Our schools are the heart of our communities. We move to the northern suburbs to raise our kids in safe, beautiful neighborhoods with great schools.
As empty nesters, we want to keep schools strong to maintain our home values. But challenging economic times, restrictive state laws, unfunded mandates, evolving beliefs about what constitutes a good education, and our rapidly changing world make it harder to define what constitutes an excellent education and to provide the programs, facilities and staff necessary to deliver it.
Fortunately, the Internet makes it easier to collaborate about important issues like improving our schools. An ad hoc committee of educators and parents, listed below, worked with Howard Gardner, the renown Harvard University professor who developed the concepts of multiple intelligences and good work; his wife, psychologist Ellen Winner; and Make It Better to develop an online survey for the 37 high schools in our footprint.
Parents, administrators, students, faculty and community members are encouraged to answer this short survey about their school’s strengths and weaknesses and offer recommendations for improvement.
Sample Questions From Survey:
- What do you think are the area(s) in which your high school excels?
- Which area(s) would you like your high school to emphasize more?
- Which traits of young people listed below are addressed most effectively in your high school?
- Which traits of young people do you think ought to receive greater emphasis in your high school?
- Do you believe that the students feel substantial stress?
We will report the findings in a subsequent issue of Make It Better.
An outstanding education delivered by well-qualified faculty in appropriate facilities requires substantial funding and community support. Property tax increases to fund schools can be controversial even in a booming economy. These issues are even more challenging in 2011.
Two school districts have placed school funding referendums on the ballot for April 5: Wilmette Public School District 39 and Deerfield/Highland Park High School District 113. If you are a registered voter in either of those districts, click on the links below and participate in our online poll:
Deerfield/Highland Park High School District 113
Wilmette Public School District 39
Your views—about education, schools and taxes—are important to Make It Better and our community. Please express them, and please encourage your friends and neighbors to do so too. Consensus and collaboration lead to better schools, better students and better communities. Thank you for your participation.
Linda Yonke, Superintendent, New Trier High School District 203
Paul Sally, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, D203
Kaine Osburn, Principal, Niles West High School, D219
David Saxe, Assistant Principal for Operations and Program Support, Adlai E. Stevenson High School, D126
Stephanie Pace Marshall, Founding President and President Emerita, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Aurora
Stephen McWilliams, Principal, Barrington High School, D220
Betty Frank-Bailey, Executive Director, Linking Efforts Against Drugs (LEAD)
David Schreiber, M.D., Medical Director, Mood and Anxiety Disorder Clinic, NorthShore University HealthSystem
Lonnie Stonitsch, Co-Chair and Programming Chair, Family Awareness Network (FAN), and Editor, Parent Education Consortium Calendar (PEC)