School District of Howards Grove
March Parent & Guardian Newsletter 2023
Greetings Parents & Guardians:
March is upon us and despite the fact we have tons of snow still lingering around the village, spring should be coming around the corner. Thank you for your patience and understanding with the several snow days we've had to take over the past month. Many people have been asking about the need for a snow make up day. Our current calendar shows Friday, May 26th as NO SCHOOL or Potential Snow Make Up Day. We will NOT need to use May 26th for a snow make up day. Please feel confident to plan holiday travel around the Memorial Day Weekend.
In the past, the Department of Public Instruction required schools to have a certain number of days for students. The Department no longer has this requirement, and instead requires a set number instructional minutes. With the removal of all of the Wednesday early release minutes this year, where students were sent home early, the School District has a sufficient number of minutes at all 3 schools to avoid having to make up snow days. Any future closures this year, will also result in a "virtual learning day".
Again, NO SCHOOL on Friday, May 26th! Enjoy the long Memorial Day Weekend.
Thank you for taking the time to read another brief update from the school district.
Shannon L. Kilton
The plans are coming together for the new middle school addition at the high school, as well as for the secure new office space at the high school. Some new developments have come about in the past month, which are discussed below.
Want to see all the changes, get an update on the process, and see a sneak peek of the updated design? A full presentation will be provided by PRA and C.D. Smith Construction at the March 20th School Board Meeting starting at 6:00 PM in the high school library. For those not able to attend, the presentation will be shared on the district's website.
As we review floor plan changes, we continue to emphasize fiscal responsibility with our limited funds. Design plans eliminate duplicate spaces and maximize cross utilization of spaces that can be used between the new middle school and existing high school. The current draft plan expands the existing high school library to provide a dedicated middle school library space within a new and improved shared library complex. This new and larger library space will be proactively scheduled and designed to ensure that both schools have spaces to accommodate their needs.
In addition, the newest plan reduces the number of office spaces/visitor entrances from three to two. In the initial design, the three offices (HS, MS, and District Office) all operated independently. In the newest design, the district office would be relocated inside one of the school office spaces. The primary reason for this move is to be efficient with our use of support staff monitoring entrances, which will also allow better sharing of resources
The current District Office space would be remodeled and redesigned into a special education suite with dedicated rooms for OT/PT, Speech, and a new Life Skills room with washer/dryer and kitchen space. All of these spaces would be accessible for middle and high school students, and staff, that would benefit from dedicated spaces and an added Life Skills program. A new door to the current high school special education resource room would allow direct access to this new suite. Once this is all complete, the former district office entrance will be for staff only, unless there is a special education transportation need. Students will only enter and exit through the two main school entrances.
The remaining area of the previous District Office would be remodeled to an additional project kitchen to help support the additional students using the current family consumer science classroom and connected classroom. We heard loud and clear that staff members currently using the FACS kitchen space (FACS, Agriculture, and Health) would need additional space and refrigerator capacity to accommodate middle school students in a shared space. The updated design allows for this additional cooking space and classroom for these shared staff members.
The new middle school addition will also include an outdoor learning space/courtyard which will be all "hardscape," meaning no natural grass and limited maintenance for our grounds crew. The purpose of this space is to allow for more natural lighting in classrooms, and was noted to be the more cost effective solution compared to directly abutting the new building against old. Students WILL have direct access from the middle school to the high school through a couple of hallways, but the majority of the building will be a stand-alone structure.
Our core team is currently completing a price check-in to ensure we are still on track with budget. The next steps will be another round of staff interviews – starting with high school/shared staff members – and discussions on interior design concepts and materials. The documents to start bidding out some of the site work at Northview and the high school track resurfacing will go out to C. D. Smith at the end of March. Moving into April we will start to review and select major building systems – including structural systems, HVAC, primary lighting, electrical equipment, and plumbing fixtures.
Eat the Rainbow- A message from the Wellness Committee
Hello HGSD families,
Please join the HGSD Wellness Committee in celebrating March National Nutrition Month! We invite you to “Eat the Rainbow” with us next week March 20th through the 24th.
We should always try to eat a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables, but each day next week we will focus on incorporating more of a different color. Please check your skyward inboxes each school day for the newsletter of the day. If you want a sneak peak, here is the folder containing our series and a fun “Eat the Rainbow” printable chart your family can use to track the colorful foods you eat: Access to the "Eat the Rainbow" Folder
Monday 3/20: Red
Tuesday 3/21: Yellow and Orange
Wednesday 3/22: Green
Thursday 3/23: Blue and Purple
Friday 3/24: White and Brown
We hope you have fun and become inspired to try something new. What a great way to prepare ourselves for a safe and healthy spring break!
Sincerely, HGSD Wellness Committee
Check out each link to find out what's happening in our schools!
Mark your calendar!
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 20 at 6:00 PM in the high school library.
In person visitors are welcome, but we also have a virtual link each month.
Join Zoom Meeting
FIRST, Reach out directly to your child's teacher/team/coach.
In the event your concerns are not addressed or you need further support, NEXT reach out to the building principal or activities director.
Jon Hess- High School Principal: email@example.com
Angie Houston- Middle School Principal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Ellinger- Northview Principal: email@example.com
Tracy Mueller- Athletic/Activities Director & Special Education Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
FINALLY, if you still need additional support, please reach out directly to me, Shannon Kilton, Superintendent: email@example.com
In the event, we have all failed to help you navigate your questions & concerns, your last stop would be to reach out to the school board. Here is the actual board policy on navigating this process.
I am personally asking for this communication chain to help us all develop positive and trusting relationships, which are always grounded in open and honest conversations. Most often, concerns can be easily solved when we all talk directly to the person involved with the question or problem.
Thanks in advance for the support and understanding of this process.
School District of Howards Grove
Superintendent of Schools