Area where the kindergarten building will be built.

Kindergarten Building Update

At the May 20 Board of Education meeting, the Board approved an official name for the kindergarten building that is being built adjacent to the Sullivan Community Center. Its official name is Hawthorn School for Young Learners. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 6. With the majority of the preliminary submission and permitting processes completed, work on the site has begun.

The first step was the dewatering process on the site to enable equipment access for tree and brush removal. This removal provided a wide-open site with clear site lines out to Aspen Drive. 

As the District began planning the construction fencing, it realized that the fencing would block sidewalk access along the front of the Sullivan Community Center, creating a barrier for the students and community members who typically walked along the east side of Aspen Drive to visit the library or the Sullivan Center. 

After discussing the pedestrian flow with the onsite police officer directing traffic and looking at the existing site conditions, the District decided to redirect the pedestrian traffic to the other side of the street both before school and at dismissal times. It stationed two additional crossing guards at key points on Aspen Drive that had identified crosswalks. Signage was posted to inform pedestrians that the side walk on the east side of Aspen was closed. 

The project is currently on schedule as detailed within the project timeline planner. The building is projected to be completed by the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Stay tuned for more updates over the summer.

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Highlights of the June 10 Board of Education Meeting

In the public comment section of the meeting, Lake County Board Member Julie Simpson (District 18) thanked the Board of Education members for everything they do. She also noted that she and other community members have formed a group that is concerned about the financial incentives that the Village of Vernon Hills may offer to a developer for the redevelopment of the Hawthorn Mall, that could impact local schools and the library.

The Board honored the 48 teachers and staff who are receiving tenure. Interim Superintendent Mark Friedman said that the school district retained 80 to 90 percent of this group of teachers, whereas the standard attrition rate for new teachers in their first five years is about 50 percent. 

During his superintendent’s report, Dr. Friedman encouraged the community to attend a forum to provide input for the development of expansion/renovation plans for Middle School North. The meeting will take place on July 2 at 5 p.m. at Middle School North. He also reported that a local economic development organization contacted the District to see if the District would consider supporting the possible abatement of property taxes for a pharmaceutical company that is considering moving into the area. Concerns were expressed. 

Abe Singh, Director of Finance and Business Operations, reported that the construction of the kindergarten building, which is now officially called Hawthorn School for Young Learners, is on time and under budget. The construction company is working through a few site issues. 

During the action items section of the meeting, the Board approved Legat Architects’ proposal to provide professional architectural services to the District for the Middle School North additions and renovations project. 

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Library Remodeling Update

Starting August 1, Aspen Drive Library will be reduced to a very small space as they continue their remodeling project. Students and patrons are still welcome, but the library may not be able to accommodate students in large numbers. The library is reminding everyone that Cook Park Library in Libertyville will be open during the project. For more information, please review the library’s letter in English or Spanish.

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Next Board of Education Meeting is June 10, 2019

A regular session of the Board of Education will take place on Monday, June 10. It will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

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Community Invited to Provide Input on Expansion Plans for Hawthorn Middle School North at July 2 Community Forum

Hawthorn School District 73 will hold a community forum for members of the public to provide input for the development of the plans to expand and renovate Hawthorn Middle School North.  The event will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, at the Middle School North gym, 201 Hawthorn Parkway in Vernon Hills. 

At the community forum, the public will have the opportunity to review initial design plans and provide input. “Middle School North is here to serve the community,” said Interim Superintendent Mark Friedman. “We want this building to truly feel like home for middle school students, and we feel that community input on its new design is essential.” 

The expansion/renovation of Middle School North is one component of the District’s official Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP). Developed by a core team of community members, staff, administrators and facility leadership, the EFMP is a 10-year plan to support the district’s growing needs and long-term strategic plan. 

In addition to the expansion of Middle School North, the EFMP includes the construction of a kindergarten building adjacent to the Sullivan Community Center, as well as the expansion/renovation of Middle School South and the District’s elementary schools. The passage of a $48.7 million bond referendum in 2018 made it possible for the District to move forward with its EFMP plans.  Approximately $9.8 million has been budgeted for the expansion of Middle School North, a 90,700-square-foot building that was built in 1975. It has not received any new additions since then. 

The Board of Education recently selected Legat Architects, which previously designed the District’s Townline Elementary and worked on other District building renovations, to design the layout of the new Middle School North.  Projected to be completed by July of 2021, the expansion/renovation includes:

  • Seven new classrooms 
  • The addition of a full gym
  • Renovation of locker room and upper gym for fitness
  • Fine arts additions

Hawthorn School District 73 is a preschool through eighth-grade public school district serving more than 4,200 students. It serves all or portions of the communities of Vernon Hills, Mundelein, Libertyville, Indian Creek and unincorporated areas of Lake County, Illinois.

Promotion Ceremony

Congratulations to the Class of 2019

Middle School North and Middle School South held their promotion ceremonies on May 28 at Vernon Hills High School. Between two events, more than 450 students marched down the aisles, taking their last steps as middle school students. The Middle School North Orchestra, Middle School North 7/8 Grade Chorus, Middle School South Chorus and Hawthorn South Eighth Grade Band gave outstanding performances. The evening included addresses by the interim superintendents, school principals, school board members and student council presidents, as well as the presentation of certificates by board members and administration. Thank you to staff for organizing the evening events, an important milestone in the lives of our students.

Three retirees

Congratulations to Retirees

Congratulations to our 13 2019 retirees. Thank you for your many years of hard work and dedication to help District 73 meet its goal to “Inspire all students to embrace learning in an ever-changing world.”

  • Lynn Barkley – District Office
  • Mary Benton – Middle School South
  • Thomas Church – Elementary South
  • Elizabeth Gehlbach – Elementary North
  • David Kleinschmidt – Middle School South
  • Linda Knezovich – Middle School North
  • Tara Moncada – Elementary North
  • Marilyn Simon – Middle School North
  • John Ostrander – Middle School North
  • Virginia Banda – Townline Elementary
  • Julianon Gomez – Middle School South
  • Josie Hormel – Elementary South
  • Mariann Krippinger – Middle School North
volunteers talking with parents

Scores Attend Hawthorn PTO Open House

Scores of families and community members attended Hawthorn PTO’s first annual open house on May 22. The event was an opportunity for PTO volunteers to inform the community about the many programs and activities offered, including Art Adventure, Mother-Daughter Tea, Variety Show, Boys’ Night Out and Book Fairs. Parents also met Incoming Superintendent Dr. Peter Hannigan, who will officially begin at Hawthorn School District 73 on July 1, 2019. The mission of the PTO is to enhance the education of children by promoting the connection between home, school, and the community. For more information, contact:

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Highlights of the May 20 Board of Education Meeting

Review of Middle School Dual Language Program Assessment Data
Dr. Abrego, Director of Bilingual Education and Language Acquisition, provided a review of qualitative and quantitative assessment data regarding the Middle School Dual Language program. The data focused on parent and student perception of bilingualism, parent and student satisfaction with the program and student academic performance in the areas of English language arts, Spanish literacy and social studies. In addition, students participated in a Spanish language proficiency assessment. The results indicate that the vast majority of students participating in the middle school dual language program are exceeding, meeting or approaching designated learning standards in English language arts, Spanish literacy and social studies. Linguistically, they performed at the intermediate level in listening and reading. Overall, the results of this assessment review indicate that our students are bilingual and they are progressing well on this journey towards greater bilingualism. Dr. Abrego indicated that it is essential that we continue to communicate to our students the importance of bilingualism, that being a bilingual is a continuous journey and that with continued exposure and use, the students will become more proficient and confident in using their linguistic skills and abilities.

Amended Budget

Abe Singh, Director of Finance and Business Operations, discussed the amended 2018-2019 budget. He said that while the budget was adopted in September of last year, it needed to be adjusted to account for the addition of $13.5 million in referendum funds and the spending of $6.9 million toward the construction of the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. A copy of the amended budget has been posted for more than 30 days for public review. An opportunity for public comment on the budget was allotted, with no comments. The final 2018-2019 amended budget was unanimously approved by the board. 

Recognition of National Board Certified Teachers

The Board recognized eight teachers who had completed their National Board Certification training. Interim Superintendent Mark Friedman said that this was a difficult process that required a great deal of time. He congratulated the teachers on behalf of the Board of Education. 

Innovation Grant Awards

Jeremy Gong, Board President of the Key to 73, Hawthorn’s new foundation, announced the grants that the foundation recently awarded to teachers. He said the foundation awarded approximately $15,000 in grants, responding to 100% of the proposals that were received. The grants ranged from flexible classroom seating to earthquake technologies supplements. 

Recognition of Lynn Barkley

The Board recognized Lynn Barkley, Director of Human Resources, who is retiring after seven years of service with the District. Ms. Barkley briefly spoke about her work at the district and her primary focus on meeting the needs of the District’s students. 

Welcome to New Assistant Principal

Mr. Singh reported that 89 people applied for the assistant principal position at Middle School South. After extensive screenings and interviews, Natalie Mares was offered the position. She comes to Hawthorn from East Aurora School District 113 where she has been a high school English teacher and varsity dance team coach.  

New Kindergarten Name

Dr. Friedman once again recommended Hawthorn School for Young Learners as the name for the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. This name had been recommended at a previous board meeting. At that time, it was agreed to ask the community at large for name suggestions. Only a few name suggestions were provided. The board unanimously approved the name, which is suitable for the building whether it remains a kindergarten or includes an early childhood learning center in the future. 


Dr. Friedman reminded everyone that the last day of school is June 6, less than three weeks away. The eighth-grade promotion ceremonies are May 28 at Vernon Hills High School. He also reported that this year’s online registration of returning students was a huge success. (The online registration process replaces the Residency Event, which will no longer take place.) If any family hasn’t registered yet, please do so. 

Winners of the Most Improved awards

Twelve Students Win Most Improved Awards

Congratulations to the 12 students in second, fifth and eighth grades who won this year’s “Most Improved” Awards. Dr. Joe Yomtoob, a former Hawthorn superintendent, and his wife, Mrs. Parichehr Yomtoob, presented the awards at a reception that took place prior to last night’s Board of Education meeting. The 2019 recipients are:

  • Precious O.
  • Landon B.
  • Patrick H.
  • Lara N.
  • Angeles S.
  • Ethan C.
  • Evelyn R.
  • Santiago R.
  • Sebastian C.
  • Nicole U.
  • Sydney S.
  • Gabriela G.

Several of the winners read their essays to the audience and received substantial applause in return. To apply for the award, students submitted essays on why they felt they deserved the award. They were asked to reflect on how they grew in the last three years of school. They were also asked to detail the steps they took to make improvements, who helped them, and how they planned to continue to grow.