Message From The Superintendent
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”
~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, German writer and statesman
You may be familiar with the following demonstration which I believe is very relevant given the busy and fragmented world through which we determine our priorities in education. Fill a big empty container with large stones. Is the jar really full? Now add smaller stones to the container until it is full. Follow the identical process using sand then water until the jar is really full. If we had first placed the pebbles, sand and water, would there have been room for the stones?
This container is similar to our lives. All of us only have so much time, energy, and resources. How should schools fill that space? As shown by this demonstration with the larger stones first, what is the most important must go in first in order to fit.
What Should Be Schools’ Priorities?
According to the 2017 Phi Delta Kappen poll of Americans’ opinion about public schools, the three R’s alone are not sufficient in order for students to be successful. The survey is based on a random, representative sample of 1588 adults from 50 states interviewed by a phone poll in both English and Spanish. Poll results reveal the following:
- Adults indicated that academic achievement is not the only mission for schools; career and personal skills are critical in preparing for life after high school, too.
- 80 percent of respondents view technology and engineering classes as a very important element of school quality.
- 82 percent say it is highly important for schools to help students develop interpersonal skills, such as being respectful of others, cooperation, and persistently solving problems.
- Just over three out of four persons view advanced academic classes as highly important indications of school quality. Also, 70 percent indicated it is very important that schools offer extracurricular activities and art and music classes.
- Only 42 percent say that performance on standardizing tests is an important indicator of school quality.
- Finally, the proportion of Americans who give their community’s public schools an A grade is the highest in more than 40 years of polling.
How We Set Our School Priorities
Our school district’s goals and strategies focus on three areas: (1) Improve achievement of all students, (2) Expand communication with the district and its stakeholders, and (3) Ensure organizational efficiency and fiscal stability. In-depth information is included in the Strategic Directions 2014-2019 which also is located on our website. Additionally, the District Scorecard reports the indicators, targets, and results for components of the three goals. The key components for Goal #1 are included in the newsletter and Goals #2 and #3 will be highlighted in the next newsletter. All of the results which reflect the district’s success can be found on our home page.
Use of Referendum Funds
The entire 2017 summer projects were completed on time and at or under the budget. We are now in the exciting design phase for the next projects. The educational improvements, safety and security improvements, and facility improvements planned for 2018 summer include:
- Upgrade Benjamin Middle School’s science labs.
- Convert Evergreen School’s cafeteria, to serve also as large group instruction room and community meeting area.
- Improve Evergreen School’s front entrance access and security.
- Upgrade student technology devices.
- Repair/Replace playground surfaces and parking lots, roofs, and windows at both schools.
During construction live video feed will show the progress being made which will be accessible to the public on the district website. The community will be invited in the fall of 2018 to see first-hand vital improvements that have been completed to benefit our students, staff, parents, and community.
Strong Schools, Strong Community, Strong Future
Our school district takes pride in being a great school district. We are now focusing on how we can transform from being a great to greater school district to ensure all of our students are successful by providing an outstanding educational program that is cost-effective.
Philip M. Ehrhardt, Ed.D.
Superintendent, FOIA Officer
Benjamin School District 25
District Support Staff - Accounting/Payroll
Clark, Dr. Shelley
District Support Staff - Secretary
Special Education/Intervention Consultant
Tech Info Coordinator
District Support Staff - Administrative Assistant/Board Recorder, FOIA Officer