A MESSAGE FROM BEA PRESIDENT JULIE RILEY TO WELCOME BEA MEMBERS AND THE DISTRICT 87 COMMUNITY TO THE 2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR.
I am so pleased to be able to welcome everyone to this new school year. I am saddened that we cannot be together to see you all. I especially like the part of the meeting when Dr. Reilly usually asks everyone to stand up based on how long they have taught in the district. I love the history of it and the possibilities.
You see and hear “It’s great to be in District 87” a lot around here, and honestly, I believe it. I love this district. I have taught my entire career, literally a generation, here. Mike and I raised our family here with all three of our kids graduating from BHS. I believe in what we do here.
Over the course of 28 years, you can bet I have seen a thing or two. I have former 7J’ers who are doctors, nurses, professional athletes, jewelry designers, entrepreneurs, some District 87 teachers — probably everything you can imagine. And let me tell you, the first time a former student walks in as the parent, it’s jarring but it’s also pretty cool.
I have come to hate the word “unprecedented,” yet I have not found a better choice for the times we find ourselves in. These past three semesters have been the strangest and most challenging I have experienced. I am sure they were for you, too. Yet you adapted and changed course time and again to meet those challenges.
Last spring, I reminded the district’s bargaining committee that even before the pandemic we were charged with doing something that had not been asked of a school system until less than a generation ago — to educate every child in our community to be college and career ready.
Last school year, we worked to educate every child in our community to be college and career ready while dealing with a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and overdue social justice reforms.
And we did it via Zoom.
I am so proud of you.
Despite all these experiences and changes, and knowing full well that new changes may be required, we are all here ready to do it all again.
We are understandably concerned about a host of issues ranging from physical health, to emotional well-being, to of course academics. Some of these issues will loom larger than they would in a normal year— whatever that even is.
But here in District 87, we have always met our students where they were. Name any metric you can think of and we have always had a broad range in our classrooms. We have also always given our kids our very best efforts. We give them our all. This year will be no different.
We will connect with our students.
We will look after them.
We will show them what’s possible through the stories that we share, the world that we show them, the opportunities that we give them to grow.
We will see just how far we can take them — or maybe just how far they can take us.
Maybe that’s the greatest gift of teaching — imagining the possibilities.
We can show our students what is possible. We can help them see what they can accomplish. If we are lucky, they will go out into the world and do it.
And those acts will justify all our efforts.
Take time to take care of yourself; I hope you have an amazing year.