Niles Community Schools to continue momentum in 2016

Published 10:04 am Thursday, January 7, 2016

Niles Community Schools extends a sincere welcome back to school after the joyous holiday season. The beginning of each new year signifies a fresh start, but also presents an opportunity to continue improvements from the previous year.

Upon our return, we must maintain our focus in order to achieve our primary objective, improving student learning.

The momentum we’ve developed over the past two years has laid the foundation for “Niles 2020” — our reorganization initiative making critical improvements to our facilities, our technology and our curriculum. In the next several months, we plan to implement the initial phases of the bond.

Niles Community Schools accomplished a lot of important and positive work in 2015 and our vision is to carry that influence the remainder of the school year. To outline the future success of our community, the Board of Education and members of the Niles community recently joined together to create a solid foundation on which to build the strategic plan for our schools. As previously mentioned, our primary focus will remain on student achievement. Throughout the next several months, we will strive to improve communication within the district, continue with fiscally responsible decisions and strengthen the diverse educational options already in place to meet the individual needs of our students.

To effectively enhance student learning, you may recall that we implemented a pilot instructional framework for the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model. We are grateful for the work the Ring Lardner Middle School and Oak Manor Sixth Grade Center teachers and administrators have done implementing the model. We have received positive feedback from staff and are excited to move the program forward in order to take our instruction to the next level for our children.

We are Niles Community Schools, and as such, our students have completed an abundance of service learning hours and are committed to helping and giving back to our community in various ways throughout the year. We have received unyielding support from community members and our students look forward to being involved in more opportunities to show our appreciation and commitment to our community.

While winter has just begun, spring is just around the corner and so is the ground-breaking for the highly anticipated Phase I bond development. The bid process for Howard-Ellis Elementary, Ring Lardner, Eastside and Ballard will begin in March, with construction commencing in June. Once approved, the district will obtain a minimum of three bids for the designs and estimates for each project in order to control costs.

As we wait to break ground, bond improvements have already begun. In fact, over the break we spent our first allocation of funds to fix and improve our telephone systems, as phone lines in certain buildings were not functioning correctly.

The new upgrades were desperately needed and will bring safety and security enhancements for our students, parents and teachers. It was a wonderful experience to witness such a simple, much needed update that will significantly improve efficiency within our school system. Once again, we are truly grateful for the community’s support and investment in our schools.

Looking ahead, the future is bright and we are eager to get started on new initiatives while continuing the work begun these past few years. It’s an amazing time in Niles and we look forward to working together to build a successful educational experience for our community’s children.


Dr. Dan Applegate is Superintendent at Niles Community Schools.