Kristin Fitzgerald – Candidate for Naperville School Board 203


Academic Excellence for All Students

In my time on the Board of Education, our school district has made such important progress in helping all students grow and achieve. I am proud that our school district has the highest number of exemplary schools in the State of Illinois. This accomplishment represents the collective partnership of our outstanding educators with our students, parents and administrative and board team. I want to build on this progress to help all students continue to achieve their full potential.

In the past, student achievement in District 203 has not been equitable. There are large gaps in academic achievement for students of color, students with special needs and students with fewer economic resources. Beginning in 2017, the Board committed to accelerating student progress by dedicating a $2 million annual investment toward closing these gaps. We have also increased the students served by our early childhood and summer school programs to provide the additional support students need.  I am proud of the growth and progress our students have made. At some schools, student growth has increased by 40 percent. This work must continue to be a priority.

Over the summer our Board passed a Resolution condemning racism and committing to whole scale efforts to ensure equity and inclusion in our schools. These quantifiable goals are included in our Comprehensive Equity Plan, finalized this fall. I am committed to this essential work to fully achieve our District 203 mission for all students.

As a parent of three District 203 students, I know that the 2020-2021 school year has been a very challenging year for students, parents, teachers and our whole community. Returning to learn in person safely and prioritizing students’ academic and social and emotional needs resulting from the pandemic is my top priority as we progress through this school year. We are developing plans for $5 million in additional programming to provide this support for students’ academic and social and emotional needs. This will continue to be a priority in the summer months and into the 2020-2021 school year.

Using Budget Resources Wisely

By reducing our tax levy and reimbursing taxpayers when we have had unexpected surpluses, we have been able to save taxpayers more than $32 million in the last five years, most recently returning $10 million to taxpayers due to lesser than expected expenditures during the pandemic. I am proud of our Board’s dedication to lessen the taxpayer burden whenever possible.

Our district remains committed to do things as efficiently as possible, partnering with private and public entities to maximize student support. Examples of this include our Early Childhood Collaborative which works with private providers to ensure that all of our students are kindergarten ready as well as our many partnerships with the Naperville Education Foundation to support and serve our students.

Partnership with the Community

Each of our school communities is unique and I have worked hard during my eight years to build relationships with our Home and Schools and School Family Community Partnerships to ensure that our student, family and community needs at each school are prioritized by the Board of Education.

Celebrating diversity and working toward inclusive culture are essential components of supporting and partnering with all students and families. I have volunteered extensively with the parent-led SUCCESS group founded to empower African American/Black students and other students of color and their families to enhance academic performance, foster family-school connectedness and ensure that everyone is welcomed, valued and respected. For my school board advocacy and work with SUCCESS, I was awarded the Illinois State Board of Education’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contributions to Illinois Education in 2018.

District 203 is an exceptional school district because of our partnership with parents and our community. Throughout my time on the Board, we have partnered with our community in Focus 203 Forums to discuss social and emotional support, efforts to overcome racism and implicit bias and other community concerns. Currently we are partnering with families with social and emotional programming to help families develop resiliency and become more connected despite the challenges of the pandemic. Continuing and expanding these opportunities for the Board to listen and learn from the community will be an essential part of our continued success.