As students walked through the doors of Keeneyville Elementary District 20 schools on Wednesday, Aug. 17, a summer of building upgrades, teacher training and faculty and staff hiring concluded and the 2016-17 school year began with great promise.
A number of life-safety upgrades to district facilities were completed during the summer. They included new windows, plumbing and flooring for Spring Wood Middle School and extensive HVAC work in all three District 20 schools.
The work was done to ensure all students have access to well-maintained and comfortable learning environments.
In March, the board of education adopted a new mission statement and three-year strategic plan for District 20.
Our mission to ignite the power and potential of each student has served as the basis for deep discussions around how all members of the Keeneyville community can come together to ensure our students have access to the best education and are ready for the next step in their learning.
Through the strategic plan, six areas of focus have been adopted by the board:
• Curriculum, instruction and assessment.
• Meeting the unique needs of children.
• Student life.
• Community, collaboration and culture.
• Finance and facilities.
Specific goals have been set for each of these six areas for the 2016-17 school year and we are committed to meeting them all.
This year, new instructional coaches for technology and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) will work with teachers and students across the district to ensure our classrooms are places of 21st century learning for all.
As District 20 moves forward with its plan of one-to-one Chromebook access for students in grades three through eight by 2018-2019 and integration of Next Generation Science Standards, these coaches will be a key piece in the continued transformation of our learning environment.
We believe a child learns best in a safe, secure and respectful environment. We believe all students have unique strengths and talents, and excel in a rigorous, supportive environment. We believe our students grow when their passion is ignited, and when they uncover knowledge while developing personal relationships.
To support each student in those beliefs, District 20 will continue its focus on ensuring a positive and supportive learning environment that is strong in positive social and emotional learning. We will seek to meet the needs of each individual student while supporting the whole student body toward growth and achievement.
The board of education will ensure we do all of this while being good stewards of our precious resources. We know the sacrifice of each taxpayer in District 20 enables us to do the work we do, and we are committed to continuing that work while maintaining balanced budgets, and working to live within our means as we know the members of our community must do.
We invite all to read more about our strategic plan by visiting our website at www.esd20.org. We are very excited about the year ahead and our continued commitment to ignite the power and potential of each student.
• Michael Connolly is superintendent of Keeneyville Elementary District 20. His column appears monthly in Neighbor during the school year.