“You are so important to everything that a child does,” said Superintendent Dr. Ben Collins as he addressed all District 64 staff on Monday. “You are so important to this community.”
The first week back to school brings back so many emotions - for our students, parents, and teachers.
“Each and every morning, when I pull up on Lincoln Avenue and put my car into Park and look up at that beautiful near-century-old building. I quite often say out loud in my car…I’m so fortunate to work here,” said Justin Jonas, a teacher at Lincoln Middle School and President of the Park Ridge Education Association (P.R.E.A).
“The Board believes in shared leadership,” said Board President Dr. Denise Pearl in her Opening Day comments. “All voices are heard. How do we hear your voices? How do we hear the community’s voice? How do we hear parents voices? It’s all really important to this Board.”
“I wanted to share that they believe in you and they support you,” said Dr. Pearl on behalf of the rest of the Board of Education.
Families lined up outside our buildings again, catching up with neighbors and friends and sharing stories of their summer adventures. Once the ding of the first bell of the year went off, students filed into each school, ready for the new year.
The halls turned back into a bustling highway, taking students to their classes. Along the way, some of our younger children learned where everything in school is located and the proper hallway etiquette. At the middle schools, there was newness as well. For the 6th graders, it’s a whole new building. For the 7th & 8th graders, it’s a new list of classes or trying something new in an elective or sport.
“I don’t think we need to hope for a great year,” said Jonas. “I firmly believe every single one of us in this room has the power to make it a type of year that all of us teachers, administrators, parents, and most importantly, our students deserve - and one that propels this District to the best version of itself that any of us have ever seen. Let’s not just hope for a great year. Let’s make it one.”
“The other thing that Justin [Jonas] said that I absolutely agree with is how powerful you are,” said Dr. Collins as he ended the Opening Day remarks. “Will it. Will a great year. Make sure that you take charge of everything that you need to so you can make sure that you have the year you deserve, and we’ll make sure we’re here supporting you every step of the way.”
“We want you to walk into these schools and out of these schools every day, feeling like you have the best jobs in the world because you absolutely do. We’ll do whatever it takes to support you through that,” said Dr. Collins.