PTO Presentation

Highlights of the June 11 Board of Education Meeting

The meeting began with a presentation by PTO President Wendy Elman and Treasurer Katie Agam. This year, the PTO raised $65,000 for the schools. Ms. Elman said that with books and programming, the PTO’s overall contribution came to approximately $86,000.  Board of Education President Sonali Patil thanked the PTO for all of its efforts on behalf of the District.

Dr. Mark Friedman and Dr. Anne Noland of BWP Associates discussed their strategy for recruiting candidates for several key positions at Hawthorn. They are conducting searches for a new Principal at Townline Elementary, the District’s Director of Teaching and Learning, the Interim Superintendent, and the Superintendent. The search for the Superintendent will begin in August. BWP Associates will launch an advertising campaign as well as gather community input through several community engagement meetings and a community survey. They will begin screening interviews in November. The Board will interview the final two or three candidates with the goal to appoint a new superintendent by December/January. The new superintendent would begin at Hawthorn on July 1, 2019.

Director of Finance and Business Operations Abe Singh gave a presentation on the 2018-2019 tentative budget. He said the goal is to have a finalized draft of the budget for the public hearing on August 13. The adoption of the budget is scheduled for September 17. The budget is due to the tax extension office on September 28.

Mr. Singh discussed Hawthorn’s Fund Balance. He said that while a Fund Balance should ideally grow every year, Hawthorn’s Fund Balance is decreasing due to the District’s growth and the fact that the District’s revenue doesn’t match the financial needs of that growth. The District had an operational deficit of approximately $3 million in 2015, $467,000 in 2016 and $1.7 million in 2017.

He also discussed Hawthorn’s cash reserve.  He said that if $12 million of the District’s cash reserve of $13.1 million were to be used to fund the building of the kindergarten facility at the Sullivan Center, the cash reserve would be reduced to $1 million within a few years. He noted that it is important for a school district to have enough cash reserves to cover unforeseen emergencies and avoid short term borrowing.  Right now, Hawthorn has two and a half months in its reserves.

District Superintendent Nick Brown was asked whether it would be appropriate to charge tuition for Hawthorn’s full day kindergarten program.  Several districts in close proximity to Hawthorn charge tuition or charge a registration fee. He said that when the full-day program started it was agreed that the program would be free since many families within the District could not afford the tuition of $4,000, and it was part of the strategic plan to offer such opportunities to all families.  It also supports the strategic plan goal of expanding early intervention opportunities to all students as well as equitable access to high quality programs for all students.  The full day tuition program was available in only two buildings previously.  He said that full day kindergarten was one of the best things that could be offered to Hawthorn families.

Ms. Patil led a discussion on value engineering for the kindergarten building construction.  She said that since the bids for the construction of the kindergarten building came in about $2.7 million over the projected $12 million cost, Lamp, Inc. looked at ways to reduce costs. The Board reviewed a list of items that could be deleted or altered to reduce costs. The list included items totaling about $500,000. The Board either accepted or declined to accept the changes for each item.

The Board discussed possible revisions to the Educational Facilities Master Plan. Some Board members expressed concern about using funds from the limited cash reserve for the construction of the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. Options discussed included using only a portion of the Fund Balance for the kindergarten building.  A different idea put forward was to include only the kindergarten building on the referendum to help ensure that it passed. The discussion will continue at the June 25 board meeting.

In her President’s Report, Ms. Patil thanked Mr. Brown for serving as the District’s Superintendent. She said that she appreciated his availability and his focus on the students. She paraphrased one of his mottos: “It’s all about the kids. The rest is noise and it will sort itself out.”


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Highlights of the May 14 Board of Education Meeting

Winners of Most Improved Student Award Announced

Dr. Joe Yomtoob, a former Hawthorn superintendent, and his wife, Mrs. Parichehr Yomtoob, presented the Most Improved Student Awards at the beginning of the Board meeting. The 2018 recipients are:

Second Grade
Joseph F.- Aspen
Tony L. – School of Dual Language
Elizabeth S. – Elementary North
Cristian G. – Elementary South
Renz S. – Townline Elementary

Fifth Grade
David “Junior” F. – Aspen
Diana H. – School of Dual Language
Trey M. – Elementary North
Daniel N. – Elementary South
Layla S. – Townline Elementary

Eighth Grade
Candela A. – Middle School North
Arleth A. – Middle School South

To apply for this 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.

Middle School Dual Language Expansion

District Superintendent Nick Brown provided an update on the middle school dual language expansion. He said that the expanded dual language program will be provided for sixth grade and then for seventh grade with zero impact to the budget. The Board has yet to approve the expansion to eighth grade. The program will include Spanish literacy and social studies classes. The teachers hired to teach social studies will also be helping ELL students.

Kindergarten Building Construction Bids Update

Tom McGrath at Lamp, Inc., discussed specific items that could potentially be reduced or deleted in the construction of the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center to reduce costs. The DLR Group is preparing a memo on how the proposed reductions would affect the overall design of the building. The memo will be submitted to the Board prior to the May 21 community engagement meeting.

Survey Report

Jason Lembke and Bonnie Sanborn of the DLR Group presented the results of the EFMP survey. They said that the survey had a good response rate with 770 responses, of which 637 were complete responses.  (The previous Educational Facilities Master Plan survey had less than 500 responses.) Survey participants were asked to rate the importance of 10 priorities. Participants rated the priorities as follows (in the order of highest to lowest):

  • Equity in space
  • Low first-time cost
  • Extra-curricular spaces
  • Building shift
  • Low life cycle cost
  • Outdoor play/green space
  • Higher density campus
  • Keeping current density
  • Solving traffic issues
  • Preserving enrollment boundaries

The survey also asked participants to rate options offered by community members at the April 30 Community Engagement meeting. The survey found:

  • By a very small margin, there is less support for a kindergarten addition at the Sullivan Center than for the other options.
  • There is somewhat less support for a 450-student dual language K-5 option.
  • There is somewhat more support for an option which accommodates grades 5-8 at Middle School North and Middle School South, and create a new or adaptive reuse building for 750 students in grades 5-8.
  • There is somewhat more support for an option which prioritizes middle school changes over elementary school changes.
  • There is no clear support, or lack of support, for creating a new or adaptive reuse building for Elementary South, grades K-5.
  • There is no clear support, or lack of support, to move forward with the existing Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP). About 25% of the respondents were unfamiliar with the EFMP.

Mr. Lembke provided estimated costs for the options, with the new 5-8 middle school costing the most at $141,500,000 (conventional) and $125,300,000 (adaptive reuse). The least expensive option was the new dual language + pre-K building projected at $107,500,000 (conventional) and $100,400,000 (adaptive reuse). The options will be discussed in further detail at the May 21 Community Engagement Meeting that will take place at 7 p.m. at Middle School South.

Village Trustee Letter

Board members discussed the draft of a letter to trustees of the Village of Vernon Hills asking the Village to explore new ways to generate financial support for the school district. Board members agreed to ask the Village Board to add the letter to the agenda of an upcoming board meeting.

Superintendent’s Report

Mr. Brown mentioned that the eighth-grade promotion ceremonies for Middle School North and Middle School South will take place on May 29 at Vernon Hills High School.  The Middle South ceremony will start at 6 p.m. and the Middle North ceremony will begin at 8 p.m.





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Regular Session and Closed Meeting Scheduled for May 14

A Regular Session of the Board of Education will take place on Monday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m.  It will be followed by a Closed Committee of the Whole Meeting. These meetings will take place at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

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Closed Committee of the Whole Meetings Scheduled for May 4 and 7

Two Closed Committee of the Whole meetings have been scheduled. The first will take place on Friday, May 4, at 5:00 p.m. at the District Office. The second will take place on Monday, May 7, at 6:00 p.m. also at the District Office.

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Highlights of the April 23 Board of Education Meeting

Teachers Receive Tenure
Approximately 30 teachers were granted the status of tenure at the beginning of the meeting. Following a reception for teachers and their families, administrators and board members congratulated the teachers.

The New STAR Team at Elementary South
Dr. Jill Martin, Principal of Elementary South, gave a presentation on a new initiative at her school called the STAR Team. This is an opportunity for fourth and fifth grade students to take ownership and feel connected in their learning community. More than 100 students volunteered to take part in the STAR Team. Participants were divided into four groups:

  • The Tech Team provides tech support throughout the building.
  • The Beautification Team helps keep the school and its grounds beautiful.
  • The Rewards and School Spirit Team helps celebrate the accomplishments of students.
  • The Growth Mindset Team reminds students they can do anything they put their minds to.

Dr. Martin said that the STAR Team has been an awesome addition to Elementary South this year. It has given many students a chance to take leadership roles and to have fun while doing it.

Kindergarten Building Construction Bid Update
Tom McGrath and Chad Alexander of Lamp, Inc. discussed the collected bids for the construction of the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. They said that if the building were to be constructed based on the bids, the project would be over the projected budget.

Mr. McGrath asked for more time to go back and figure out why the bids came in so high. The Board agreed to his request. Lamp, Inc. will come to the May 14 Board meeting with a report.

April 17 Community Engagement Meeting
Board President Sonali Patil discussed the April 17 Community Engagement meeting. She said that community members provided a number of ideas and suggestions for moving forward. Some residents sent ideas via email and through Let’s Talk. Their suggestions included: not building a kindergarten building, constructing a new building in Mundelein, adaptive reuse, moving the eighth-grade class to the high school, reconfiguring the schools into grade level centers, and a smaller referendum. She said that all those who submitted ideas should have received a response. During the April 30 working meeting, the board will determine several viable plans, and prioritize them. The public will be able to weigh in on the various plans through a survey.

Summer Projects
A number of construction projects have been scheduled for the summer at various Hawthorn buildings. The estimated cost for these projects is $300,080. The Board approved the budget for these projects.



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Special Session of the Board of Education Scheduled for April 30

A Special Session of the Board of Education will take place on Monday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Middle School North gymnasium, 201 Hawthorn Parkway in Vernon Hills.

Community Meeting

Hawthorn District 73 Schedules Community Engagement Meetings

The Hawthorn School District 73 Board of Education is inviting the public to a series of community engagement meetings to discuss how to resolve the District’s space challenges. Currently, District 73 is at capacity and it is growing.

The six meetings will include presentations by the Board of Education and opportunities for community members to provide their feedback and advice. The first two meetings will focus on prioritizing solutions. The April 30 meeting will be a working meeting. The later meetings will focus on communicating solutions. The meetings will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

  • Thursday, April 5, Elementary North, 301 Hawthorn Parkway in Vernon Hills
  • Tuesday, April 17, Elementary South, 430 N. Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills
  • Monday, April 30, Middle School North, 201 Hawthorn Parkway in Vernon Hills
  • Thursday, May 10, Aspen Elementary, 500 N. Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills (this meeting is canceled)
  • Monday, May 21, Middle School South, 600 N. Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills
  • Wednesday, May 30, Townline Elementary, 810 N. Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills

Spanish translators will be present. Childcare will be provided on April 5, May 21 and May 30. If you need childcare, please register at least one week prior to the date of the meeting you wish to attend. Send an email with the number of children attending to:

Hawthorn School District 73 is a preschool through eighth-grade public school district serving approximately 4,300 students. It serves the communities of Vernon Hills, Mundelein, Libertyville, Indian Creek and unincorporated areas of Lake County, Illinois.



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Highlights of the March 12 Board of Education Meeting

Aspen Elementary’s SEL Program
Bill Fredricksen, Principal of Aspen Elementary, gave a presentation on the components of Aspen’s Social and Emotional Learning program. Regal the Eagle plays a key role in the program. Regal helps welcome students in the morning. He also helped the school celebrate Halloween, the 100th day of school and other activities. In particular, he helps celebrate classes that show safe, responsible and respectful behavior.  A classroom is selected each month to receive the Aspen Eagle Award.

Another component is the Second Step curriculum that provides teachers with readymade lessons that teach learning, empathy, emotional management and problem-solving skills.  At the end of each unit, each class nominates two students who have done a wonderful job of demonstrating targeted skills. Photos of these students are prominently displayed.

Aspen’s SEL program includes Aspen Caring Experts (ACE). These students help their peers solve problems, manage the hallways and act as peer mediators who are focused on showing respect, being good listeners and honoring one another.

Aspen’s SEL program also includes a component for teachers. Teachers have a bulletin board where they can recognize and provide kudos to each other.

Whole Child Award

Board President Sonali Patil recognized the staff at Middle School North for winning the Whole Child Award from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).  The association serves 115,000 members in 128 countries. “We are really proud of all the work our staff had done,” Ms. Patil said.

Kindergarten Building Update

Jason Meyering from the DLR Group and Tom McGrath from LAMP, Inc. provided an update on the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. They, along with Superintendent Nick Brown, met with the village’s planning and zoning committee on February 28 to see if there were initial concerns. They were asked questions about traffic patterns and the access road. Superintendent Brown also has an upcoming meeting with Victory Centre to inform the residents about the plans for the building.

Kindergarten Building Construction Bid Document

Mr. McGrath discussed the timeline for the bidding process for the construction of the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. He said the drawings are ready and will be viewable on March 15. A preview meeting for trade contractors has been scheduled for March 21. The proposed due date for the trade contractor bids is April 11. Scope review meetings with low bid contractors will be scheduled. Results will be presented to the Board on April 24. The criteria for selecting a bid is to go with the contractor with the lowest responsible bid.  However, if red flags come up with the lowest bidder, the option exists to hire a different contractor. The tentative start date of the project is June 4. During the Action Items portion of the meeting, the Board approved the bid document.

Community Engagement Meetings

The Board discussed six community engagement meetings that are scheduled for the Board to receive input from the community on how to resolve the District’s space issues. The meetings are scheduled for April 5, April 17, April 30, May 10, May 21, and May 30. Board members discussed what the format/goals of each meeting will be.

President’s Report

In her President’s Report, Ms. Patil congratulated Aspen Elementary fifth-grade student Aishi A. for winning the Sectional Spelling Bee on February 27. She also encouraged attendance at the reception for the Hawthorn District 73 art exhibition taking place at Aspen Drive Library. The reception will take place on March 15 at 6 p.m.

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Regular Session and Closed Committee of the Whole Meetings, January 22

A Regular Session of the Board of Education and Closed Committee of the Whole Meeting have been scheduled for Monday, January 22.  The Regular Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Committee of the Whole meeting will take place at the conclusion of the session. The meetings will take place at the District Office, 841 West End Court, Vernon Hills, IL. 60061.

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Regular and Closed Committee of the Whole Sessions to Take Place Jan. 8

A Regular Session of the Board of Education will take place at 7:00 p.m. on January 8. A Closed Committee of the Whole meeting will take place at the conclusion of the Regular Session. The meetings will take place at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills.