One moment in time, one event, or one score should not define who you or your organization are in the long run. The state recently published our students’ state assessment scores. The PARCC and SAT are state-required tests that are given to students. Information on the Freeport School District results is available at www.illinoisreportcard.com. These scores offer a small snapshot that is being used to define FSD.

Freeport School District saw our PARCC scores decrease by 4 percent. The district has five schools that fall into the state’s underperforming (3) and lowest performing (2) categories. The district also has four schools that received the designation of commendable.

Educators and administrators in the Freeport School District are not even close to being satisfied with these results. However, we will not base the progress we have worked so hard on these past four years solely on these results.

The district relies on local assessments and other measurements throughout the school year to show student progress. For example, we assess each student in the fall, winter and spring to truly see a student’s strengths and areas to focus on. We have a lot of work to do in the district, but I am proud of the time, energy and passion all our educators give to our students.

I would like to share some areas of Pretzel Pride that are not always recognized. Let’s focus on more than a moment in time.

• We implemented a one-to-one Chromebook initiative at FHS this year.

• We have upgraded all technology throughout the district.

• The district is implementing new Science, Social Science, English and World Language curriculums.

• The district is in year two of new Elementary Reading, Writing and Math curriculums.

• The graduation rate at the high school increased from 75 percent to 78 percent.

• We have increased our eighth-grade Algebra One success rate by 13 percent.

• We have implemented a multi-tiered system of supports to help individual students that are struggling.

• FHS SAT scores increased 4 percent in English and 1 percent in math.

• We have over 275 students taking Early College Courses.

• Seventy percent of our students enroll in college (two- or four-year college).

• More FHS students are taking advanced placement and dual credit courses.

• Over the last two years, we have higher state and local assessment scores in our earlier grade levels (K-4).

• The average class size for FSD is at 17:1, which is lower than the state average of 20:1.

• We have increased social-emotional support in all schools.

• The attendance rate in the district has maintained throughout the last three years at 93 percent.

• With the help of the United Way and other agencies, over 50 community volunteers have signed up to read with our younger students.

• We continue to partner with local business owners and manufacturers on our WorkForce Development programs and FHS Business curriculum.

• We have created a balanced budget four years in a row and have come in under budget at the end of the fiscal year for three years.

• We have received a $12 million bond, without increases to local taxes, to complete Health Life Safety projects in our facilities.

• We have increased the percentage of male and minority teachers over the last four years.

• We have excellent educators that have a growth mindset and Pretzel Pride.

• Our schools offer many successful extra-curricular programs.

• Many students are donating to local and national charities and giving volunteer hours here in their community.

I could go on. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, my point is this: “What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.” As a school, as a district, as a community, and as individuals in Pretzel City, we each need to point out the positives we see in ourselves and in those around us.

Yes, we need to acknowledge the negative and work to find solutions, because everything is not perfect. However, we also shouldn’t dwell on those negatives. We all have a lot to be proud of in our school district, in our community, and most of all, in our students and future citizens. Join us in sharing that Pretzel Pride!

Mike Schiffman is superintendent of Freeport School District 145.