Central Dist. 51 Newsletter

Winter 2020


Central 51 Families,

It is quite remarkable that we are now in the first week of March and looking toward spring. We have been blessed with a mild winter thus far helping our construction stay on schedule. As you know, spring in Illinois can bring with it some serious weather challenges. We are hopeful that the weather will continue to cooperate and the project will stay on schedule.

As we communicated last year, because of the construction project, our first student attendance day for the 2020-2021 school year will be after Labor Day on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. I encourage you to check out our website for more information and the 2020-21 District Calendar. Again, we appreciate everyone’s flexibility and patience as we continue to make improvements to our facilities.

This issue of the district newsletter will provide information and updates on the construction and renovation project, e-Learning days, 1:1 Chromebooks, School Improvement Days and teacher recruitment.

If you have any questions regarding Central School District 51 please don’t hesitate to contact me at (309) 444-3943 or at dheidbreder@central51.net.

Cancelling Student Attendance due to Weather /e-Learning Days

March can still bring inclement weather causing school building closures for student attendance and the assignment of an an e-Learning Day. Student safety is always our first consideration when it comes to cancelling school or events. Typically, three physical factors impact the decision to close schools. Road conditions, temperature, and visibility are all considered when determining whether or not conditions are safe enough to open school buildings and transport students.

When road conditions are impacted or we experience extreme temperatures, we will consult with a number of different people: the township road commissioners, area superintendents, and our transportation directors. There is no single rule of thumb for snow accumulation totals. Much of the decision depends on the presence of blowing and/or drifting snow, especially on country roads. Every effort will be made to make a decision and inform families as quickly as possible, but a decision to cancel school and/or events will not be made solely on a forecast.

We will always attempt to have a call go out by 6:00 a.m. for a school closure due to weather. Depending on the number of schools closing at the same time, the automated system can take about 20 minutes to complete all calls. We will also put information out on our twitter, Facebook, and website immediately for instant notification.

Overall , our first e-Learning Day was a success. We received a lot of positive feedback and will continue to review the parent survey results to find areas for improvement. Your input is appreciated!

Construction and Renovation Update

It has been remarkable to see the transformation of our facilities throughout the school year. BLDD Architects and P.J. Hoerr, Inc. (construction manager) continues to be a great partnership for Central 51. The projects are on schedule and on budget. We have amazing contractors on site, and their hard work does not go unnoticed.

Our students will start classes in the new music rooms the week of March 9, 2020. This is a huge milestone in the project. On Wednesday, March 18, 2020 from 6:00 p.m - 7:00 p.m., we will host an Open House in our newly completed CIS Fine Arts Wing (see invitation below).

For more project information and photos, see the links below:

Recent blog post by P.J. Hoerr

Milestone Comparisons

February 2020 Update.

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School Improvement Work Days

Each school year, specific days are set aside as school improvement days. These are spread out throughout the year in order for teachers and staff members to participate in professional development activities. This year there have been three of these days, with the most recent one occurring on Friday, February 14th.

On this day, teachers at Central Intermediate School worked with colleagues to review the learning standards in their subject areas and to have discussions about power standards. Power standards are those that are determined to be the highest priority or most important for students to learn at that specific level. A common approach is to develop these at the school level by teachers and administrators.

At Central Primary School, teachers met with colleagues who had recently attended the Reading Recovery Conference to learn about best practices in teaching reading. A few of the topics included: goal setting and collaboration, focusing on skills vs. level, and teacher clarity within instruction.

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1:1 Chromebooks

Central 51 continues to provide resources to students and staff to enhance 21st Century Learning Skills. The core competencies such as digital literacy, problem-solving, collaboration and critical thinking are designed to enable students to thrive in our world today. One way to help accomplish these competencies is by providing more resources. This year, Central 51 students in kindergarten through eighth grade have their own Chromebook to support their learning. As a reminder the Chromebook Handbook may be found at the following link:

Central District 51 Chromebook Handbook

Education Career Fairs

As the teacher shortage continues to affect the size of our applicant pools, the district has been looking at ways to attract and recruit teachers to fill open positions. One strategy that has been beneficial is attending education career fairs at various Illinois colleges and universities. Illinois State University held a career fair in the fall which allowed us to become familiar with the process. We followed up with a career fair at Western Illinois University in January. On March 2 and 3, administrators and staff attended career fairs at the University of Illinois and then a second one at Illinois State University. On March 3, the Bone Student Center at ISU welcomed 171 schools to the education career fair and approximately 490 students. We met many amazing students. This has been a great experience, and it helps to create a rapport with graduating seniors eager to enter the field of education. The District hopes to build relationships with area colleges to draw excellent teachers to Central 51.

Central School District 51

Encourage Excellence Every Day with Compassion, Commitment, and Community!