Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood Update

Week of August 1, 2021

Back 2 School 2021-2022

"Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional..."

Welcome! and Welcome Back!!!

Why should we be excited about the 2021-2022 school year?

  • Everyone is kind and respectful.
  • Learning is fun and engaging.
  • Every lesson moves students one step closer to achieving their dreams and goals.
  • I get to see my friends.

Hmmm? Wait a second! Some of you might retort with different responses such as:

  • I've been bullied and people are mean to me.
  • I'm bored.
  • Class is filled with useless information.
  • I haven't connected with anyone at school.

Past experiences likely shape our perspective, approach, and outlook. We all face a level of challenge in our lives, some more than others. Together, we continue to deal with the uncertainty of a pandemic. Our plan is to move forward, respecting the seriousness of the virus but not letting it stifle our growth. Let's move forward together learning from the past. The Specialized Schools are poised to begin a new chapter in overcoming this challenge on Wednesday, August 11th. Yes, in just 10 days all students will return to school in-person. Remote Learning is no longer an option in D214. All staff and students will be in-person beginning Wednesday, August 11.

Learning is paramount regardless if you attend The Academy, Life, Newcomer Center, or Vanguard. Look forward to an engaging, safe, productive, and fun experience. We're committed to preparing you for a happy and productive adult life; but we also want you to enjoy being a!:)

The first step is teaching you to be a critical thinker. Shouldn't we think deeply before making important decisions? Some decisions are tough and require critical thinking. Critical thinking refers to the process of actively analyzing, assessing, evaluating, and reflecting on information gathered from observation, experience, or communication. Critical thinking is thinking in a clear, logical, reasoned, and reflective manner to solve problems or make decisions.

Whether it's pertaining to health, relationships, economics, work, social justice, civics, conflict, religion, etc., everyone should do their "homework," get the facts, and think critically before making decisions. This is how we grow! We can write a program and insert a chip into a robot to get it to do what we want, but it doesn't work like that with humans; OWN your learning! Give yourself the best chance to succeed. How? Start by just waking up on time, regularly attending school, and trying your best. Attitude is Everything; get ready to make it an excellent school year; don't let the past hold you back.

A special "shout out" to the Class of 2022! We especially want this to be a special year for you. Communicate to us what we can do to make this year one to remember…in a good way:)

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2021-2022 Logistics

  • We will use an A/B block schedule similar to last year (see above), but school starts earlier. Students should arrive in the building no later than 8:30 AM to be on time for the first class at 8:35 AM. Our day ends at 2:45 PM. Bus pick-up and drop-off times will be sent to student portals by August 3. Parents should receive emails by August 5.

  • Academy, Newcomer, and Vanguard students will be bussed together. The bus will drop-off Vanguard and Newcomer students at Door #5 first and then proceed to drop-off Academy students at Door #32.

  • ECC students will enter the building through Door #5. Life students will continue to enter Door #33.

  • All students are required to wear a face covering on school buses regardless of vaccination status. We strongly encourage and recommend that all staff, students, and visitors wear a face covering/mask in the building at all times. This guidance may change based on data. Please maintain a patient, adaptive, and cooperative attitude as we seek to make the best of this situation. It seems with thousands of school districts around the world, there is no one absolute correct response to masking, quarantine, and related pandemic topics. There will continue to be differences of opinions, but that should not lead anyone to hostility. The pandemic has invoked anger, mistrust, and uneasiness across the globe; our best shot to overcome this obstacle is to work together. The infection positivity rates have increased in the last two weeks due to the Delta Variant. We will keep you updated as we want everyone to stay safe and healthy.

  • Some students may have access to their class schedules through the Infinite Campus Portal this upcoming week, others will hear from case managers or team leaders very soon.

  • All D214 students are eligible for complimentary breakfast and lunch in our cafeteria. There will also be ala carte items for sale. We will have plenty of seating in the event students would like to maintain distance between themselves and others.
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What's Really Gucci?

I'll tell you what it's not. Being a follower of unhealthy habits and behaviors. Judging others. Blaming others for your issues. Making fun of others purposefully or jokingly. Cursing and using swear words irresponsibly. Apathy. Wasting time. Disrespect of self and others. This is not Gucci.

Most of us are emotionally exhausted, but regardless of how you feel about yourself; everyone has something positive they can contribute to our community.

Keep our Specialized Schools community physically and emotionally safe for everyone. Everything you say and do influences your/our community. Kindness in the form of “please, thank you, and may I” "Gucci" is making a positive difference.

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CASEL Resources

Social and emotional "connectedness" for teens has always been important, but it's even more crucial under these current conditions. CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) is a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL).

CASEL defines SEL as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

CASEL offers excellent SEL supports for families. Click HERE to explore some of the helpful resources. The Confident Parents, Confident Children series has some wonderful insight on helping build the five core skills in all of our students.

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Management
  3. Social-Awareness
  4. Relationship Skills
  5. Responsible Decision Making

We need to help our students acquire these skills so they will be happy, productive, reliable, kind, respectful and deep thinking citizens.

Some of our students have endured adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as emotional/physical abuse, extreme poverty, bullying, sexual abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism and illegal substance use. Some may not have received the love and time needed to mature in a healthy manner. These traumas can lead to adverse health outcomes; they also make it extremely difficult for students to focus and maximize learning. According to researched based studies, there are 10 types of Adverse Childhood Experiences; the higher number of ACEs, the likelihood of lasting emotional trauma. The Specialized Schools aim to personalize learning for ALL students to ensure that we are meeting the academic AND social-emotional needs of our students. We plan to facilitate SEL dialogue and support using our NEWSela platform to help grow in this area.

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Please click HERE to register your D214 student if you have not done so. D214 has waived all 2021-2022 registration fees. Everyone can take the first step towards making 2021-2022 a fantastic school year by completing registration as soon as possible. Please call us if you need help.
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Welcome to Mrs. Liz Serowka our new school nurse. Mrs. Serowka is a Certified Pediatric Nurse with several years of experience working with children of all ages. Welcome to the Specialized Schools Mrs. Serowka.

Through our partnership with Ronald McDonald Charities and Advocate Children’s Hospital, we are happy to offer easy access to quality health care for school and sports physicals and/or immunization(s).

The Care Mobile will be available 9:00am-2:00pm at Forest View Education Center on Friday, August 27, Thursday, September 23, and Friday, October 29. You must contact the health services department to schedule an appointment in advance.

· Services are open to students who have no insurance or Medicaid (state-funded insurance).

· All services are provided at no cost.

· Appointment only. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

· Appointments will be on a first come, first serve basis.

*Please note, the Covid vaccine will not be available at these clinics.*

A physical exam is required for all students in the Class of 2025, transfer students, and students wishing to participate in athletics. The meningitis vaccine is required for all students in the Class of 2022. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for your student, please email or call Liz Serowka at or 847-718-7814.

INCOMING FRESHMAN- All incoming freshmen need a school physical dated on or after 8/11/20. Your student's class schedule will not be released and they will be excluded from school until a COMPLETE physical is on file. A complete physical includes up to date

immunizations, a completed health history signed by parents and a completed physical exam signed by your doctor or Nurse Practitioner. A dental exam is also required by April 2022 for all incoming freshmen.

SENIORS- All seniors require proof of completed Meningococcal vaccine series. Your student's schedule will not be released until this information is provided. Completed forms can be emailed, faxed, mailed, or dropped off at school (your home school or your specialty program).

Parents are welcome to forward a copy of your student's Covid-19 Vaccination Card to the school nurse so we can enter the information in Infinite Campus. While vaccination isn't mandatory for attending school, it's helpful to maintain up to date health records for contact tracing purposes.


The Academy and Vanguard both receive Title One funding. The attached PDF documents will provide more insight related to parent and student involvement. You will also find the 2021-2022 assessment schedule and asbestos/pesticide notifications attached. Please contact me if you have questions.
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