School District 197 Superintendent Blog
Welcome to my blog! The purpose of the blog is to provide an avenue for communication with parents and community members. I will be sharing our progress in implementing the District Strategic Framework. Periodically I will also post photos and share news of special events that I attend in our schools.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

High Approval Ratings: A Sweet End to a Terrific School Year

Today is the last day of school for students in District 197.  As an educator, the last day of school always leaves me with mixed feelings.  I am sad to see the students leave.  They bring a purpose and an energy to our schools that is the sole reason we exist.  When they are gone, it feels empty around here.  Yet the end of the year also signals a time for renewal.  We are given a chance to re-energize, re-focus, and re-commit to our mission.  We spend the summer preparing for the coming year, and that, too, is exciting.

We made great strides as a school district this year.  A few highlights are listed below:
  • We opened our new Early Learning and Family Resource Center;
  • Through our EmPowerEd initiative, we successfully took 1:1 computing to scale in our secondary schools;
  • We implemented a new and improved K-8 gifted and talented instructional model;
  • We implemented a wildly successful new writing curriculum in our elementary schools;
  • We launched Naviance, a new career planning tool for students at the secondary level; and
  • More than 100 stakeholders participated in our series of strategy team meetings throughout the year.

At our June school board meeting, we heard the results of our 2016 stakeholder survey, which was conducted in April.  I am proud to say that our district received some of the highest stakeholder satisfaction ratings since beginning the annual survey over a decade ago.  When asked about the quality of our schools, an astounding 91% rated us as excellent or good, up from 78% in 2014. Within that figure, 53% rated us as excellent, up from just 37% in 2014.  

The question of quality is just one of many questions asked in the survey where we earned approval ratings of over 90%.  A second question was in regard to residents' pride in our district schools and if they would recommend them to others.  Here too, the number saying yes went from 77% in 2014 to 93% in 2016.  According to our consultant, the strong results in this survey puts us in the top five school districts in the entire suburban metro area.  If you'd like to hear more, you can view the presentation here (starting at 0:05:30) and download the presentation here.

What our survey callers heard over and over from respondents is that our public likes what they see as an increased emphasis on academic excellence in our district.  I couldn't agree more.  We have upped our game. Our Strategic Framework is providing us with this focus, and our commitment remains strong.  

On behalf of District 197, thank you for your support for our schools.  You are our most important partner, and we couldn't be successful without you.  Whatever your plans for the summer, have fun, be safe, and stay in touch. We look forward to seeing you again in the fall.  


Nancy Allen-Mastro

Follow me on Twitter @Supt197