Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum

River Forest District 90 schools offer a comprehensive educational program for elementary school students, from kindergarten through 8th grade. The district’s math and English language arts core curriculum aligns with Illinois Learning Standards, which incorporate the Common Core State Standards. These are a recently issued set of educational standards aimed at creating an internationally benchmarked framework for what students need to know to compete in the global marketplace.

The Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The Standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers. Other Common Core and exploratory subjects continue to be aligned with the Illinois State Standards. In addition to the core curriculum, exploratory courses and extracurricular activities are offered to enrich the educational experience.

Early Childhood Program
An early childhood program is provided for eligible students with developmental needs, beginning at age 3. Information about the early childhood program is available from the district special education coordinator.

Kindergarten
Lincoln and Willard Elementary Schools offer a half-day kindergarten program for students who are 5 years old on or before September 1 of the year of enrollment.

Instructional Program: Early Childhood - Grade 4
Studies in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies constitute the core curriculum for students in grades K-4. Students in grades K-4 are scheduled for weekly exploratory classes in physical education, music, visual arts, and technology. An instructional specialist teaches each of these classes. Elementary school students also use the library learning center on a weekly basis.

Instructional Program: Grade 5 - Grade 8
Roosevelt Middle School extends the core curriculum areas of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies from the elementary grades. In addition, foreign language (an option of French, Italian, or Spanish) is added to the core in grades 7 and 8. All middle school students receive daily physical education instruction from specialists in this field. General music, chorus, or instrumental music is offered, as is instruction in the visual arts, technology, and communication. The library learning center is used on a weekly basis to enhance core and exploratory curriculum experiences. Foreign language (French, Italian, and Spanish) is provided as a 5th and 6th grade exploratory.

Parent's Guide to Student Data Privacy

Differentiation

District 90 emphasizes differentiated instruction, a responsive teaching approach that addresses the needs of a wide range of learners by adapting content, process, and product in response to student readiness, interest, and/or learning profile within a mixed-ability classroom. It includes the planning, preparation, and implementation of comprehensive, meaningful, flexible instruction that challenges students to think, work, and produce at a high level.

Advanced Differentiated Learning: Programs for Gifted and Academically Talented

The District 90 curriculum is designed to meet the needs of a high-performing student body. Teachers receive staff development training on differentiating their instruction in order to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners. Class sizes also are kept low, especially in the elementary schools, in order to facilitate differentiated instruction. In the elementary schools, acceleration in mathematics is provided in 4th grade for a very few, highly capable students who meet established criteria for advanced placement.

Roosevelt Middle School offers an academically talented program (ATP) for eligible students. Humanities and/or accelerated mathematics are offered to 5th through 8th graders. These highly demanding courses accelerate students approximately two years. Eligibility is determined by a matrix of standardized assessments.

The District and the Superintendent's Leadership Council have identified an enhanced focus on supports, services, and programming for Advanced Differentiated Learners (ADL) as a key area of investigation and examination during the 2012-13 school year.

For more information, please refer to the following materials:

Presentation to the Board of Education, December 17, 2012

Executive Summary

Presentation to the Board of Education, May 6, 2013

Parent Presentation, May 15, 2013

Understanding Lexiles

A Lexile measure is about either an individual's reading ability or the difficulty of a text. Students get a Lexile reader measure from a reading test or program. Knowing how well a student can read and how hard a specific book or article is can help predict how well that student will understand the text. However, there are other factors that affect this formula, such as maturity level, interests, and the design of the material.

We've developed a Fact Sheet about Lexiles to help you better understand what Lexiles can do and, just as importantly, what they can't do, and how they can be used. As always, please feel free to talk to your child's teacher or principal if you have questions.

Response to Intervention

Response to Intervention, or RtI, is a federal and state initiative to provide students with the help they need to be successful as early as possible. Download the District's RtI brochure.

RtI uses a problem-solving model to focus on improving student performance. Staff members work together to identify whether a problem exists, analyze why the problem is occurring, develop and implement research-based interventions, and evaluate whether the interventions were successful.

Students are identified for RtI through a variety of formal and informal means, including Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing; grade-level, research-based assessments; teacher observations and team concerns; and parent concerns.

RtI is organized as a three-tiered model that uses increasingly intense interventions for each tier; staff members use data to monitor a student's progress and evaluate whether an intervention has been successful. The three tiers of RtI are as follows:

  • Tier I: The first tier of intervention begins with good differentiation—the academic and behavioral strategies that teachers use in the regular classroom at the first sign a student is having difficulty.
  • Tier II: A student moves to tier II when progress monitoring shows that a student has made insufficient progress in a specific area of the curriculum, despite differentiation. The intervention is research-based and occurs within the academic setting, implemented by the classroom teacher and/or other resource personnel, for instance, the reading specialist.
  • Tier III: If further data shows that the student continues to lack progress, a more intense approach may be recommended for the identified need, for instance, increased academic or social support, a new intervention, or increased time. Tier III may include services available under the special education model.