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Letter from the Superintendent


 

Oak Park School District Family:

    It is my hope that great health and prosperity continues to reach all stakeholders daily.  Our commitment is to ensure quality learning every day, while encouraging our competitive spirit to continue to be contagious.  While serving as superintendent for more than six years, I can report that nothing has been more rewarding than to witness Oak Park Schools’ transformation from where we were in 2010, to where we are currently during the 2016-2017 school year.  I am honored and humbled, when I boast that Oak Park is the place to be! 
 
    Our intentional efforts in Oak Park remain aggressive, while we continue to improve in all areas of service.  We are transforming the district into an excellent learning environment for all students grades Pre-K – 12. Of course our goal is to make certain students are prepared for college and careers throughout their educational journey.  We believe that academics, arts, athletics, attitude, and accountability are most important and the keys to success!  We believe all students deserve a quality learning opportunity that maximizes their full potential!  We believe all children can learn! We care about each and every student and show it by lending our best service as educators regardless of our job descriptions. We understand the importance of capturing kids’ hearts. We are operating with a growth mindset at all times, and that is why every stakeholder serves as a teacher, role-models, mentor, supporter, and advocate to our entire student population (that’s all 4,800 smiling faces).  We recognize the importance of public education.
 
    We cherish the relationships that we have with all of our students, their immediate and extended families, and our residents/community.  We encourage all stakeholders to take full advantage of the opportunities within Oak Park Schools.  Our expectation is that every student is timely and in attendance daily, ready and willing to be challenged while engaged in learning.  We expect every student to embrace and be responsible for their own learning.  We expect every student in grades 3 – 12 to have a password to student connect, so they can monitor their grades daily/weekly throughout the school year.  We are encouraging every student in grades 3 – 12 to participate in extracurricular activities (student leadership, community service opportunities, and other clubs/organizations, etc.) at the school, outside of the regular school day, as well as, take advantage of advanced placement or honors offerings and/or after-school tutoring (whichever is appropriate), fine and performing arts, and athletics.  We expect every parent to sign up for and stay connected with parent connect and sign in and monitor a minimum of twice per week to check grades and the attendance status of their child(ren); attend a minimum of two parent teacher conferences; attend a minimum of two student showcases/competitions (i.e. awards ceremony, arts or athletics competitions, etc.) where their child is involved; attend a minimum of two PTSA meetings throughout the school year; and take the time to speak to their child’s teacher(s) a minimum of two times per semester outside of the usual parent teacher conference meetings.  Sure, there’s more to do, but that would be a great start for those who are trying to find the time to get involved to ensure increased student achievement and proficiency at all levels!  We’re also encouraging every parent to encourage increased study time at home, as well as, literacy support (every student should read one grade level appropriate book per week at home, in addition to their regular homework assignments).  We want the best for our students and the partnership that we encourage is vital to reaching the goal of making sure every student is proficient and performing at or above grade level.     
 
    With increased student achievement for all students as our highest priority, we will continue to work diligently in-house with our administrators and instructional staff to make a difference in the lives of all of our students. Our students are really showing progress and we will continue to push for even better results throughout the school year. The staff continues to transition to deeper implementation of the common core standards, improved instructional strategies, inquiry based learning, and other best practices that motivate students to learn while keeping them fully engaged.  All professional development days are dedicated to intense learning of best practice strategies for all staff.  This year, the majority of the days were before the first day of school.  Throughout the year, we will continue the practice of assessing the needs of our students and implementing interventions that increase results where needed. We will continue to promote alternatives for gifted students such as honors, advanced placement and dual enrollment, as well as, alternatives for those that need non-traditional opportunities such as virtual learning or strict discipline environments. We truly believe that all of our students have the potential to become productive citizens, and we continue to demonstrate our commitment by providing exceptional learning opportunities that prepare them for the next level and beyond.
 
    You won't find a more committed school district to defying the odds by overcoming our financial barriers, while providing the best service to our students and families.  We recognize that wraparound services and supports are needed to make certain students are well rounded.  We understand the needs of our students and are determined to provide every opportunity for them to succeed!
 
    Please continue to be encouraged by our efforts and success!  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at any time.
 
    Let's continue to embrace the idea that Oak Park is the family city, and that the Oak Park School District is the district that meets the needs of the entire family.  It takes a village to raise a child, and we are doing our part by teaching, coaching, mentoring, and guiding more than 4,800 children throughout the district, so we invite you to be a part of our continuous efforts and success. Together, we can be the change we want see in the world, by working as an effective professional learning community to make certain our students understand the importance of an education and are provided opportunities and exposure that increase their individual expectations.

Respectfully,
 
Daveda J. Colbert, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Oak Park School District