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Superintendent’s Message: District 54 promises to put children first

In District 54, we promise to ensure the academic success and social-emotional well-being of all of our students.

In my previous messages this school year I have shared with you information about our Innovative Instruction Task Force, Social Emotional Learning Task Force and Strategic Planning Committee. The hard work of these committees culminated in a presentation to our School Board on April 5 on The District 54 Promise – a multiyear strategic plan to guide District 54’s work toward ensuring student success.

While we have updated our strategic plan, our focus remains the same. We strive every day to improve the lives of our students.

When we talk about the strategic plan, we are really sharing our promise to the District 54 students, staff, parents and community. That promise revolves around the four focus areas defined in the strategic plan.

  1. We promise to support the whole child, to ensure the academic and social emotional success of each student.
    We can achieve this promise by continuing to design high quality lessons that engage and challenge all students. We will also be implementing a new social and emotional learning curriculum, which builds on our current practices in the schools, ensuring that students are healthy, safe, engaged and supported. In addition, we will look for community partnership opportunities focused on supporting the academic and social-emotional success of our students. Working together, we can create a community where children are valued and supported.
  2. We promise to foster a culture of innovation in our instruction and learning spaces.
    District 54 will establish “Innovate 54” teams of teachers and administrators from each school whose mission will be to foster a culture of innovation across our district. Innovation will include technology, such as Chromebooks for each student in grades three through eight by the fall of 2019, and iPads for younger students. Innovation will also include reconfiguring and updating learning spaces. For example, we are looking at transforming our Library Media Centers into “Creation Studios” equipped to support digital connectivity, audio and film production in “Sound and Vision Labs,” and a mix of high- and low-tech Makerspace activities.
  3. We promise to recruit and support exceptional employees.
    School districts can have the latest technology and the strongest curriculum, but they will not be successful unless they have employees who are unequivocally committed to the success and well-being of children. District 54 actively recruits, screens and hires employees who encompass the behaviors and attitudes aligned to our district mission. For all new hires, we provide a comprehensive induction program and offer ongoing support and training through our mentoring program. District 54 will also continue to use Professional Learning Communities, allowing staff members to plan with and learn from their colleagues in the building, and professional development classes to enhance instruction.
  4. We promise to be fiscally responsible, while also maintaining safe, student-centered facilities.
    We cannot achieve our goals without long-term financial stability. This can only be achieved through fiscally responsible practices. For example, District 54 will update its long-term facilities plan to accommodate for enrollment increases and changes in learning environments. This plan will also focus on maintaining safe learning environments, as the safety of students is a top priority in District 54.

These are our promises to you, our District 54 community. My thanks to everyone who worked on our strategic plan and helped us develop the blueprint for the future of District 54. The District 54 Promise is more than a document. It’s a commitment to do whatever it takes to support our students and families. Will you promise to help us achieve this goal?