Superintendent Stapleton: D45 strives to go ‘extra mile’

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, our staff, and myself, we welcome everyone to Barnwell School District 45 for the 2017-18 school year.

The start of a new year is exciting for all of us. For parents and guardians whose students are entering our schools for the first time, we extend a special welcome and a heartfelt thank you for the trust that you have placed in us. For those families and students returning for another school year, we welcome you back and look forward to seeing you soon.

Here in Barnwell School District 45, we are looking forward to many goals we have set for ourselves, one being the increase of technology within our classrooms. We have developed our 1:1 initiative to put more technology in the hands of our students. We will use the increased technology to improve instruction, allow for more blended learning opportunities, provide increased differentiation, and increase student engagement. Part of this initiative includes professional development for utilizing the devices within the classroom and using Google Classroom to impact instructional practices. We are preparing our students now for careers that do not currently exist. We know we must provide them, from the early years on, with the 21st century skills they need to be stronger collaborators, critical thinkers, and problem solvers.

As a district, we have also set a goal to build stronger relationships between the community of Barnwell and the school district. As educators, we must bring a love for education and the community each day to our school district, and we want to build strong community relationships that thrive and envelop our school system. We are fortunate to be a part of the Barnwell community where so many great things are happening, and we want to work together to continue great work on behalf of our children. We will strive to provide increased opportunities for stakeholder input and involvement, to provide increased communication celebrating successes and highlighting accomplishments, and to be a positive presence in the community we serve. On behalf of Barnwell School District 45, we look forward to working with community members and organizations to capitalize on strengths and to make our schools the heart of the community.

Our continuous improvement efforts are critical to our district, ensuring that the high quality of our schools is maintained. The district is excited about the great things happening in Barnwell School District 45 and has embraced this opportunity to celebrate strengths and accomplishments, as well as identify challenges and create action steps towards addressing them. We work hard to guarantee that our students have the knowledge and skills that they will need for future success, which benefits our community, as well as the students themselves. Improving student achievement goes beyond academics, co-curriculars, and student performance. It means seeking new ways to include stakeholder support and investment in our community’s educational system. At the beginning of every school year, we know that we will face unanticipated challenges and opportunities as the year progresses. We will strive to work with all stakeholders to identify needed change, create a vision to guide the change and inspire others to believe in it, and execute the change with the commitment of our stakeholders. As I have shared before, one way we will begin this is with the addition of three new district advisory teams focused on three areas - teacher and learning impact, resource utilization, and leadership capacity. These teams will consist of staff members, parents, community members, and local business and industry leaders. We strongly encourage anyone who would like to be a part of one of these teams to contact us at the district office.

I also want to take a moment to applaud our staff for their dedication to our students, our families, and our community. I truly feel our people are our greatest asset, and I would like to acknowledge and extend my heartfelt gratitude to our entire staff in Barnwell School District 45. I appreciate their commitment to our students, and I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing group of people working together to make our district great. We appreciate our community's support and are grateful for their continued efforts to reach out to the schools and the district. As a school district, we must make connections with people, let them know we care, and inspire everyone to work together to do great things. We look forward to working with each of you to make this school year great! We also welcome new teachers and administrators that have joined our Barnwell School District 45 family, a talented group of educators that we are fortunate to have in our classrooms and schools. The staff brings their excitement and talents to the classroom with an understanding that we are helping our students become successful learners not only in school but, more importantly, outside the schoolhouse doors.

To all families, we thank you for your continued support and for the opportunity to work with and teach your most valuable resource – your child. Parents and family members are a big part of what we do with active involvement in the classrooms, attendance at special events, as well as ongoing support for the school programs. We believe our district and community are special, and we strive to go the extra mile to prove it. Our community, and our Board of Trustees, has made a commitment to educating the whole child. Our goal is to challenge our students academically, support them socially, and provide encouragement and guidance to help them grow into the amazing future leaders we know they can be.

We look forward to working together to make 2017-2018 a wonderful school year!