In the Board of Education’s last regular meeting of the 2020-2021 school year, Board President Justin Engelland congratulated all students for navigating an unprecedented school year, with a special nod to District fourth- and eighth-graders who would soon be advancing to new schools.
Our students, he said, “have certainly had a lot to handle this year.” They, as well as their parents and teachers, have “risen to the challenge,” he said, adding that the next school year, when the District is planning a return to full-time in-person learning, is “going to be a great year.”
Highlights from Interim Superintendent Dr. Constance Collins’ report included:
- “All In. Every Day.” That’s the phrase summing up the District’s plans for fall, meaning all students will be in school in-person every day. “It’s exciting to think about that possibility after the year that we have had, but that is our focus, that’s what we’re working to make happen, and we believe that it will,” Dr. Collins said.
- The search for a new principal for Cherokee Elementary School is to move quickly. The District plans to have a candidate hired by July 1 to replace Luke Livingston who has taken a job at Winnetka’s Crow Island School. The Board later in the meeting approved the contract for the firm that will handle the Cherokee principal search beginning with a survey launching May 28 and parent focus groups are planned for June 3 and 4.
- To comply with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) mandates, the District requires that masks be worn on school property by anyone over age 2 when physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained. That mask policy is to remain in effect until the end of the school year.
- Vaccine clinics are being held at Deer Path Middle School and Lake Forest High School, with a final clinic planned for June 17 at LFHS. A clinic including students ages 12 to 15 on May 16 at DPM drew nearly 300 students for their first doses.
Fall Planning Update Report
Dr. Collins turned to Executive Director of Student Services Kate Cavanaugh and Principals Susan Milsk and Thomas Herion for the report on District plans to resume full-time in-person learning for all students in August. Highlights included:
- Schedules for Grades K-4 and 5-8 are to be similar to pre-pandemic schedules, with recess and lunch part of the school day.
- District officials are waiting for updated guidance from state officials on distancing requirements, including during lunch periods.
- Each school is planning “welcome back” events for students.
- Spring assessments will be used to determine student placements and supports.
- The community will be told of any updates to state mandates, such as those pertaining to masks, as quickly as possible, and Town Halls are planned for the week of May 31.
Chair Suzanne Sands’ update on the May 13 committee meeting included news of their virtual tour of the DPM Science labs, which continue to get media attention and are, she said, “a point of pride for our District.”
Finance & Operations Committee
Alice LeVert, the new committee chair, said the panel would meet June 16.
New Chair Richard Chun said the committee had not yet met. The two new Board members — Emily Bernahl and Anne Geraghty Helms — are on this committee.
North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) Liaison
Suzanne Sands said work is in full swing on the new branding rollout as NSSED prepares to change its name to TrueNorth Educational Cooperative 804. That name change takes effect on July 1.
Carl Kirar, in his new role as liaison, outlined plans to work with sister districts — Lake Bluff 65 and Lake Forest High School 115 — with special attention on all the legislative initiatives under consideration by the General Assembly.
Spirit of 67 Liaison
Richard Chun said The Spirit of 67 raised $56,000 during its May 3-6 virtual Paddle Raise. Information about that event, and events coming up, is available on the Spirit of 67’s website.
APT Executive Liaison
Emily Bernahl, the new liaison, saluted the APT as “an extraordinary group of volunteers.”