Celebrate our great schools all year long

American Education Week, a national tradition celebrating its 90th anniversary, takes place Nov. 13th through the 19th. This is the one week each year communities can celebrate and recognize their public schools. In ISD 728, we have 17 schools, all conveniently located in caring neighborhoods, and all welcoming those who pass through their doors. We invite our neighbors to not only celebrate and recognize our schools, but to help us educate, inspire and empower our more than 12,700 student learners.

You will be amazed at what is taking place in our classrooms. Our students, of course, continue to learn the “Three Rs” and from these our overall assessment results match or exceed national standards. Our teachers remain remarkable, for it is through their dedicated focus to student excellence that our students are prepared for college.

Most recently, ISD 728 was one of only 11 school districts in the state and fewer than 400 nationally to be selected by the College Board for its Advanced Placement Honor Roll. This selection is a tremendous achievement and it is the latest in continuous accolades for our district.

For many of you, you may not even recognize the classroom of today. We are evolving from the traditional American model of more than 150 years to a curriculum that reaches far into the 21st century. We are using technology in ways many of us never dreamed of. Our Interactive Television distance learning initiative allows students at each of our four high schools to simultaneously take online courses such as Chinese. Our Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) school at Salk Middle School and program at Rogers Elementary are introducing students to concepts and lessons previously taught at the college level. And we are refocusing how we educate through the nationally recognized Professional Learning Communities. These and more initiatives are setting ISD 728 apart as the district of choice for educational excellence.

Schools are the cornerstone of a community and it takes a community to educate every student. One of the ways this can be done is through our strategic planning process. Our 2007–2015 Strategic Plan has been largely accomplished, so with the support of our communities we are creating an updated plan that provides the framework to inform our decision and actions as we educate, inspire and empower all ISD 728 learners well into the future. As a member of our community, can we count on your support?

Next week is the 90th anniversary of American Education Week, but I urge you to not only recognize and celebrate your schools Nov. 13th through 19th, but year-round. I ask that you do not wait for a national observance to show your support for the cornerstone of your community. On behalf of the School Board and our nearly 2,000 employees, I thank you for recognizing and celebrating your ISD 728 school today and every day.­ — Dr. Mark Bezek, superintendent of schools