The Board of Education has had some fruitful discussions with the Mount Prospect Education Association lately, and I am still hopeful that we will reach an agreement acceptable to everyone involved. In the meantime, Administration continues to go about the business of managing and leading our District. This includes preparing for the many challenges that are facing schools today, such as new state testing, new national science and PE standards, the costly demand for personal learning devices, and complying with a flurry of education reform laws. These are some of the threats, trends and needs that we identified in this year's Environmental Scan.
The Environmental Scan is a big-picture look at factors that will likely affect District 57 in the near future. It is the first step in the strategic planning process, as it helps us identify the District's goals and what it will take to achieve them. By taking thisstructured approach, we avoid haphazard decision making and allocate limited resources in ways that are most beneficial to students. I presented the Environmental Scan at the last School Board meeting. I would like to make you aware of some of the major issues, as they are likely to affect your child's education.
Districts will take the ISAT this year, with all questions aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The ISAT will be replaced by PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) in 2014-2015. District 57 continues to monitor the challenges of this transition, including technology requirements for online testing.
Illinois is expected to adopt the national Next Generation Science Standards, requiring districts to revise curriculum. It will take several years for publishers to develop new resources. State science testing likely will be in place before new curriculum is available.
The state also is expected to adopt new physical education standards this spring. We will review our PE curriculum to determine what revisions will be necessary.
The demand for personal learning devices, online curriculum resources and expanded bandwidth will continue to increase. This is all necessary but expensive.
Professional development is a priority, as we strive to maintain a high-performing workforce. We also must comply with new reform laws that affect our staff. In the upcoming years, we will be in the process of designing new performance evaluation systems and must add student growth by 2016.
Results of the recent security audit are being reviewed and prioritized, with implementation scheduled for 2014-2015.
The economic landscape for District 57 is still fragile, due to tax objections, unfunded mandates and the state's financial situation. We also are monitoring implementation of the new pension reform law and the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, to determine if they will affect District finances.
These and other issues will figure into the annual update of the District's Strategic Plan, which Administration will present to the Board in May.
Dr. Elaine Aumiller
Superintendent of Schools