“To see far is one thing, going there is another” - Constantin Brancusi
As we begin to look towards the 2023-2024 school year, it is important that I take the time to thank our incredible community for making the past school year a great success. The core values of pride, integrity, work ethic, empathy, and belonging, that define our school are exemplified by our rich network of parents, friends, family, community members and local businesses. Thank you to everyone in Joliet for carrying these core values in your own lives and being role models for our students. The work that we do here in the classroom is a true partnership between school and home. The students and staff in Joliet are doing great things. In May, we graduated an outstanding group of seniors that are now off to trade schools, engineering programs, collegiate athletic fields, the work force, and other ventures. 10 of 12 classes are above the national average for reading achievement. Our incoming 7th through 12th grade classes are all above the national average for achievement in math. And nearly 65% of our K-5 students are at grade level or above in math, compared to about 35% nationally.
During my first year as the Superintendent, I set out to bring together a wide variety of opinions, listen, ensure voices are valued, build consensus, and help the District fulfill its vision to create an exemplary learning environment for students. Towards this end, I am hosting Coffee with the Superintendent on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 9am at the Community Center to discuss issues that are appearing on the monthly Board agenda. Additionally, our Board of Trustees are now holding regular committee meetings to discuss important issues related to the District. These meetings are open to the public and we hope to see you there. And finally, we encourage everyone to stream all regular board meetings on the District’s YouTube Channel to help stay apprised of all District happenings. I believe these are positive steps towards building home to school partnerships. That said, there is plenty of work still to do on this front.
Our grit role models for the 2023-2024 school year will be the incredible men, women, and sled dogs, who, in the face of blizzards, frigid temperatures, and inhospitable terrain, set off to complete one of the world’s most challenging adventure races anywhere on the planet. The Iditarod, which asks teams of racers to traverse some of the most remote country in the world, covering nearly 1000 miles in as little as 8 days, is an excellent example of the work ethic that captures the essence of the Jhawk spirit. Debbie Clark, an Iditarod finisher, in attempting to capture the rigor of the physical and emotional toll the Iditarod takes on a person, quoted a Romanian sculptor, and sums up the race by stating,
“To see far is one thing, going there is another.” -Jhawks SOAR far!
Clark Begger, JPS Superintendent