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SD 163 to unveil school realignment

Joyce Carmine  |  Supplied photo

Joyce Carmine | Supplied photo

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Updated: May 14, 2014 6:39AM



A proposed realignment of schools in Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 will get a public airing Monday.

The changes at each of the six school — announced Friday but yet to be approved by the school board — are intended to promote national objectives of improved education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and better prepare students for college and a career, according to the district.

An informational session will be held at 5 p.m. Monday in the gymnasium of the district’s 21st Century Preparatory Center, 240 S. Orchard Drive, Park Forest. Other meetings will be held next month at all of the district’s schools.

District 163 Supt. Joyce Carmine said the district has been working on the realignment plan for four months, and the school board is expected to vote on it this month.

She said the plan would take effect with the 2014-15 school year and would enable the district to “continue to challenge our students academically” and “motivate them to be lifelong learners.”

The changes will affect where students attend school and what grades are offered at each school.

Algonquin, which now has students in pre-kindergarten through second grade, would only have pre-kindergarten. Beacon Hill, now pre-K through third grade, would switch to grades four through eight.

Blackhawk and Mohawk schools, currently with fourth through sixth grades, would convert to K-3, and Forest Trail, which now has seventh and eighth grade, would add grades four through six. The 21st Century Preparatory Center, now pre-K through third grade, would drop pre-K classes.

The plan would also give the curriculum at Beacon Hill a “more intense focus” on science, technology, engineering and math, while students at Forest Trail would get increased exposure to technology and the arts, Carmine said.

That doesn’t mean students would study those subjects exclusively, she said, noting that Beacon Hill would also offer art and music while Forest Trail would have a science lab.

Both schools also would be renamed to reflect those curriculum changes and “to signify this is a new beginning,” Carmine said, declining to say what names are being considered.

She said she expected parents “to be excited” about the plan, adding that another advantage is that students would have to attend only two schools rather than three if they stay from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Information about the plan is at District 163’s website. Public meetings to explain it and take comments will be held at 6 p.m. May 1 at Algonquin, May 6 at Forest Trail, May 7 at 21st Century, May 12 at Beacon Hill, May 20 at Blackhawk and May 22 at Mohawk.



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