Student participation in PARCC testing had fallen “well below” 95% at Lake Forest High School as of Monday afternoon, meaning School District 115 might not meet its accountability obligations to the state.
Superintendent Michael Simeck sent an email to parents mid-day, imploring them to send their freshmen to school on Tuesday morning to participate in the English portion of the PARCC test, which begins then. Students will not personally be penalized for not taking the tests, but the school district could be.
“Students’ failure to participate in the PARCC exams will result in the district automatically failing to meet accountability obligations,” Superintendent Simeck stated. “In order for our district to be legally compliant, we encourage you to allow your children to take the PARCC exams or have them attend the make up sessions, if they have missed.”
Over the weekend and through Monday afternoon, many parents were talking about “opting out” their children from the PARCC exams, which began last week for freshmen enrolled in certain levels of math.
The woman who answered the LFHS attendance line on Monday said “opting out” was not an option, that instead, students needed to say they were “refusing to take the test.”
For some parents and students, that was a matter of semantics, but not so for the D-115 admin. At about 1 p.m., Superintendent Simeck sent the email to parents, hoping to clear up any confusion and encourage better participation. Here’s the rest of his email:
“Beyond the legal requirement of complying with the law, PARCC does have significant potential to be a better and more meaningful test for assessing student growth,” he state. “Families will receive their student’s test results showing progress on meeting the new standards. PARCC aligns to districts’ curricula unlike the ACT. PARCC has the potential to deliver real, meaningful data to students and teachers on how well students are mastering higher-level thinking skills and standards.
“Our district has invested time and energy providing professional development to teachers, creating testing procedures, and ensuring technological readiness in preparation for the exams.
“If you have concerns about PARCC and wish to express them, please voice them in a way that creates no potential harm to all our students grades 9 – 12. Your local or state legislators are responsible for PARCC testing in Illinois.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to seeing your child at the PARCC testing sessions he or she is scheduled to attend.
Michael V. Simeck
Superintendent, Lake Forest High School District 115