GenevaDistrict 304 Board Q&A
Six candidates are running for three, 4-year seats on the Geneva Unit District 304 board April 5.
Incumbents Leslie Juby, Kelly Nowak and Mary Stith are joined by Robert Cabeen, George Jackowiec and Michael McCormick. Here are their thoughts on issues selected from a Daily Herald questionnaire sent to each candidate.
Q. How satisfied are you that your district is preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
Cabeen. While I do feel the class size is getting close to maximums, I think our teachers are doing a good job of educating our kids.
Jackowiec. I think we have some excellent teachers who are doing a very good job of advancing kids through the educational system. The United States is lagging many countries in advanced math and science. These skills are needed to compete and succeed in the economies of the 21st century.
Juby. The Geneva School District does an excellent job preparing its students for success after high school while
working within the parameters of state mandates. We have an extremely high graduation rate (2009: 98.6 vs. 88.7 statewide) and above average ACT scores (23.7 compared to state average of 19.9). We partner with the Fox Valley Career Center, offering hands-on technical and career training to students. We continue to identify and revise areas within the curriculum that need improvement while measuring costs against results.
McCormick. I believe the district is doing an excellent job in preparing students for the next stage in their lives but, with everything in life, one can't rest on one's laurels. We must continue to foster programs and curriculum options to address the varying needs of the students, from vocational programs to additional college prep programs.
Nowak. Generally speaking, I have been extremely satisfied with the multitude of ways in which our district prepares students for transitioning into the next stage of their lives. While no one indicator can or should act as the sole measure of whether our program is working, a combination of these metrics would tend to support the assertion that Geneva is successfully preparing our students for transitions ranging from elementary school through college/full-time employment.
Our district has implemented several initiatives in recent years that are clearly aimed at managing these transitions, and ensuring that students will successfully meet new challenges. One such new program is a Study Skills course at the high school. Students in both the eighth and ninth grades now take the EXPLORE test, and the data is used to identify incoming freshmen who may benefit from extra support in the areas of time management and study habits. These students receive personalized instruction in the strategies required to ensure their successful transition to high school.
At the middle school level, the introduction of the reading and math labs and an intensive summer reading camp have enabled students to master the basic skills necessary for their continued academic success. At the high school level, the extensive programming offered by the guidance office creates opportunities for students to explore career options, identify appropriate college programs and even network with recent graduates to receive insight into the challenges inherent in leaving home and gaining a fuller measure of independence.
Stith. As a Geneva resident for the last 23 years, I have grown increasingly satisfied that our students are prepared for the next stage of their lives, whether midway in their schooling or off to college, trade schools or employment. But there is always room for improvement, particularly for those students in the middle of the ability spectrum. Having been a parent in the schools, I have seen firsthand the progress that has been achieved in terms of transition. …