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Resources and Updates

Below are links to resources and updates 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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Highlights of the August 13, 2020 Board of Education Meeting

Ted Haug of Legat Architects provided a presentation on the design development phase of Elementary South’s renovation/expansion. The plan includes adding a new full-size gym with a shared fitness/band area, orchestra room, practice and choral rooms, art rooms, OT/PT area, a converted nurses’ office and renovated LRC. The architects are focusing on bringing images of nature and natural light into the building.  

The alternates include: 

·     Switching the LRC with the admin area

·     An all-weather play surface in the existing courtyard

·     New courtyard amenities

·     Added basketball hoops and related padding in the gym

·     Roof solar panels

The alternates will be added depending on the final budget. The budget is $9.7 million. Lamp, Inc. is working on obtaining estimates/feedback from subcontractors. The project is a month ahead of schedule. The goal is to go out to bid in mid-September. 

Allison Stein, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Innovation, provided an update on Hawthorn’s Remote Learning Plan. She said the plan continues to focus on six goals: 

  • Prioritize health and safety. 
  • Ensure a smooth transition back to in-person schooling for all students, staff and families.
  • Prepare for multiple scenarios.
  • Remain nimble and flexible, acting in accordance with guidelines from ISBE, IDPH and the CDC.
  • Provide a remote learning option for families uncomfortable sending their children to school for in-person learning.
  • Promote collective responsibility and kindness throughout the Hawthorn community.

On July 28, the Board approved the recommendation to begin the school year remotely. Remote learning addresses public health concerns and ensures continuity of learning for all students. The District has not yet set a date to return to in-person learning and will work with the Lake County Health Department to determine when it is safe to begin phasing in on-campus learning options. 

Student schedules have been amended since they were first presented on July 20. Students will follow typical school day schedules. Early childhood and pre-kindergarten students will follow a 2.5-hour school day, elementary students will follow a 6.25-hour school day, and middle school students will follow a 6.5-hour school day. 

There are substantial differences between the spring remote learning and what will be implemented in the fall. Students and staff will follow synchronous and asynchronous learning schedules each school day, grading practices will be followed, students will participate in a variety of assessments, and attendance will be taken daily. More details are available in the August 13 slide presentation on the homepage of the District’s website: http://www.hawthorn73.org.

The technology department is reallocating district devices to assign one device per student (pre-kindergarten through eighth grade).  Families who currently do not have a device will be sent times for pick up. Devices and/or hotspots will be distributed as needed. 

The District will continue to provide breakfast and lunch under guidance from ISBE. Both pick-up and delivery options will be available.  

The school supply lists have been updated. There are no longer any shared supplies. Items that are only for use for in-person learning have been identified.

Families will receive a handbook to serve as a helpful navigation guide. 

On August 17, principals will send families instruction for how to access the names of their child’s teachers. On August 25, daily class schedules will be shared. On Aug 26 and 27, schools will host curbside pick-up of student devices and take-home bags. On August 28, teachers will host virtual meet and greets for students and their parents. 

Dr. Hannigan said he is working with the Lake County Health Department on creating criteria and guidance on when it is safe to bring students back on campus. He said that all the buildings are currently being prepared for the return to in-person learning. 

In his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Hannigan said a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be taking place for the opening of the Hawthorn School for Young Learners, the District’s new kindergarten building, on August 24. Additionally, he said the District worked with the Vernon Hills Park District to develop a parent-paid remote learning option for families in need of child care. The program, which is for kindergarten through fifth grade students, offers working families an opportunity to enroll their children in a supervised program where they can safely complete their remote learning. The registration deadline is August 17. The District will continue to explore other opportunities.

In her President’s Report, Board President Robin Cleek thanked the park district for being a great partner again in arranging this option. 

LeeAnn Taylor, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Business Operations, gave an update on the 2020-2021 tentative budget. The budget was initially presented on June 18 and is on display. Expenditure and revenue projections are being reviewed. The tentative budget will be presented for final review in September. During the budget hearing, no questions were submitted by the public. 

In the Action Items section, the Transportation Contract Amendment for FY20, the Intergovernmental Agreement with Lake County for the COVID Relief Fund, and the Performance Guarantee for the Middle School North Project were approved.

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!

Hawthorn staff

Opening Day for Hawthorn Staff

Wednesday’s “Opening Day” program brought hundreds of Hawthorn teachers and staff together under one roof. Superintendent Pete Hannigan presented the District’s goals and priorities for the new school year. Board of Education President Robin Cleek, as well as members of the Hawthorn Education Association and the Hawthorn PTO, also addressed the audience. Dr. Dennis King spoke about building a Professional Learning Community. The event put everyone on the same page — ready to inspire, challenge and motivate students as the new school year begins.