District 65 School Board members, left to right, Candance Chow, Richard Rykhus, Tracy Quattrocki, ClaudiaGarrison, Eileen Budde, Katie Bailey and Suni Kartha.

Newly elected District 65 School Board members, Candance Chow, Claudia Garrison and Suni Kartha, were sworn in on May 6, as was Tracy Quattrocki who has served one term on the Board. Each has been elected to a four-year term.

As its first order of business, the newly constituted Board unanimously elected Ms. Quattrocki as president of the Board and Richard Rykhus as vice president. By acclamation, Pat Markham was elected as secretary. Each has a one-year term.

“I believe our Board is in a unique position to collaborate on the many challenges facing our District,” said Ms. Quattrocki. “These challenges include writing a new strategic plan, ensuring our financial health in the face of the pension shift, maintaining our facilities, rolling out safe entryways, and continuing to set high standards for the implementation of our many programs and initiatives.

“Through a collaborative and innovative focus on these fundamental issues,” she added, “I believe we can continue making progress toward our collective goal of enabling all our students to reach their highest possible level of achievement.”

In listing her priorities shortly before the April 9 elections, Ms. Quattrocki said, “Whether the objective is closing the achievement gap, addressing the needs of special education students, or providing challenges for our more advanced learners, we must be tireless in advancing what is at the root of all our efforts – the highest possible achievement for every child. This overarching mission requires setting high expectations for all students and finding innovative ways to ensure these goals are met.”

Mr. Rykhus said some of the important issues to tackle this year include “keeping our finances stable, developing a new strategic plan, ensuring curricular access and challenge, and making important capital investments.”

Some ideas listed by the new Board members before the election include: address the achievement gap by making pre-school available to all low-income families; target children who are struggling in the early years more effectively; explore the benefits of a community school model which provides a way to reach out to and engage parents and the community; approach student achievement in a more holistic fashion; explore ways to improve differentiated instruction; and improve teacher morale.

These and many other ideas will likely be discussed in developing the District’s new strategic plan this fall.

On May 6, Ms. Quattrocki announced the appointments of Board members to various committees. Ms. Kartha, Ms. Chow and Ms. Budde were appointed to the Board’s Policy Committee, with Ms. Kartha to serve as the chair. Mr. Rykhus, Ms. Bailey and Ms. Garrison were appointed to the Board’s Finance Committee, with Mr. Rykhus to serve as the chair.