School District 57
From the Desk of the Superintendent
January 19, 2024
Dear District 57 Families,
I hope you and your loved ones are keeping warm during this cold snap and looking forward to next week’s warming temperatures! This message contains important information about future inclement weather plans and last night's Board meeting.
As planned, our first two emergency closing days were used as Snow Days. These days will need to be made up at the end of the school year, making May 24 the new last day for preschoolers, June 3 the new last day for kindergarteners, and June 4 the new last half-day for 1st-8th graders. You can find an updated 2023-2024 School Calendar on the D57 Website under Families>District Calendar, or by clicking this link.
If we need to use additional inclement weather days this school year, they will be E-learning days. This means students will use their Chromebooks to connect to classroom(s) to conduct learning remotely. Please take a moment to review our E-Learning Plan. As mentioned in previous emails, for inclement weather updates, you can also stay informed via our District website and social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, X). You can take a look at this December 12 communication to understand the District's rationale for implementing inclement weather days this year. For a comprehensive understanding of the District’s inclement weather protocols, please refer to the November 9 communication.
We had the genuine pleasure of starting last night’s Board of Education meeting with an energetic, exceptional performance by the Lincoln Middle School Dance Team. These students danced their hearts out, and it was evident by their performance and the amount of time, practice, and collaboration involved. Great job, students! Our District’s new vision statement is "Inspiring every student, every day to reach their full potential." Thanks to the team’s coaches Susan Howard and Tracy Rapacz, these dancers had the opportunity to explore skill sets, relationships, and interests they otherwise might not have had. It's so exciting to witness our vision in action!
Last night’s Board of Education meeting was packed with several important presentations and discussions that have significant impact on and interest to the District. To make this information more accessible for families and our extended community, I’ve included a link that will bring you directly to the Board Meeting segment so that you can delve deeper into the information if wanted. If you wish to access the full board meeting recording, click here.
Assistant Superintendent Jason Kaiz and Citizen Finance Advisory Committee (CFAC) members Laura Hollis and Brian Kasper provided the Board with five-year District financial projections and a mid-year financial review. You can view this segment here. This presentation is the culmination of a four-month effort by the CFAC to provide information on the District’s financial status to assist the Board in making informed financial recommendations. Board policy requires that the District’s fund balance falls between 30-50%, and I’m happy to report that our District will meet this criteria over the next five years. Our District remains in a healthy financial position. The work of our District’s financial team and the CFAC connects to Objective E in our Strategic Plan, Maintain Fiscal Responsibility.
Robert Lewis, Senior Vice President & Managing Director at PMA Securities Inc., provided a Review of School Bond Finance and Non-Referendum Financing Scenarios presentation to the Board. You can view the segment here. Lewis’s primary goal was to educate the Board on the bond financing process and all available financing options so that the Board could make informed decisions and recommendations as we evaluate our capital needs over the coming months. This information becomes essential as we investigate all options for providing full-day kindergarten and address our facility needs at Westbrook and Lincoln.
Members of the District Equity Leadership Team (DELT), Sara Tyburski, Danielle Crandall, and Brian Kasper, presented to the board, highlighting this dedicated team's work to review the District’s Equity Audit, define what educational equity looks like in our District, and provide recommended next steps. You can view this segment here. Using data gathered through surveys and focus groups, the DELT’s first four recommended objectives are to 1) improve translational access to school information for families, 2) analyze academic and behavioral student data, 3) develop a glossary of terms related to equity, and 4) enhance school climate and culture at Lincoln. We are incredibly grateful to this DELT stakeholder group for their willingness and collaborative spirit as we address such an important topic within our District.
As part of the facility needs work identified in our Strategic Plan, the District solicited the help of architecture firms to identify and quantify capital improvement options related to the space improvement needs at Westbrook and Lincoln. Eleven architecture firms responded to our Request for Qualifications; of these eleven, four were brought in for interviews. Last night, the Board approved the contract to architecture firm STR, our top choice, and with this approval, we can now begin evaluating the District’s needs and options. You will be regularly updated on this important work along the way.
Thanks so much for taking the time to stay up-to-date on all of the matters affecting our District. I’m constantly inspired by our community’s dedication to the health and vitality of our District.
Dr. Mary Gorr