President's Message

Message to the Community 7-1-12

collins_Jim.jpgIt is appropriate to begin where last year’s Board of Education president’s message left off: with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, who wisely said, "When you are finished changing, you're finished."

We live in an increasingly sophisticated world that requires an increasingly sophisticated education in order to achieve success.

July 1 begins the second year of our new administration. They have observed and assessed our district and now, with the support of the Board of Education, they will begin to implement their plan to make education in Elmhurst better than it was the year before.  Our superintendent, Mr. Dave Pruneau, uses the phrase "sometimes you have to go slow to go fast." In our case, that means our administration plans to implement change in the right way, by explaining what we are doing, and why, and listening to the people who do the educating in our district, our teachers. Another phrase he uses often is: "every thing happens in the classroom."This year, you will notice many changes. I would like to specifically mention three of them:

  • Beginning in August, there will be 15 minutes of extra instruction time in our elementary school classrooms every day (to bring us up to the State average).
  • In our middle schools, teachers will devote one period per day to assisting students that need extra help.
  • In our high school, we will implement a Student Late Arrival day once a week. This additional 75 minutes per week will allow our high school teachers to collaborate with each other to continually improve the courses they teach. It will also allow each teacher an uninterrupted planning period to develop clearer, more concise lessons that help our students achieve academic success.

We continue to review and change our curriculum to provide the rigorous material that will enhance our students’ achievement, prepare them for an ever more complex and competitive world, and give them the tools they need to become productive citizens in our global society.

The Board is finishing its work with our administrative team to establish District Performance Indicators (DPIs). These are the data points that the board will use to measure the progress and success of our district. These DPIs are the indicators the Board will use to increase accountability for our students’ success.

Please do not interpret this to mean that the Board will use only numbers to gauge the success of our district and our students. The ultimate goal is to prepare our students for a world that requires increased independent thinking, creativity and collaboration. We want to teach our students to read and think critically, as well as provide them with the tools they need to work together to solve complex problems.

This year, we will put a renewed emphasis on implementing a culture widely known as Professional Learning Communities. PLCs are used by some of the most successful schools in the nation. PLCs emphasize student learning. They establish definitive learning objectives for each course we teach and teachers work together to ensure that every student learns the material for each learning goal. In a well-implemented Professional Learning Community, all children learn, all students are given the support they need to learn what they need to know to succeed in the next lesson, and no child is “allowed” to fail.

We are infusing our District 205 culture with the overarching goal of continuous improvement, providing a better education every year than the year before. We are monitoring our progress and holding everyone accountable for our students’ success.

And finally, we are implementing new ways to listen to our community. We want to have several serious discussions with our community during this school year. We want to solicit your opinions for the role of sports in our educational environment. We want to hear your opinion about the balance between taxes and fees. And we want to hear your expectations relative to the performance of our students and schools in comparison with other districts in Illinois and beyond.

We know that strong community support is critical to building and sustaining a world class school district. Again, Ben Franklin’s words ring true: "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”




Jim Collins
Board of Education
Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205