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Updates and Resources

Below are links to updates and resources from District 73 and other sources. We will update this page regularly, as new information becomes available.

District 73 Updates


Updates/Information from Local, State and National Officials

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Immunization Reminder

For families of kindergarten, 2nd and 6th grade students or students that are new to Hawthorn: In order to participate in hybrid (in-person) learning, your child’s physical and immunization reports must be up to date and on file with the building nurse’s office. Students who are not up to date with their physicals or are missing immunizations will be excluded from school.

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Highlights of the December 10, 2020 Board of Education Meeting

Vice President Wes Polen provided an update on the Dec. 10 holiday celebration for Aprendiendo Jugando students at Hawthorn School of Dual Language. She said that, due to COVID restrictions, this year’s event featured a car parade in which teachers and staff greeted students and Santa Claus packed presents into cars. She thanked staff, as well as parents, community members and businesses, such as BD, Snickelfritz Toys, Culver’s of Mundelein and Dreamland Comics, for their contributions.

District Superintendent Dr. Hannigan provided a presentation on the District’s Return to Learning plan. Allison Stein, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching Learning and Innovation, and LeeAnn Taylor, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Business Operations, also participated. 

Dr. Hannigan said that the District has made it a top priority to return students to classrooms. Once public health entities announce that transmission levels have returned to a moderate rate, the District will implement its hybrid model. It will give families a minimum of two weeks’ notice prior to the implementation of the hybrid model.  

The hybrid model has been approved by the Board for all grades. The registration process is complete, with 52% of families selecting the hybrid model, and 48% selecting the remote learning option. 

The recent parent feedback survey helped the District identify families who were in need of assistance. Staff reached out to a number of families, helping them to connect with district services as well as community resources. 

Adam Palmer, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, provided a presentation on the District’s hiring protocols that focused on recruitment and selection. He reported that the District is building partnerships with universities to widen access to highly qualified candidates and to provide more student teaching opportunities. 

Ms. Taylor provided an update on hotspots available to families. The District is currently partnering with Verizon to provide hotspots. The Key to 73 Foundation has donated $18,000 for this purpose. As the number of requests for hotspots has increased, staff looked into the Comcast Internet Essentials Program, which is available to families eligible for public assistance programs, as an alternative to purchasing hotspots. The District has the opportunity to enter into an agreement with Comcast that allows them to serve as the sponsor to the subscribers (families) of the District. The District would assist families with the application process and be billed for eligible households at a rate of $9.95 per month, which is a significant cost savings over the current practice of purchasing additional hotspots. The Key to 73 Foundation is raising money for the project. This agreement will be presented at the January meeting. 

In his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Hannigan said that the District will likely receive impact fees of $112,000 from the developer of a senior housing development at the site of the AMC theater. He said that normally, school districts do not receive impact fees for age restricted developments. However, at the Dec. 8 Village of Vernon Hills board meeting, the trustees denied the request to waive the impact fee. Hawthorn expects to receive the fee from the developer contingent upon the Village approving their building permit. 


The board approved the following action items:

  • Resolution to Levy 2020 Property Tax 
  • Resolution Authorizing a Supplemental Tax Levy to Pay the Principal of and Interest on Outstanding Limited Bonds of the District 
  • Approval of the Intergovernmental Agreement with the Village of Vernon Hills regarding the Hawthorn Mall TIF District 
  • Approval of the Renewal of Shared Service Contract at the Early Learning Center 
  • Approval of the Food Service Contract Amendment 

Middle School North expansion

Middle School North Expansion is Underway

Construction at Middle School North is moving forward. Areas have already been transformed to make way for the new chorus, band and orchestra rooms, additional classrooms, and STEM and STEAM rooms. The project is currently on schedule and under budget. 

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Foundation Helps Provide Access to Home Learning Resources for All Families

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawthorn School District 73’s Key to 73 Education Foundation is focusing its efforts on providing access for all families to home learning resources. It is donating $18,000 toward the purchase of Wi-Fi hotspot devices for 150 families in the Hawthorn community. The families will be able to utilize the hotspots for three months without charge. 

“Many of the families in our community lack internet connections at home, a factor that can increase learning inequities now that we have moved to a remote learning plan,” said Hawthorn District 73 Superintendent Dr. Peter Hannigan. “We are thankful to the Foundation for providing the resources to help close this gap.” 

Those interested in helping families access home learning can make a tax-deductible donation at: www.Keyto73Foundation.org, or send a check (made payable to Key to 73 Foundation) to: Key to 73 Foundation, c/o Rebekah Snyder, Treasurer, 106 Dickinson Court, Vernon Hills, IL 60061. 100% of the contribution will go directly to ensuring student access at this critical time. 

The Key to 73 Hawthorn Education Foundation was established in 2017 to raise private sector funds to support the goals of the District’s Strategic Plan. The Foundation gives the District’s schools the ability to offer students programs and opportunities beyond those provided through regular funding. For more information, visit the Foundation’s website at: www.Keyto73Foundation.org.  

Hawthorn School District #73 is a preschool through eighth-grade public school district serving approximately 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.

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Key Points About Hawthorn District 73’s Parent Notification System

The District places high priority on swiftly communicating with parents in the event of an emergency. We use the SchoolMessenger notification system to send out information through email, phone and/or text messages. SchoolMessenger is integrated with PowerSchool and delivers messages to the PowerSchool contact information provided by parents/guardians. Emergency information is also posted on the District Website and Facebook. 

During an emergency event, the means and immediacy of communication will depend on the scope of the event and on the potential or actual impact to the safety of the students. While it is difficult to describe all possible scenarios, the following can be used as a guide to gauge the District’s level of notification and systems used to communicate with families.

Impact LevelNotification Response
No Impact Incident: Informational messages from either the principal or superintendent.

Example: District information, school information on upcoming events.
- SchoolMessenger notification sent via email.
- May also be posted on website and Facebook.
A Low Impact Incident: Poses no or minimal risk to the safety of the school. There are no disruptions to regular school activities, and the incident is isolated and does not impact more than one student.

Example: a small issue in one of the schools or the District. A soft lockdown suggested by police due to an off campus police-related incident. A bus delay. Note: Not every incident will warrant a notification.
- SchoolMessenger notification sent via email and phone (home, work, cell) at beginning of incident. Text messages may also be used.
- Will be posted on Website and Facebook.
- Update via email at end of incident.
A Moderate Impact Incident: Poses a moderate risk to the school and results in some disruption to school activities.

Example: Weather cancellations or delays, a change of schedule or cancellation of some activities, or a utility disruption.
- SchoolMessenger notification sent via email, phone (home, work, cell) and text.
-Will be posted on website and Facebook.
- Updates will continue through the incident.
- School cancellations or delays posted on emergencyclosingcenter.com.
A High Impact Incident: The incident poses a significant risk to the safety of the students, which results in a significant disruption to school activities, change of schedule, evacuation, cancellation of activities and impacts many students.

Example: An intruder in school or the use of a weapon in school resulting in injuries to students and staff.
- SchoolMessenger notification sent via email, phone (home, work, cell) and text.
- Will be posted on website and Facebook.
- Updates will continue through the incident.
- Press release may be distributed to the media.

Important Points to Remember:

  • Our school has an emergency operations plan in place. Each school has a site-specific plan. Teachers, administrators and staff have been trained and have completed drills using this plan.
  • Please be sure your emergency contact information is updated whenever there is a change. 
  • Parents who wish to receive text messages must opt-in to utilize this service. If you think your contact information may need updating in PowerSchool, first contact your student’s school to verify that they have the correct cell phone number on file. Then manually opt in by texting “Y” to 67587. 
  • During an incident, remain close to your sources of communication, whether phone or email, to ensure you are receiving accurate and timely updates from the district.
  • Please be sure to listen to, or read the entire message. 
  • Do not call or go to your child’s school during an actual emergency. School staff will be busy responding to the emergency and addressing the needs of students. Calling the school will only tie up phone lines that must be used for emergency communications with staff and emergency responders. Please do not go to your child’s school unless you have received direction from the school or district officials. 

Thank you in advance for your cooperation as we work together to ensure the safest environment for our students. We are fortunate to have such a committed and involved community at Hawthorn 73. 

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Hawthorn Elementary South Is Named Among the Best Schools in the Nation By U.S. Department of Education

Hawthorn Elementary South has been named among the best schools in the nation through the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 National Blue Ribbon Award recognition. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. 

 “We are so proud that Elementary South is a recipient of this exceptional award,” said Dr. Peter Hannigan, Hawthorn District 73’s superintendent. “At Hawthorn, we truly believe that all children can learn at high levels. This honor is a testament to the hard work, commitment and engagement of the school’s teachers, staff, students and parents.” 

Located in Vernon Hills, Illinois, Hawthorn Elementary South is a kindergarten through fifth grade school serving approximately 700 students. The school celebrates the diversity of its students, who speak more than 30 different languages. It is known for providing masterful learning activities in which students explore and deeply engage with content in a joyful, exciting manner. Its top priority is to grow the whole child by combining robust academics with a full social emotional curriculum.  

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels, or where significant progress has been made in raising student achievement. Elementary South received the honor in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category for achieving high performance among key subgroups and completing a rigorous application process that evaluated everything from social and emotional learning supports to professional development to quality classroom instruction.

teachers and students

First Day at Lincoln

Everything went smoothly Thursday morning, as students stepped off the bus for the first day of school at Lincoln Early Learning Center. The little ones were greeted by teachers who immediately made them feel at home. Located in Mundelein, the Center provides preschool and early childhood programs for Hawthorn School District 73, Mundelein School District 75 and Fremont School District 70.


Welcome Back Students!

Teachers and staff were so excited to welcome back students this morning. Parents hugged their children, said their good byes, and watched them step into the buildings for their first day of school. On the inside, there were plenty of hugs and hellos as teachers greeted their new students and settled them in for a fun day of learning.

Construction work at the building site

Update on the School for Young Learners

It may seem as if a long time has passed since the community of Hawthorn District 73 approved the Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP). In as much as we all want to see immediate changes to the physical sites of the school district, appropriate planning, discussion, and submissions must happen.

The initial months immediately following successful passage of the referendum involved significant planning and partnering discussions with Village officials, along with county and state agencies all represented. The fruits of the labor of so many district staff members, community partners and board of education members is now becoming a reality. Site work is well underway for the Hawthorn School for Young Learners directly adjacent to the Sullivan Center on Aspen Drive. The footings and foundation walls have been poured in preparation for the precast panel construction.

Although the site is visible and most days involve a flurry of activity, progress may be difficult to see from a street view. That will all change during the month of September. In September, the new facility will begin to take shape with precast walls getting erected and the size and scale of the building will become clear to our community and neighbors. We fully believe this next phase will be very visual and generate community excitement. We are excited to share these phases with you and look forward to many exciting changes in the months and years to come!