Dr. Woestman mugshot

By Kathryn Menue


BELVIDERE – Dr. Daniel Woestman is the incoming superintendent for District 100. Prior to fulfilling his role as the designated superintendent before the start of the next school year, Dr. Woestman is working with the schools, students, parents, the district board, and the interim superintendent to coordinate the future of District 100.

“When the board hired me, we talked about starting early, which was forward thinking by the board,” Dr. Woestman said.

To aid in Dr. Woestman’s quest to better the Belvidere School District, he has coordinated meetings to hear community input on what the school district should improve in the upcoming years.

“I can’t fix everything; I don’t think that’s my goal to fix everything,” Dr. Woestman said. “But, I think what’s important is what does the community feel we need to work on.”

On Wednesday, April 27, Dr. Woestman conducted two meetings at Belvidere North High School. One meeting was held in the meeting before school started and one was held after school.

At both meetings, parents brought up concerns of what they fear may happen or what they would like to see incorporated into the district.

Major concerns consisted of the dual language program, the Running Start program, preschools, merging high schools, and opening lines of communication.

Some parents are curious to see the progression of the dual language program.

“I’m really passionate about dual language acquisition,” Dr. Woestman said. “As a country, we’ve been behind the ball on this.”

As of now, the dual language program is on a first come first serve basis.

Dr. Woestman said he will look into the seat versus demand ratio to see if the program does need to be expanded.

“I think it’s a very important part on the way we want to move. I think we have a great population to start this,” Dr. Woestman said. “Overall, I think it is important to have a group of people that know a second language.”

Another major concern for parents is the Running Start program. Everyone is in agreement that the program is a wonderful opportunity for the students who want to participate in the program. However, parents want to ensure that opportunities aren’t lost for students who choose not to do Running Start.

For example, parents fear that there will be less accelerated class opportunities at the high school level if most of the accelerated students move onto Rock Valley.

Dr. Woestman said he doesn’t foresee this as being an issue.

Another parent wondered about the district offering preschools. The state does not offer funding for preschools, but Dr. Woestman hopes this will change in the future.

“I think we can probably offer preschool. I don’t think we can be the sole provider, but I’d like to see the district be a part of the solution,” Dr. Woestman said.

Over the past few years, fears have risen on whether or not the district can sustain two high schools with lower enrollment.

“My first hope is increasing enrollment,” Dr. Woestman said, so this will no longer be a concern. However, he added that currently “we’re in a spot where we can continue to support both high schools.”

Dr. Woestman said a lot of worries can be resolved by opening communication between the schools and parents and potential enrollers.

“They’re [parents] really proud of the school and think that should be shared,” Dr. Woestman said. “This is a great place. I’m really impressed by the quality of the people and the facilities. This community has a really big sense of community.”

These are assets that the district must spread to improve enrollment rates.

Another asset the Belvidere school district should spread is their One-to-One Initiative, which gives 6th, 7th, and 9th graders Chrome Books to use and keep for their future school work. Soon, they will just give Chrome Books to 6th graders so that every middle and high school will have one for their educational career.

Dr. Woestman is proud of this initiative and said this will help with developing technological education in the district.

Other concerns brought up at the meetings ranged from adequate and evenly distributed staff, sports fee increases, expanding music education, cafeteria food quality, dress codes, door locks, bullying, parking passes, ensuring rigorous coursework, keeping gifted/accelerated learning programs, and transportation.

If parents couldn’t attend any of the meetings, they are welcome to write suggestions to Dr. Woestman in the suggestion box at district100.com or at talk2dan.com.

After collecting all of the suggestions, the concerns, and the reviews from parents, students, and schools, Dr. Woestman will take the discussions under advisement to continue his plans for the future of District 100.

His plan will encompass creating a team of teachers, parents, board members, and students to combine efforts in bettering District 100.

This plan includes the superintendent onboarding retreat, school improvement and PLC process, curriculum process review, professional learning process review, software and application process review, and infrastructure and device process review.

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