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Grove Preschool earns State's highest rating

The Illinois State Board of Education awarded District 58's Grove Children's Preschool with the Gold Circle Quality of Excellence on its 2018-19 Preschool for All state audit report.

"It's a part of the preschool for all grant," said preschool coordinator Jackelyn Cadard. "Part of that involves a audit of the Illinois State Board of Education."

The gold rating is the highest score that an Illinois preschool can achieve, and this is the second consecutive time that Grove Children's Preschool has earned this level of recognition.

With the intention of the Illinois State Board of Education to audit schools to make sure that grants are used for the intended purpose, Cadard said that they are very thorough and meticulous.

Every three years, the program goes through this audit process for whoever has access to the grant funds.

"Some of the ways are to look for school improvement opportunities as well as categorize those in our District who are performing and doing what they are supposed to be doing," Cadard said.

Getting access to the funds was started two years ago when all schools in the state had the chance to achieve them, making it more competitive.

"We were just delighted we were recipients," Cadard said. "We've been recipients in the past, but anytime there's a new competitive process you just want to ensure that we are ok."

For the audit, which Cadard described as very extensive, is something can be very stressful for all of the educators.

Teachers come for an entire class session, while watching the instructors administered by the instructor, seeing all interactions and they also observe the entire classroom.

According to ExeleRate Illinois, the state's preschool rating system, a gold rating signifies: "programs that meet or go beyond the highest quality goals" and "programs (that) have met the highest quality standards in three areas: learning environment and teaching quality; administrative standards; and training & education. Programs are actively engaged in continuous quality improvement." 

"They come and they score everything you say and do," Cadard said. "It's a lot of work and preparation for all of our teachers because that's not typical practice for our field in education to have people come in and score us on our performance."

To be eligible for the award, a rating above 4.5 must be scored from all of the judges in each classroom.

"There's three designations gold, bronze and silver," Cadard said. "So with all of the combined efforts, they then delineate the three metals based on your scores and that's what we came away with."


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