Effective planning involves looking through the “rear-view mirror” to reflect or assess the past, and looking through the “front windshield” to scan the present and future in order to strategize proactively.
As we reflect on the past school year, numerous accomplishments are noteworthy. These accomplishments are highlighted as follows:
Our grades 3-8 students continued to improve their scores on the 2012 ISAT in reading, math and science. The percentage of students meeting the standards ranged from 92 to 100 depending upon the grade level and content area. Also, our goal to increase the percentage of students exceeding the standards has been realized for the 2011-2012 school year.
The property taxes for the school district have decreased this year due to restructuring our debt and taking advantage of the low interest rates. Further details are included in the School Finance 101 article in this issue.
Benjamin graduates excelled in academics, leadership, citizenship, and extracurricular participation at Community High School. Even though Benjamin students made up 17 percent of the high school’s student body, half of the class officers were Benjamin graduates, 42 percent of the 2012 honor students (valedictorian, salutatorians, and highest honors) were Benjamin students, 75 percent of the Junior Honor Guard hailed from Benjamin, and 38 percent of the National Honor Society students were former Benjamin students.
Our students performed well in other areas such as chess competition, interscholastic athletics, drama, choir and band.
Our school district earned academic awards including the School Search™ Bright Red Apple™ award, School Search™ Bright A+™ award, and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Academic Excellence awards.
The district’s financial condition qualified us to receive the ISBE Certificate of Financial Recognition for the highest category for the School District Financial Profile, and Moody’s Financial Rating Service approved the district at a financial bond rating which resulted in a savings of $25,000.
A state facilities grant for $5,000 has been awarded to apply toward the heating and air conditioning units’ replacement being undertaken this summer. Also, two grants from Lowe’s totaling $6,200 have been received, and will offset the costs of replacing the 38-year-old library/media center shelving units at Evergreen Elementary School, and purchasing paint for various rooms at both schools. The entire list of cost-saving measures and additional revenue can be found on our website.
We again had a balanced operating funds budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. Fiscal responsibility by the School Board and staff has enabled us to maintain our strong financial condition.
Beginning this school year, the evaluation procedures for teachers, principals and assistant principals have been revised to meet the new state accountability requirements. Staffs are being trained to effectively use the modified process, which is designed to improve teaching and learning.
I continue to be impressed with the high level of support for education in our community. The combination of talented staff, and positive partnerships with our parents and community provides a high-quality education program to serve tomorrow’s leaders who are in our classrooms today. Our school district is an outstanding place for all of us to teach and to learn!
Philip M. Ehrhardt, Ed. D.