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Dunlap Community Unit School District #323

Dunlap High School Celebrates the Holidays

Goal 4: To ensure a satisfying and productive partnership with families and the community. The Dunlap High School Multi-Cultural Club sponsored a one week drive to collect caps and hats for patients with cancer, collecting 225 hats total. Six members (along with the club sponsor) took some time on Monday, December 15, to bring holiday cheer to others by delivering the caps and hats to the Illinois Cancer Center of Peoria.

Dunlap High School also partnered with Youth Life in an initiative to bring joy to young boys and girls this December. DHS students purchased over 100 gifts that were recently delivered to the Friendship House and given to those in need.

The Interact Club constructed a display in the Dunlap High School courtyard for the students to enjoy.

Dunlap High School wishes everyone a happy holiday season!

Submitted by: Amy Smith

Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

Dunlap High School Students Celebrate Achievement Rankings at Lunch

Goal 1: To continuously improve student growth and achievement. Dunlap High School students recently celebrated their current 16th place ranking in the state by the Chicago Sun-Times.  At lunch, they enjoyed cupcakes topped with “#16″ written in frosting.

Students pictured above: Chance Emanuels, Andrea Jensen and Roman Hampton.

Submitted by: Tom Welsh

Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

Grand Event at Banner Elementary School!

Grandparents and special visitors recently came to Banner Elementary School to have lunch with their grandchildren!  They then visited the Book Fair.  There were over 350 “grand” people who came through the doors!

Submitted by: Greg Fairchild

Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

1st Graders at Hickory Grove Elementary School Participate in Career Day!

Goal 4: To ensure a satisfying and productive partnership with families and the community. First graders at Hickory Grove Elementary School participated in Career Day on Friday, November 14. This special day acted as a supplementary activity to their learning about community workers.

Approximately thirteen first-grade parents and community members helped make this day a meaningful and educational experience. Students participated in a variety of activities that exposed them to an assortment of different careers.

This day would not have been possible without the time and talents of our parent and community volunteers. We value our volunteers and appreciate your dedication to extending our learning.

Submitted by: Jessica Nauman

Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

Dunlap High School Earns Recognition on College Board’s Honor Roll

Goal 1: To continuously improve student growth and achievement.  Dunlap High School is one of 547 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 5th Annual AP® District Honor Roll for increasing access to AP course work, while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. 2014 is a milestone year for the AP District Honor Roll, and more districts are achieving this objective than ever before. Reaching these goals indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for the opportunity of AP. Since 2012, Dunlap High School has increased the number of students participating in AP, while improving the number of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.

Data from 2014 show that among African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half of students are participating. The first step to delivering the opportunity of AP to students is providing access by ensuring courses are available, that gatekeeping stops, and that the doors are equitably opened so these students can participate. Dunlap High School is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.

“The devoted teachers and administrators in this district are delivering an undeniable benefit to their students: opportunity. When coupled with a student’s hard work, such opportunities can have myriad outcomes, whether building confidence, learning to craft effective arguments, earning credit for college, or persisting to graduate from college on time.” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of AP and Instruction. “We applaud your conviction that a more diverse population of students is ready for the sort of rigor that will prepare them for success in college.”

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to simultaneously expand access and improve student performance.  In 2014, more than 3,800 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, and/or consideration in the admission process, with many colleges and universities in the United States offering credit in one or more subjects for qualifying AP scores.

Inclusion on the 5th Annual AP® District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2012 to 2014, looking across 34 AP Exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used:

Districts must:

  • Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;
  • Increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students; and
  • Improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2014 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2012, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.

When these outcomes have been achieved among an AP student population in which 30 percent or more are underrepresented minority students (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native) and/or 30 percent or more are low-income students (students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch), a symbol has been affixed to the district name to highlight this work.

Submitted by: Tom Welsh

Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

Ridgeview Elementary School Teacher Earns National Board Certification®

Becky Hopkins, an elementary special education teacher at Ridgeview Elementary School, recently earned the prestigious designation of National Board Certification®. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, National Board Certification® measures a teacher’s practice against high and rigorous standards. The process involves an extensive series of performance-based assessments that includes teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes and thorough analyses of the candidates’ classroom teaching and student learning. Teachers also complete a series of written exercises that probe the depth of their subject-matter knowledge, as well as their understanding of how to teach those subjects to their students. Earning National Board Certification® takes a tremendous amount of time, dedication, and professional acumen. Mrs. Hopkins has taught special education for the past 16 years and also possesses a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. Congratulations to Mrs. Hopkins for her continued service and dedication to our children!

Submitted by: Todd Jefferson

Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

Parent Information Regarding the PARCC Assessment

Goal 1:  To continuously improve student growth and achievement.

What is PARCC?
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a common set of computer-based K–12 assessments for English Language Arts/Literacy and Math, linked to the new, more rigorous Illinois Learning Standards (ILS) based on the Common Core.  During the 2014-15 school year, students in third through eighth grades, as well as high school students, will take the PARCC assessments in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math.  The PARCC exams will replace the ISAT, formerly given to third- through eighth-graders, and the PSAE, previously given to 11th grade students.

PARCC Aims To:

  • Create high-quality 21st century, technology-based assessments.  They will go beyond the traditional paper-pencil, fill-in-the-bubble tests, using new innovative technology-enhanced items and more extensive constructed response items.  The tasks on the assessments will better resemble students’ classroom work.
  • Support educators in the classroom by providing data during the academic year to inform instruction, interventions and professional development.
  • Build a pathway to college and career readiness for all students and advance accountability at all levels.  Students will know if they are on track to graduate ready for college and careers, and parents and guardians will be provided with clear and timely information about the progress of their children.

What Does PARCC Measure?
The PARCC is designed to measure student mastery toward what we value about standards, teaching, and learning in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics.

What Can Parents Expect?
The PARCC is a new set of assessments with a new way of scoring.  Thus, it is not possible to directly compare new scores with previous scores.  The new assessments measure deeper knowledge and skills deemed important for college and career readiness. Standards are more rigorous.  It may appear that achievement scores are initially lower than we have seen in the past.  This should not necessarily be interpreted as a decline in student learning or in educator performance.

How Many PARCC Assessments Will Students Take During the School Year? 
The PARCC assessments will be administered in a total of nine sessions throughout the school year.  There will be two such components, a Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) and an End-of Year test (EOY).  At each grade level, the PBA will require three sessions for ELA and two sessions for mathematics.  The EOY at each grade level will require two sessions for ELA and two sessions for math.  Currently, the ISAT has three sessions for math and three sessions for reading.  When a writing assessment was included in the ISAT, there was an additional session.  The PSAE has two sessions for reading and two for math, which typically take between five and eight hours to complete.  Additionally, when the ACT writing is included in the PSAE, an additional session is needed with a time limit of 30 minutes.  In total, the PARCC will require slightly more testing time than the ISAT and PSAE, but testing will be spread out through the school year. Although it will require more testing time, the PARCC includes new components to capture comprehensive information about college and career readiness.  Furthermore, while the PARCC assesses writing, the ISAT and the PSAE do not, which partially explains the differences in testing time.

When Are the Test Taking Windows?
Students will take the PBA between March 9, 2015 and April 3, 2015.  Students will take the EOY between April 27, 2015 and May 22, 2015.  Details about your child’s testing dates will be provided by individual schools in the district.

How Will PARCC Be Administered?
Students will take the assessment on an electronic device.  Computers and tablets are playing an increasingly larger role in everything we do, including education.  A technology-based test will allow us to improve the ways that students can demonstrate on a test what they know and are able to do.  For instance, students will be able to use the device to complete performance-based tasks that better measure the range of skills we value and colleges and employers report are necessary for students to

How Will Scores Be Used?

  • Teachers will review scores during Professional Learning Communities to drive and target instruction for all students, as well as analyze curriculum effectiveness.
  • Scores may also be used to help identify students in need of intervention within the Response to Intervention Process.
  • Scores will be used in conjunction with other data sources to identify students for Enrichment Eagles in grades 3-5.

What Accommodations Will Be Provided for Special Populations of Students?
Students with Individualized Education Plans, 504 Plans or Intervention plans will receive accommodations on the PARCC Assessment according to what is listed in their plans.

The Illinois Alternative Assessment will be replaced with the new Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) system. This system is an instructionally relevant system that supports student learning and measures what students with significant cognitive disabilities know and can do. The assessment is aligned to the New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core Essential Elements (CCEE). If the students are able to take PARCC, they will be supported by various accessibility features and accommodations.

Illinois will continue to use the ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS tests as the measure of English language proficiency. Additionally, EL students will take the PARCC and DLM assessments using appropriate accommodations.

Where Can I Find Additional Information?
The PARCC website:

ISBE Student Assessments website:

PARCC Practice Tests and sample questions:

The Peoria Regional Office of Education:

Submitted by:  Mandy Ellis


Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

Dunlap Grade School Hosts “Coffee and the Common Core”

Goal 4:  To ensure a satisfying and productive partnership with families and the community.  On November 4, 2014, parents joined Principal Mandy Ellis and teacher leaders, Sam Mahrt and Natalie Lanser, in the Dunlap Grade School Royal Cafe for a foundational information session on the Common Core Standards.  Mandy, Natalie and Sam have been engaged in high-level professional development focused on Common Core shifts in Math and English Language Arts through the Peoria Regional Office of Education at the PROE Center.  They integrated their knowledge to communicate these shifts with parents.

Coined “Coffee and The Common Core,” parents gathered together to hear information about the Common Core and engage in conversation to gain a better understanding of the shifts in Math and English Language Arts.  The goal of the session was to provide an overview of the Common Core and its applications in the classroom.  Future sessions will be offered to provide further information on Math, English Language Arts and the PARCC Assessment.  The presentation can be viewed  by clicking on the link below.

Submitted by:  Mandy Ellis


Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

Dunlap High School Hosts 4th Annual Parent Forum on Drugs and Alcohol

Dunlap High School hosted its 4th Annual Parent Forum on Drugs and Alcohol on October 30 to a record number of parents in the Dunlap High School auditorium.

Pictured below is Detective Watkins of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office, who provided valuable information regarding current trends and popular drugs that are currently wide-spread in the Tri-County area.

Parent Forum - Drugs & Alcohol

Vickie Lewis returned to our forum and presented information to parents on drug awareness, including signs for parents to watch for regarding drug use.

Submitted by:  Tom Welsh


Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent

Fun and Learning at Camp Big Sky

The Middle and High School Life Skills classes have been spending their Thursdays at Camp Big Sky in Farmington, as part of an experiential outdoor education program.  Two education interns employed by Big Sky taught a curriculum covering weather, navigation, horticulture, and fire/outdoor safety.  In between lessons, the students participated in various indoor and outdoor recreational activities.  The students chose between a variety of leisure activities and had to factor in weather and the amount of time they had when making their choices.

We are fortunate to be able to partner with Big Sky to take advantage of this program at no cost to the District.  The mission of Camp Big Sky is to provide accessible fishing, camping, boating and other related outdoor opportunities to children and adults with disabilities.  The passionate volunteers make every experience special, and it is a place where our students are always able to fully participate.

Submitted by:  Amy George


Dr. Lisa Parker, Interim Superintendent