May 25, 2023
May 25, 2023
Dear Colleagues and Stakeholders,
I am honored to have been appointed the next Superintendent of School District U-46. Thank you to the Board of Education for the privilege to serve our communities in this role. Thank you also to our colleagues and stakeholders for your support over the past several months. The outreach, emails, cards, and well wishes I have received mean the world to me and have inspired me to be the best educator and leader I can be for our students. Thank you!
As the Superintendent, I look forward to creating even more connections to continue our vital work, including equity planning, facilities updates, and U-46 Rising.
As the school year concludes and we plan for the 2023-2024 year, I want to assure you that as an educator, I firmly stand in the following beliefs:
Student success requires high standards
Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be celebrated
Instruction should be differentiated
Teaching and learning are the priority
Decisions should be data based
Education enhances quality of life
Students learn what is taught and rise to expectations
Parents/households are partners
Professional development is essential
Leadership and accountability are required at all levels
Communities must share in our work.
Finally, I will work closely with our teams to schedule the following visits over the course of the summer and within the first few months of the school year to introduce myself in my new role and learn from each of their perspectives to help establish a robust transition plan.
Teachers and Support Staff Members
Student groups at all levels
Local Leaders: Community Groups, Elected Officials, Police and Fire.
In preparation for the last message of the 2022-2023 school year, I would like for next week's newsletter to be full of your kudos to colleagues and U-46 friends celebrating their good work and contributions. Please take a moment to send your kudos using Let's Talk. Note that anonymous kudos are not accepted. The deadline for submitting your kudos is 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, to get them compiled.
It’s a great day to learn in U-46!
Class of 2023
It’s almost the big day! Graduation ceremonies for all five of our comprehensive high schools will be held this Saturday, May 27, at the NOW Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates. Visit our Class of 2023 page for the ceremony schedule, links to the live stream, and important information, including a Graduation Guide from the NOW Arena.
Make sure to follow #U46Classof2023 on social media for lots of photos, videos, and stories from this special day!
Community Advisory Council
Every school year, principals are asked to personally invite at least five parents to represent their school building in the Community Advisory Council (CAC). To learn more about CAC, visit u46cac.org. Please share this bilingual CAC introductory flyer with parents and include this CAC graphic available in English and Spanish in the school’s newsletter or social media channels to promote the opportunity.
CAC monthly meetings are typically held on the first or second Thursday of the month. Please refrain from scheduling any school or District events on the evenings of the following Thursdays >> Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Dec. 7, 2023; and Jan. 11, Feb. 8, March 7, April 4, and May 2, 2024. We will be in touch with principals early in the 2023-24 school year to collect the school’s representative information. For questions, don’t hesitate to contact Director of School & Community Relations Karla Jiménez.
Multilingual & Multicultural Education Department
Voces del Corazón
The Voces del Corazón event on May 3 was a wonderful celebration as student writers, artists, and musicians, along with their families, friends, and teachers, gathered together to culminate this special project. As we look forward to the future of Voces del Corazón, we wanted to share plans for the continuation of this special event. In order to expand and improve this experience, we will be pausing Voces del Corazón during the 2023-2024 school year and will resume the following school year. We will keep in touch as we continue celebrating our students' identities and bilingualism. Some exciting changes include expanding the languages and allowing more students to participate.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered and attended, making this first celebration a meaningful one for everyone. If you missed out, please check out photos of the event, including murals and prize winners, here. Keep your eyes peeled for the murals, to be installed in the winning schools soon!
We are thrilled to share that the MME Department will once again offer a professional development session at Elgin Community College this summer. “Dual Language Educator Reunion: Strengthening the Roots of Biliteracy Instruction” is open to all educators who work with Dual Language students, including administrators, teachers, long-term subs, paraprofessionals, and support staff. Click here for the flier and here for more detailed information. Note that an RSVP is required via this form. Any questions can be directed to ELL Coordinator Patricia Makishima.
Call to Committee
Mastery Connect Implementation
Mastery Connect is a powerful tool that can help U-46 achieve our moral imperative of ensuring that all systems measurably work for every child. One area where U-46 is seeking to improve is in communicating student progress on standards to students, their support systems, and administrators.
The Mastery Connect Implementation Committee will explore the adoption of the Mastery Connect tool to improve reporting of student progress.
In order to be inclusive of all aspects of U-46 instruction, the committee will include representation from:
Middle and high school content areas
Specialized Student Services
The application deadline is May 26, 2023. Candidates will be notified of their acceptance by May 31, 2023.
Questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assessment and MTSS
The Assessment team has held Data Dialogs for elementary, middle and high schools in order to prepare their CSIP for the 2023-2024 school year and the June 1 CSIP day.
NWEA MAP Growth: May 8 - May 26, 2023
Dual Language Students in Grades 2-5 and 7 (Spanish Math)
Grade 6 Newcomers Only - No previous U-46 MAP Score (Reading and Math)
Special Education Students requiring an Academic benchmark per IEP (Reading and Math)
Weekly Data to Review
Taxonomy Level of Student Work - PreK-Middle School
Our goal is comprehension or higher
As we continue to consider our goals for next school year, how do we ensure that we start the year strong by engaging students in rigorous tasks that require teaming from day 1? What needs to happen over the summer and during our opening PD days to make this a reality?
Taxonomy Level of Student Work - High School
Our goal is analysis or higher
As we continue to consider our goals for next school year, how do we ensure that we start the year strong by engaging students in rigorous tasks that require teaming from day 1? There were 0 new classroom visits last week. What message does that send to teachers and students?
Weekly Attendance by Network - Semester 2
Please help us encourage all current families to register their children for the 2023-24 school year by May 31 at the latest. You may use our Registration Reminder video available in English and Spanish featuring Lords Park Principal Noe Velazquez in your newsletter or any other messaging platform to parents and social media channels. Remember that the District is covering the cost of instructional fees and will be providing school supplies (other than a backpack) to elementary students. Parents or guardians can get started with the online registration process by visiting u-46.org/registration and clicking on the page that reads “For Current Families.” They can use a laptop, desktop computer, or a District-issued Chromebook.
It’s important for families who have a child entering kindergarten, 6th, 9th, or 12th grade in August to be aware of health requirements that need to be met for the child to attend classes on the first day of school. A printable list of the health requirements for the 2023-24 school year is available here and u-46.org/health outlines the ways paperwork can be submitted.
Note: Any families who need assistance with getting the required physicals or immunizations should contact the nurse at their child's school or write Health Services Resident Administrator Patty Kenyon at email@example.com or call 847-888-5000 ext. 6892.
The Illinois Public Risk Fund (IPRF), the District's loss control and workers’ compensation administrator, is the state’s largest self-insured risk pool for workers’ compensation coverage. You can read the latest IPRF Risk Reminder, which provides guidelines for climbing and reaching safety, here.
Summer is just around the corner, and along with planning for warm-weather activities, it’s important to prioritize self-care and well-being.
Embrace the great outdoors. Spending time outside has numerous benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and boosting creativity. Consider activities like walking, hiking, biking, gardening, or relaxing in a shady park.
Make time for loved ones. It's easy to get caught up in our daily routines and miss out on quality time with friends and family. This summer, prioritize reconnecting with your loved ones through shared meals, game nights, movie nights, or simply picking up the phone for a catch-up call.
Prioritize sleep. During busy times, our sleep habits can suffer. Make an effort to establish a consistent sleep schedule and give your body the rest it deserves.
If you or a family member are struggling with mental health or substance use issues, remember that help is available. Care Solace, a complimentary and confidential coordination service provided by School District U-46, is available 24/7/365 — including over the summer — to help you find mental health care or substance use treatment providers. Call 888-515-0595 for multilingual support, or visit caresolace.com/u46 to search for providers on your own or receive assistance through video chat, email, or phone.
U-46 Board of Education
Photo of the Week
A recognition ceremony was held Wednesday at Elgin Community College to celebrate U-46 seniors who participated in the full-time Dual Credit program. Forty of the students will graduate Saturday with the equivalent of an associate’s degree in addition to their high school diploma. Another 28 will graduate from high school with at least a year’s worth of college credits. For graduation, they will wear a special stole they received on Wednesday.
Kudos to Dr. Angel Brooks, Assistant Principal at Heritage Elementary School, from Catherine Fletcher, Principal at Heritage Elementary School, and the Heritage Special Service Team
Dr. Brooks - We are so proud of your leadership and learning this year as our service team leader! You really dug in and are shining bright! You deserve all the awards and a huge shout out! Nice job Dr. Brooks! We appreciate you!
Kudos to Karen Tobin, New Beginnings Co-op Teacher for Family & Consumer Science, Alternative Learning Opportunities Programs; Dr. Marie McKee, Special Education Social Worker; Brian Peterson, Math Teacher; Laura Stewart, APEX Risk Coordinator/Teacher; Sarah Said, ELL Language Arts Teacher; and Mary Perkins, Associate Principal, all at Dream Academy, from Mary Mangione, Principal at Dream Academy
Special thanks to Dream Academy’s U-46 Rising Committee members. Karen, Marie, Brian, Laura, Sarah, and Mary - your work this year has truly made an impact on improving instruction through the trauma and equity lens. Dream Academy is a better place because of all of you. Thank you for all of the hours that you put in this year to collaborate on how to introduce new topics that directly impact classroom instruction. I am so proud of all of the work that we have done for our students and staff!
Kudos to Linda Geller, Secretary to the Principal; Julie Stevenson-Wynn, Secretary to the Assistant Principal; Maria Farias, ELL Home/School Liaison; and Gabriela Rivera, Clerical Secretary, all at Larsen Middle School, from Veronica Ryan, Assistant Principal at Larsen Middle School
Kudos to the fabulous Larsen Middle School main office staff - Linda, Julie, Maria and Gabriela. You are all amazing! You all do so many jobs each day that support our administrative team and our whole school. You are very appreciated! No matter what is asked of any of you, you are always there to support us, keep us on track, help students, call parents, answer questions, run errands, and so much more. Larsen would not operate without you fabulous ladies! We are so lucky to have you as part of the Larsen family. Thank you for all you do!
Kudos to the McKinley Elementary School Staff and Jeff Bragg, Interim Principal/Substitute Retiree Support; Chris Dennison, Interim Principal/Retiree Support; Amy Kendryna, Interim Principal/ Retiree Support; and Jeron Shelton, Resident Assistant Administrator at Clinton Elementary School, from Ana Poljack, Assistant Principal at McKinley Elementary School
Thank you to all of the McKinley staff for a wonderful school year! This first year at McKinley will be one to remember! The abundant amount of effort and work that you all have put into this school year has made a year full of inconsistency so much easier. Thank you for your support, your grace, and your ability to be so incredibly flexible. You are all appreciated.
I also want to thank all three of our interim principals, Jeff, Chris and Amy, for supporting me through my first year as an administrator. It was a pleasure working with all of you this year. I have gained a plethora of knowledge from each of you that will help shape my future years as an administrator.
Lastly, thank you to Jeron Shelton, who has taken on the principal position for next year. I am incredibly grateful to have you alongside me at McKinley and am excited to begin this new adventure together.
Kudos to Tanya Casey, Resident Administrator at Larsen Middle School, from Veronica Ryan, Assistant Principal at Larsen Middle School
Thank you to Tanya, who has gone above and beyond getting to know and supporting the Larsen Middle School community. Your relentless work to build a PTO, engage parents, and help build systems of support for our students and staff has made a huge impact on Larsen. I admire your passion for our students and thank you for all of your hard work this year!
Kudos to All Teachers at Hawk Hollow Elementary School, from Noelle Dupuis, Principal, and Jason Krause, Assistant Principal, at Hawk Hollow Elementary School
Jason and I would like to say thank you to all of the teachers (both past and present) for giving their heart and soul to our building, the students, the community, and one another for all of these years! It has been our pleasure and honor to serve this building. We appreciate all that you've done, and we wish you all the best in your new endeavors. It will always be our hope that our paths will cross again … “Oh, the Places You'll Go.”
Kudos to Peggy Kaspzyk, Special Education Registered Nurse; Leiann Neitzke, Certified School Nurse; Ray Garcia, School Resource Officer; and Mike Demovsky, Principal, all at Bartlett High School, from Cyndi Downey, Attendance Administrative Assistant at Bartlett High School
A very heartfelt thanks and kudos to Peggy, Leiann, Ray, and Principal Mike Demovsky. A medical emergency during your work day is NOT on anyone's list of "things to do," but they do happen.
Thanks to the quick thinking, calm reassurance, and extreme professionalism of these individuals, I am able to send this kudos today! It was thanks to them that everything turned out OK for me!
Bartlett High School is a great place to work, with a fantastic staff! So grateful to be a Hawk! CA-CAW!
Kudos to Juan Perez, 1st Grade Dual Language Teacher, Otter Creek Elementary School, from the Bernal-Gaitan Family
Thank you so much, Mr. Perez, for your patience and dedication to your students. Amelie loves going to school and loves first grade because you have made it fun for her. She is very curious and always tells us how much she loves your class and everything she is learning. Otter Creek is lucky to have you!
Kudos to Berenice Michel, Pre-K Teacher/Long-Term Sub, at Illinois Park Early Learning Center, from the Bernal-Gaitin Family
Thank you, Ms. Michel, for your patience with Benjamin. He was having difficulty getting to school but always tells us how much he enjoys and learns with you once he is there. Thank you for allowing his curiosity to grow in your class. He has enjoyed your class for the last two years!
Kudos to Chris Mains, Head Custodian; Joe Enderle, Head Custodian; and Scott Rehberg, Custodian, all at Larkin High School, from Sydney Zuhn, Assistant Principal of STEM at Larkin High School
I would like to shout out our amazing custodial staff at Larkin! Especially Chris, Joe and Scott for helping set up for our AP testing. These three amazing staff members had to set up and take down over 400 tables in multiple locations, to ensure testing went smoothly. Larkin is lucky to have all of you!
Kudos to Jessica Boese, Music Teacher at Hawk Hollow Elementary School, from Noelle Dupuis, Principal, and Jason Krause, Assistant Principal, at Hawk Hollow Elementary School
Ms. Boese once again knocked it out of the "school district" with her “Throughout the Decades Jukebox Time Machine” all-school concert. This show was the most outstanding, talented and creative all-school concert that we've ever witnessed and been a part of at Hawk Hollow. Ms. Boese put in several months and hours upon hours of work to create our Year-End Sing, and to also connect all of the music across the decades to our students’ interests. The Hawk Hollow Community is so blessed and thankful for the dedication and passion that she shares daily with our students. We are so lucky to have such an amazing music teacher! Thank you for everything, Ms. Boese. Note: Click here to watch a special Hawk Hollow-specific performance of “Don’t Stop Believing!”
Kudos to Dr. Leatrice Satterwhite, Director of Specialized Student Services; Amanda Leatherby, Assistant Director for Compliance, Specialized Student Services; and Alicia Fabianczyk, Assistant Director, Specialized Student Services Curriculum, all from the Special Education Department; and the Student Services Team, from Marilyn Mattei, Assistant Principal at Kenyon Woods Middle School
Kudos to the District Student Services Special Education department for working so hard in preparing and developing a year-long Local Educational Agency training for assistant principals, and for being patient as we learned and worked on learning a newly assigned role. You treated us with such grace and related to our struggles. Thank you for answering our questions, understanding where we came from, and for valuing our experience and concerns. Thank you for taking our feedback into consideration as well! I am so very grateful for the learning and for the commitment you showed to our team. Thank you so very much.
Kudos to David Munson, Bus Driver, Transportation Department, from U-46 Parent Derek Pappas
David is an excellent bus driver. He is friendly, and ensures the kids get on and off the bus safely and attentively. We hope we have him again next year! Thanks David!
Kudos to Teachers, Paraeducators and Support Staff at Garfield Elementary School, from Dr. Barbi Chisholm, Principal, and Ryan Dixon, Assistant Principal, both from Garfield Elementary School
I want to recognize the dedication and professionalism shown this school year by our teachers, paraeducators, and support staff at Garfield. Together, we have been able to maintain our focus on our students and support one another during this challenging year. I am so proud of the work we have done. It has been an honor to serve as the leader of such an amazing staff! Although we will not be together next year, we will always be Giants!
Kudos to Heather Lareau, Cross-Categorical Special Education Teacher at Canton Middle School, from Kelly Gentleman, School Counselor at Canton Middle School
Thank you for stepping up to arrange Spring MAP testing for our students. We appreciate you!
Kudos to Jackie Jagielski, 4th Grade Gifted/Dual Language Teacher at Sunnydale Elementary School, from Penny Pierce, Kindergarten Teacher at Sunnydale Elementary School
I'd like to give a kudos to Jackie for making a positive impact upon me and the Sunnydale community this year. In addition to eagerly joining several committees and attending voluntary school-wide evening events, she graciously accepted my invitation to be grade-level buddies, which produced some wonderful cross-grade collaboration despite it being her first year at our school. Our "buddy" lessons provided students in different grades and programs valuable memories and SEL skills. She also proposed the idea of having a weekly Positive Referral program and initiated The Cardboard Challenge at Sunnydale. With it being her first year in a new school, Jackie could have easily said she needed time to adjust to her new surroundings, yet she stepped up to make a difference!
Kudos to Karen McCloughan, 5th Grade Elementary Teacher; Isabel Vilchis, 5th Grade Dual Language Teacher; Julie Klaput, 4th/5th Grade Elementary Teacher; and Irene Osorio, 5th Grade Dual Language Teacher; all from Otter Creek Elementary School, from Josbeth Da Silva, 5th Grade Dual Language Teacher at Otter Creek Elementary School
I am so proud and honored to work in a team of wonderful, dedicated teachers like you. It was a great school year and an amazing field trip to Chicago. Our 5th graders will remember this forever. The OC 5th grade team rocks!
Kudos to Craig Kelly, Physical Education Teacher at Sunnydale Elementary School, from Andrea Gaitan, Principal at Sunnydale Elementary School
Mr. Kelly organized a fantastic field day for our students at Sunnydale. He took the time to organize engaging stations for all students. The students, teachers, and families had a great time! He also helped organize the obstacle course for our Penny War reward. The students and staff are very grateful to have him at Sunnydale.
Kudos to Rob Kirch, Tactical Assessment Teacher Leader, Special Education, and Genevieve Lukes, Psychologist, Special Education, from Laura Smail, Social-Emotional Specialist in School Culture & Climate
Thank you to my Tactical Assessment Team colleagues, Rob and Genevieve, for the opportunity to partner with you both for the past three years. Our team has worked diligently at assessing difficult situations, balancing the needs of students, staff and families and providing support and strategies. Throughout our time together, you both have been professional, personable, and particularly entertaining. There are people who come into our lives at a time and for a purpose that we don't always understand why. We weathered the pandemic, we grieved the loss of family members and we always found time to laugh. Thank you both for your willingness to have difficult conversations, for being flexible and for understanding others' perspectives. It has been a privilege to partner with you. I appreciate the friendships we have established. Keep that jar of giggles handy for when I come up for a visit and a laugh.
Kudos to Amanda Leatherby, Assistant Director for Compliance, Specialized Student Services, from Laura Smail, Social-Emotional Specialist in School Culture & Climate
Kudos to Amanda for being instrumental in helping the Tactical Assessment Team develop, discover and deploy the necessary supports and recommendations to buildings during the threat assessment process. She helped conceive the roles, create the framework and collaborated to provide a process for buildings to use under difficult circumstances. Special Education is her home, but her depth of experience and empathy crosses all departments, students and schools. Thank you for always having an open door, an insightful perspective and for valuing my contributions to the team. It has been a wonderful three years working alongside you.
Kudos to the South Elgin Network AP Team, from Heather Heatley, Assistant Principal, Wayne Elementary School
Thank you to the South Elgin Network AP Team! As a new admin, I appreciated having our monthly meetings, time to collaborate, and the ability to support each other to help us navigate our way through the year. Thank you for the guidance, listening, and knowledge you shared. I look forward to next year! Best of luck to our teammate Ryan in his new endeavors!
Kudos to Richard Bosh, Coordinator of School Safety; Gina Dawkins, Social Worker at Harriet Gifford Elementary School; Elisabeth Ferrill, Social Worker, Social Emotional Response Team in Culture & Climate; Dr. Suzanne Johnson, Interim Superintendent; Robert Luck, Social Worker, Social Emotional Response Team in Culture & Climate; Lizbeth Mancilla, Social Worker at Highland Elementary School; Sarah Rabe, Executive Director of Elementary Schools-Larkin Network; and Laura Smail, Social Emotional Specialist, from Rachel Pinkepank, Teacher/Literacy Coach at Hillcrest Elementary School
Thank you for supporting Hillcrest during our time of need. The clear plan for support and the way you worked as a team spoke to the dedication and commitment you have to the staff and students in District U-46.
Kudos to Victoria Alfaro Valencia, Paraeducator at Heritage Elementary School; Pamela Daffin, Speech Language Pathologist at Century Oaks Elementary School; Kimberly Dedeaux, Administrative Assistant for Teaching and Learning; Kelli McElroy, Noon Hour Supervisor at Horizon Elementary School; Joy Farmer, Teacher/Interventionist at Tefft Middle School; Phyllis Ghostone, Paraeducator at Elgin High School; Rise Jones, Hamilton Wings Partner; Tarra McIntosh, Paraeducator at Kenyon Woods Middle School; Janie McCutchen, Parent Outreach Worker at Larsen Middle School; and Melanie Patterson, Specialized Student Services Secretary, from Lisa Jackson, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The love, care, creativity, joy, and energy you bring to the young ladies in I am LEAD is beyond noteworthy. It is a standard of excellence, commitment, dedication, and passion of service to our students and their families. Your enthusiasm is admirable and contagious. I am so proud and grateful to work with each one of you. Thank you for being such amazing LEADers!
Kudos to Becky Havel, Music Band Teacher at Kenyon Woods Middle School, from Christie Zimmerman, Band Teacher at Kenyon Woods Middle School
Thank you, Becky, for being such a supportive and helpful colleague/co-teacher over the last seven years with me in the Kenyon Woods area band program. You have built such a great musical foundation for so many students not only in our area but across the District over the last 33 years (35 years total)! Thank you for all the time and energy you spent representing the fine arts program through your committee work on SD, ETA, scheduling and more. You have been a mentor to so many music teachers formally and informally over the years, and your patience with teachers and students alike is unmatched. Thank you for being a wonderful colleague who I can also call a friend. Congrats on your retirement and enjoy your final bow!
Kudos to Hilltop Elementary School Students and Staff, from Carin Bjorn, Safety & Operations Manager, Transportation Department
A sincere thank you to Hilltop Elementary students and staff that took time to recognize every driver and assistant within the Transportation Department. Students from pre-school to 6th grade had an opportunity to express themselves as to how a school bus driver or route assistant has made a difference in their life. Each student was given a brown paper lunch-size bag to express themselves. Perhaps it was keeping them safe on the bus; saying good morning; getting them to school on time; knowing their name; asking how their day was, or being nice to them or their mom when they missed the bus and you sent another one for them. You came through beyond anything we could have imagined. Safety was so important to you. Knowing your name. Being kind. The bags were given out at the May 5th In-Service Meeting which was held at Elgin Community College. The drivers and assistants couldn't believe all the nice things you said and the imagination in your drawings. We appreciate it greatly. Well done! Hilltop Elementary rocks!