Bloomington Public School District 87 continues to challenge, support and inspire all students to learn and achieve to their highest potential despite the difficulties created by limited state and federal support.

Fortunately, our board of education has provided excellent oversight for years by building appropriate fund balances to allow us to withstand the financial pressures created mainly by the lack of a state budget.

As members of the community, you should be very proud of board members who have been good stewards of our tax dollars while setting the bar very high for the expectations of our students. The board of education continues to make student achievement our top priority. Because of their efforts, we continue to move forward with growing our one-to-one curriculum and upgrading our facilities to meet the needs of our students.

District 87 set the goal of completing our one-to-one curriculum by providing a laptop to every third- through 12th-grade student by the start of the 2018-2019 school year. I am proud to say that we met that goal in January of this year a full 1 1/2 years ahead of schedule.

Furthermore, we are piloting tablet devices in our pre-K through second grades to provide our primary students with enriched learning opportunities. We anticipate having these devices in all pre-K through second-grade classrooms at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

In addition, our partnership with Frontier Communications has allowed us to provide internet access into the homes of over 800 low-income students. This is extremely important as all students need to have equal access to all of our curriculum resources beyond the regular school day. This is a unique program that many other school districts across the country are hoping to provide for their students.

Finally, ongoing professional development is helping our teachers, paraprofessionals and building administrators to maximize the learning opportunities for our students through the use of these devices. Many of the experts who provide this professional development come from our own teaching staff. I am very proud of their efforts.

The facilities in District 87 are a great source of pride and demonstrate our commitment to our students and community. We maintain our buildings very well with careful planning to help them last for years to come. We continue to upgrade building infrastructure to make our schools more energy-efficient, saving dollars in the long run.

One current facility challenge we have is the growing number of students participating in band and orchestra at our junior high and high school. Several years ago, we moved our fifth-grade band and orchestra programs from the individual elementary schools to the junior high before the start of the regular elementary day. This allowed for more students to participate, while providing our teachers with greater teaching opportunities for small and large groups of students.

The results have been tremendous. Because of their efforts, our spacing needs for both programs have grown at the high school. As a result, we are considering building an addition to Bloomington High School to add space for the band, while remodeling the current band room to accommodate our growing orchestra. We are committed to our fine arts programs across the district.

I would encourage members of the community to come see firsthand the high-quality education and outstanding opportunities available to the students in District 87. Simply contact our building principals to schedule a visit. Contact information can be found on our website at www.district87.org. We would love for you to see the great work happening in our classrooms each and every day.

Reilly is superintendent of District 87 schools.


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