Pecatonica #321 Curriculum Corner

September 2021

Kim Hansen, Curriculum Director

It is officially September, and students and staff are back in the classroom and are developing their daily routines. Everyone in Pecatonica #321 is working hard to ensure that all students are having their educational needs met in and out of the classroom. My name is Kim Hansen, and I am the new curriculum director for the district. My job is to ensure that the principals, teachers, and staff have what they need to help students succeed.

I come to Pecatonica with a B.A. in English from Northern Illinois University and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Aurora University. I have been in education since 2008, but I have spent the past 10 years of my career teaching English/Language Arts in grades 7-12 at a rural school in Lee County. I currently reside in Ogle County with my daughter, a dog, and a cat. I enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on, listening to music, and traveling in my free time.

Some of the things I will be overseeing in my role include procuring curriculum tools, programs, and textbooks; assisting with testing and assessments; analyzing and distributing assessment data; and training and assisting teachers in perfecting their classroom practices (to name just a few).

As we move forward, I will be creating these monthly newsletters to keep our community informed on the hard work that students and staff are putting in to achieve education excellence. If you have any questions at any time, please contact me at Thank you again for the opportunity to serve Pecatonica CUSD #321, and let's make it a great year!

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MAP Testing

Fall Benchmarking

All students in grades K-8 have begun NWEA MAP testing for the current school year. These assessments help educators develop individualized learning plans for every student and measure student growth throughout the school year. Student growth will be assessed and measured in math and reading for all students K-8, language for students 2-8, and science in grades 3-8.

The fall MAP testing window is open from August 30 - September 10. During the fall session, we will be measuring where the students are at in their learning after the summer break. Fall benchmarking is particularly important this year because it allows us to assess how the current educational climate with COVID-19 protocols in place have affected students. These fall scores will also allow us to identify student needs as we move forward in the school year.

Additional tests will be administered to track progress in the winter and spring to measure growth. Stay tuned for more information regarding data and results to be sent home at a later date.

New Middle School ELA Curriculum

Amplify ELA

ELA teachers at the middle school have been working tirelessly to implement a new ELA curriculum for the 2021-22 school year. Last year, teachers spent many hours researching new curriculum platforms to suit their needs and the needs of students in their classrooms.

Amplify ELA quickly became the frontrunner because it provided an interactive online platform that aligned with state standards. It also stood out as being very user-friendly and presented with a variety and complexity of texts and activities that would provide practice in identified skill sets. It also incorporates technology which will help students develop computer skills and will be easily accessible from home if needed.

At the end of the 2020-21 school year, Mrs. Kramer and Ms. Lutzow had the privilege of piloting the Amplify program which has resulted in full adoption of the Amplify ELA curriculum for the foreseeable future. Teachers spent many hours over the summer training on the new platform and familiarizing themselves from both the teacher and student standpoint. Mrs. Kramer, Ms. Lutzow, Dr. Hansen, Ms. Martin, Ms. C. Harvey, and Ms. Long are excited to get the new program underway! Thank you to all of you for all the hard work you have put in so far!

Elementary TimberNook Program

TimberNook Outdoor Play

The Elementary School will be participating in the TimberNook program this year. TimberNook "offers the ultimate sensory experience for children, challenging the mind, body, and the senses through meaningful outdoor play opportunities."

Students will engage in many outdoor activities throughout the year that will allow them to learn through being active. It provides younger students with the opportunity to create experiences and to learn outside of the walls of the classroom. Outdoor activities are especially needed and appreciated as we move into our 2nd full year of COVID-19 protocols. More updates are forthcoming.

Important Dates:

September 2021

September 6: No School -- Labor Day

September 10: MAP testing window closes

October 2021

October 8: 11:15 Dismissal -- School Improvement Day

October 11: No School -- Columbus day

October 13: SAT/PSAT Day (High School Only)

  • Grades 9-11 testing
  • Grade 12 college visit/service learning project day (no attendance)