Message From Dr. Scarsella, Superintendent
May is typically a month of festivities as we recognize the many achievements of our students while wrapping up another wonderful school year. Let us not allow the ongoing pandemic to steal that joy from us. As a school community, we still have much to celebrate about the 2019-2020 school year. In the fall, our schools received top ratings for student achievement from the Illinois State Board of Education. Interim assessments in the fall and winter indicated a continued positive trend in reading and math achievement. Palos East and Palos West awarded 77 Presidential Awards for Academic Excellence to our fifth graders. At Palos South, 108 seventh graders were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. Our English Language students performed at such a high level on the state ACCESS exam that 20% of them were deemed English proficient. Our students were achieving at high levels when they left us in March and they will do so again when school resumes in August.
We cannot forget the value in learning that did take place in-person this year. This was not a “lost” school year. To suggest otherwise would be to overlook the many accomplishments of our students, particularly our graduating eighth graders. To the Class of 2020, we honor your successes and we applaud your achievements. You represent the very best of what it means to persevere in the face of adversity. You are an intelligent, caring, funny, loving, determined group of young adults. Your futures are bright and we look forward to celebrating you with a car parade at Palos South on May 28 prior to the virtual graduation ceremony at 7:00 p.m. For more information regarding the parade and virtual ceremony, please click here.
The Board of Education has been hard at work providing the necessary resources students will need next school year. Understanding that many of our students will most likely need additional social emotional supports when they return to in-person instruction, the Board has approved hiring two additional full-time social workers at Palos East and Palos West. I want to thank the Board for its continued commitment to supporting the whole child. Our social workers have created a presentation to assist parents in supporting their students this summer and to prepare them for possible remote learning in the fall. Click here to access the presentation
I am also excited to share with you that the Board approved the use of CARES Act federal funding for the purchase of additional student devices that will allow the school district to implement a 1:1 device program at all grade levels district-wide next school year. These additional devices will assist teachers during both in-person and possible remote learning. I appreciate the Board’s ongoing dedication to supporting our teachers and families as we continue to redefine what school looks like during this global pandemic.
I know there have been near daily news reports and social media postings about what school might look like in the fall. At this time, there are many uncertainties about next year but we are planning for many different scenarios as we await guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health. I will update parents throughout the summer on our ongoing planning. When schools do reopen, we will do everything we can to make them safe for our students and our staff. Please continue to read all correspondence from your child’s school principal for important updates on school specific items.
Stay Healthy and Connected,
Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella
Superintendent of Schools
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