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Progress on the Path - December 2017


Spark from ARC

December 14, 2017

Committed To Excellence

        "It is always impossible until it's done."

                  - Nelson Mandela

District 189 is making progress. The annual Illinois Report Card shows our students are making real academic gains that are leading to improved graduation rates, college readiness, college enrollment and persistence. The report includes:

·         PARCC composite attainment data has nearly doubled between 2015 to 2017

·         East St. Louis Senior High School 4-year graduation rate has steadily increased from 59% in 2012 to 77% in 2017

·         Freshmen on Track rate has increased from 70% in 2016 to 80% in 2017

·         College ACT scores have increased from 15.1 in 2016 to 16.1 in 2017 and SAT scores increased from 809 to 824 in the same time period

·         District college enrollment rate (students enrolling in college within 12 months of high school graduation) increased from 47% in 2014 to 59% in 2017

·         District college persistence rate (percentage of those who entered college one year then returned the second year) increased from 51% in 2016 to 61% in 2017

District 189 is making progress. We haven’t reached our destination, but we are on the right path. Our students’ NWEA data from 2016-2017 showed gains that raised the bar. Three classrooms reached 100% individual student growth targets for the year. Forty-one classrooms reached between 30-100% student attainment of national norm RIT scores. These classrooms have proven our students can not only meet growth expectations, but that they can reach national attainment and PARCC readiness levels.

District 189 is making progress. However, we will not become complacent. We expect excellence! Our district is part of the “City of Champions.” Our students were born to win, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness. Each of us is capable of achieving excellence by striving toward perfection. Perfection may not be attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.

Our destination is clear: every student will thrive and succeed. Our district’s mission statement reflects this as we work:

To cultivate the potential in every student to thrive as a global citizen by inspiring a love of learning and civic engagement, by challenging and supporting every student to achieve academic excellence, and by embracing the full richness of our community.

There should be no qualifiers for this and no exceptions - every student. Our students can attain excellence if we expect excellence, fully commit to excellence and focus on doing our jobs in an excellent manner every day.

Many people may say our students can’t achieve excellence, but in the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Prior to 1954, no one believed a human could run a mile in under 4 minutes. Prior to 1969, no one believed humans could walk on the moon and return safely home. Many people believed it was impossible for an African American to become president in their lifetime. When these feats happened, they established a new threshold and expectation. It is important to understand these feats also did not miraculously happen. People prepared for them, trained, practiced, and got closer to the mark. They also believed they could do something that seemed impossible. They planned to win, prepared to win and expected to win. They knew a new standard was possible and that belief dominated their thoughts and motivated their actions. They began to live every moment in a state of mental certainty that they would achieve their goal.

Muhammad Ali, arguably the most significant sports figure of the 20th century, said it best:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

District 189 is making progress. In our commitment to excellence, we are on our way to achieving new goals. Where are you on this path? Are you fully committed to excellence? Are you living every day in a state of mental certainty that you will achieve your goal? If not, then remember the words of Tony Robbins, “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited of what could go right.” Remember, you cannot consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself. You have what it takes to be successful – move forward with purpose, passion and power.

District 189 is making progress. We are on the path together. Please watch this video: Never Give Up video



Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent