Welcome Back Letter to Families for the 19-20 School Year
Dear District 86 Families,
Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year. The arrival of our students this morning marked the official beginning of what promises to be an exciting and transformative year in District 86. We have a strong strategic plan guiding our work. We have a roadmap for making critical upgrades and improvements to our facilities. We have amazing students who are passionate about learning. We have a talented team of educators and professionals who work tirelessly to help the young men and women we serve learn, grow and achieve. We also have you….incredibly supportive families that value education.
Before we look ahead to this year, we want to acknowledge and thank the members of our staff who worked so diligently over the past few months to complete the important tasks (e.g., cleaning our buildings, registering students, onboarding new staff, upgrading security and preparing technology) that were critical for ensuring the successful start of our school year. Their dedicated efforts on behalf of our students and staff was greatly appreciated.
As for what is on the horizon this year, below is information about some of the projects we are undertaking and changes we are implementing across the District. We will be using a variety of resources to not only share news and updates, but also highlight the opportunities that exist for getting involved and offering feedback.
We wish you and your children the very best this school year, and look forward to working with you to advance all of our students down the path of their ideal futures.
Nancy Pollak Tammy Prentiss
Board President Superintendent of Schools
Below are details about several of the projects we are undertaking and changes we are implementing this year.
- D86 Forward – We will be implementing the D86 Forward Strategic Plan that was approved by the Board in May 2018 and will serve as the cornerstone of our work over the next five years. The main goals/guiding principles of this plan include student growth and achievement, learning environment, work environment, family and community connections, and resources. You can access additional information about the Strategic Plan by visiting https://d86.hinsdale86.org/domain/383.
- Future Ready Facilities – On April 2, 2019, the voters of District 86 approved a bond proposition in the amount of $139.8 million that will support the safety, core functionality, accessibility and sustainability of our high schools, while also providing students with access to modernized facilities and critical resources that will aid their growth, development and success both in and out of the classroom. Much of this year will be spent on the design, budgeting and planning phases associated with this work. We are also in the process of forming a committee composed of community members that will assist our Facilities Committee with community engagement regarding construction. In addition, we will be using a variety of print and electronic communication tools to keep people updated on the status of our efforts. In the meantime, you can access information about our Future Ready Facilities plans by visiting https://d86.hinsdale86.org/Page/1509.
- Safety and Security – We are investing in resources (e.g., equipment, personnel and training) that will help preserve and protect the safety and security of our students, our staff and visitors to our buildings. Among the steps we have taken or will be taking in the future include, but are not limited to, upgrading our security camera system, adding security staff, creating command centers in each of our high schools and having members of our team participate in ALICE training. Kevin Simpson, our Director of Security, will be sharing additional information about the efforts we are undertaking to strengthen safety and security across the District during the Board of Education meeting at Hinsdale South on August 22, 2019.
- Communication – The voices of our students, staff and families play a vital role in the work we do and decisions we make on a daily basis. With this in mind, we will be implementing resources and employing strategies this year to help ensure that people are kept informed about what is happening across the District, and know about the opportunities that exist to support or guide our efforts. For example, the Board is working with Superintendent Prentiss on the creation of a roundtable that will enable its members to get direct feedback from the staff, as well as on the development of a process that teachers can use to submit a request for having a Board Member attend their class. Superintendent Prentiss will resume her Wednesday walkthroughs to stay updated on what is going on in our schools, while also further fostering her relationships with students, faculty and staff. In addition, we will be utilizing several print and electronic publications that will feature updates about a variety of topics, including progress on our strategic plan, the status of our Future Ready Facilities work and general news from the District.
- Remote Learning – During our spring testing window in April 2019, we piloted Remote Learning Days, which will occur on days when severe weather/other emergency events make travel dangerous for students and staff. On these days, students will not be required to travel to their respective school; instead, they will “check in” (for attendance purposes) remotely using their Chromebooks and complete learning activities from home. Based on the success of the pilot, we will be implementing the use of these days tarting this year. You can access additional information about this by visiting http://bit.ly/2OT55gk. There will also be a public hearing about Remote Learning during the Board meeting being held at Hinsdale South on August 22. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
- Feeder Districts – We will continue to work with our seven elementary feeder districts to identify areas of focus and opportunities for partnership that will benefit all students, including the development of skills that are critical for high school and college readiness.