District 181 has reasons to celebrate

It’s not just holiday cheer you can feel throughout District 181 schools this month.

This school year, many of our staff have been recognized for prestigious awards, our students are showing outstanding growth and achievement when compared to their peers at similar schools, and for the third consecutive year, one of our schools (Prospect Elementary) was named a National Blue Ribbon School. All D181 schools also earned the “Best Elementary” or “Best Middle” school badge from U.S. News and World Report for placing among the top 30 percent in the state this year.

These accomplishments aren’t due to a string of good luck or fortunate circumstances. We’ve been working diligently to create a positive learning environment for students amidst some of the most challenging circumstances and making wise choices amongst a vast array of information and sometimes conflicting viewpoints.

All year long, we’ve also been celebrating successes at every level — and I’d like to take a moment to say thank you. The creativity, skillful execution and thoughtful stewardship of our support staff, teachers, administrators and board of education are a gift to our students.

To that end, I want to acknowledge how much of a difference the collective hard work of every member of the District 181 team makes. In fact, we’ve started a special recognition program this year, which shines a spotlight on a staff member or a team from each of our schools. Our principals have nominated these extraordinary individuals and it’s been my privilege to sit down with them, get to know them and personally thank them for their work. We’ve been highlighting these stories in our Staff Spotlight, which our school community will continue to see via email. (If you don’t already receive our updates, you can sign up at https://www.d181.org/enews.)

I’d also like to thank our students and families for the level of commitment and engagement I see throughout the district. Whenever I visit a classroom, I see our students enthusiastically raising their hands to participate in a lesson and treating one another with care and respect in the hallways. This sense of community based on excellence and belonging is something we pride ourselves on in District 181, and it is a joy to see everyone from different perspectives put differences aside in recognition of our efforts and results.

To our entire community: I’d like to wish you a peaceful and happy holiday season, with plenty of relaxation and the good company of family and friends. I look forward to continuing the success in D181 in 2022.

— by Dr. Hector Garcia, superintendent, Community Consolidated Elementary District 181