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posted: 12/31/2013 7:50 AM

How our schools keep commitments to students, parents

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By David Larson
Glenbard High School District 87 superintendent

As we think about drafting our resolutions for the New Year, it's important to observe and reflect on model examples of organizations that have and continue to follow the resolutions or commitments that they have made.

Our local public schools are great examples of public service organizations that establish and keep key commitments to the constituents they serve -- our students and their families. These resolutions become key organizational values that are deeply embedded in our beliefs, culture and why teaching is a vocation or calling and not just a job.

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Watch your local public school and you will see that they are resolved to:

Being an Inclusive Environment. We are clearly intentional about fostering an inviting and accepting environment for all students and families. This is reflected in our parent outreach programs, the clubs/activities available to students and the emphasis placed on relationships.

Maintaining High Expectations. Each student is challenged to work hard and to "level up" whenever possible. More than just taking required classes, students are encouraged to challenge and stretch themselves.  This fosters individual student self-confidence, belief and resolve to achieve at high levels.

Embracing Accountability for Student Growth. Despite the myriad of confusing mandates, individual schools and districts are not bashful about owning and striving to achieve both growth and attainment goals, such as passing rates, ACT scores and new assessments from Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers.

A Strong Growth Journey. Teachers are embracing the new evaluation process as a tool for advancing their own professional practice and growth as instructors.

Student Engagement. Each local public school is committed to providing an array of activities that complement academic programing.  Relationships are deepened; character is shaped; and school allegiance is enhanced as students participate in sports, clubs and other co-curricular activities

Intentional Support. Staff members are committed to providing additional support, both in and out of class, for students who may be underperforming.

Relationship Centered. There are clear efforts to connect, listen and respect individual ideas and differences as we work together to provide exemplary programming for our students and families.

Watch our local public schools and you will see a continued commitment to long-standing resolutions. These resolutions have resulted in amazing learning environments where students are challenged to think, develop in-depth understandings, shape their individual character and apply their academic learning to be future ready.

• David Larson is superintendent of Glenbard High School District 87. His column appears monthly in Neighbor.

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