Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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District 203 English Learner and middle school elective programs to be ‘reimagined’ after Board of Education vote

Jayne+Willard%2C+Assistant+Superintendent+for+Curriculum+and+Instruction%2C+explains+the+changes+to+Exploratory+classes+at+the+Dec.+18+Board+of+Education+meeting.+%28Photo+Credit%3A+District+203%29
Jayne Willard, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, explains the changes to Exploratory classes at the Dec. 18 Board of Education meeting. (Photo Credit: District 203)

The Naperville 203 Board of Education passed multiple changes to District 203 programs at their meeting on Dec. 18. The changes were first recommended during their Dec. 4 meeting and will go into effect during the 2025-26 school year.

The changes include “a reimagined junior high elective course structure” and the expansion of “[English Learner] programs at all of the district’s junior highs and high schools,” according to District 203 press releases.

Instead of choosing a foreign language or exploratory courses for 7th and 8th grade, the revamped Junior High elective curriculum will restrict Spanish and French (WCL) into more rigorous, single-year courses during 8th grade. In 7th grade, students will continue their 6th grade exploratories curriculum.

“We want to provide students with more opportunities to participate in relevant college and career exploratory options,” Superintendent Dan Bridges said in a press release. “This comprehensive approach reflects our dedication to providing our students with a menu of options and opportunities for academic success and a seamless transition to postsecondary education.”

The change also comes with two new coding courses. In 6th grade, students can elect to take Computer Science for Innovators & Makers, which is taught by Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teachers. In 7th grade, they can take the Code Explorers course, which will be taught by either learning commons staff or current WCL teachers. 

Certified WCL teachers may also teach new EL courses, which will become available at all junior high schools during the 2024-25 school year for 6th grade students before being fully implemented through the 2026-27 school year.

According to a District 203 press release, the number of EL-eligible students has increased by 77% in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, 30% of families who would have to switch schools have refused services at the junior high and high school levels, with many citing long bus rides, distance from home and separation from neighborhood friends.

“These changes will provide our students with opportunities to excel, both academically and culturally, in environments where they feel a connection to their neighborhood peers,” Bridges said in a press release. “These changes bring us closer to providing equitable educational experiences for all students, and align with our innovative vision for student learning.”

For more on the changes, read here. The Central Times will continue to cover the EL and WCL changes in upcoming months, so stay tuned for more.

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About the Contributor
C.J. Getting
C.J. Getting, News Editor
C.J. is a junior entering his third year on Staff for the Central Times. He’s always loved writing news, and is excited to work as the News Editor this year. When he’s not writing for CT, C.J. can be found captaining the Debate Team or helping out SAC or JSA. He also desperately needs to detox from volunteering. After graduation, C.J. hopes to major in Political Science and spend too much money on Law School someday.
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