“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
~ Colin Powell
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State
The ultimate goal of Benjamin School District 25 is to enable all students to be successful academically, socially, emotionally, artistically, and physically, which defines a well-rounded student. I agree with Faith Fietsam, staff writer for the Lake Forest High School The Forest Scout newspaper, who points out that the measure of a good school is “much more than what can be quantified through scores and statistics.” She emphasizes that school rankings do not measure the quality of character of students, the passion of teachers, and the overall positive experience in school.
Our district’s Scorecard Report includes goals, indicators, and targets that define well-rounded students. We continually monitor our goals to determine the extent that the indicators and targets have been met, and adjustments are made accordingly. You can review the Scorecard Report on the district’s website, www.bendist25.org.
Ingredients of Success
Educational programming, safe and secure learning environments, and facility maintenance are key ingredients for student success. Each of the ingredients is addressed by the capital projects proposed to be funded by the $6.9 million referendum. An overview of the capital projects is found on page 3 of our Spring 2017 district newsletter, also available online.
Tax Rate Implications for Success
The referendum would result in the annual outstanding debt service of almost $1.2 million being reduced to a $997,500 debt service extension effective in 2018 as shown by the Proposed Reduction of Debt Services Tax graph on page 3 of our most recent Spring 2017 district newsletter. Each year the debt service extension would be capped by the lesser of the Consumer Price Index or five percent. An owner of a house assessed at $250,000 would save about $73 in the annual debt service tax rate versus the taxes paid the previous year. If the referendum does not pass, the savings would be an estimated $221 annually, but additional funds would be needed to maintain the buildings.
Plans to Continually Enhance Student Success
A new language arts program for grades 6-8 has been selected after trying out and studying two programs. A blend of books and online resources will be used next year after teachers have been thoroughly trained. Also, additional Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) components will be provided to our students in both schools in 2017-2018. A trial STEAM class is being considered to be offered this summer to a limited number of students with plans to expand the summer class offerings in 2018. More information will be forthcoming.
The Illinois Principals’ Association selected Laura Pfanenstiel, Evergreen Elementary School Principal, as the 2016-2017 DuPage Regional Elementary Principal of the Year. She has served as a teacher assistant, first grade and eighth grade teachers, assistant principal, and principal in our school district. It is noteworthy that Mike Fitzgerald, Benjamin Middle School principal, was named the DuPage Regional Middle School Principal of the Year in 2015-2016.
Philip M. Ehrhardt, Ed.D.