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Message From the Superintendent
ScarsellaDr. Anthony.JPG
Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella
Superintendent of Schools

Yvonne Leschkies
Administrative Associate to the Superintendent and Board

8800 W. 119th St.
Palos Park, IL  60464

Ph: (708) 761-5801
Ph: (708) 761-5815

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Adapting to Change

I am writing this month's column just moments after walking out of a very energizing discussion about the state of our school district with your children's fourth grade teachers.  One of the many things that make Palos 118 a great school district is our ability as a learning community to have professional open and honest discussions about our areas of strength, and our areas of needed improvement.  At these meetings, we share ideas freely and without judgment; always keeping in mind the decisions we make as professional educators will affect the nearly 2,000 students we educate daily.  As superintendent, it is an invigorating way to start the day.  Thank you to Ms. Hotzfield, Ms. Didier, Ms. Gibbons, Ms. Schweer, Mr. Pritchard, Ms. Sarbiewski, Ms. Nolan, Ms. Fanello, Ms. Feely, Ms. House, and Ms. Heilicser.   

One of the topics we discussed is our science curriculum. It got me thinking about how school districts are similar to living organisms in that they adapt over time in response to their ever-changing environments.  According to National Geographic, an adaptation can be structural - meaning a physical change, or behavioral - meaning a change in the way an organism acts.  You can see both physical and behavioral adaptations happening in our school district right now.  At Palos West, the construction of the new Early Childhood Addition is a perfect example of a physical adaptation.  With the new addition, we are adapting to the growing importance of supporting our youngest, most vulnerable learners before they reach kindergarten.  Other physical adaptations that will take shape this summer is the installation of a new more reliable phone system and the launch of our new website.  These adaptations are essential to improving communication between our school district and the families we serve.  We are fortunate that our community continues to provide the funding necessary to support these essential adaptations.

Behavioral adaptations also abound.  Most notably, we continue to focus on providing a full curriculum for all, and supporting programs that help students develop the skills necessary to be successful in tomorrow's workforce.  At our elementary schools nearly all of our students now receive the benefit of science and social studies instruction in the general education environment, and an equal opportunity to develop a passion for these very important and engaging subjects.  Over at the middle school, we are changing the way we prepare students for future success by focusing on 21st century learning skills.  For the third consecutive year, more than half of our incoming eighth grade students will voluntarily participate in Palos South's Capstone Program.  Capstone focuses on essential 21st century skills including critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.  This program continues to grow and adapt over time thanks to our Capstone Program Coordinator Judy Schramm and our Capstone Facilitators Jeremy Mancilla, Katie McDonough and Brittney Kmiecik.  In the near future, I will be sharing with you some very exciting news about national recognition this program has received!   

An old adage states "change is the only constant in life."  As a school district, we must continually adapt to the constant change around us to ensure each new class of students has the skill set necessary to be successful, productive, well-rounded members of society.  This is no easy task but rest assured that your school district is working hard every day to do just that.  Enjoy the rising temperatures, the blooming flowers, and the many spring activities happening in our schools.  I hope to see you at one of those activities in the near future!

Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella,
Superintendent of Schools