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McDonald: District 99 on track with strategic goals

District 99 recently presented our annual “state of the district” report to the board of education. We shared the great strides we’ve made in achieving our strategic goals. For example, during the 2012-13 school year we accomplished the following:

• Students enrolled in more rigorous courses. The percentage of students in advanced level courses grew from 33.7 percent to 36.9 percent.

• Students achieved nearly double the expected growth in reading test scores, proving our systematic approach to literacy is working. 

• We modified our curriculum to align to the new Common Core State Standards. We also worked closely with our elementary and middle schools to ensure continuity.

• We developed new courses that support important Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives.

• We created new ways to support the social and emotional needs of students. As a result, we contacted students individually 17,753 times – up 76 percent from the previous school year – and grades improved.  

• The community used our facilities more. Rentals grew by 23 percent, adding $180,000 in revenue. 

• Twelve teachers started pursuing the National Board Certification designation – the gold standard of a highly competent teacher. 

This list is just a glimpse of the many positive projects we have underway. Full details of our action plan and progress are online at

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, and excited for what the 2013-14 school year holds.

To grow student achievement, we will refine and improve our teacher evaluation process. We will create a thoughtful technology plan, one that equips students with the tools they need to succeed academically. With input from the community, a new master facility plan will define and address the needs of the 21st Century learner.   

It is only with your continued support that we will be able to achieve our goals. It is a privilege to partner with you, and help make the future a bright one for all of our students.

Mark McDonald is the superintendent of schools at District 99.

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