Superintendent's Corner

Avoca District 37 😎 🚌 😎 August 19, 2021

In this first issue of the year ...

Returning to School: In-Person, Everyday, Safe
  • Busing
  • Seating and Social Distancing
  • Lunch Service and Operations
  • COVID - Positive Cases, Close Contacts, and Quarantine
  • Extra Curricular Activities & Athletics
  • Visitors to School

Planning for the Future: Community Engagement & Strategic Planning
  • Strategic Planning Committee
  • Community Engagement
  • Vision for the Future

Returning to School: In-Person, Everyday, Safe

Many people are understandably concerned about our return to school. Please know that I monitor COVID in the community every day and I regularly consult with our medical advisor and we are in touch regularly with the Cook County Department of Health, and I speak with other New Trier Township superintendents weekly. The main site used for monitoring COVID in the community was developed by our medical advisor at Northwestern and is used by districts all over Illinois. It can be found by clicking here.


Currently our local rates are rising, but doing so slowly. Our best defense is vaccinations, and our vaccination rate is already quite high compared to the state and national average - but it could be higher. Do not forget to upload your student's vaccination status with the District, since doing so will help reduce quarantine of close contacts. Click here to do that.


Likewise, universal masking inside schools will further protect us against outbreaks. We had no transmission inside our schools last year, and I feel confident our steps this year will make school a safe place for our staff and students every day.


To learn about everything related to the safe opening of school, please click on this link, where you will learn more about:

  • Busing
  • Seating and Social Distancing
  • Lunch Service and Operations
  • COVID - Positive Cases, Close Contacts, and Quarantine
  • Extra Curricular Activities & Athletics
  • Visitors to School

Community Engagement & Strategic Planning - Are You Ready?

The District's previous strategic plan expired at the end of the 2020-2021 school year, and obviously the pandemic made executing that plan difficult. Nonetheless, when I was hired, one of my charges was to lead a new and effective strategic planning process with our community.


That engagement is an opportunity for the whole community - parents/guardians, students, staff, and non-parent community members - to share with the Board its assessment of Avoca and its vision for Avoca's future.


At the end of last year, I specifically requested that the Board allocate sufficient funds and provide me extended time to conduct a robust and thorough engagement and planning process.


This summer, a committee of parents/guardians, staff members, and Board members, weighed in on what would be needed components of a successful engagement and planning process. You can see a summary memo that resulted from that committee's work by clicking here.


At its August 12 meeting, the Board of Education approved an agreement with Hazard, Young, Attea (HYA) to consult and co-lead the community engagement process and strategic plan development for Avoca. You can see their draft proposal by clicking here.


HYA's proposed plan is customizable. In some districts, the Strategic Plan Committee is the Board of Education. For our process to be successful, our Strategic Plan Committee will need to be made up of stakeholders that truly represent our diverse district. The committee will be approximately 20 people. With the limited numbers, not everyone who is interested can serve. Of course, as you can see, our community engagement involves many many sessions with different stakeholder groups.


The Strategic Plan Committee's first meeting will take place in September and I would anticipate between one and two meetings per month from October to March, including some visits to other schools. Some meetings will likely be via ZOOM.


If you are interested in serving on this committee, please email me at osburnk@avoca37.org.