Naperville Superintendents Community Engagement
Naperville School District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges and Indian Prairie School District 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley took part in the Naperville Public Library‘s community engagement series last night.
The library event provides an opportunity for the public to get to know community leaders. Some topics the superintendents spoke about include what they’ve learned from the pandemic, what they believe has made them high performance districts, and some of their plans for social-emotional learning and equity at their respective districts.
Community members had the chance to ask their questions at the virtual event. One asked about shifting to remote learning. Bridges cited the districts had to do so early on due to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s order.
“I don’t think any of us ever anticipated or believed it would be as long as it was,” said Bridges. “We do our work best when kids are sitting in the classrooms, with our teachers, with our educators, everyday in person. I think we could have done it differently, maybe we could have done it differently but I don’t regret the decisions that were made. I think maybe based on what we know now and what we know everyday, decisions maybe could have been different.”
“Dan is right when he said all of us would prefer to have our children in school and that was one of the reasons this school year from the very beginning as we were planning, were pushing for in person learning only. Luckily the state also was pushing for that and didn’t really allow for remote learning to be an option,” said Talley. “We know our children learn best when they are in front of us, especially our K, 1, 2 grades. So we were very happy we were able to do in person this year, stayed in that way and even when we’ve had some issues with staffing we’ve been able to stay open every single day.”
Initiatives Looking Forward
Some initiatives District 203 is looking at include the construction of their updated Focus 203 strategic blueprint, student college and career preparation supports, and focusing on mental health for students and staff. District 204 initiatives include reducing class sizes for K-2, which the superintendent feels will help with reading and math, working on a strategic plan, continued work on mental health, and growing their own teachers.
“We have about 80 juniors and seniors who have expressed an interest in becoming educators and this year we have been really working with them”, said Talley. The hope is District 204 students who seek a career in education come back to teach with the district.
Both superintendents also cited the importance of collaboration and relationships between the district, schools, and the community.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
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