This year has been unprecedented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one thing that never changes is our commitment to the children of this community. Due to our supports for the whole child, a commitment to a positive culture and innovation, and a strong caliber of teachers and support staff, District 54 continues to support the academic and social-emotional wellbeing of our students.
Now, more than ever, the connections we build with students are our top priority. We need them to feel safe and we need them to know that we are committed to helping them feel healthy, safe, engaged supported and challenged. We are committed to kindness, inclusion and equity. And we are committed to closing any achievement gaps and achieving educational excellence.
I am fortunate to work with an outstanding School Board, exceptional employees, amazing students and supportive families and community members. Thank you to everyone in the District 54 community who makes a difference in the lives of children. We are truly better together.
As the superintendent of the largest elementary school district in Illinois since 2013, Andy DuRoss prioritizes investing in people as the key to ensuring the academic success and social-emotional well-being of the more than 15,000 students and 2,000 employees of School District 54.
The superintendent oversees all operations of the district including curriculum, instruction, assessment, human resources, business operations, technology, communications and student services. The superintendent reports directly to the Board of Education and is charged with maintaining the mission of the district. Our mission of ensuring success of the whole child is evident in our Strategic Plan, which we call the 54 Promise.
His focus on people begins with investing in the more than 2,000 employees in District 54. DuRoss ensures the staff receive the professional development they need to ensure student success. He also models a focus on collaborative learning through Professional Learning Communities. PLCs operate under the philosophy that the key to improved learning for students is continuous, job-embedded learning for educators.
DuRoss believes a positive culture is another key to the success of students and staff. In 2017, he brought the positive psychology principles outlined by Harvard Researcher Shawn Achor to District 54. This training demonstrates how happiness and optimism fuels performance and leads to success. When he talks about student success, he is not just speaking about academic success but social and emotional success as well. DuRoss is committed to the happiness of his students and employees.
In 2018, DuRoss convened a Strategic Plan Task Force, with the goal of examining current mission, goals, focus areas and action steps. The district adopted new goals and four focus areas: innovation, whole child success, exceptional employees and fiscal responsibility.
The core principles of positive psychology and research related to the impact of a positive mindset on a person’s resilience were central to the development of District 54’s new Social Emotional Learning curriculum implemented at every grade level (early childhood through eighth grade) this school year.
District 54 also formed an innovation task force, called Innovate 54, and DuRoss tasked these individuals with cultivating innovation in learning space and instructional design. Their work includes implementing an instructional technology plan with 1:1 digital connectivity for all students, reconfiguring learning spaces and innovative instruction such as the strategies learned through the partnership with Discovery Education.
During his tenure as superintendent, District 54 has also focused on early intervention with the building of an Early Learning Center in 2014 and the implementation of free, full-day kindergarten at all of our elementary schools in 2015.
Under DuRoss’ leadership the positive culture in District 54 continues to thrive and student achievement continues to grow. Stanford University researchers found District 54 to be in the top 2% of all schools in America in student growth, stating that District 54 students achieved six years of growth in five years. Money Magazine ranked Schaumburg the 9th best place to live in America, with education being a major factor.