Butler District 53 superintendent responds to 2nd lawsuit in cheating scandal
Shortly after speaking with the Daily Herald Thursday regarding the second lawsuit filed against Butler Elementary District 53, Superintendent Heidi Wennstrom released a statement via email. Some excerpts:
As superintendent, I am professionally responsible for ensuring ethical testing practices and must certify the accuracy of student assessment results ... The teachers and administrators in District 53 uphold the highest professional standards and ethics for student testing ...
As a superintendent, one of my core values is to ensure a high-quality education, academic success, and the well-being of each student. I cannot, however, permit academic dishonesty which would damage the reputation of a truly exceptional school district by the actions of two families.
While these are two very isolated incidents, their actions are not characteristic of our families ...
We are a community of loving educators who care about children, treat them with respect and kindness. We work to partner with families to solve any issue that may arise ...
Butler 53 is not known only for academic excellence and rigorous, successful educational programs. My commitment to the Butler 53 community is that I will devote 100 percent of my available time to create and sustain a school environment in which each student is valued, respected, cared for and encouraged to be an active and responsible member of the school and community.
Along with our teachers and principals, I am professionally responsible for ensuring ethical testing practices and must certify the accuracy of student assessment results. I am accountable to the parents and board of education that our schools will fully engage in effective assessment practices.
There was no chance that I could have looked the other way on these two isolated incidents related to academic dishonesty. I continue to be saddened by the exorbitant amount of time these frivolous actions have caused the district in terms of time and money. These groundless accusations move our conversation away from focus on achieving our core mission for every child in our schools.
As the superintendent, I am fully committed, along with each member of the board of education, to effective stewardship of the district's funds. The money spent in response to legal and administrative actions filed by one family, and now allegedly the second family, has been unfortunately necessary to defend the district against these unwarranted attacks, to protect its reputation, its long-standing history of excellence, and safeguard its ongoing high academic achievement results earned through honest learning by students for decades on academic assessments and in academic contests.