“Together, teaching and learning for life to achieve excellence.”
The School Board has been discussing how to provide the best education for kids, and we want your input. We began a process of examining our existing buildings with Johnson Controls. Since then, we’ve been studying elementary education best practices, but now it’s time to decide how this information best fits into our schools and our community.
Though a great deal of work has gone into exploring elementary best practices, we don’t have all the answers. And work is just beginning when it comes to looking at early childhood and secondary school needs. The classroom is changing. Education is changing. We want to provide a place where learning is more effective. We want to build for our future, and we need your help.
Amazing things are happening in our schools, but some things are holding us back.
It has become clear that the solution to our elementary schools being educationally adequate involves much more than the Johnson Controls analysis of structural needs and repair. While those maintenance needs continue to exist (and expand), a new light has been shining on the educational programming needs of our schools and how our children deserve schools which support current and future needs.
Community input with the Johnson Controls study and the research done by elementary principals has given us a framework to start with.
We know that:
- Students need schools that promote accessibility.
- Students need school buildings that are adaptable to change.
- Students need schools that are designed for collaborative, 21st Century learning.
- Students need schools containing collaborative, multi-use space within and without.
- Students need schools that support an environment inspiring learning and promoting interaction.
- Students need schools that are designed for safety and security, yet remain an “open” facility.
- Students and parents need family resource areas within schools.
- Schools are used by the community beyond the school day.
- Welcoming schools have an open environment, with lots of windows and natural light.
We need to explore facility needs together, and we want your input about where the District is headed. Parents, families, and community members are welcome to join our Citizen Advocacy Group. Additional community insight will also be sought. Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.
“Together, teaching and learning for life to achieve excellence.” This is District 318’s mission statement – these words motivate our staff and students to strive for excellence in the classroom each and every day. Now I would like to extend this same mission to the community and ask you to join us in our effort to strive for excellence.
There is much to be proud of in District 318 schools. We have high graduation rates, good test scores, many students who proceed to post-secondary education, and others who move on to their careers immediately because they were trained well in our schools. But any successful organization – a profitable business, a valuable non-profit, or a great school district – must occasionally step back and reassess whether it is prepared for the future.
As many of you know, District 318 has been evaluating the current state of our facilities. This discovery process has required us to take a hard look at what our community expects from our schools and the quality of our buildings. It is clear that our schools need work if we want to continue to prepare our students for tomorrow’s jobs. As time has passed, our schools have aged.
Through our research we have learned that our enrollment is growing particularly at the elementary level. This is great news, and we are prepared to welcome these new students with open arms. However, our facilities are not prepared for the influx. Our elementary buildings are all 50+ years old and are showing the most age. We don’t have enough classroom space to house these additional students, which may force us to spill out of our current buildings into external classrooms. While this may serve as a temporary fix, it is a poor educational solution.
We know that education has changed monumentally over the last 50 years, but our facilities have not been adapted to help us meet today’s education ideals. Now more than ever, safety in schools is of paramount concern – yet we are behind on modern standards for security.
Gymnasiums, media centers and playgrounds are no longer thought of as luxuries, but are now considered important pieces of the total educational experience that we strive to provide for our students – and our spaces simply do not function at the level needed to provide a well-rounded learning experience.
Knowing this information, how do we invest in our schools in a way that fits our community? The District wishes to continue this dialogue with the community as we work together to provide education to our most vital resource – our children.
Your comments and questions are welcome. Please click here.