Director of Communications
May 19, 2005
Education Partners, good afternoon.
(And to my fellow Sox fans, A GREAT afternoon…)
Dr. Barbara Erwin has published her community message for May. It has been sent to the newspapers and is posted on the front page of our District 303 website (www.d303.org) .
And, for your convenience, I’ve pasted it below.
Have a great night,
Superintendent’s Community Column/Letter for May 2005
Change can be many things: exciting, exhilarating, frightening, frustrating.
As the old saying goes, no one likes change except cashiers and wet babies.
But one thing is for sure. Change is necessary if anything is going to, well, change.
District 303 this school year has been going through a lot of transition as students, staff, parents and community work together to make what is already a very good school system into a great one.
That is our shared vision – to be the lighthouse, the model, the standard setter for public education. Making that dream real has and will continue to require some new thinking about how we do the two most important things the community expects of us: teaching their children and running the system that supports the teaching of their children.
As we near the end of the year, this is a good time to review some of the progress already made in both areas.
On the teaching and learning front, among numerous examples, we’ve implemented new assessment systems to help guide teachers’ instruction down to the individual student. And we have created new high school mathematics, English and science curricula to improve rigor and student achievement.
Administratively, the Board of Education and the union representing certificated staff, including teachers, agreed to a new three-year contract which should help us attract and retain more high-quality teachers – an important concern of our community. The new contract also allows administration to utilize our instructional resources more efficiently – also a valid community concern.
And of course there have been some personnel changes dictated by our commitment to improve teaching and learning for all children. This is our primary responsibility to our students, their parents and the entire District 303 community.
We’ve added a few new positions, subtracted a few others, and re-defined a few more. Some staff are moving into different roles, mostly through “natural progression” – retirement or changing career interests. And there likely will be more as circumstances warrant.
None of this should be a cause for concern, though of course, it always will be. We will always do our best to be sensitive to the impact these transitions have on our students, staff and the community. Maintaining strong, respectful relationships is key to any successful endeavor.
Still, we cannot meet the community’s expectations in 2005 if we continue running District 303 as if it were 1995. The district has grown by nearly 4,000 students – 40 percent -- in that period. The professional and political demands on the district and teachers have grown just as much. And that growth is not stopping any time soon.
It is unrealistic to expect “new” results from “old” systems, resources, staffing models and thinking. We have maximized our resources for many years, and getting the same results. If we want new results, we need some new resources.
District 303 is changing because the world around us is changing. We must do new things to meet those new expectations, so that all of our students can succeed in whatever endeavor comes after high school.
Change for change’s sake is ineffective and pointless. But change, for the right reason, is appropriate and necessary.
And what better reason is there to change, than to help ALL of our children achieve?
Dr. Barbara F. Erwin