The start of the school year brings so much excitement. The joy of seeing colleagues, the return of students to our schools and to our classrooms, and more. Each year, Forest Ridge School District 142 chooses a theme for the year. It helps speak to what we’re thinking regarding the focus and intentionality of our work. This year, we have chosen the theme, “Above and Beyond.”
We understand that if we do a little more than is expected, that these small additional efforts add up and will help allow our students to go beyond. During the opening institutes, as an entire District, we explored what this means to us… what would be the evidence that this was our theme for the year? We wrestled a bit with how our students, our parents, and our community know that we intended to do more than what was expected. Below are a few ideas and things we hope to keep in mind as we move forward, purposefully, with the theme of “Above and Beyond”:
- We will make eye contact with students, parents, community members, our colleagues, and visitors. We will acknowledge one another, say “hello,” and show a genuine interest in the people within our educational community.
- We will offer a “Human-Centered Experience” to all who encounter District 142. After an open discussion at Institute Day, our staff, regardless of his or her role in the district, wants everyone we come in contact with to feel welcomed, heard, cared about, taken seriously, understood… just to name a few outcomes.
- We will take our time to make sure that the work we do is right, is thorough, is important and worth doing, and has a positive impact on our students, parents, and community. We also understand that sometimes going “Above and Beyond” will necessitate offering a little more of ourselves and a little more of our time.
- We will have a focus on ensuring we are engaging in and adding value to the right conversations that are both positive and productive.
Our School District motto is “Children Always Come First.” Everyone should know this after experiencing time in our District. The “Today Matters” blog is written to remind everyone of just that. We can’t wait until tomorrow to do something amazing for our students. We need to offer this to them today, right now, and everyday hereafter. These blogs will be posted on the first and third Fridays throughout the year, so look forward to additional thoughts soon!
Dr. Paul McDermott