At a conference I attended recently, we were challenged to find just three words that describe what we want the community to know about our school district. The three words I have chosen are progressive, challenging and evolving.
Change can be a positive thing, especially when it comes to the education of children in a globally competitive society. It is our responsibility to keep our curriculum up to date and on the cutting edge if we expect our students to compete for the colleges of their choice and ultimately on the world stage.
Of the graduating class of 2013, 87 percent continued their education after high school. While that is a good number, there is much room for improvement.
The board and administration of Community High School District 94 understand the responsibility of providing a progressive education for our students and work hard to continually make this happen.
Engaging students in the curriculum is always our goal, but beyond that, we want to be sure we continue to raise the bar so our students remain challenged with a rigorous curriculum.
One result of our focus is this past fall Community High School District 94 was named to the College Board AP Honor Roll for our efforts to open AP classroom doors to a significantly broader pool of students, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher (on a 5 point scale).
Our AP course offerings have increased from eight in 2008-2009 to 13 this school year. The number of students enrolled in AP classes has tripled over the past five years. Currently 628 students are taking AP courses; some students are taking more than one.
We also have increased the number of honors courses, adding Honors Biology and Honors Chemistry in the past two years. Over the past five years, the number of students in honors courses had doubled -- increasing by 40 percent in the past year.
Dual credit is another challenging opportunity for our students. Community High School now offers eight courses where students can earn both high school credit and college credit at College of DuPage. In the past year, the number of students earning dual credit has increased by 25 percent.
While we have made some very positive changes, our work should never be done; it should always be evolving to meet the individual needs of our students.
Currently, we are in the midst of a long-range planning process to create new opportunities for our students. Some planned changes for our facility include updates to the Family and Consumer Science kitchens -- creating both home and commercial kitchens -- and dedicated spaces for child development classrooms.
As junior Lindsey Krysinski says, "I am psyched about using the professional tools and spaces in the new kitchens. I am taking Food and Fitness next year, too, and look forward to delving into it more!"
In addition, some plans are in place to update the seating and ambience in our student cafeteria to make it more of a comfortable gathering place for our students.
Overall, our job is to create environments where students want to be here and apply themselves to their work. Our students are participating in a progressive educational program that is challenging, and yet continues to evolve to meet needs, providing an educational experience where our students want to come every day.
• Douglas Domeracki is superintendent of Community High School District 94 in West Chicago. His column appears monthly during the school year in Neighbor.