District 113 Community,
It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I welcome you to the 2017-2018 school year! During my first year serving as your Superintendent, I was able to learn even more about each of our schools from the eyes of our stakeholders. While conducting focus groups, interviews, and surveys for the District’s Strategic Plan, I also learned about your beliefs and values and how we, as a community, could better serve our students and enable them to achieve their greatest potential. I truly believe that this upcoming year will mark the beginning of tremendous growth for our students, schools, and District.
STEAM Education and Interdisciplinary Learning
This past year, we placed a greater emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education in both of our schools. More specifically, staff members reflected on how their content areas are related to each others’ and to the real world, and how an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based learning approach would better support our students in thinking critically and independently. Examples of STEAM integration throughout the District were documented in our first District-edition of STEAM Press. This upcoming year, we are increasing efforts to work collaboratively with Districts 106, 109, and 112 to showcase how innovative and creative teaching and learning is being incorporated across all grade levels in the Deerfield, Highland Park, Bannockburn, Highwood, and Riverwoods communities.
Both of our schools continue to maintain impressive graduation rates, and our students’ enrollment in college and universities far exceeds that of the state. This past April, the Class of 2018 were provided the state-administered SAT. Our students outperformed the 133,289 students in the State of Illinois and the 352,875 students nation-wide that took the exam. We are committed to preparing our students for future success and providing them with continual opportunities to excel. In order to better support all our students in their post secondary endeavors, we will, for the first time, fully implement the SAT Suite this school year. In doing so, we will be able to collect data and provide our students with individualized supports at all grade levels as they prepare for college. Data from the SAT Suite will also allow us to increase opportunities for Advanced Placement enrollment, which will in turn, better prepare our students for rigorous, college level coursework. We are increasing our efforts to be data-minded and are recommitting efforts to remain student-centered.
The focus of all our initiatives this year and in the three-year Strategic Plan are entirely student-centered. Through regular classroom visits, collaboration with the teachers and staff who work with the students on a daily basis, and ongoing data collection, we will continue to reflect and refocus our efforts to ensure our students’ best interests is our number one priority. Whether you part of a legacy that goes back many generations or a new face in our community, we thank you for entrusting us with your children and vow to put their needs—academically, socially, and emotionally—first.
Christopher Dignam, Ed.D.