U-46 Equity Matters Newsletter

Information and Resources for Everyone to Use and Share

March 3, 2022

Published by members of the Equity & Innovation Department


  • Teresa A. Lance, Ed.D, Asst. Superintendent of Equity & Innovation
  • Mitch Briesemeister, Director of Educational Pathways
  • Michele Chapman, Director of Postsecondary Success
  • Lisa Jackson, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Alexa Charsha Hahn, School Counselor Lead
  • Doreen Roberts, Teacher Leader
  • Jennifer Downey, Secretary of Career and Technical Education
  • Margaret Kallal, Secretary of Educational Pathways and Postsecondary Success
  • Melissa Stevenson, Administrative Asst. of Equity & Innovation

From the Desk of Teresa A. Lance, Ed.D

Last month we introduced you to our first department newsletter entitled, U-46 Equity Matters. Since our launch last month, more than 6,000 of our district colleagues viewed our newsletter. We even had an employee reach out to us to share the story of her son who graduated from one of our CTE programs having experienced work-based learning with one of our industry partners, Elgin Sweeper. Our colleague was even elated to share that as a result of that work based learning experience, her son will graduate college this summer with a job offer already in hand from Elgin Sweeper. We hope to have more from this employee/parent and her son in next month's newsletter. I share this story as a testament to the great work that so many of our U-46 colleagues are engaging in and unfortunately we may never hear about it. We can absolutely change that. If you have good news, I encourage you to continue sharing via our Superintendent's weekly newsletter and if you feel comfortable, you can share with us and our social media pages.


Speaking of sharing, I would like for us to revisit last year's equity symposium. We closed the equity symposium asking those who attended to share a few of their more memorable takeaways. Take a look here to read what was said. Also, as we gear up for this year's equity symposium, we want you to know that we heard and read your feedback, which you can read here as well. As a result of the feedback received, which you can read here, we plan to move the equity symposium to the week of August 8th; we hope you will make every effort to join us.


In this month's newsletter, we will continue to share stories from each of the departments that sit within the Equity and Innovation Department. We hope you find the information both informative and relevant.


I will start this month off by sharing an interview I held with our Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Ms. Lela Majstorovic. Please click the link here to listen into my conversation with Ms. Majstorovic and the cultural traditions of her family.


Finally, as you peruse our newsletter, please hover over several sections as we have provided many hyperlinked articles and resources. For example, if you hover over the section titled, "I'm Not Biased! and click on the heading, it will take you to an embedded article.


Again, thank you for reading and we hope you enjoy!


Yours in Service,

Teresa A. Lance, Ed.D

Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Innovation

Exploring Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month while International Women's Day is celebrated globally on March 8. Introduce your students to everyday women who have made contributions to world history with these four resources.

I'm Not Biased!

Abstract: "We all have implicit biases that impact the way we interpret the world around us. Sub- consciously, these biases influence our thoughts and behavior." Read the article to learn more.

U-46 Equity Plan

Although our equity committee is currently revising our existing equity plan, we encourage you to read through the equity plan here beginning with the board policy, mission statement, and then, core beliefs. Next, examine our equity pillars and noted action steps. Finally, consider what action steps you can take to help bring about equitable outcomes, create an inclusive environment, and honor the unique identities our colleagues, families, and students possess.
To Use the 'N' Word or Not

Lately the use of the 'n' word and its appropriateness or not during classroom discussion has come up. Read this article to learn more about why the use of the 'n' word should be avoided at all costs.

Equity Committee Ambassadors

Have you ever wanted to know who serves on our U-46 Equity Committee? Well, you do not have to wonder any longer. Click on the button text to learn more.

Equity Committee Meeting

Thursday, April 21st, 4-6pm

This is an online event.

The U-46 Equity Committee meets on the third Thursday of every month. If your school or department is not represented and you would like to serve as an equity ambassador, please fill out this interest form by March 17, 2022.

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)

AVID’s mission is to close the opportunity gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. To validate that the AVID mission is alive and well in U46, we would like to share a testimonial from two 8th grade AVID students at Ellis Middle School. Please click on this link to hear of the impact that AVID is having for them.


We would also like to acknowledge and thank the following AVID Site Coordinators for their hard work and dedication during the course of this school year. Their leadership is truly appreciated.


  • Abbott MS – Liz Kraszewski and Jillian Gervino
  • Canton MS - Heather VanAntwerp and Julie Stortenbecker
  • Eastview MS - Kristen Mincey
  • Ellis MS – Dianne Kraus
  • Kenyon Woods MS - Lisa Christner
  • Kimball MS (interim coordinators)– Marybeth Seymour and Samantha Lucchesi
  • Larsen MS – Dana Trevino
  • Tefft MS – Pam Kuforiji and Georgie Towa
  • Bartlett HS – Erica Berchtold and Jeff Schierer
  • Elgin HS – Betsy Oswald
  • Larkin HS – Scott Venters
  • South Elgin HS – Samantha Cosentino and Craig Ruback
  • Streamwood HS – Mike Barone


There are many responsibilities related to the Site Coordinator role including facilitation of Site Team Meetings, coordination of AVID reports, liaison with the AVID District Director, and leading the AVID system development at their site. Currently the AVID Site Coordinators and their Site Teams are coordinating the opportunities for summer professional development with AVID Summer Institute and Digital XP. These tremendous learning opportunities are meant to help each site solidify their AVID elective classes and help move toward schoolwide implementation of the AVID teaching and learning strategies.

Educational Pathways

By now many of you have heard the term Educational Pathways and you may be wondering about what it will offer the students of U-46. Educational Pathways can be thought of as a framework that is designed to prepare all students for college and career. The structure of Educational Pathways was designed based on the input from multiple stakeholders, and the Postsecondary Workforce Readiness Act. This will be unpacked in a future article, but for today we will stick to a high level overview.


In the pursuit of students being ready for college and career it is recognized that high schools need to provide them opportunities to explore careers as well as earn early college and career credentials which can accelerate them towards their postsecondary goals. In U-46, this fall students will learn about the Pathways offered at each high school and the opportunities that they lead to.

Each Educational Pathway is made up of the following components:

  • A series of career related elective courses.

  • General education courses that are aligned with the needs of the career pathway.

  • Opportunities for career exploration including work based learning and team challenges.

  • Early college and career credentials. This can include dual credit courses, AP courses, and industry credentials.


There are few important things to note about Educational Pathways. First, it should be known that each Pathway was carefully researched to ensure that it was scalable. This means that students will enter a career with the skills and knowledge to continue growing in their profession. Students will learn about the high wage, high demand careers offered in their Pathway and have the knowledge needed to design a plan for high school and beyond.


The second important thing to note about Pathways is the careful balance between giving students the opportunities to accelerate them toward their career goals, while maintaining the flexibility they need to explore. Students choose Pathways based on their broad interests. As they continue to learn through their high school career, they can further refine their direction based on the experiences they have. This flexibility allows exploration and acknowledges the richness that all electives and activities bring to a student’s high school experience.


We look forward to bringing you future articles that will dive deeper into Educational Pathways and the value they will bring to our students.

Learn to LEAD Streamwood High School

The Magnet Academy at Streamwood High School (SHS) is transitioning from the World Language and International Studies Academy (WLISA) to the Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Action and Design Magnet Academy (LEAD). The first course INCubatoredu™ began running in the Fall of 2021. Juniors in the SHS Academy are working with mentors from the local community to learn to become entrepreneurs. They will present their ideas to investors at the end of the year during Pitch Night seeking funding for their start ups. As seniors the INCubatoredu™ entrepreneurs can take ACCELeratoredu™ and continue to learn how to run a business or non-for-profit and grow their start ups (pending Board approval).


Pending Board approval, LEAD Magnet Academy plans to launch courses for rising ninth graders in the Fall of 2022. Each course was developed and written by a team of experienced educators who utilized student, staff, and community feedback to create the LEAD vision and make the Magnet Academy a reality.


LEAD Launch will build the foundational skills students will use to be successful throughout their high school career and beyond. Business for Innovators and Academy Integrated Math are aligned and will be taught together, allowing students to put their mathematical knowledge into practice through a series of collaborative projects in the business course. The course entitled, Academy Ninth Grade English, incorporates a leadership and entrepreneurial mindset while meeting ninth-grade learning standards. This amazing team is currently working towards obtaining U-46 Board of Education approval to welcome rising ninth-grade leaders next year!

Post Secondary Success

The beginning of March is an exciting time for our full time dual credit program. On March 4th, fifty rising juniors and twenty-five rising seniors will receive acceptance letters to the program. Those entering the program as a junior will work to receive both their high school diploma and associate's degree at the conclusion of their senior year. Students entering as seniors will earn up to 32 transferable college credits before they graduate high school.


The full time dual credit program allows students to not only earn college credits but also learn the skills necessary to be successful at any post-secondary institution. Students enroll in College 101 their first semester at Elgin Community College (ECC) to help support them in the transition to college. This course allows students to learn about academic and mental health support offered through ECC as well as practice skills such as time management, self- advocacy, and goal setting.


Vana Dakarian, a full time dual credit senior, speaks about her experience in the program, “Participating in the dual credit program is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Taking college classes full-time before even graduating from high school has transformed me as a student. My study habits have improved and my independence has increased, preparing me for university. Additionally, the wide array of classes helped me solidify what I want to do in the future. The dual credit program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity that I would recommend to anyone!”


We look forward to welcoming our next group of students!

Student Art Competition

Our students in grades 1 through 12 have an opportunity to participate in an art competition. The Hoffman Estates Chapter of the Links, Incorporated is hosting its 2022 Post Art Competition. This year's theme is "The Art of Social Justice to Transform Communities''. The deadline for submission is March 15th. Please click here to review the guidelines and ensure the entrants complete the permission form. For additional information about the Links Poster Art Competition please feel free to contact Angie Thomas, Arts Facet Co-Chair, at 202-251-3360 or arts@hoffman-estaes-links.org.

21-22 U-46 Affinity Groups

African American Affinity Group

The African American Affinity Group is a safe space to connect with individuals that work in various capacities throughout the school district that identify with the African American race. You are invited to attend a virtual meeting once a month to participate in community building activities, listen to excerpts from social justice podcasts, watch videos such as Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable that provide insight and influence discussion regarding the power of dismantling systems that depend on our silence (“Research shows that white supremacy depends on us keeping silent”) finally, listen to and engage in discussion with presenters that share their personal story and testimony about how they rose up from the ashes like a sphinx from the migrogressions they were subjected to daily at work which lead to Racial Battle Fatigue, yet they can say, “But Still I Rise.” -Maya Angelou


There are three more African American Affinity Group meetings this school year and you are welcome to attend the meetings to provide your input, suggestions, and or recommendations for agenda topics, the planning of activities such as attending a virtual conference and or webinar, a recommendation of a book to read and or movie to watch that stimulate discussion, securing a speaker to present to the members, designing an African American Affinity Group Logo, the selection of a newly inspired name for the African American Affinity Group.


Options are plentiful for the experiences that can occur and be shared with fellow Brothers and Sisters of the African American Affinity Group; therefore, we invite you to attend and share your ideas as we continue to offer meetings that not only offer a safe space to connect but meetings that are designed to provide comfort, healing, hope, and peace to the mind, body, and soul.


If you are interested in joining the March African American Affinity Group Meeting email Geynell Lawrence-Tabb, geynelllawerencetabb@u-46.org and Darlynn Terry, darlynnterry@u-46.org.



Latino/a/x Affinity Group



¡Hola! and feliz marzo from the Latino/a/x Affinity group for U-46. We are so excited to share about the impactful discussions we have been having at our monthly meetings. Although our groups may be small at times, the conversations are meaningful and thought provoking.

Our meetings are held on the last Thursday of each month from 4:30-6:00 pm. Our discussion topics are taken from a survey that was shared last year and also at the beginning of this year. We have had such empowering discussions surrounding a new topic each month. Being a part of this Affinity group has allowed for many of us to be able to have a safe space to share our thoughts and support each other.


Through our courageous conversations, we have been able to discuss the importance of how to deepen our impact with our Latino/a/x community, while also providing our families with the tools they need to have their children be successful in school. We have discussed the importance of how we can elevate all cultures and languages within our schools, district, and community. We recently had great conversations regarding generational experiences and shared our own stories on how being a Latino/a/x) has impacted our journeys.


If you identify as Latino/a/x, there is still an opportunity to join our discussions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Gloria Helin at gloriahelin@u-46.org.




Affinity Group Leaders

African American: Geynell Lawrence-Tabb & Darlynn Terry

Asian American: Maheen Hussan & Dolly Mandrelle

Latino/a/x: Gloria Helin

LGBTQIA+: Kendyl Kinshaw

White Allyship: Dustin Covarrubias & Erin Jackle