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Letter from Superintendent DuRoss

The following letter was sent to all families and staff on March 10, 2020. 

 

Dear District 54 Families,

District 54 is closely monitoring the evolving information related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19. At this time, we have no known cases of COVID-19 in in our community.

However, we have received guidance from the Cook County Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and have developed a plan to ensure we are ready to respond should this become an issue in District 54 schools. Because the information is constantly changing, we have developed a website that we can update on a regular basis in our continued efforts to keep you informed. Please visit our website at sd54.org/coronavirus for updated information and frequently asked questions.

Thank you for working with us to keep our schools healthy by encouraging proper handwashing and keeping your children home when they are sick.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Andy DuRoss

Brief from the Board Meeting on March 5, 2020

Discussion – Staffing Plan for the 2020-21 School Year:
To determine a staffing plan that will maximize learning opportunities for students while allocating district resources in a fiscally sound manner, the district first projects the enrollment for the coming school year. The district considers the difference between this year’s eighth-grade class and next year’s kindergarten class, as well as the number of students who transfer in and out of the district at other grade levels. This number is much more difficult to predict. The projected kindergarten through eighth grade enrollment for 2020-21 is 14,999, an increase of 71 students over the 2019-20 school year.

District 54 always begins with a conservative staffing plan. If enrollment fluctuates prior to the beginning of the school year, District 54 will shift teaching resources or add teaching positions to maintain consistent class size averages. The district is recommending the addition of one literacy specialist, one English Learner resource teacher and one dual language teacher, and the reduction of eight general education classroom teachers and one intervention coach for next year.

Public Comment: No one asked to comment.

Freedom of Information Act Requests:
One request was received and responded to since the last report to the Board regarding purchasing records.

Consent Agenda:  The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • The minutes of the regular and closed-session Board of Education meetings on Feb. 20, 2020
  • Resignations, leaves and retirement of personnel
  • Checks dated Feb. 14 and 28, 2020
  • The treasurer’s reports on cash and investments for January 2020
  • The purchase of Pearson myWorld Interactive social science instructional materials as recommended by the Social Science Task Force
  • The purchase of a one-year license for the Classkick web-based learning platform, as well as new phones for four schools and student Chromebook sleeves
  • The release of closed-session minutes from the Board of Education meetings on Sept. 5, Sept. 19, Oct. 3, Oct. 17, Oct. 21, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12, 2019.

New Business:

  • The Board had the first reading of the following policies:
    • Revisions to Policy 2:100: Conflict of Interest – Board Members,
    • Revisions to Policy 2:220: School Board Meeting Procedure, and
    • New Policy 2:70: Vacancies on the Board.
  • The Board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Schaumburg Park District to share the costs of maintenance, repair and replacement of playground equipment at 12 park sites adjacent to District 54 schools.
  • The Board approved the appointment of Colette Bell as Assistant Superintendent of Professional Learning for the 2020-21 school year.
  • The Board approved the appointment of Julie Gorvett as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for the 2020-21 school year.

Announcements:
Board members gave high praise to the caliber of the events they attended:  the Lincoln Prairie musical, Ensuring Student Success Awards, science fairs at Fairview and Blackwell, the Eisenhower Talent Show and the Chain Reaction Competition at Hoffman High School. They also thanked the exceptional employees in District 54 who make these activities a peak moment for our students.

Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 7:40 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters and school matters.

Summer of 54 camp registration now open!

Summer is right around the corner and the perfect way to enjoy it is to join a Summer of 54 camp! Your child can build robots, design a t-shirt, learn a new sport, brush up on music skills, and so much more! T-shirts are included. Register at families.sd54.org. Seats fill up fast so sign up now to be a part of the Summer of 54 Camp family! If you would like more information on the camp and courses, click here to access our 2020 Summer of 54 Camp Brochure.

District 54 names six Ensuring Student Success Award winners

District 54 is proud to announce the following recipients of the district’s 2020 Ensuring Student Success Awards.

  • Julie Gorvett, principal of the District 54 Early Learning Center, won in the administrator category.
  • Eric Jonasson, a District 54 maintenance technician at the Rafferty Administration Center, won in the unlicensed support staff category.
  • The District 54 Mentor Team of Tara Cusack, Michelle Felice, Laura Marchant and Dilshad Patel won in the team category.
  • Maggie Joyce, an English-Spanish Dual Language teacher at Frost Junior High School, won in the classroom teacher category.
  • Ann-Marie Cerny, a social worker at Addams Junior High School, won in the licensed support staff category.
  • Julia Bolotin, a fifth-grade teacher at John Muir Literacy Academy, won in the early career educator category.

Julie Gorvett with studentsJulie Gorvett
From positive daily interactions with students and staff to strong relationships with families to support the needs of students, Julie Gorvett’s leadership as principal of District 54’s Early Learning Center has had a tremendous impact on District 54’s youngest learners. Julie maintains high expectations for all students and believes deeply in the mission to ensure their academic, social and emotional success. For example, Julie evaluated the entrance criteria to ensure students with the most significant need are provided the time and opportunity they need and provided staff the support to do this complex work successfully.

Eric Jonasson
Eric Jonasson with teamWhenever a maintenance, mechanical or building operations issue comes up in District 54, Eric Jonasson is part of the solution. From fixing a leaking pipe to installing new technology in classrooms, Eric does everything he can to make sure students learn in a safe, comfortable environment. Eric is positive and approachable and makes it a priority to mentor and teach those he oversees. Eric emphasizes student safety and well-being as a top priority and always responds when there is an emergency maintenance issue to ensure schools are ready for students the next day.

District 54 Mentor Team
Mentor TeamThe District 54 Mentor Team – Tara Cusack, Michelle Felice, Laura Marchant and Dilshad Patel – not only serves as champions for our students, but also models that behavior for new teachers. This small team provides support to hundreds of teachers showing them what is taught and how to teach it. They also recently expanded their work to include developing a social-emotional learning curriculum, designing student leadership training to support the Student Ambassador program at all of our elementary and junior high schools, and facilitating positive psychology training for new staff.

Maggie Joyce
Maggie Joyce with studentsAs the only dual language teacher at Frost Junior High School, Maggie Joyce has made it her mission to be a champion for the many Spanish-speaking families, both in the classroom and outside of school hours. Maggie’s enthusiasm and professionalism is truly contagious, and she serves as a model for her colleagues. Not only does she collaborate diligently with other departments to best support her students throughout the day, she also attends their extracurricular activities, assists Spanish-speaking families, supports other dual language teachers throughout District 54 and serves as the recording secretary and teacher liaison for the Frost PTA.

Ann-Marie Cerny
Ann-Marie with studentsAt Addams Junior High School, Ann-Marie Cerny supports students that have severe physical limitations and does it in a way that makes them feel joy and care. Outside of the traditional school day, Ann-Marie runs the Addams Ambassador Council and Partners Club, and is an integral part of the District 54 Special Olympics program. She brings students of all abilities together and provides them with rich experiences that last a lifetime. Ann Marie is extremely positive and her attitude is infectious. She inspires others to be better because of who she is and how she supports our District 54 students.

Julia Bolotin
Julia Bolotin with studentsIn a mere four years as a part of the fifth-grade team, Julia Bolotin has proven to be the type of teacher everyone wants to be. She works with English Learners and makes sure every student feels honored and respected. She ensures they are able to celebrate their heritage and uses their unique abilities to propel them to achieve at high levels. She makes a point of connecting with families, which sends a powerful message to students that she values them as people. Julia is a collaborative, supportive colleague whose passion and dedication shines through in everything she does. She always strives to learn and grow and inspires others to do the same.

An Important Message from Superintendent Andy DuRoss

The health and well-being of our community is of the utmost priority. As you may have heard, the Centers for Disease Controls released a statement this week regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States. We want to make you aware of some important information about prevention and symptoms of the Coronavirus.

Prevention

The Cook County Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control advise specific measures to help prevent the spread of coronaviruses. Please review these as a family.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If no soap and water are available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissue is available, use your arm or elbow.

In order to limit prevention of all communicable diseases, we need your cooperation. It is imperative that students and staff showing any symptoms of illness stay home.

Symptoms

Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include the following:

  • runny nose,
  • headache,
  • cough,
  • sore throat,
  • fever or
  • a general feeling of being unwell.

Planning and Preparation

As a school district, we are in communication with the Illinois Department of Public Health and other local and regional agencies. At this time, the Illinois Department of Public Health does NOT recommend the use of masks or gloves, cancelling classes or cancelling mass gatherings. Nonetheless, it is advisable that parents and guardians think about childcare plans or alternate work plans should their children need to stay home from school due to illness or school closures.

Please be assured that we will continue to seek guidance from the appropriate agencies and will communicate their recommendations as we work together in the days ahead.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions visit dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus/faq.

District 54 partnering with Schaumburg Park District to celebrate community’s multiculturalism on March 7

Performance group at 2019 EventSchool District 54 and the Schaumburg Park District will present a Multicultural Event from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at the Community Recreation Center, 505 N. Springinsguth Road in Schaumburg. The purpose of the Multicultural Event is to celebrate the diverse cultures in District 54 and the surrounding communities. This year also marks 25 years of Dual Language and Immersion Education in District 54.

During this free event, students and families can participate in games, crafts and activities that represent countries around the world. The event also will feature a variety of individual and group performances representing various countries. There will also be food available to purchase. Food vendors will accept cash. Parking is available at the CRC and at Hoover Elementary School, 315 N. Springinsguth Road.

For more information, please contact Danette Meyer, assistant superintendent of the District 54 Department of Language and Culture, at (847) 357-5075.

 

El Distrito Escolar 54 conjuntamente con el Distrito del Parques de Schaumburg presentarán un Evento Multicultural el sábado 7 de marzo de 2020, desde 11:30 a.m. hasta las 2:30 p.m.  El evento se llevará a cabo en el Centro Comunitario y Recreativo (CRC Center), ubicado en el 505 N. Springinsguth Road en Schaumburg.  El propósito del Evento Multicultural es celebrar las diversas culturas en el Distrito 54 y las comunidades circundantes. Este año también se celebrarán los 25 años de educación en lenguaje dual e inmersión en el Distrito 54.

Durante este evento gratuito, los estudiantes y las familias pueden participar en juegos, manualidades y actividades que representan a países de diversas regiones del mundo. El evento también contará con una variedad de actuaciones individuales y grupales que representan a varios países. También habrá comida disponible para comprar. Los vendedores de comida aceptarán solo efectivo. El estacionamiento está disponible en el CRC y en la Escuela Primaria Hoover ubicada en el 315 N. Springinsguth Road.

 

54学校区とシャンバーグのパークディストリクトは、2020年3月7日土曜日の11:30から2:30までCommunity Recreation Centerでバイリンガル文化祭を行います。住所は505 N. Springinsguth Road in Schaumburgです。このバイリンガル文化祭の目的は、54学校区と周りのコミュニティーの様々な文化を祝うためです。今年は54学校区のドゥアルランゲージプログラムとイマージョンプログラムの25周年目も迎えました。

このイベントは、ただで参加できます。生徒や家族は世界中の様々な国のゲームやクラフトや色々なアクティビティを行うことができます。そして、様々な国を代表した個人や団体のパフォーマンスも行われます。食べ物も現金で購入することができます。CRCとHoover小学校(315 N. Springinsguth Road)で駐車してください。

 

School District 54 oraz Schaumburg Park District zapraszają na wydarzenie kulturalne, które odbędzie się w sobotę 7 marca 2020 roku, w godzinach od 11:30 do 2:30 w Community Recreation Center przy 505 N. Springinguth Road w Schaumburg. Celem tego wydarzenia jest zaprezentowanie różnorodności kulturowej w Dystrykcie 54 jak i również okolicznych społeczności. W tym roku obchodzimy 25-cio lecie edukacji dwujęzycznej i immersji językowej w Dystrykcie 54.

Podczas tego bezpłatnego wydarzenia, studenci oraz ich rodziny będą mieli okazję do wzięcia udziału w grach, projektach i zabawach reprezentujących kraje z różnych stron świata. Ponadto będzie można podziwiać zarówno indywidualne jak i grupowe występy charakterystyczne dla każdego z zaprezentowanych krajów. Zapraszamy do stoisk z przekąskami za odpowiednią opłatą. Parking dostępny przy budynku CRC oraz Hoover Elementary School przy 315 N. Springinsguth Road.

Brief from the Board Meeting on Feb. 20, 2020

Discussion – Social Science Task Force Update:
The District 54 Social Science Task Force – composed of 60 teachers, support staff and administrators representing all elementary and junior high schools – met this fall to review curricular resources to evaluate if they aligned with the District 54 Board Goals, the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science and state curricular mandates. The Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science are designed to produce graduates who are civically engaged, socially responsible, culturally aware and financially literate.

The task force recommends the purchase of the Pearson myWorld Interactive curriculum for use in kindergarten through eighth grade. Pending approval, staff training sessions would be held at each school this spring and professional development classes would also be available to all staff this summer focused on the integration of these new resources for the 2020-21 school year.

In a world where Siri and Alexa can tell us what happened in history, this thematic approach is going to bring us back to why it matters that we even know what happened,” Mead Teacher Julie Morrison said.

Public Comment: No one asked to comment.

Freedom of Information Act Requests:
Seven requests were received and responded to since the last report to the Board regarding attendance zone maps, sign language interpreter pay scales, copier lease and maintenance agreements, contracts to provide content filtering software and guidelines for student devices, employee information, and the 2019 custodial cleaning and paper products bid.

Consent Agenda:  The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • The minutes of the special open and closed-session Board of Education meetings on Jan. 9 and Feb. 6, 2020
  • The minutes of the regular Board of Education meeting on Jan. 16, 2020
  • Resignations, leaves, retirement, termination, employment and salary adjustment of personnel
  • Checks dated Jan. 17 and Jan. 31, 2020
  • The treasurer’s reports on cash and investments for December 2019
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for January 2020
  • Authorization for the assistant superintendent of business operations to negotiate a one-, two- or three-year contract for the purchase of natural gas
  • A contract with Asset Control Solutions, Inc. to conduct an assessment and reappraisal of the district’s fixed assets and property
  • A four-year contract with Lauterbach & Amen, LLP to perform actuarial services
  • The destruction of the verbatim records of the closed-session school board meeting held on August 9, 2018 for which approved minutes already exist

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss shared two #WeAre54 videos, highlighting the people in District 54 who make this a special place to learn and work. This month we featured Link Library Resource Teacher Kim Chiero and Hoover fourth-grade student Amelia Jablonska. Click on each name to watch the videos.

Board President Report:
Board President Bob Kaplan applauded everyone associated with the History Fair at Mead Junior High School this week, including the student participants, staff and guest judges.

District Citizens’ Advisory Committee (DCAC) Report:
DCAC heard a presentation on the social science task force report and whole child profile, which District 54 is creating for every student.

District 54 Education Foundation:
The annual golf outing is June 8. If anyone is interested in golfing or sponsoring the outing, please visit d54foundation.org.

Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Report:
PTA Council President Jim Sklena announced the slate of officers for the PTA Council next year, which can be found at pta.sd54.org. The election will take place at the PTA Auction on March 16 at the Stonegate. Auction proceeds benefit the high school scholarship and elementary summer grant programs. In other news, 32 student projects advanced in the PTA Reflections fine arts and writing competition.

New Business:

  • The Board approved an amendment to purchase and sale agreement for the Thacker property.
  • The Board approved revisions to the following policies:
    • 1:40 – Non-Discrimination of Students and Employees,
    • 1:60 – Prohibition of Sexual Harassment,
    • 1:70 – Standard District Complaint Investigation,
    • 5:390 – Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products or E-Cigarettes,
    • 5:50 – Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace and
    • 5:90 – Abused and Neglected Child Required Reporting (DCFS).

Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 8:23 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters, school matters and the semi-annual review of closed-session meetings.

Students spread kindness through project-based learning

On the second-floor landing at Link Elementary School is a Kindness Tree. Link students and staff are filling the tree this February with paper hearts expressing thanks for acts of kindness they saw or experienced. 

Three students with the Kindness Tree“We thought it would be good for people to see kind things other people did, and if they see their own names they will feel proud,” said Ashmita, one of the fifth-grade students who came up with the idea.

“They can also get ideas for how to show kindness to others,” Jaidyn added. 

The Kindness Tree is just one of many projects created and carried out by Link fifth-grade students over the past few weeks as part of a districtwide, student-driven, Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit on kindness. 

District 54 students are participating in project-based learning to foster the skills of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. The kindness PBL supports the district’s social-emotional learning curriculum, which stems from District 54’s belief that each child deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. 

Four students with Kindness BingoDepending on their grade level, students were asked to focus their kindness work on their classroom, their school or their community. Fifth-grade students collaborated to spread kindness around their school.

“It’s a really great way to get people to be kind to others,” said Emma, a Link fifth-grade student.

The Link fifth-grade rooms and hallways bustled with activity as groups of students collaborated on their kindness projects. 

One group hung posters inviting students to sign up for a pen pal in a different class. “Gain a new friend by this fun activity,” one poster read. Another group wrote examples of acts of kindness on a game board they created for a schoolwide competition. A third group of students wrote encouraging messages on index cards such as “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud” and “Make your life a masterpiece – imagine no limitations on what you can do!” They put the cards in kindness boxes so that someone could take a kind message and then leave one for someone else.

Three students hanging pen pal posters“I think it’s great to put the students in the driver’s seat,” said Link fifth-grade teacher Danielle Gallo. “It becomes more meaningful for them and they were all very creative.” 

Blackwell fifth-grade students kicked off the unit in January by researching ways to show and sustain kindness throughout the school.

Students wrote thank-you notes to the lunch supervisors, created goodie bags for the crossing guards, put together snack boxes for substitutes, wrote a poem thanking the school custodians for their work, and more.

“They’ve come up with so many ideas, and it’s fun to see them just run with it,” said Blackwell fifth-grade teacher Annie Beucher. 

“Our focus is kindness and making Blackwell a better place,” Sophia said as she and her partner Andrea created paper chains on which they would write kind messages to the school nurse, Monika Concialdi. “We want to show her how we care about her.” 

Two students making paper chainsSophia said she liked working on the kindness project with other classes. 

“Before I didn’t really know Andrea, and now I talk to her a lot,” she said.

“We get to spread kindness by making things with each other,” Andrea added.

The focus for third-grade students was to increase kindness within their classroom, and Ashley Hennessy’s third-grade class at Hoover Math and Science Academy embraced the opportunity. In January they conceived of a Kindness Board where students could leave kind notes for one another, and discussed how they could make sure everyone received a note.

“We got to encourage people in kind ways and show kindness to the whole class, so everyone can spread kindness,” said third-grade student Amadeusz.

“It’s so nice to see people writing notes to others – not just their best friend,” added his classmate Alexa. “I think that it’s really, really heartwarming.” 

A student hanging a kind noteStudents thanked their classmates for always being a great friend, always including them in activities and being helpful. 

After the first round of notes students reflected on how the activity made them feel.

“I am happy that I got a kind note!” one third-grade student wrote.

The class also started a Smile Captains rotation. Students take turns choosing a photo or video to share that would make their classmates smile. These are saved in Google Slides so students can find them when they need encouragement. 

“We’ve got a great start, and it’s been really cool to see the students taking ownership of this project,” Hennessy said.

District 54 receives its 22nd Meritorious Budget Award

For the 22nd year in a row, School District 54 has received a Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International for its 2019-20 annual budget.

School districts submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the Meritorious Budget Award Program criteria. The Meritorious Budget Award is conferred only to school systems that have met or exceeded the criteria. Developed by ASBO for school districts, the criteria guide school business officials toward a quality school budget presentation by enhancing the school business officials’ skills in developing, analyzing and presenting a school system budget.

Since its inception, the program has gained the distinction of being a prestigious award recognized by accounting professionals; bond counsel; underwriters; securities analysts; bond rating agencies; educational, teacher and citizen groups; and federal and state agencies.

Lakeview second-graders build farmer’s market booths

Four students building a cardboard farmer's market booth

It may be cold outside, but Lakeview second-grade students made it easy to get in a warm-weather frame of mind with their Cardboard Challenge creations: booths to sell items at a farmer’s market!

After reading the book “Little Taco Truck” by Tanya Valentine and watching a video spotlighting the Schaumburg Farmer’s Market, students worked together to build farmer’s market stands and decide what they would sell.

“Many students have been to the Farmer’s Market, so that helped them get ideas for businesses,” Library Resource Teacher Lauren Franciose said.

One group said they planned to sell fruits such as “strawberries, bananas and maybe blueberries,” while another group planned to sell baked goods such as “cakes, cupcakes and a lot of other sweets and stuff.” Students also researched prices for their items and chose a name for their business. Second-grader Aleksandra said working on the Cardboard Challenge has been fun, and when it was difficult, they kept trying again.

Kindergarten and first-grade students participated in the Cardboard Challenge as well. Kindergarten students built paper playgrounds after reading “The Recess Queen,” while first-grade students built gingerbread houses after reading “Gingerbread Mouse.”

Through student-driven projects such as the Cardboard Challenge District 54 students are learning about the steps in the design process – ask, imagine, plan, create and improve – and developing their collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.