Woodland D50 News and Information
Sept. 9, 2022
Superintendent Update: Message from Dr. Machak
Dear Woodland Families,
It is so good to see everyone back and settling in now that our school year is fully underway. Our students are just as excited to be back in school as we are and, although some of them would never admit it, I think they really missed the structure, consistency, and sense of security that the routine of coming to school each day can provide. If nothing else, the pandemic and its associated mitigations and remote learning made all of us more cognizant, if not more grateful, for the simple pleasures associated with teaching and learning that many of us were still taking for granted back at the beginning of March 2020.
One team in our school district that does not regularly get the recognition it deserves is our Transportation Department. Without this loyal team of bus drivers and Transportation office staff doing what they do every day, we couldn’t open our schools. We spent a great deal of time this summer trying to recruit additional bus drivers for the school year amid a nationwide shortage; a quick Internet search of “the impact of the bus driver shortage on schools” reveals a pattern of staggered school days, neighborhood car pools, and even a return to remote learning stretching from Honolulu, HI to Ossining, NY as school districts across the country struggle with their inability to get their students to school. Thankfully, we haven’t had to make such decisions. I am excited to share that we just added one new driver this week, and there are six other potential hires in the training and licensure process right now. We still need more.
We are currently without drivers for nine of our bus routes. To cover these routes, our Transportation office staff have set their daily schedules aside to get behind the wheel of a bus. When they are driving buses, there are fewer staff members in the Transportation office to answer phones and process parent change requests. We are grateful to be supported by a cadre of dedicated substitute and retired bus drivers who help us to fill these routes as they can. This patchwork approach to filling our routes represents a noble effort on the part of so many good people to get all of our children safely to and from school each day, but this approach is not sustainable. If anyone you know might be interested in joining our incredible Transportation Department, please have them Apply HERE.
With challenges, however, often come opportunities and our transportation situation is a great example. Team Woodland is showing up to face this problem head-on: absolutely everyone is pitching in where they can; staff from other departments are helping answer Transportation phones; each day our routes become more stable and our pick up and drop off times inch closer to the scheduled times on our route sheets. From a recruitment standpoint, we have found some creative ways to incentivize candidates who make the commitment to join our Woodland team, including offering training and support for candidates navigating the licensure process (applicants for the Commercial Drivers License required to drive a school bus in Illinois must successfully answer questions about transporting various liquids and gasses, hazardous materials, and transporting multiple hitched trailers).
Finally, on behalf of the entire Woodland staff, thank you to all of our students and families for your patience in this area over the past few weeks. We know that a warm hello and a smile from one of our bus drivers might be just what your child needs to set the tone for a great day at school. Similarly, your many expressions of kindness and appreciation to our drivers keeps their spirits high and lets them know how important we all know they really are.
With gratitude for all of your encouragement and support, wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
Dr. Robert Machak, Superintendent
- September 13 - 1st Grade Curriculum Night
- September 14 - 2nd Grade Curriculum Night
- September 15 - 3rd Grade Curriculum Night
- September 19 - Kindergarten Curriculum Night
- September 20 - Dual/EC/WELE Curriculum Night
- September 22 - Board of Education Meeting
- September 23 - ROAR Run! (Register TODAY to guarantee a race shirt)
New Parent Mentor Program: Stronger Together!
Woodland is excited to announce a new Parent Mentor Program. We are looking for parent volunteers who are ready to make a difference in our leaning community by collaborating with our teachers and taking an active role in the classroom!
The Parent Mentor Program will take volunteering to the next level, and is ideal for parents/guardians who can make a weekly commitment to working with students. Parent Mentors will work one-on-one, or in small groups, with students who need extra support in the classroom. If selected to be a Parent Mentor, we will provide the necessary training and continuing professional development that you will need to succeed. All parents are welcome to apply, and no previous experience is required.
To learn more, please contact:
- Tanya Abbey, Parent Mentor Coordinator at 847-984-8894, email@example.com
- Lavonna Garner, At-Risk Parent Facilitator at 847-984-8757, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Parent Mentor Program is a partnership with the Parent Engagement Institute, and was made possible through a grant from The Southwest Organizing Project and the Illinois State Board of Education.
Don't Forget to Sign-up for Text Alerts!
Woodland is now offering text alerts in addition to email. We have added a second method for signing-up, because some cell phone carriers require opting-in through a short code method.
Sign-up through short code:
- Text "Y" to 67587.
- You can also opt-out of these messages at any time by simply replying to one of our messages with “Stop”.
Sign-up through Skyward:
- Please log-in to Skyward Family Access and enter Text Message Information in the “Skylert” tab. (Find the Skylert tab in the left column).
- Do NOT uncheck your email address. Email will still be our primary tool for communicating with families.
- Enter your phone number and check the boxes for “School Hours Emergency”, “Non-School Hours Emergency”, and “General - Primary Phone and Email”
We want to make sure you have access to the information you need, and we realize you may not have time to check your personal email throughout the day. We hope that receiving a text message will signal to you that new information is available. Text alerts will also be important for emergency communication. We plan to utilize text alerts to send urgent information should the need arise. We will continue to use email and robocalls as well. Learn more English / Spanish.
Programa para padres con hijos adolescentes
El grupo de padres realizado por Warren Township esta dirigido a padres con hijos adolescentes.
La adolescencia es un period de grandes cambios fisicos, emocionales, sociales, espirituales,etc., que afectan no solo al joven sino afecta tambien la forma en como los padres reaccionamos a estos cambios. Apoyarlos y educarlos amorosamente es uno de nuestros objetivos.
Las inscripciones estan abiertas con Martha Lucia Aristizabal al (847) 244-1101 ext *404 or email@example.com
Please remember to visit the Virtual Backpack throughout the year to see other events and activities for children and families in the area. We will be making more of an effort to post information here to reduce the amount of flyers sent home. Right now you will find information about a Warren LAX clinic and a Warren Poms clinic in October, Girl Scouts, a Study Skills Workshop, and a Time Management Workshop. Did you know? September is Library Card Sign-up Month and the Warren Newport Public Library is a great resource for your family.
I work for Woodland School District 50 in a communications and public outreach role.