District 65 is where more than 6,500 youngsters are nourished in their quest for knowledge. Whether new to the district or the family of a returning student, you will see that the array of services and opportunities offered here are among the best anywhere. From the reasonably priced healthy meals on our improved lunch menu to summer enrichment programs, from the inclusion of students with special needs to 21st-century classroom technologies, District 65 serves the whole child. We have experienced teachers and staff whose dedication to our students is something to commend. And, regardless of the standards used to measure success, the District has demonstrated high academic achievement and a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done.  

You may have read about the tough economic times for Illinois and its schools. Rather than eliminating programs and services, District 65 converted and transformed them. This allowed us to preserve low class sizes and continue offering a rich array of instructional programs in all core academic subjects plus PE, fine arts, foreign language, services for children with special needs, middle school athletics and more. We also offer strong teacher supports and ongoing training. We have accelerated learning opportunities for students at the middle school level. And, our classroom technologies are the envy of neighboring districts.

We want our students’ school experiences to be nurturing and engaging so that the children look forward to coming to school. Each summer many teachers work to refine areas of the curriculum so that what our students learn is relevant and current. Differentiated instructional strategies help teachers address a variety of learning styles and achievement levels. This gives all students an opportunity to be engaged and benefit from their instruction. On the horizon are plans to expand the school experience with more after-school enrichment programs. We will continue our educational vision to challenge students across the spectrum of academic readiness and to create more opportunities for them to pursue individual interests. Stay tuned for a great year!

This summer students had a chance to try robotics, science in the field, and digital animation classes. This type of programming is planned to continue as after-school enrichment offerings. Other after-school enrichment offerings planned for this year include fine arts, including drama, mathematical and literacy circles that bring students together with mathematical scientists or other experts to solve interesting problems. The desire is to offer a rigorous and robust learning experience that anticipates the national movement advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

District 65 understands what the community values. Many District initiatives are the result of input from our parent community. From wellness to school calendar development, from differentiation to the inclusion initiative, parent input and feedback were sought and included in the planning.

District communications keep families informed and help them and their children have successful school experiences. Families are encouraged to use the school and District websites, log in to the parent portal, visit their children’s teacher web pages, or call the school to learn more about expectations, school events, or school announcements. For convenience, bell schedules, calendars, the student handbook and many other resources are available on the School District web site at http://district65.net.

District 65 has demonstrated lighthouse thinking to help improve the academic achievement for all of our students. Many of these ideas are illustrated above. Most recently, the District adopted a teacher appraisal system that is recognized as ahead of the state and national curve. It links District 65 teacher evaluations to the academic growth of their students. This student growth component of the evaluation system is built upon the minimal expectation that a child will demonstrate one year’s growth from the beginning to the end of the school year. Anything less is an expectation that does not foster student improvement or success. Student achievement, student supports and student growth are part of the ongoing conversations with teachers and principals to ensure that all District 65 students excel. The District’s evaluation system has been shared with a number of audiences across the state and region where it has been recognized as a well-thought-out system that encourages the supports necessary for students and teachers to experience success.

Our District has much to offer this community. Future enrollments are expected to continue growing. We are looking now to address this future wave of students in ways that will be least disruptive to families and with options that support the District vision for the next generation. Topics about space constraints and how to address them are being discussed with the Board of Education. They include consideration to build school additions and/or a new school. Information, proposals, minutes and more will be on the District website.

I welcome you to this new school and wish everyone a successful year.