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We have a wonderful school year planned, with high expectations to help prepare each child to succeed. While a school year is ten months long, planning and preparation occur year-round. This summer, while some of our buildings were undergoing renovations or construction to continue addressing growing enrollments, teachers and administrators were busy planning for this year’s instruction. With our teachers, we continued aligning district curriculum to common core state standards. We also developed iPad pilot projects, planned the introduction of our new 6th grade science textbook, and organized boot camp for more than 450 teachers to learn about their new laptops and software. School and district administrators participated in many hours of training to implement new evaluation standards, and we are ready for our students to start school on Tuesday, September 4th.

Everyone in District 65 has a commitment to and strong desire for excellence. This year, our parents will see a difference in the focus of learning activities designed around the common core state standards (CCSS). The CCSS are designed to prepare students for success in high school, for college, and for successful careers. District 65 began the journey of aligning curriculum to CCSS a few years ago. Our educational professionals are already putting into practice what many across the nation are only just beginning to discuss. Our teachers see the importance that CCSS have in helping students develop and apply the skills and strategies to become better thinkers, writers, and life-long learners.

The District’s focus on writing across the curriculum supports this and the initiative began in earnest last year. We believe that writing is at the heart of learning. It offers a chance for reflection and elicits a deeper thinking and understanding. And, by design, our writing curriculum recognizes that not everyone is the same or at the same level. With carefully written and well-thought out rubrics for evaluating student work, both students and their teachers know what is expected. The process supports the opportunity for a differentiated experience that celebrates the abilities each child brings to the process and helps them to succeed.

As our community, the state, and the nation move toward ever-higher accountability and expectations, we rise to the challenge to prepare our students to be ready for college and careers in their future. We believe that mission begins at the earliest grades and that our parents are among our most important partners. All of us – from the board room to the classroom and the home – have the same interests at heart, what is best for children. Together we can make a positive difference for every child in District 65. Welcome to the 2012-13 school year. I hope you have a wonderful year.