Des Plaines Evolves Curriculum to Prepare Students for New Demands
This is the story of a superintendent who wanted kids to love to read, and the assistant superintendent who found a way to weave it into their daily curriculum – digitally. Dr. Jane Westerhold, superintendent for Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62 first introduced myON to the District with her eye on providing greater access to books. myON delivered this and much more.
How we read is changing, according to Dr. Jan Rashid, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services and in charge of implementing myON for the District. Students need to be fluent in both digital and traditional media for high school, college and ultimately, the workplace. And, with the help of partners like myON, they are making the curriculum changes now to equip students with the skills needed to succeed.
“We’re building the foundation to comprehend, respond and compare across multiple platforms and media types,” said Rashid. “myON has allowed us to incorporate the digital literacy piece to raise the complexity of what we are asking students to do.”
The District’s students use myON’s literacy tools to build complex critical thinking as well as collaboration and communication skills. Using myON, students read, annotate, highlight, and take notes in a digital journal, getting the close reading skills they need, all while transitioning to the digital future.
“Reading digital print is different, and is a skill that needs to be practiced,” said Rashid. “Embedding that practice into what the students do everyday is important not just for testing and assessments, but for their future success in life.”
Paving the way for myON’s integration, the District was careful to offer classification-specific professional development.
“We wanted to make sure everyone who touched myON understood how they could use it,” said Rashid. “myON helped us find the right teacher/coach to walk our teachers through how to create lesson plans with myON and how it aligned with other tools.”
From integration into the District’s core focus of offering multiple resources for learning, to raising overall literacy, myON’s reception has been extremely positive according to Westerhold.
“I share the hours read so the Board [of Directors] can see the interest as well as our return on investment,” said Westerhold who noted myON is a regular budget item along side other supplemental resources such as textbooks. “We see myON as making absolute sense as we shift our curriculum to meet the future expectations our students will face.”