Community Input Sought

You are invited to a very special Board meeting on Wednesday, October 19 to receive important information about our proposed Educational Facility Master Plan (EFMP). As you may know, the district is continuing to experience growth and this EFMP will provide a long-term solution for both our urgent facility needs now as well as planning for continued growth and academic excellence into the future.

The Board hired DLR Group in March to evaluate our current facility conditions and to facilitate a Core Team made up of community members, staff, administrators and facility leadership to discuss and create solutions that address our needs. This presentation and conversation will be your first opportunity to give feedback to the Core Team on their recommended EFMP solution prior to Board consideration later this fall.

Please make arrangements to attend this very important presentation and conversation at Townline Elementary on October 19 at 7:00 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there.

Background Information

En Español

library logo

Library Offers Fun Activities Over Winter Break

The Cook Memorial Public Library District is offering plenty of fun things for your children to do over winter break and into next year.

Early Release Day

Teachers Have Opportunity for Collaboration on Early Release Day

December 13 was an Early Release Day, which provided an opportunity for teachers and instructional assistants to meet, collaborate and discuss methods and programs to improve student academic achievement. The tightly structured school day presents a challenge for teachers to plan together on a regular basis. Creating more common planning time, Early Release Days are an investment in the success of our students.

school board

Highlights of the December 11 Board of Education Meeting

District Superintendent Nick Brown provided an update on the kindergarten school at the Sullivan Center. He said that the project is now in the design development phase. More information will be brought to the Board at the January 22 meeting. He said the presentation to the Village of Vernon Hills went smoothly. There is initial support from the Cook Memorial Library District, Village and Park District for creating an access drive to the kindergarten school from Phillip Road, which would address traffic concerns, but details are still being worked out.

Administration is working on the 2018-2019 school calendar. The goal is to closely mirror the Vernon Hills High School and other local high school calendars so that families with children in the District and in high school can generally follow the same break/holiday schedules. The Board will take action on the calendar in January.

Abe Singh, Director of Finance and Business Operations, provided a recap of a presentation by Elizabeth Hennessy from Raymond James on the District’s outstanding debt, which took place at the November 27 Board of Education meeting. He reviewed the 10-year, 15-year and 20-year options. Administration recommends the 10-year option, which has the least amount of interest and fees, and would generate $1.4 million. Funds could be put toward capital improvements and/or equipment. The topic will be discussed again in June with a possible refunding in October of 2018.

Dr. Lisa Leali, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, and Hawthorn’s elementary school principals, Bill Fredricksen, Kathryn Waggoner, Dr. Jill Martin, Dr. James Tohme, and Dr. Victoria Kieffer, gave a presentation on student achievement at the elementary school level. Overall, Hawthorn’s elementary schools continue to outperform the state on PARCC, but LEP, IEP and low-income students continue to struggle in reading and math achievement. The principals discussed several action steps for improvement, which included:

• Focus on study of culturally responsive instructional practices, inclusion, personalized learning and goal setting
• Guaranteed Viable Curriculum—common summative and formative performance assessments
• Social Emotional Learning
• Support from the Regional Office of Education and surrounding districts
• Full day kindergarten for all
• Early Release Days for professional development
• Added technology at all grades
• Professional Learning Community development

Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP)

Board President Sonali Patil led the group in a discussion on prioritized needs and outreach. DLR Group Principal Jason Lembke was present to answer questions. Board members discussed what EFMP projects needed to be prioritized in the event the school pursues another referendum. There was general agreement that the middle schools should be a focal point, as these schools are out of space and will receive no relief from the building of the kindergarten school at the Sullivan Center. In terms of outreach, Board members discussed the need for more community engagement if a future referendum campaign is launched.

During the Business Meeting, the Board approved administration’s recommendation to maintain the student fees for the 2018-2019 school year at the current 2017-2018 level, with the exception of the lunch meals. Lunch meals will increase by 10 cents from $2.80 to $2.90 in accordance with guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture “Equity in School Lunch Pricing” provision.

drums

Students Listen to the Beat of a Different Drum

Sixth-grade students in Ms. Klein’s music class at Middle School South learned to play African Djembe drums. They created drum rhythms for each of their names and composed a piece made up of the rhythms of their names.

 

school board meeting

The Next Board of Education Meeting is December 11

A Regular Session of the Board of Education will take place on Monday, December 11, at 7 p.m. at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills.

school board meeting

Highlights of the Nov. 27 Board of Education Meeting

Elizabeth Hennessy from Raymond James provided an overview on the District’s outstanding debt. Two of the four bonds are callable in January of 2019. This includes $15,645,000 for the 2009A Series and $2,905,000 for the 2009B Series. By refunding the Series 2009A bonds, the total savings could be $1,604,250 or net present value savings of $1,391,065. By refunding the Series 2009B bonds, the total savings could be $605,520 or net present value savings of $325,664. Ms. Hennessy also provided a 10-year, 15-year, and 20-year option for additional DSEB bonds. Option I, which includes new money and refunding keeps the final maturity at 2028, which is the final maturity of the current non-referendum debt. Options II and III would result in an extension of the debt service extension base beyond the current final maturity and increase the annual payment amount by the consumer price index annually. The 10-year option would generate $1.4M, the 15-year option would generate $3.3M, and the 20-year option would generate $5.3M.  All of these options in conjunction with the refunding would result in net savings.

Dr. Lisa Leali, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Robert Collins, Principal of Middle School North, and Robert Natale, Principal of Middle School South, gave a presentation on student achievement at the middle school level. Dr. Leali said the District focuses on a whole child approach to education. She emphasized the importance of creating a school environment in which children want to come to school. Wanting to come to school plays a significant role in student achievement.

In terms of tests, she said the District continues to outperform the state on the PARCC test. In 2017, Middle School South was at the 86th percentile and Middle School North was at the 83rd percentile for English/Language Arts and Math combined compared to public schools statewide. In addition to state tests, all students set personal goals, which are measured. Last year, 83 percent of middle school students met their goals. However, the District continues to see achievement gaps among Hispanic, low-income and Special Education students.

She spoke briefly about English Language Learners (ELL). The District traditionally transitions about 25% of ELL students out of its services. But because state standards changed, the District only transitioned 10% of ELLs out of services last year.

Both principals, Robert Natale and Robert Collins, spoke about the high rate (85 percent) of middle school students who are engaged in extracurricular activities. The “activity bus” has made it far easier for students to participate in afterschool programs. They spoke about the environments of their schools where emphasis is placed on students feeling at home.

District Superintendent Nick Brown reported on the results of a staff assessment performed by HUMANeX to help gauge the District’s climate and culture. He was pleased that the number of staff participating in the survey increased from 282 in 2015 to 433 in 2017.  He was also pleased that the percentage of staff who reported they were highly satisfied and engaged in their jobs was 75.75%. The industry standard is about 65%.

Abe Singh, Director of Finance and Business Operations, gave a brief report on 2018-2019 student fees. The District’s recommendation is that the student fees stay the same as last year, with the small exception of the lunch meals, which would increase by 10 cents. The small increase in the lunch fee is due to the guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture “Equity in School Lunch Pricing” provision that went into effect on July 1, 2011. The provision is part of the Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which requires schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to provide the same level of support for lunches served to those students that are not eligible for free or reduced price lunches as they are for those eligible for free lunches. This disclaimer takes the price increase off the shoulders of the district. The 2018-2019 student fees will be an action item on the December 11 agenda.

Board President Sonali Patil led a discussion about the Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP), the 10-year plan to address the short and long-term needs of the District. She said that the kindergarten school at the Sullivan Center will provide some temporary relief for the significant space limitations experienced by the elementary schools, but it will provide no relief for the middle schools. She asked the board members for their thoughts on the District’s next steps. The board members were in agreement that space limitations were a significant problem that needed to be addressed. There was general agreement that the space limitations at the middle schools should be prioritized. The discussion will continue at the next meeting.

 

 

Notice

Intermittent Phone Interruptions

Hawthorn School District 73 is experiencing intermittent phone interruptions. Technology staff members are working to correct the problem.

Notice

Clarification About Today’s Drill

As you know, Hawthorn District 73 schedules drills throughout the year to ensure our schools are prepared for emergencies and other events. This morning a drill took place at Townline Elementary and the School of Dual Language. While a parent posted on Facebook that this was an actual lockdown, this was only a drill. While we encourage community engagement on our Facebook page, please contact the school prior to posting information about events such as drills to ensure the information on our Facebook page is correct.

Como usted sabe, el Distrito Hawthorn #73 programa simulacros durante el año escolar para asegurar que nuestras escuelas estén preparadas para emergencias y otros eventos. Esta mañana se llevó a cabo un simulacro en la Escuela Elemental Townline y en la Escuela de Lenguaje Dual. Un padre publicó en Facebook que se trataba de un cierre de emergencia real, esto fue solo un simulacro. Nosotros alentamos la participación de la comunidad en nuestra página de Facebook, por favor antes de publicar información sobre eventos, comuníquese con la escuela para garantizar que la información en nuestra página de Facebook sea correcta.

School Board

Regular and Closed BOE Sessions Scheduled for Nov. 27

A Regular Session of the D73 Board of Education will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 27. Please click here for the agenda. A closed Committee of the Whole session will also take place. The sessions will take place at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills.

Nutcracker

The Nutcracker Comes to Lake Zurich

The Illinois Youth Dance Theatre presents the Nutcracker at the Lake Zurich Performing Arts Center. You can also greet Clara and other cast members at a special VIP party on Saturday, December 9.