"Our students need to develop problem solving, math, and communications skills, plus a broad understanding of the world around them. They need to do so in safe environments that allow them to explore their passions, make mistakes, and keep trying. With this foundation, students will be equipped to adapt, thrive amid adversity, and, ultimately, find success and fulfillment, no matter what the future holds."
Our community and students are fortunate to enjoy some of the nation's best schools. Each of Naperville 203's elementary, junior high, and high schools earned the Illinois State Board of Education's rating of Exemplary or Commendable in 2018. Building on that strong foundation, our schools must pursue continuous improvement to afford each student a launching pad for success in a rapidly evolving, globalizing, and increasingly competitive world.
All students deserve an education that gives them the opportunity to succeed and meet their individual and unique potential. To reach its goal of closing achievement gaps, the board has invested in summer school, an expansion of early childhood education, and other programs. By continually evaluating these initiatives and bringing an innovative mindset, we can make further progress on behalf of all students.
Student Wellbeing & Safety
It's critical we ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students. District 203 has been a leader on both fronts. Our schools' social and emotional learning curriculum has garnered nationwide acclaim. In 2018, the district hired its first Director of Safety & Security and Director of Diversity & Inclusion, reflecting the board's ongoing commitment to these priorities.
Successful schools rely on strong partnerships among students, parents, teachers, and the community. We need to continue to explore new ways to engage wider swathes of parents and families. We can also do more to work with local business partners to expand "real-world" learning opportunities.
We can have great schools while still making smart spending and resource decisions. In 2018, the Board's early repurchase of bonds saved taxpayers $3.2 million in interest payments. My fellow board members and I have publicly committed our intention of doing the same in 2019.