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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.