The Golden Apple
RLAS-116 District Newsletter: December 2022
School Configuration Planning: Kindergarten Returns to RLAS-116 Boundaries in 2024-2025 School Year
Dear RLAS-116 Families:
You may be aware that our District currently leases a school building (Pleviak) from Lake Villa Elementary School District. Pleviak is where we have educated all of our Kindergarten students for the last 8 and a half years. Our District entered into a 10-year lease agreement with Lake Villa Elementary in 2014 and the lease will expire in June 2024. We have two school years remaining on the lease (this school year 2022-23 and next school year 2023-24). It is important to note that this lease will not be extended and we are excited to report that we are working diligently on a plan that will return all Kindergarten students back to inside our RLAS-116 schools at the start of the 2024-25 school year.
Over the last couple years, our team has been preparing options to consider for the return of our Kindergarten students back inside our district boundaries. Following an extensive review of options, two school configuration models are being discussed. The first option is what some may consider a more traditional model of K-5 schools. The second option is a partner school model which would create a grade-level center set up where there would be schools with students in grades K-2 and schools with students in grades 3-5. While we are able to list positive aspects and challenges to both models, it is important to note that students will be provided with a high quality education in either setting. At this point in time, our administrative team is partial to the partner school model, due to a variety of instructional and efficiency benefits.
Earlier this month, we began meeting with the staff at our elementary schools to discuss the two school configuration models. The purpose of these meetings is to share information about the two learning environments and to gather questions and comments. It is important that staff feedback be considered as we work to further develop the final plan.
It is equally important that we continue this discussion with our RLAS-116 families. Both models are a change from what we are used to, as Kindergarten students have not been educated inside our elementary schools for many years. Following Winter Break, families will be invited to be a part of the School Configuration Planning Process. Families will have an opportunity to learn about both models, their benefits and challenges, and will be asked to provide feedback and questions related to the models. A variety of parent sessions will be scheduled at the schools and will also be made available via Zoom. Sessions will be conducted in English and Spanish. Families will also have an opportunity to provide follow up feedback electronically. Details related to these sessions will be made available in the coming weeks.
You may wish to view a full video presentation regarding the School Configuration Planning that was provided to our Board of Education during a special board meeting, held on May 24, 2022 in advance of the family sessions that will be scheduled following Winter Break. The School Configuration Planning presentation begins at the 1 hour and 18 minutes mark.
As it relates to a timeline, our goal is to provide our Board of Education with a school configuration model recommendation in March 2023. This approach provides us with time to speak with those impacted by these changes and to further develop the planning for the return of our Kindergarten students, well in advance of the 2024-2025 school year.
If you have any questions at this time, please do not hesitate to contact Heather Bennett, Executive Director of Engagement & Community Relations at email@example.com or 224-842-2015.
We look forward to working closely with you throughout this process.