Here we are in our fifth full week of the new school year, and so far, we’re off to a great start.
This is not an easy task, and is worthy of some celebration under any circumstance. It’s even more worthy of recognition given the many moving parts involved in getting 28,000 students to and from school each day; teaching and supporting them for six to eight (and sometimes more) hours a day; keeping 32 buildings in good shape; and administering a system with 3,100 employees.
But along with the “logistics” of starting a new term, we have already seen several major accomplishments that bode well for success the rest of the year, thanks to our terrific students, staff, administration and families.
For example, two major educational initiatives are up and running:
• The Full Day Kindergarten pilot program is operating in our 17 elementary schools. We will continue to monitor this program and recommend later this year plans for next school year to the Board of Education.
• We have implemented Spanish in our middle schools and a new science curriculum that aligns with the state’s new middle school science learning standards.
Both of these changes – most especially the Full Day Kindergarten pilot – have been high priorities for several years for the Board of Education and our community.
We have also been able to celebrate several early stories of our academic success including a record-high number of AP Scholars; record-high scores on the ACT college entrance exam; and three more National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.
These key achievements show that our work over the last decade to make our curriculum more rigorous and improve our support system for all students has really taken hold and is paying dividends.
They also speak very clearly about the incredible dedication and hard work of our teachers and students to meet academic expectations even as the bar keeps rising and targets keep moving.
And last but certainly not least, we are also almost finished installing artificial turf and state-of-the-art digital scoreboards at Plainfield High School – Central Campus and Plainfield South High School (the same work will be done at Plainfield East and North high schools next year).
This major project will allow us to use our athletic stadiums more effectively and cost-efficiently, both with our own students and the community.
We have already started talking to our partners at the Plainfield Park District and other community youth athletic organizations about ways that they can possibly take advantage of this great new resource. We also plan to make the fields available to other community athletic organizations.
District 202 is truly a great place to live, learn and work. We are proud of our role in the lives of our students, staff, families and the community.
Together, we will continue to prepare learners for the future.
• Lane Abrell is Superintendent of Schools for Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202.