When you think of all the numbers we encounter each day, they begin to become meaningless. You have a PIN number for almost every account you use.
You may have an address number, a phone number, a number to stand in line for services, a number to order lunch at a restaurant and even a number that tells you how healthy you are.
In the case of 60178, though, this number is one to remember.
As you are aware, 60178 is the ZIP code the Sycamore School District 427 buildings call home.
It is within this ZIP code that our mission of “Empowering all learners to succeed in their world” must happen. It is our goal that students who attend our schools will be ready for their world in and outside of 60178.
So, how do we make this happen?
This happens by ensuring a high level of education for all students and providing a healthy culture in which students can learn.
The first, ensuring high levels of student learning, is offering a curriculum that allows time for student questions.
Questions are something we all have experienced since our children were small. Remember the continual “Why?”
“Why is the sky blue? Why do adults get to stay up later than kids? Why do I have to have a curfew?”
At times it can be a little bit frustrating, but in reality it is how we all learn. Although we encourage our students to ask questions, we, too, ask the following questions of ourselves:
• What do we want students to learn?
• How will we know if they have learned?
• What will we do if they don’t learn?
• What will we do if they already know it?
If we can truly answer these questions about every student, we will be on our way to meeting our mission.
Our second goal of providing a culture in which students can learn is equal to ensuring a high level of student learning.
The district’s strategic design states:
• All students learn, have talent and want to succeed.
• All students deserve a safe environment where they feel valued.
• Teachers build relationships that engage students in learning.
We will continue to look for opportunities for students to experience learning both through each other and through resources found in and out of 60178.
Think about the school experiences that you remember most.
How about the science experiments that maybe didn’t go as planned – the volcano my science group made that never erupted.
How about the day you found out that mixing blue and red makes purple, or even the time you realized jumping in puddles on the way to school probably was not a good idea.
All learning experiences? YES! Experiences not written down or graded, but personal experiences learned in your safe surroundings.
We know that we cannot meet our goals alone. Our strategic design states:
• Parents are students’ first teachers.
• Community partnerships are essential.
• Our learning community provides a sense of family.
So as we move into a new year of learning in Sycamore, we ask for your continued support.
We encourage you to ask questions. We have a very talented and hardworking staff that can answer your questions or join you in looking for an answer.
I feel a great sense of pride and responsibility to live and work in 60178. Again, the question is what’s in a number? In this case, great kids, a motivated staff, engaged parents and a supportive community, all ready to ask questions and find answers together.
Have a great year!
• Kathy Countryman is superintendent for Sycamore School District 427. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.