By Andrew D. DuRoss
Greetings District 54 community. I am the new superintendent of Schaumburg Community Consolidated School District 54. It was a great honor to have been named the superintendent of School District 54 and I thank the Daily Herald for allowing me to have the opportunity to share with its readers my vision for the future of District 54.
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I have worked in District 54 since 2002, when I was hired as the assistant principal at Addams Junior High School. I have also been the principal at Frost Junior High School and the assistant superintendent of human resources. During these past 11 years in District 54, I have seen much change and great progress in the way we support students in their academic success.
I assume the superintendency of District 54 at a time of great national and statewide change in education. In 2010, Illinois became one of 45 states to adopt the rigorous and internationally benchmarked college- and career-readiness standards known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS will require our students to apply their knowledge through higher-order, critical-thinking skills, to write for a variety of purposes, to develop a strong conceptual understanding in math, to excel in reading informational text and to solve complex problems across multiple disciplines.
Last winter, the Illinois State Board of Education announced new and more rigorous proficiency cut score points on the state's third- through eighth-grade reading and math assessments. These new cut scores more accurately correlate with the college- and career-readiness expectations articulated in the CCSS. In 2014-2015, Illinois will replace its current state assessment (known as ISAT) with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. Aligned to the CCSS, PARCC will move beyond simply measuring mastery of basic skills to providing a true assessment of college and career readiness.
These sweeping changes present us with a welcome opportunity to raise the bar for expectations for all District 54 students. We embrace these changes as they will help our district better prepare our students for the future. District 54 has taken a proactive approach to these reforms by training all teachers in the instructional shifts accompanying the Common Core, realigning our curriculum and local assessment measures to the revised standards, and adjusting our systems of support to better meet the needs of each child entrusted to us.
In light of these changes, during the 2012-2013 school year, District 54 assembled a team of students, parents, teachers, support staff, administrators and school board members to help us revise the district's mission, vision, commitments and goals. In this article I will share with you our goals and projects for the 2013-2014 school year. Each month over the course of this school year, I will share with you one of our vision statements and explain how these statements relate to student success.
The goals and projects are not intended to stand alone but rather, support the vision and identify the priorities that enable us to answer the question: "How will we know if students are succeeding?"
• Get to Grade: Students who have attended District 54 schools for at least one year will be at grade level in reading and math upon entering third grade as measured by Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).
• Close the Gap: Each school will close the achievement gap for all students in reading and math as measured by both district and state assessments.
• Top 10 Percent: Each school will perform at or above the 90th percentile (top 10 percent nationally) in meeting individual student growth targets in reading and math as measured by Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).
Each year District 54 establishes a list of projects to help us meet the aforementioned goals. This year's projects are as follows:
• Monitor the impact of yearly changes to the Illinois state assessment by aligning the results with the district's MAP trend data and making adjustments in curriculum and instructional practices to ensure our students are equipped to meet the college- and career-readiness standards.
• Implement, evaluate and refine the revised Common Core State Standards aligned literacy curriculum and mathematics curriculum.
• Implement refined acceleration structures and practices.
• Fully implement the Traits Writing curriculum.
• Revise District 54's report card to reflect alignment with Common Core State Standards.
• Initiate a Junior High Master Schedule project team.
• Develop a shared understanding of the Mission, Vision, Commitments and Goals.
• Review and update the teacher appraisal process.
• Continue to research promising science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming opportunities that positively enhance our current offerings.
• Continue the implementation of the kindergarten through second-grade Literacy Plan and Assessment Package.
In January and again at the end of the year, District 54 reports on the progress we are making on these projects and posts them on our Mission and Goals Web page at http://sd54.org/board/mission. Please visit this site to read through the entire goals document or to view a video in which I further explain some of our projects for 2013-2014.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me at (847) 357-5036. I look forward to meeting more members of the District 54 community in my new role as your superintendent of schools.