The Effect of Differentiated Instruction on Teachers and Students

As president of the Board of Education for the JS Morton High School District 201, Jeff Pesek has implemented a number of pedagogical training and classroom management initiatives. As creator of the Professional Development Academy, Jeff Pesek has made it possible for district teachers to train in differentiated instruction.

At its core, differentiated instruction means giving every student the best possible chance of success. Each student begins the learning process with his or her own background, mind-set, and abilities. Differentiated instruction allows teachers to provide a variety of options and techniques for learning, enabling each student to access the curriculum in a way that works for him or her.

Differentiating instruction does not require the teacher to create separate lesson plans or curricula for all students, but it does involve significant learning environment preparation. The teacher must determine students’ interests and learning styles to present relevant materials. Teachers can then examine the current curriculum to assess which elements can be broadened to include different methods of delivery.

These delivery methods students include materials, themed projects, and inquiry-based activities that target struggling, advanced, and median learners, though they do not take the shape of separate assignments for outliers. Instead, a differentiated lesson has a variety of activities happening at a given time. Students may work alone or in groups. They may choose their activity or accept an assignment to a particular task, all of which the teacher presents as varied rather than leveled options.


Water Safety Tips from the American Red Cross

A resident of Cook County in Illinois, Jeff Pesek currently serves as the president of the board of education for JS Morton District 201. Under his leadership, the school district successfully balanced its budget and restructured its schools. Outside of work, Jeff Pesek actively supports his local chapter of the American Red Cross (ARC).

With chapters across the United States and abroad, the American Red Cross provides important health and safety training, including CPR, babysitting, and lifeguard training. To ensure a safe, healthy summer, the ARC recommends a number of precautions around pools and bodies of water. First, parents should make sure that their pool is secured with childproof barriers such as a fence or gate. Children should never be left unattended near water, and inexperienced swimmers should wear flotation devices near water.

In homes with pools, children should be taught safety rules and behaviors. Whenever possible, children should enroll in age-appropriate water orientation and swimming courses from the Red Cross.

Red Cross Societies Continue Relief Efforts in Nepal

Jeff Pesek guides the policies of four Chicago-area high schools as president of the J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 Board of Education. In addition to his activities as school board president, Jeff Pesek supports the work of aid organizations such as the Red Cross.

The Red Cross has been hard at work recently assisting the people of Nepal following a deadly earthquake that shook the country on April 25, 2015. The 7.8-magnitude quake and its accompanying aftershocks caused thousands of deaths and injuries and left families throughout the country without shelter and other basic necessities.

In the days immediately following the disaster, Red Cross Societies from around the world rushed into Nepal to support the efforts of first responders and to distribute tarpaulins and relief kits containing clothing, mosquito nets, kitchen items, and personal hygiene supplies. For its part, the American Red Cross has committed an initial $1 million for the relief efforts in Nepal and has sent eight disaster specialists to the country, where they are currently working to coordinate recovery planning, set up cash transfer programs, and provide information management support, among other things.

For more about the Red Cross’ activities in Nepal, or to help the people affected by the earthquake, visit