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District : Gurnee School District 56

State : Illinois

Level : P-12

District Enrollment : 1,001-10,000 students

Community Type : Suburban

Related Tags : 1:1 Initiative, strategic planning

Preparing Children for the Global Economy

Gurnee, IL is a small suburban community nestled between Chicago and Milwaukee. Gurnee School District 56 serves three other communities in addition to Gurnee: Wadsworth, Waukegan, and Beach Park. The school district is made up of four schools: River Trail (K-8 Building), Prairie Trail (3-5 Intermediate Building), Spaulding (Pre K-2 Primary School), and Viking (6-8 Middle School) and they educate approximately 2200 preschool to 8th grade students.

The Challenge

The four communities that feed into Gurnee District 56 provide a very diverse student population, one that has changed dramatically over the last 12 years. In 2002, the demographics for the district were 66% White, 15% Black, 14% Hispanic, and 5% “Other”. Today, the demographics for District 56 are 28% White, 20% Black, 38% Hispanic, and 14% “Other”. Students in the Free and Reduced Lunch program have also increased from 6.5% in 2002 to nearly 40% today. These demographic changes have created a number of challenges, primarily because the changes occurred so rapidly. However, these changes have also made it a more dynamic school district and have helped them better prepare children for the new global economy made up of an international workforce.

The Solution

Through strategic planning, the goal of ensuring that every student experienced at least one year’s worth of growth for every year attended in District 56 became paramount. Creating a learning environment that could be more dynamic and personalized would be the path towards achieving this goal. Three years into their 1:1 tablet initiative, student learning experiences at D56 have been transformed. Teachers are now moving towards creating more personalized learning opportunities for students with 24/7 learning being more than just a catchphrase. Students have choices in how they demonstrate learning and collaboration between students and teachers is key.

As a data-driven school district, NWEA MAP test results allow them to determine how many students are reaching their growth target and achieving at least one year of growth for each year of attendance. Prior to the 1:1 tablet initiative, 57% of students on average would meet or exceed their target growth goals in reading and mathematics in any given year. Since the rollout of the 1:1 tablet initiative, the most recent data shows that more than 68% of Gurnee District 56 students have reached their MAP growth goal in reading and more than 73% have reached their MAP growth target goal in mathematics.

Fueled by the successes described above, Gurnee District 56 continues to set annual goals for improving results. They now believe improvements such as these are not only attainable, but to be expected. The expectations of continued improvement are due in large part to the success of technology initiatives such as their 1:1 tablet program.

Additional Resources

From Gurnee School District 56:

From the U.S. Department of Education:

District Point of Contact

Phone: 847-336-0800