Pleasantdale Board members overrule superintendent, question curriculum

<p>Mark Fredisdorf, superintendent of Pleasantdale Elementary District 107, writes the results from the first reporting precinct as board member Bob Wallach looks on in 2006.  | Sun-Times Media file photo</p>

Mark Fredisdorf, superintendent of Pleasantdale Elementary District 107, writes the results from the first reporting precinct as board member Bob Wallach looks on in 2006.  | Sun-Times Media file photo

At least two members of the Pleasantdale Elementary School District 107 Board believe the district is playing catch up with its math curriculum because of inaccurate information provided by Superintendent Mark Fredisdorf.

Both Kristin Violante and Kim Barker said Fredisdorf misled the board and parents in the community for nearly two years because the superintendent continued to claim that the district’s math curriculum was implemented to the new Common Core State Standards.

Concerned that wasn’t the case, the board in December hired an independent consultant, Jennie Winters, to review the math curriculum and audit it to see if it does implement to Common Core State Standards.

“The board voted unanimously to hire an auditor, so we all had concerns about this,” Violante said.

The audit from Winters, presented to the board March 11, claimed the District 107 math curriculum is not aligned to Common Core State Standards.

“Both principals acknowledged that there is a great deal of work to be done to fully implement the (Common Core State Standards) at Pleasantdale,” Winters wrote in her assessment.

Fredisdorf said another consultant, Fern Tribbey, was hired in January to work with teachers on the math curriculum

“She said our alignment is tight,” Fredisdorf said. “There’s a difference of opinion. We have two different perspectives on it, and that’s healthy. The audit was a good thing because it taught us more about what we need to do.”

In her report, Tribbey stated that overall, District 107 teachers are ahead of most of the other school districts she works with in DuPage, Cook and Henderson counties, and that common core implementation is not yet complete because there still are many unknowns.

Fredisdorf said work has been done over the past couple years to align curriculums with new standards.

“We have information posted on our website for parents, but we didn’t use the exact language of Common Core; we used language that is more parent friendly,” he said. “We’re still learning and making adjustments for Common Core Standards. It was never my intent of misleading anyone.”

Violante wasn’t buying that explanation.

“To me, when you say you’re done, that should mean you’re done, and we weren’t done with this,” she said.

Barker agreed.

“We’ve been grossly misled by the superintendent,” she said.

Along with listening to the audit report from Winters at its March 11 meeting, the board also rejected a professional development plan for math recommended by Fredisdorf.

“Things in his plan were out of order,” Barker said. “He skipped some steps. We really have to almost go back to the beginning, and it’s too bad we missed a few years where we could have been doing some of these things.”

The board decided to hire Winters to help with a professional development plan. She will work with the district over the next two weeks to do so. Barker said she doesn’t yet know what the cost will be for Winters’ help.

Along with the math curriculum, District 107 also has hired a consultant to do an audit of its language arts program.

“That will be interesting because we’re even further behind in language arts,” Barker said.

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