School Board members Dennis Wiser & Julie McKenna presented an overview of the"North Star" program plan which is designed to prepare students to graduate from high school career or college ready.
The program starts with kindergarteners beginning to read at 1st grade level at the end of their year.
Testing for proficiency in reading will be done in grades 3 & 6; writing in grades 4, 8 & 10; math in grades 5 & 9; & finally, graduation from high school having successfully completed career or technical programs & or graduate with an ATC score at or above the state average.
To achieve "North Star" goals, RUSD proposes the following:
Reduce class sizes in elementary schools to a 13 to 1 student-teacher ratio in kindergarten & 1st grade
26 to 1 student-teacher ratio in grades 2 through 5;
School Board Memberes Gretchen Warner and Kim Plache
Reduce school sizes in middle & high school grades to 1800 students per school ;
Gradual inclusion of special education students in general education classes from pre-kindergarten up to high school over the next 5 years;
Development of virtual school offerings, expansion of International Baccalaureate programs, creation of a technology-oriented high school & offering a bilingual school;
Changing with the demographics of the Racine community including the growing population of English Language Learners & eliminating household income level as a barrier to academic success.
Don Phillips, Richard Reich, Dennis Kisley
A three phase program to improve physical facilities is proposed.
Each phase would be financed by separate referendums.
Phase 1 proposes two new elementary schools & a new K-8 school, all to open in 2012.
Existing buildings to be remodeled to provide smaller classes, improved accessibility & better technology.
Jim Morrison, RUSD Liaison
Phase 2 includes new boundaries for elementary schools,
remodeling Olympia Brown Elementary School into a middle school,
replacing the Red Apple school building with a new K-8 facility by the fall of 2013,
building a new "green" high school by the fall of 2014 and
opening a technology-oriented high school.
Lou Hanziak interviewed
Phase 3 would involve updating some of the district's most distressed facilities.
No project timeline has been established for this phase.