Dear District 57 Families,
Welcome to the 2022/2023 school year! Our D57 team began this beautiful week with its annual staff orientation and ended it by welcoming eager, bright-faced students in grades 1-8 back into their classrooms. The days were sunny, smooth, and filled with smiles - our hearts are full! We are excited to welcome our Circle of Friends and Kindergarten students back next week!
The Girl Scout Junior Troop 45689 kicked off last night’s Board Meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. They did a great job!
(Above) Mount Prospect Police Chief Eterno and Girl Scout Troop 45689 with the D57 Board of Education.
Our committed staff, Board, and community met in the Fairview Multipurpose Room to discuss topics affecting our 2022/2023 school year and beyond. You can access the full agenda here and a link to the recorded session here. Here are some highlights from last night’s presentations:
- Back to School Report: I reviewed the District’s current COVID guidance, which can be accessed here. Families can view the current positive COVID cases by school on our district website. Principals will no longer be sending out an email notification of the number of positive cases each day. In the event that your child has a positive COVID status, please contact your school’s health office to report this information. Families of students who are temporarily excluded from school due to COVID will have the option of receiving some academic support and guidance from D57 staff. We will no longer be allowing students to “zoom into” their classrooms throughout their exclusion period. More information about the options we will be offering as well as how to access this service will be provided by the health office when parents/guardians call to report a positive COVID status.
- School Security: The safety of your children is a top priority in the District. Each year students and staff practice various safety drills to be prepared in the event of an emergency. In addition, many ongoing disaster abatement efforts are made: dropoff and pickup times are closely monitored by staff, exterior doors are locked at all times, a two-buzzer system at each school requires two check-ins to access any school, classroom doors are equipped with locks that can be bolted from the inside, buildings have secured entrance and instant lockdown capabilities, local police and fire departments possess up-to-date site plans and have access to all schools, and each school has a panic button and cameras installed in various locations.
Mount Prospect Police Department’s Chief of Police Michael Eterno was in attendance and described additional efforts made by the Department to ensure the safety of our schools: each month police officers assigned to our “Beat” touch base with each school to test if their school access is active and to connect with staff. They work hard to create strong partnerships with the schools. We appreciate their efforts! In addition, the sergeant assigned to our “Beat” meets with each principal at the beginning and end of the school year to review and improve safety measures.
At last night’s Board Meeting, Assistant Superintendent Jason Kaiz presented this report to the Board on the District’s current school security protocols and its efforts to improve and enhance security measures. Future efforts will include: improvements to student and staff training, revision of the D57 Crisis Manual, reviewing reunification procedures, and the inclusion of pickup/dropoff tables in the entryway of buildings to limit the number of guests inside our schools at any one time.
In 2021/2022, the District contracted Green & Associates to perform a security audit. This year D57 will take the audit’s findings and seek competitive bids for the recommended projects.
The Board was in support of the District’s security efforts. Many thanks to Mr. Kaiz for all his hard work in the area of school safety!
- Personal Health and Safety, and Sexual Health Education: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) passed a bill last year updating standards in sexual education. These new Comprehensive Personal Health and Safety & Sexual Health Education standards - if adopted by D57 - would require significant time and resources. Currently, sexual education is optional for districts in Illinois. D57 recognizes the value of providing age-appropriate sexual health and safety education and will continue to do so, but D57 has chosen not to adopt the new ISBE standards.
As in the past, D57 will remain aligned with National Sex Education Standards. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar presented the program to the Board. Candor Health will be used to facilitate the Personal Health and Sexual Education coursework. D57 will provide presentations for Grade 5 (Puberty I), Grade 6 (Human Reproduction & Embryology), and Grade 8 (Teen Sexual Health). Parents and guardians will receive any materials related to this programming for review one month before the curriculum is to be taught. As always, families will receive specific directions from their principal regarding how they can opt-out their child/ren from participation. The Board was in support of the District’s sex education recommendation. Many thanks to Dr. Vonder Haar for all her work!
- Bullying Prevention: Sara Tyburski, Director of Student Services, presented on D57’s past and future efforts in bullying prevention. Given the unusual nature of the past few years due to COVID, it is believed our bullying data collection has not been an accurate representation of the true statistics. Over the next few years, D57 will continue to collect data and will be able to decipher trends at that time.
Overall, the number of bullying instances in D57 is low. With our new Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program Second Step launching this year we hope to equip staff and students with the tools they need to engender kindness and empower the strength of character over all else.
Currently, our elementary schools and middle schools have processes for reporting bullying anonymously. Lincoln Middle School has a bullying hotline, and the elementary schools have drop boxes in the main offices.
The Board was in support of the District’s anti-bullying efforts. Many thanks to Ms. Tyburski for her incredible commitment to the topic.
Back-to-school time is always filled with such energy and excitement, and this year has been no different. I hope you had a chance to look through all the photos on social media of our students and staff in grades 1-8 enjoying their first day of school! I want to thank you for entrusting me with your child’s education, personal development, and growth. As I enter my second year as Superintendent, I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the year ahead.
Thanks for reading this information and for staying informed. We will continue updating you throughout the year in many ways: see the attached “Stay Connected
” flier to read more!
In the spirit of education,
Dr. Mary Gorr
Superintendent of Schools
Mount Prospect District 57