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Highlights of the September 24 Board of Education Meeting

Board of Education President Robin Cleek recognized staff, administrators and parents for helping to keep the remote learning momentum going and finding ways to continuously improve the process. She felt that overall, the effort was going smoothly. 

District Superintendent Dr. Hannigan also thanked Hawthorn community members for their support, patience and cooperation as he provided an update on the District’s remote learning plan. He said the District was following specific Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines when considering when to reopen buildings, including the 6-foot social distancing requirement. This requirement presents a challenge as it means that each classroom can only accommodate from 9 to 15 students and each bus (that can normally accommodate 75 students) can only accommodate about 20 students. 

The District is using metrics provided by IDPH and the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium that will help school districts determine when it is safe to reopen schools. These metrics identify mild, moderate, and substantial community spread parameters, and are aligned with instructional model recommendations for schools. 

At present, the metrics correspond to a hybrid model. While this is subject to change based on infection rates and other factors, the District has developed a preliminary plan to gradually transition groups of students to in-person instruction, starting with the District’s youngest learners. The District will continue to offer an option for students to remain fully remote. A tentative timeline for phasing in students to in-person learning is below. 

  • Oct. 26: Early Childhood Students Return to Learning (Hybrid Model) 
  • Nov. 9: Pre-K Students and K-2 Students in Self-Contained Special Education Return to Learning (Hybrid Model)
  •  Nov. 30: All K-2 Students and 3-8 Students in Self-Contained Special Education Return to Learning (Hybrid Model) 
  • Jan. 4: All 3-8 Grade Students Return to Learning (Hybrid Model) 

Outlines of each phase will be presented for review at Board meetings on October 15, November 12, and December 10. The process will be accelerated or slowed down depending on metrics and guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health. 

Ms. Cleek reminded the community that social workers are available for any child who may be experiencing emotional difficulties or challenges during the current remote learning plan. 

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Adam Palmer provided the Annual Tenth Day Enrollment Report. He said that the District has hired 31 new certified staff, including 22 elementary and nine middle school teachers. The six-year ten-day enrollment trend is as follows: 2015: 4,212; 2016: 4,207; 2017: 4,256; 2018: 4,065; 2019: 3,955; and 2020: 3,748. Mr. Palmer said the decrease in attendance in 2020 may possibly be due to parents’ decisions related to COVID-19. He also gave an update on class size averages. The general class size average of grades K-5 is 22.5 students per classroom, while the average class size of core middle school classrooms is 24.5 students. The District will continue to monitor numbers for the remainder of the school year to ensure appropriate staffing levels.

Director of Instructional Technology John Reid provided a presentation on amendments to the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA). SOPPA protects the privacy and security of student data when collected by companies operating websites, online services or online/mobile applications primarily used for K-12 school purposes. Effective July 1, 2021, districts will be required, among other things, to post a list of operators with which the District has written agreements, copies of these agreements, and other information about such operators on the school’s website; as well as to notify students and parents of any breach of student data. 

Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Business Operations LeeAnn Taylor provided an update on amendments to the custodial contract with GSF. The District is in its second year of a contract with GSF. Several changes have been discussed, including:

  •  Increasing the minimum wage.
  • Adding 5 hours to the current 35-hour work week for evening staff.
  •  Purchasing industry standard equipment.
  • Coordinating with GSF leadership to have staff onsite during winter and spring break as needed. 

The amended contract will be presented to the Board of Education for formal action at the October 15 meeting. 

In his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Hannigan spoke about the Hawthorn Key to 73 Foundation’s current fundraising efforts. He said the Foundation played a key role in providing the funding to help students access technology during remote learning in the spring. It is now working to raise $30,000 to continue to help students secure Wi-Fi capabilities. For more information, visit:  

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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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Free English Classes for Adults

Free English classes for adults are being offered at Mundelein High School, 1350 W. Hawley Street in Mundelein. For more information, please call: 847-949-2200 ext. 1399.

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Program Gets Math Minds Working Right Away

As you know, elementary teachers are implementing Bridges in Mathematics this school year, a comprehensive K–5 curriculum that was approved by the Board of Education in the spring. This resource focuses on developing students’ deep understanding of mathematical concepts, proficiency with key skills, and ability to solve complex problems. 
How are things going? Here is feedback from one of our teachers: 
“One aspect of the Bridges program that our students love is Number Corner. It’s a fun way to start their day in our morning meeting and they are so engaged with each component. We say it gets our math minds working right away! They enjoy finding the pattern in the September calendar and thinking about what equation we can write for each day. The kids also have fun with the calendar collection component. In September, we are collecting minutes. Each day we are in school we collect 60 minutes and for September we’ve collected 1,200 minutes. It is fun to see their minds working as they try to figure out how to solve a problem or find a mathematical relationship.”
Ms. Susie Saliba
2nd Grade/Aspen Elementary
Neighboring districts that also implement Bridges in Mathematics include Kildeer #96, Lake Forest #67, Oak Grove #68, Mundelein #75, Bannockburn #106 and Lake Bluff #65.

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Supply Bag Pick Up Day Goes Smoothly

Teachers, staff and parents enjoyed seeing each other again during the supply bag pick up day on Sept. 21. In preparation for the event, staff had worked together to fill and organize the supply bags to ensure a smooth pick up process. Everything went smoothly; even the weather cooperated. Thank you to all the parents who returned their reusable bags.

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Meal Service Update

Due to the holiday on Monday, September 28, the meal pick up days next week will be Tuesday, September 29, and Wednesday, September 30 at Middle School South. Please note that the meal pick up time is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.  For the week of October 5, the original schedule will return with pick up days on Monday and Wednesday. The time will remain from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. 

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Board of Education Meetings: September 24, 2020

A virtual Board of Education Business Meeting will take place on Thursday, September 24, at 7:00 p.m.  Any member of the public who would like to make a public comment can submit their public comment via email to by 5:00 PM on the date of the meeting. Public comments submitted via email will be announced during the public comment portion of the meeting. A Closed Session will take place immediately following the meeting.

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Highlights of the September 10, 2020 Board of Education Meeting

Board of Education President Robin Cleek recognized two board members who have reached new levels in their continuing education through the Illinois Association of School Boards. She recognized Board of Education Vice President Wes Polen for earning Master Board Member Level I and board member Sonali Patil for earning Master Board Member Level II. She also expressed gratitude to parents, students, teachers, staff and the community as a whole for their support of the District’s 2020-2021 remote learning plan. She said that overall, the District is off to a great start. 

In his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Hannigan also thanked the community for stepping up to the remote learning challenge. He said that in conjunction with public health officials, the District is regularly reviewing local and regional data, such as positivity rates, to determine when to begin the process of returning to in-person learning. Priority groups would be brought back first, including groups of special education, ESL/ELL and kindergarten students. The District’s facilities are currently being reviewed/evaluated to ensure they adhere to specific public health guidelines. A more thorough update will be provided at the Sept. 24 Board of Education meeting. 

Dr. Hannigan also discussed the renewal of the District’s Strategic Plan effort. The effort was postponed due to COVID-19 last spring. He said that several virtual sessions have been scheduled to review/finalize the draft mission statement, as well as determine goals and action steps, implementation and monitoring. The virtual sessions will take place on Oct. 22, Nov. 17, and Dec. 8. An optional fourth session has been scheduled for Jan. 12. The 50-60 volunteers who were involved in the first session will be contacted about the upcoming dates. 

The first Hawthorn PTO meeting for the 2020/21 school year was held on Sept. 9. Dr. Hannigan expressed his appreciation for the group that continues to supplement and enrich the educational experience of Hawthorn students. Their Hawthorn Hustle will be hosted virtually this year. Those interested in registering can visit the PTO website at: The cost is $10 per person. 

Hawthorn’s Key to 73 Education Foundation will not be holding Octoberfest this year. Members are exploring alternative opportunities to raise funds for the District. 

In her President’s Report, Ms. Cleek discussed the video update from the Board that is usually presented at school curriculum nights. This year, the video update will be shared through Hawthorn Highlights and/or other communications channels instead of through the online curriculum night meetings. The Board discussed creating and publishing information on the role of the school board on a regular basis to continue to education the public on what a school board does. 

LeeAnn Taylor, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Business Operations, provided a Site Facilities Committee report.  A new cleaning contract will be presented to the Board on Sept. 24.  The minimum wage for custodians is being incrementally increased to meet the state mandated $15 per hour by 2024. While the Hawthorn School for Young Learners is open, a few small punch list items are in various stages of completion. Construction is on schedule at Middle School North. Most of the inside renovation is already done.  Elementary South is in the design phase. The expectations for a clean building have changed. The District is following new standards that will contribute to the health of staff. Ms. Taylor will provide a more detailed presentation at the September 24thBoard meeting. 

Ms. Taylor also reviewed the 2020/2021 district budget and the 2021/2022 budget calendar. In the Action Items section, these items were unanimously approved by the Board. 

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Meal Service Update 9-11-2020

Please fill out this meal order form to order breakfast and lunches for your children starting Tuesday, Sept. 29. Children under the age of 18 are qualified to receive individually packaged meals at no charge. This order form is open-ended and will remain effective until in-person learning returns.  


Por favor complete este formulario para pedir desayunos y almuerzos para sus hijos(as) a partir del martes 29 de septiembre. Los niños(as) menores de 18 años están calificados para recibir comidas empaquetadas individualmente gratis. Este formulario para ordenar comida es ilimitado y permanecerá vigente hasta que regresemos al aprendizaje en persona.

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Vernon Hills Park District Fall Newsletter

The Park District has planned many family special events for the fall. Safety is their top priority in providing activities for the community. Click here to read the park district’s newsletter.