August 17th, 2021

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August 17th, 2021

August 17th, 2021

Dear District 57 Families,

Tomorrow we kick off the 2021-2022 school year! We are eager to welcome 2,263 District 57 students back to school, starting with our first through eighth-graders (followed by kindergarteners on Friday and early childhood students next Tuesday). This is an exciting moment for me, personally, as I am so happy and honored to start the school year as your new superintendent. This is also a great time for the District -- we are thankful that we have come so far and are able to be together in the buildings on the first day. We know tomorrow will be a joyful time for students, families, and staff!
  
Last week, I sent you a message with important back-to-school information, including the District’s Safety and Operational Guidanceregarding masks, quarantining, lunchroom procedures, and more. You can find the message at this link. In addition, be sure to read everything sent by your school so you’re prepared for the first day!
 
The summer was full of transition, preparation, and exciting news. Here are some highlights:

  • New Administrators: As you know, I replaced Dr. Elaine Aumiller upon her retirement in July. I was previously Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, and Westbrook Principal before that. I am honored to be continuing my career in the District that feels like home, and I am grateful to everyone who has helped me transition into this new role. I am pleased to welcome Jason Kaiz as Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations and Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar as Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. Jason comes to us from Springman Middle School in Glenview and was Principal of our own Lincoln before that. Kristin was previously Principal of Westbrook. Danielle Crandall, previously Assistant Principal of Lions Park, is the new Principal of Westbrook. And Elise Dean, formerly a teacher and instructional coach in Schaumburg, has joined District 57 as Assistant Principal of Lions Park. I know you will join me in extending a warm welcome to these talented administrators. I feel very fortunate that they are part of our awesome D57 team!
     
      
  • District Staff: Last week, we got to know our new staff members during orientation. I am so impressed with the talented people we are bringing on board. Then yesterday, we welcomed back all our wonderful staff during the first of two institute days. This is valuable time for us to learn together and collaborate. Yesterday’s agenda included a keynote talk from Dr. Doug Bolton, who shared current brain and social science research and strategies for building resilience and community in our schools, to help guide us through these challenging times.

Photo: Jason Kaiz, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operation, Dr. Mary Gorr, Superintendent, Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Doug Bolton, and Sara Tyburski, Director of Student Services
 
  • Summer Projects: I’m pleased to report that both of the building projects we took on this summer were completed on time and under budget. We added four classrooms and expanded the multi-purpose room at Lions Park, to help manage growing enrollment. We also completed Lincoln’s floor replacement project, replacing floors in the hallways and common areas. These projects were on the Master Facilities Plan, which prioritized maintenance deferred in the years leading up to the 2018 successful tax referendum.
     
      
  • Recognition: The District received some special honors this summer. Lincoln was named a Project Lead the Way Gateway Distinguished School for the third year in a row. This recognizes a commitment to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in the PLTW Gateway program, which provides transformative learning opportunities for sixth through eighth-graders. We congratulate Lincoln and teacher Elizabeth Straczek! The District also received two 2021 National School Communication Awards from the National School Public Relations Association -- an Award of Excellence for our District newsletter, one of just seven honorees in our category nationally, and a Golden Achievement Award, which recognizes exemplary work in school PR, communication, marketing, and engagement. We were one of only three districts in the state to win this. We are proud of our national recognition this summer!
 
Thanks for reading this information and for staying up to date the past couple of weeks. We will continue to keep you informed using a variety of vehicles, including these Superintendent’s Messages. To learn more, see “How D57 Communicates with You,” which is attached and on our website. And don’t forget to follow District 57 on Facebook and @Dist57 on Twitter!
 
I thank our D57 community for the warm welcome and, most importantly, for being vigilant about following our COVID protocols so that we have a safe and smooth start. It’s going to be a great year!

My best,
Dr. Mary Gorr
Superintendent of Schools 
Mount Prospect District 57
 
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