Bradley schools focus on present and future goals
Bradley Elementary School District 61 is moving toward a critical decision on whether to install air conditioning in its buildings.
If it does, the district will choose between two scenarios. Installing units in each classroom would cost $6.7 million. Going with rooftop “central air” would cost from $10 to $12 million.
Superintendent Scott Goselin says that two polls have gathered 901 responses, showing 83 percent support the idea of air conditioning. Goselin calculates the tax impact on a $100,000 home would be $70 per year for the room units and $104 to $125 for central air. After further discussion, a referendum could be placed on the April ballot.
Think talked with Goselin about this issue and others in the Bradley school district. The questions were asked by Phil Angelo and answered by Goselin. Both are edited for length and continuity.
Is the new state aid formula a plus for Bradley schools?
It definitely is a much needed help for our district. With the new evidence-based funding model, we received a couple of hundred thousand dollars more than we did last year. We spent that money in two ways. We added a seventh fifth-grade class, which reduced class sizes.
We also added a dean of students to each building to help with day-to-day operations, notably minor discipline problems. This is a teacher position, not an administrator position. This also will allow our principals to get into the classrooms more to support teachers and students.
What is your opinion of judging schools with standardized testing?
I am not a firm believer that having students take one state test (last year the PARCC, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) and that determines how our schools or even the district is doing in regard to students learning and achievement. The results just came out a few weeks ago, and this information is more than six months old, since we took the test last spring.
Currently, our kids take a Star 369 local assessment benchmark test three times per year. That data is analyzed right away by teachers and helps them with student instruction. The data is current, accurate and drives teacher instruction in all the classrooms. This is a lot better for our kids, since it is timely.
How is your relationship with the high school and other school districts?
I have a great relationship with the other superintendents in the area. I have known Dr. (Scott) Wakeley from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School since I was a young boy. We played baseball together at Olivet. I meet with him and with Dr. (Genevra) Walters (Kankakee), Dr. (Dan) Hollowell (Bourbonnais) and Dr. (Helen) Boehrnsen (St. George) throughout the year to discuss topics that pertain to our school districts.
We have a great regional superintendent in Dr. (Gregg) Murphy, and all of the superintendents in the I-KAN (Iroquois and Kankakee counties) region are great people.
How is the district’s relationship with the teachers’ union?
We have a great relationship with our association. We meet on a consistent basis with their leadership team. The past few negotiations have been great experiences, and I don’t anticipate anything different in the next few years.
How would air conditioning help learning?
Last year, we had early dismissal twice because of heat. This year, that has happened six times. We have brick buildings. It would be a better atmosphere for learning. There are many studies that show kids learn better when they are comfortable.
People ask why we just don’t open the windows. Well, that’s a security issue. It’s not a good idea to leave windows and doors open.
How can parents help their children to do better in school?
Sit down and help them with their homework. Make time as a family. Go over the assignments. Make your children be responsible for their actions.
How can a parent get the most out of parent-teacher conferences?
First and most important, the conference should not be the first time you have a conversation with the teacher. You should be communicating regularly, and you should come prepared to the conference. Know what your child’s grades are.
Look at the district website and Facebook pages. Check your child’s backpack. Know what is going on.
Do you think it is a good idea to have a core curriculum?
Yes; schools should be consistent. We should all be working to hit the standard.
You excelled in sports. What have sports taught you?
Discipline, hard work and dedication to your sport, job and family. Stay positive, work hard and make it happen. This has helped me focus in my life.
What is the most fun part of your job?
I enjoy going to work every day. I enjoy getting into the buildings and interacting with students and staff. I love our students here in Bradley. We have great programs such as student council and fine arts. I try to support all the students by attending events and activities.
I love the people I work with. We have seven outstanding school board members — one who has been here 30 years and another with 19 years of service.
What inspires you?
My family. My mother and father always attended my games and events. They very rarely missed anything. They were my biggest supporters. They always told me to not let any success go to my head. Treat people with respect and they will give you respect. I remember that to this day. My wife and I try to instill those values in our daughters today.