DARING initiative takes center stage at September school board meeting


Andrew Benoit

LHS Principal Tom Koulentes presents the next steps for the D128 DARING mission to the Board of Education during its September meeting.

At the school board meeting on Monday, Sept. 23, District 128’s DARING mission was the main topic of discussion. 

D128 has created a DARING committee with a mission to “connect teaching and learning to DARING,” according to the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Rita Fischer.  Some of the committee members include LHS principal Tom Koulentes, VHHS principal Jon Guillaume and Dr. Fischer. 

Dr. Koulentes highlighted that part of the DARING goal is to “be willing to look at the status quo” and make changes to it. 

“DARING is the start of [D128’s] next upward curve,” said D128 Superintendent Prentiss Lea, indicating his expectations and pride with the new DARING committee and its accomplishments. 

Dr. Fischer explained that the creation of the DARING committee is the beginning of the “action phase” for the DARING program, where the mission will become a more active part in what the district is doing; the committee wants this phase to be something the community embraces.  

Dr. Koulentes followed this up by announcing that the DARING committee would be applying an “equity lens” to the DARING mission statement. 

“[DARING] is a system that needs to speak to all learners and all teachers,” Dr. Koulentes said. “How does [the] program impact all of our students?” he asked, when questioned about what applying an equity lens to DARING meant. 

During the meeting, Dr. Koulentes also announced a new “DARING day” for LHS students, to replace the standard PSAT testing day; this day will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Seniors will have the day to work on college essays at school, or an opportunity to stay at home and finish homework or complete college-related activities. 

Freshmen and sophomores will be learning about career and college opportunities as well as participating in an “art impact project.” 

“[The students] will work on a project that’s designed to share who you are on the outside, or how you’re perceived, and who you are on the inside, or who you really are,” mentioned Dr. Koulentes. 

Meanwhile, juniors have the option of taking the PSAT; this standardized test has been required in previous years.