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CUSD 115 Board Hears Updates on STEM and Jumpstart Programs

Both programs aim to increase academic success for students in the district and beyond.

Members of the CUSD 115 Board of Education heard a brief update on Yorkville High School’s investigation into the STEM learning program.

Ron Kiesewetter, principal of Yorkville High School, said school officials are continuing to investigate implementation of the academic program. He said they’re taking their time in order to make a complete presentation to the board of education in the spring.

“We wanted t slow things down and make sure everything gelled together,” Kiesewetter said.

STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, is a rigorous program aimed at teaching the necessary skills in a 21st Century global economy.

Kiesewetter said he and other school officials visited Oswego East to view their STEM program and talk with teachers and students about the various courses, which includes an introduction to engineering. He said the course has guided some of the students to pursue engineering as a career. One of the classrooms has pennants of colleges with strong engineering programs hanging on the wall and each student accepted into one of those collegiate programs signs the pennant.

“It was a celebration of the students who went through that program,” Kiesewetter said.

Board members also discussed the district’s Jumpstart program, which completed its second year.

The Jumpstart program uses federal Title I money to target economically disadvantaged students, or students classified as English Language Learners. David Taylor, principal of Bristol Bay Elementary School, said kindergarten students who were in danger of beginning the school year behind other students met with teachers for three weeks before the beginning of the school year. The 42 students who participated in the program worked with first-grade teachers on reading, writing, math and other subjects to prepare them for the first day of the school year.

“When they started in August they were ready when they came through the front door,” Taylor said.

Although the Jumpstart program has only been in place for two years, Taylor said the students are continuing to succeed academically.

The program has an approximate budget of $30,000, said District 115 Assistant Superintendent Tim Shimp.

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