Parents as Partners

December, 2019

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Dear District 15 Community:


I cannot believe the holiday season is upon us and that the first semester of the school year has come and gone. As the saying goes, time sure flies when you’re having fun! That is certainly true of my first six months, which have been filled with so many new experiences as I’ve come to know the school communities--exploring each building and learning about its programs, unique characteristics and most importantly, meeting our staff and the students we are so fortunate to educate. Being out and about in D15 also has allowed me to make connections directly with many parents and community partners, who have told me how inspired they are about the direction we are heading with our new Strategic Plan and its four key commitments to students, staff, facilities and finance, and results.


As we start a new calendar year in District 15, we remain committed to building on a strong foundation of excellence. Let me share key highlights.

Commitment to Students

Each time I visit one of our 20 schools, I feel a deep commitment to all students. The passion of our dedicated staff members who work to ensure every child receives what they need is not only evident, but commendable. From more tailored learning experiences and cultural responsiveness to adaptive music instruction -- I remain amazed at our staff’s commitment to equity and inclusivity as we keep students at the heart of all that we do.
Conyers Learning Academy Winter Concert

Commitment to Staff

We are thrilled to welcome more than 100 new substitute teachers to District 15, after several successful substitute training and licensure sessions held in November and December. Thanks to these new hires, we are confidently able to offer important professional development opportunities to teachers that will translate to improved teaching and learning in our classrooms. This year, we are focusing especially on literacy, mathematics and culturally & linguistically responsive teaching (CLR).

Commitment to Facilities & Finances

Our facility needs are real and growing. We must maintain our 20 schools and three supporting buildings to ensure our learning environments meet the needs of our students today and into the future. On average, each District 15 facility will require about $3 million of work to be in compliance with State of Illinois Health/Life Safety Code. The total cost for repairs district-wide is roughly $110 million, so we are working closely with our District architects, our financial advisers Raymond James and the Board of Education to develop a comprehensive plan to finance and schedule work on our aging buildings over the next three to five years.


Conversations began in August and our Board of Education will continue to engage with planners through the winter and spring. As a reminder, Board meetings are live streamed to Facebook and our website. They are worth listening to as we work to future proof our schools to educate our students for decades to come.

Commitment to Results

With all of the important work we are doing in District 15, we are also committed to seeing real results, to drive continuous improvement and ensure equitable outcomes for all students. I will dive more into this topic during our January 8, 2020 Board of Education meeting, when our annual student achievement report will be shared highlighting our successes and areas for improvement.

I wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season. I look forward to all that the second half of my first year as your Superintendent has in store--here’s to reaching new heights in 2020.


We look forward to welcoming students back to school on Tuesday, January 7, 2020!


Warmly,


Laurie Heinz
Superintendent of Schools