Giving more credit at Belleville high schools

Gov. Rauner Visits Belleville East

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visits with students and educators at Belleville East High school.
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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visits with students and educators at Belleville East High school.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner recently recognized Belleville Township High School District 201 when he was here stumping for his 2017 school funding formula. He said the district and especially Belleville East rank high in the state and nationally.

He praised the district for its high scores on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test. District 201 topped metro-east high school districts with a composite score of 46.5 percent of its students showing they were proficient in the subjects. Belleville East students scored a 50.1 percent proficiency mark.

Rauner also noted that the district was seeking federal Equal Opportunity grants to boost Advanced Placement courses as well as get more minority students enrolled in them. East now offers calculus courses, biology, chemistry, physics and psychology classes.

District Superintendent Jeff Dosier recently discussed a high-achieving minority student who was not planning to take AP classes. The young man was afraid of the peer pressure were he to “act smart.” A chat with he and his parents set him on the better path.

The district will use grant money to better test and track students and ensure minority students and their parents get the word about the AP classes, which can turn into college credit.

Dosier said the district’s efforts to close the minority achievement gap is having a good side effect. There is still a gap, but the gap is between improving scores; both white and minority students are scoring better.

And the district is actively recruiting minority aides, teachers and administrators. Dosier said it is important to reach out and encourage minority job candidates and not simply bemoan the lack of applicants.

As local leaders push economic development and the federal government evaluates this area as a fitting home for the 3,100 employees of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, it is important to remember that quality schools are a leading factor in those decisions. On that count, Belleville High School District 201 scores.