D92 Newsletter September 2022
Monthly Newsletter from Tim Arnold, Superintendent
A Message from the Superintendent
District 92 Families,
The 2022-23 school year is off to a great start! While we continue to maintain COVID safety measures, it is refreshing to have a more "normal" return to school! As we kick-off a new year, I'd like to share our focus on students and staff having a sense of belonging in D92. Having a sense of belonging is not only important for effective learning and school safety; belonging is also foundational to who we are as human beings.
A sense of belonging for school safety: As we begin the new year with the typical safety drills at each of our schools, I would like to remind our community that the most important thing we can do to provide an emotionally and physically safe learning environment is to ensure that each student believes that they belong in D92.
A sense of belonging for learning: Having a sense of belonging is directly connected to students' enjoyment of learning. Students perform better in class when they look forward to coming to school each day - a place where they believe they belong. Having a sense of belonging makes students feel secure enough to ask questions and share what they know more freely in class. Students are able to bring out their best selves as a learner when they feel like they belong in the class.
School Safety Conversation: Given the events that happened in Texas at the end of last year and Highland Park this summer, I anticipate that parents/guardians might like an opportunity to learn and share about school safety in D92. To support our learning community, I am inviting our parents/guardians to a conversation about school safety with me on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 6:00 - 6:45 p.m. at Oak Prairie Jr. High School. Due to the confidential nature of our school safety procedures, I am only allowing D92 parents, guardians, and staff to attend this event. Additionally, you must be pre-registered and have a proof of identification to be admitted. Click here to register for this event.
Cyber-bullying/Internet Safety: Immediately following the school safety discussion, our annual Cyber-bullying/Internet Safety Presentation will be hosted by Richard Wistocki, retired detective and internet safety expert. The Cyber-bullying/Internet Safety Presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. and is open to all parents/guardians.
I look forward to sharing as much as I can about our safety procedures and listening to your questions or concerns.
Tim Arnold, Ph.D.
D92 Monthly "One Topic" Survey - Start of the School Year
Last year the Superintendent/Parent Advisory Team (SPAT) met to discuss ways to improve communication in District 92. One idea that resulted from the SPAT's work was to have a "one topic" monthly parent survey. Our plan is to provide timely topics throughout the school year via the D92 Newsletter and then to report the results to parents/guardians the following month. This month we would like your feedback on the start of the new school year. Click here to complete this month's survey.
Updated COVID Safety Plans
The safety of our students and staff continues to be the primary focus for District 92. We also recognize that a balance needs to be struck with the current realities of COVID-19 and our students’ learning. As a result, we have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the COVID pandemic and based on what we have learned over the past two years, the following changes were approved by the Board of Education on August 16, 2022.
- Testing: We have BinaxNow tests available for students and staff. The tests are provided by the IDPH and are available from the school nurse for staff and students with symptoms upon parent request.
- Symptoms: Students will be sent home for the traditional symptoms (i.e. fever, vomiting, etc.) and we will allow them to return to school after being symptom-free for 24 hours. This is the same procedure we used prior to the pandemic.
- Contact tracing: Parents and staff are encouraged to conduct their own contact tracing if a child or staff member tests positive for COVID, just as we have all traditionally done for other communicable diseases.
- Potential Outbreaks: District 92 will continue to work closely with the Will County Health Department to determine the safest way to deal with any outbreaks that may occur, which was the practice prior to the current pandemic.
- Metrics: District 92 will continue to monitor the COVID metrics that inform the various mitigation strategies. It appears that hospitalizations and deaths are the primary metrics being used by governing entities. Due to a lack of clear metrics (i.e. positivity and vaccination rates) and their relation to school-based mitigation strategies, we will not begin the school year with specific levels of mitigation strategies. We will rely on lessons learned over the past two years to adapt to current conditions for strategies such as social distancing.
- Additional mitigation strategies as required: The Board of Education directs the Superintendent to implement additional mitigation strategies in the event the circumstances warrant or the district is required to do so by a higher governing authority.
Note on exclusion from school: Students and staff are strongly encouraged, but not required to provide a negative COVID test to return to school after having multiple symptoms. However, anyone positive for COVID will be excluded from school for five days (providing they are symptom-free for 24 hours prior to returning) and will be encouraged to wear a mask for days 6-10 upon returning to school.
School Safety Conversation and Cyber-bullying/Internet Safety Presentation
Given the events that happened in Texas at the end of last year and Highland Park this summer, we anticipate that parents/guardians might like an opportunity to learn and share about school safety in D92. To support our learning community, we invite D92 parents/guardians to a conversation about school safety with the Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 6:00 - 6:45 p.m. at Oak Prairie Jr. High School. Due to the confidential nature of our school safety procedures, I am only allowing D92 parents, guardians, and staff to attend this event. Additionally, you must be pre-registered and have proof of identification to be admitted. Click here to register for this event.
Cyber-bullying/Internet Safety: Immediately following the school safety discussion, our annual Cyber-bullying/Internet Safety Presentation will be hosted by Richard Wistocki, retired detective and internet safety expert. The Cyber-bullying/Internet Safety Presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. and is open to all parents/guardians. No registration is required for the 7:00 p.m. presentation by Mr. Wistocki. This event will also be held at Oak Prairie Jr. High School.
D92 Parent/Faculty Association (PFA) returning in 2022-23
The D92 Parent/Faculty Association (PFA) is getting organized for the 2022-23 school year!
Purpose: The PFA helps run events for the school district and brings a sense of community to D92. They also help raise funds to host those events. Past events hosted by the PFA include the Mother/Son Monster Bash, Daddy/Daughter Dance, Open Gyms, Dine Arounds, Teacher Appreciation Week, Yankee Candle Fundraiser, and so much more. Once formed, the PFA will meet as frequently as the new board decides and do as many events as they would like and can plan. It may be a slow start-up, but we look forward to the return of community-building activities!
Structure: PFA consists of four Board Members - The President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Examples of typical PFA responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
- President - Oversees the PFA meetings
- Vice President - Assists the President and runs meetings if the President can not attend
- Secretary - Takes notes and meeting minutes and sends them out to the PFA members
- Treasurer - Oversees the funds, writes checks, and accounts for any money from fundraisers
Volunteers still needed this year: As soon as the new PFA Board Members are in place, they plan to reach out for additional volunteers to help to make this a successful year for our students, families, and staff. Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities this year.
Construction on Secured Entrances Continues
The work to create more secured entrances continues to be in full swing!
At the end of August new roofs were being sealed to allow the interior work (drywall, electrical, etc.) to begin in September. Also in September, we should see the new brick exteriors installed, so no more bright orange walls as you pull up to the school!
The purpose of these projects is two-fold, to enhance the security of our main entrances and to regain classroom space in each school. With the new entrances, visitors continue to be "buzzed" into the entryway, but will need to go through three levels of security before entering the student area of the school. The same procedures will be followed at Oak Prairie School, however due to their previous set up for visitors, only minor alterations were needed to accomplish the same level of safety.
With the new entrances at the three K-5 schools, a redesigned main office will allow for additional classroom space for students. We had hope to have the new entrances in November 2022, however due to delays in obtaining some of the HVAC units and challenges with the labor market, the openings could be delayed. Stay tuned for additional updates as the work progresses throughout the fall semester.
Board of Education Meetings Streamed in 2022-23
We have moved to streaming our monthly Board of Education meetings via our D92 YouTube Channel. To view the meetings in real time or the recordings of previous meetings, simply go to the D92 website, click on "Board of Education". Then select on "View Live Stream BOE Meeting".
You may also attend Board of Education meetings in person. The meetings are typically held at Ludwig School in the LMC.
Volunteers needed for Young Hearts for Life at LTHS
Young Hearts for Life is coming to Lockport Township High School to offer all students a life-saving ECG screening and volunteers for this event are needed.
LTHS is looking for 200+ volunteers to help offer this potentially life-saving screening to students! Click this link for additional information.