A look at what's next in District 12
Almost daily, I get the question, "What's next for Roselle Elementary District 12?"
With the excitement of the March 15 referendum behind us, now comes the work of planning for the new money that District 12 will receive for the 2017-18 school year.
With the uncertainty in Springfield, we must plan for the possibility there will not be a state K-12 education budget for the 2016-17 school year. In the absence of such a budget, Illinois school districts will also risk losing federal dollars.
The system of getting federal dollars to Illinois schools requires that a state education budget be in place. Federal money flows through the state so, in a nutshell, no state funds also means no federal funds.
That is a very scary and frustrating scenario. If you are a parent with a student in Illinois public schools, you should be paying very close attention to what is happening in Springfield.
That being said, we must move forward and honor the promises that we made to our District 12 community, to restore District 12 to a place of financial stability and academic excellence.
We must work hard to keep our community informed and involved. Regardless of the action or inaction that is happening at the state level, we must keep our focus on what is most important for the students, families and community of District 12.
Over the next few months, our community can expect to see the following take shape in District 12:
• Parent Advisory Committee. In early May, a group of roughly 20 District 12 parents will begin working closely with administration in an advisory capacity. The committee will meet throughout the year and discuss issues and initiatives that impact the school district.
• Strategic Plan. In June, District 12 will begin the process of developing a new strategic plan. The plan will allow us to identify our key priorities and a plan for accomplishing our goals over the next five years. We will focus our plan on improvements in the areas of: instruction and programs; facilities; finance; and communication.
We are currently in the process of identifying members from our parents and staff who will participate in the process. We have set our first two meetings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 8 and 15 in the Roselle Middle School Media Center.
If you would like to participate in the meetings, let us know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• STEAM Lab at Roselle Middle School. RMS teachers, along with district administration, are investigating a plan to develop a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) Lab to RMS for the 2016-2017 school year. Because RMS will be fully one-to-one with Chrome Books, we no longer need a computer lab.
In addition to having the available space, we also have the ability to use our technology budget in a way that very visibly impacts students. We have built our infrastructure so now we get to accelerate our progress in the area of hands-on, digital learning opportunities and experiences for students. More information will be coming soon.
• Professional Development. Beginning this summer and continuing into next year, we will be providing District 12 staff with a more comprehensive plan for professional development and training.
The school calendar for 2016-17 includes half-day school improvement days. By aligning our SIP days with some of our neighboring districts, we can provide our teachers with time to learn and collaborate with grade level colleagues from our LPHS feeder districts.
We can also engage in professional development with the feeder districts in a much more effective and cost-efficient manner.
• Introduction of the Roselle Middle School Raven. Early in the 2015-16 school year, the issue of the Roselle "Rebel" was very respectfully brought to my attention by a concerned parent.
Recent and ongoing controversy surrounding the Confederate flag and heightened awareness of the use of Confederate symbolism had made it imperative that we give the matter careful consideration.
A decision was made to have the students participate in the process of selecting a new mascot for Roselle Middle School. Very recently, RMS announced the selection and design of the Roselle Middle School Raven.
While the Raven is the new official mascot of RMS, we will do a gradual roll out of the Raven. As we normally replace things such as uniforms, spirit wear, etc., we will shift from the Rebel to the Raven.
To thank our community for supporting the referendum, District 12 will be hosting an open house immediately following the April 26 board of education meeting.
We hope to adjourn the board meeting by 7:30 p.m. and take some time to show our community a bit about the programs that District 12 will be able to sustain.
We want everyone in the community to feel welcome and comfortable in our schools and to see the impact that co-curricular programs have on students. The board meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Spring Hills Elementary, with the open house performances immediately following in the Spring Hills gym.
Our program will be very informal. Visitors will have the opportunity to see students perform live and to view a presentation highlighting some of the other co-curriculars. There will be some seating available, but the open house will be an informal gathering where families can walk in, mingle with neighbors, grab a treat and enjoy our student performances.
We anticipate being done by about 8:30 p.m.
• Melissa Kaczkowski is superintendent of Roselle Elementary District 12. Her column appears monthly in neighbor during the school year.