The Freeport School District says low standardized testing scores is a problem it's been dealing with for years.
"We've got to do so much better for our students," Mike Schiffman, the district's superintendent says.
In 2017, only 15.8 percent of its students were at or above where they should be on their PARCC exams. That's on trend with years past.
But, the district says it has a plan. It says it's honing in on 3rd and 4th grade -- and that's where they're seeing some growth. That's because it's making sure students at all its schools are learning from the same curriculum.
"We have six elementary so some teachers at Empire were working on this on a math curriculum but teachers at Taylor park weren't working on this and so there was no alignment in the district at all."
In 2016, roughly 22 percent of 3rd graders met their benchmarks for English and and 25.6 percent met that mark for math.
Those both increased in 2017 to 28 percent for English and math. The district saw increases for fourth graders in English this year --- while math saw a dip of three percent.
"We see promise there at the younger grades because we've been putting a lot of time into that foundation of reading and math and that's going to pay dividends down the road," Schiffman says.
A long road ahead, as the district works to get its students performing up to standards. The district says it's also seeing an uptick in the number of Hispanic students graduating. In 2016, 60.9 percent graduated. That rate spiked to 88.5 this year.
For previous coverage on the Illinois Report Card, click here.