade level team.

For more information on Save and Civil Schools, please visit their website

Social Emotional Curriculum

District 146 follows a social emotional curriculum called Second Step and includes specific time in a student’s school day to directly teach social emotional skills. This curriculum is used preschool through 8th grade. The Second Step curriculum builds children’s social-emotional competence and foundational learning skills. It is also directly aligned to Illinois’ Social Emotional Learning Standards at each grade level. Lessons are delivered in a developmentally- appropriate manner, using scenarios that are relatable to students at each age level.  

The Second Step curriculum helps students develop executive functioning skills, healthy peer and adult relationships, a growth mindset, along with goal-setting skills, empathy, and problem solving. Teachers across the District also use supplemental units created by Second Step. The Bullying Prevention unit focuses on building trust with staff members to report bullying, as well as providing specific strategies to students for reporting incidents of bullying, as both a victim or a bystander. 

For more information about Second Step, please visit their website.

Social Emotional Screener 

Illinois requires school districts to utilize a universal screener to identify students that may be at-risk in the areas of social emotional/behavioral functioning. District 146 utilizes the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) three times per year to assist teachers and staff in determining behavioral and emotional strengths and weaknesses of students.  

Students in 5th-8th Grade also complete a "self-assessment," which helps identify how students are feeling and viewing themselves. Parents are informed of the student screening process and are given the opportunity to opt out of completing the student self-screener.  

For more information on the BESS Screener, please click here

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

District 146 believes that all students are capable of high levels of learning.

Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework for continuous school improvement that is systematic, prevention-focused, collaborative, and data-informed. MTSS provides a continuum of support, responsive to the needs of all students, ensuring successful outcomes in academics and social emotional-behavioral functioning. 

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and/or social emotional-behavioral needs. Students are provided intervention at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning and/or address learning gaps. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel including general education teachers, support personnel, and specialists inside and outside the general education classroom. Progress is monitored regularly, reviewed by teams, and shared with families. The frequency, duration, method, and intensity of interventions can be adjusted and are based on individual student progress and response to instruction.
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