Superintendent's Corner 😎🏫😎

Avoca District 37

In this issue...

  • More on fighting racial injustice
  • Last Week of School Updates
  • Planning for Reopening School in the Fall
  • Staff Summer Learning
  • Board Meeting Review / Preview

More on Fighting Racial Injustice

Hopefully you read the email I sent out Monday, June 1 in response to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and their relationship to a long history of such violence, and the urgent need to fight this type of injustice.

Simply put, we - but especially white people in positions of power and privilege - must do more to counter racism and its destructive effects. It is literally life and death for people if we stand by and do nothing.

Again, steps we started to take at Avoca before these latest episodes related to race and equity:

  • First cohort of staff members trained in racial awareness and justice
  • DISC Parent Group and staff plan to start SEED group (click here for more about SEED)
  • ELA teachers making racially, ethnically, linguistically diverse texts a criteria for adoption
  • Deliberate, intentional, and successful steps taken to hire staff members who better reflect the backgrounds and experiences of more of our society
  • Staff members integrating into class constructive conversations about race & racism

In the short term, with the year ending, know that we will be planning to further the steps you see above and do more. Particularly, we can do more to better bring to light the injustices against Black Americans that are going on today and our avenues for ending them.

This weekend, you have the opportunity to join in raising your voice to support racial justice. This event is sponsored by the local group HEROS (Healing Everyday Racism in Our Schools).

Big picture

Last Week of School Updates

Just a quick list of how the last week of school is going to look:
  • Monday - SELect Learning Day
  • Monday - "Parade" at New Trier (Northfield)- A-I at 1 J-N at 130 O-Z at 2 (see below)
  • Tuesday - 8th grade device drop off at Avoca West from 9-3
  • Tuesday - 8th grade graduation - livestream begins at 7 pm
  • Wednesday - Last Day of Instruction
  • Wednesday - Device drop off at Avoca West from 12-3
  • Thursday - Device drop off at Avoca West from 9-3

"Route" - District Parade on Monday, June 8

Starts at 1 p.m. with families whose last names start with A-I

1:30 is when families whose last names start with J-N drive through

2:00 is when families whose last names start with O-Z drive through

Planning for Re-Opening in the Fall

Over 150 parents in the last 3 weeks have participated in ZOOM Focus Groups with me and the principals. As we outlined in those groups, we have 3 'basic' scenarios for opening school in the fall:

  • All students on-site
  • All students remote
  • Hybrid - alternating schedule of students onsite/remote

While there are a thousand permutations, our goal is to make a decision in the second half of July, giving us time now to prepare and to monitor circumstances, which we know change rapidly. Specific steps we will be taking between now and mid-July:

  • Issue one final parent survey the week of June 8
  • Collate all available input from parents and staff
  • Administration develops basic "feasible" scenarios
  • Remote Learning Staff Team develops improvements to Remote Learning
  • June 18 Board Meeting - action on any calendar changes for 2020-21
  • Regular meetings among New Trier Township Superintendents
  • Late June or early July ZOOM Parent Focus Groups
  • Administration refines scenarios
  • Comprehensive presentation to the Board of Education (tentatively July 23) on decision

I have been debriefing the Board regularly and they have full access to my communications with you. While none of the scenarios promise learning as engaging as what we previously had in person, I am confident that the input from families, along with the ingenuity of our staff, will result in the best learning environment possible under whatever circumstances prevail.

Staff Summer Learning

Like many of you, our staff is exhausted from Remote Learning. However, we are committed to strategic and important learning. This summer, over 70 of our certified staff members are participating in substantial learning and planning directly related to strategic goals. This is above and beyond what our teachers do every summer to plan for the coming school year. This summer's work focuses on:

  • ELA Curriculum & Instruction
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Multi-Tiered System of Support (Continuum of Learning Services)
  • Remote Learning
  • Improvements in Special Education delivery
  • Social Studies Curriculum improvements
  • Science Curriculum improvements

Board Meeting Review / Preview

June 4
  • COVID & Remote Learning Update - Report
  • FY 2021 Tentative Budget & Budget Projections - Discussion
  • 2020-21 Calendar - Discussion
  • IASB Resolution on College Course for Early Literacy - Action

June 18

  • ELA Adoption - Budget - Report
  • FY 2021 Tentative Budget - Action
  • 2020-21 Calendar - Action

You may find more about the latest Board meetings by clicking here.