Leak: SD 227 to kick off school year with parent conference
By Donna Simpson Leak Guest Columnist August 16, 2012 7:36PM
Updated: September 18, 2012 6:21AM
As students in Rich Township High School District 227 head back to school this week to commence the start of another school year, it is our desire that each and every child is able to achieve his or her highest potential of learning.
We’ve all watched for weeks now as retail stores promote the latest trends in fashion and techno gadgets for students, persuading many that these are the tools for success. This year in our district, however, we aspire to enhance that one tool that all studies have shown to be the key element for educational success — parental support. I strongly believe that our best approach to learning is one that includes students, parents, teachers and administrators working together for success. It’s a holistic approach.
The first step in launching this approach is a parent conference entitled, “Parenting in the 21st Century,” to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Matteson Holiday Inn and Conference Center. The workshop features sessions pertinent to parents and students, such as Internet safety, career and college readiness, work/life balance, healthy eating, scholarship preparation, family communication and more.
We’ve heard the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In our high schools, we quickly see our children transform as they prepare to move on to other roles in this village.
We have so much to celebrate in Rich Township High School District 227, but we have even more on the horizon. Two of our schools are included in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Schools in America Bronze Category list for 2012, and graduating seniors from our district were offered nearly $10 million in academic scholarships this year, giving students an opportunity to pursue their dreams in Illinois and around the country.
However, one of the most recent accomplishments for our district came as recently as last month, when our Rich South High School Marching Band represented the state of Illinois in London during events surrounding the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Our students and our teachers continue to succeed despite of the challenges that daily face our system. Like most school systems in this state, we are stressed financially by dwindling state resources. We also are faced with the need to prepare our children to excel in an increasingly competitive environment, driven by technology. We want all of our children to be at the forefront, but it takes resources to get them there, and parents are our most valuable resource.
District 227 is committed to the success of every child. This success does not begin when they enter the doors of our high schools. This relay starts at home. The baton is passed on to educators for much of the day, where students are equipped to continue to cross the hurdles and push toward the ultimate victory.
I know we have more than 4,000 winners in our school system this year, and, yes, every student is a winner. I encourage every parent in our system to attend the conference on Saturday in support of your child. Let’s get our children off to a great start for the 2012-13 school year.
Donna Simpson Leak is superintendent of Rich Township High School District 227.