Whether you are returning or new to Naperville School District 203, I warmly welcome you to our new website and to the upcoming school year. The starting of the school year is akin to the launching of a rocket. There are many people working on many parts to ensure that our schools are open, our teachers are ready and that we keep our students challenged, engaged and reaching greater heights.
Likewise, launching a new website is a team enterprise. And this website is part of our commitment to you and the community to improve our communications with you, particularly your ability to access the information about your schools and the district which help you support your child’s learning. For the month of July, we will be gathering feedback from users inside and outside the district to make sure the new site has full functionality and is easier for you to navigate. The start of the school year will mark a more formal unveiling of the site, once we have made improvements based on your feedback.
As I prepare to enter my third year as superintendent of District 203, just as I am looking forward to your use of our new website, I am very much looking forward to new opportunities ahead. There are some exciting changes this year, ones that we have planned for many years and worked hard to prepare. All-Day Kindergarten will be launched in each of our elementary schools, a move that will help lay the foundation for academic and social-emotional growth in our students. All District 203 students will be exposed to new English/Language Arts curriculum in the coming year, after introducing a new Math curriculum last year. We are working on a new science curriculum and course pathway that will develop scientifically literate students. In the works are also a new Master Facility Plan, a new process for teacher evaluations, a new website and a Blended Learning Consortium with two neighboring schools in which online classes can be offered to select high school students.
While we are getting ready for these changes and the opening of school, I also want to acknowledge what our students and District accomplished in 2013-14.
To name just a few accolades, we boasted 39 National Merit Finalists, the largest number in recent years. Students from Highlands and Mill Street Schools traveled to Washington, D.C. to be honored at The White House Student Film Festival. Naperville North was selected as a Grammy Signature School semifinalist, a prestigious honor for top U.S. high schools committed to music education. The District and three of our schools received awards from the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University for their efforts partnering with parents and the community to increase student success. Finally, we concluded a nine-month community engagement initiative, Future Focus 203, which involved hundreds of stakeholders in providing feedback and recommendations on our future direction. From that, we have developed a Strategic Blueprint, Focus 2020, which will guide our improvement efforts for the next six years.
I am proud of our students and District and we have much to celebrate. Our theme for the coming year will be Celebrate 203. Please join me in celebrating everything that makes our partnership with students, staff and community exemplary. Thank you for your support, involvement and commitment to education and our students. I’d like to renew my commitment to you again this year: to continue listening to the community, advocating for the needs of all our students and providing students with the tools to soar ever higher.
On behalf of the administration and Board of Education, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our new website, the 2014-15 school year and to celebrate all that is District 203.