November 8th, 2023
In this exciting issue...
- Honoring Veterans on November 10
- Good Tidings to Those Celebrating Diwali
- IDATS is here!
- All In For Avoca 37 - what now?
- Combating discrimination and bigotry - a note from the U.S. Department of Education
Best wishes to our community members celebrating Diwali, the biggest Hindu festival of the year. Starting on November 10, Diwali is a celebration of the victory of light over darkness; please click on this link to learn more about the five days of Diwali.
IDATS is here...
The single biggest event of the year - Intercultural Dinner and Talent Show is almost here. It takes place on a Saturday for the first time, November 11 from 5:30 to 8:30.
The limit is 500 attendees and IDATS is close to that number, but tickets are still available.
Event Security Note
In the past and this year, there were inquiries if it was appropriate to have support from local law enforcement at such a large event. The District and Wilmette Police Dept. have a long successful partnership in keeping our schools safe, and Dr. Osburn has consulted with Chief Murphy. As a result, we will have a Wilmette Police Officer present at the entrance to Marie Murphy for the duration of IDATS and available at a moment's notice. No threats have been made against the school and there are no current security alerts posted by local or regional law enforcement. Our partnership makes it possible to have this additional layer of security on such an important evening for our community.
All In for Avoca37 - What Now?
Thanks to everyone in our community - especially the All in for Avoca37 Facilitating Team - for gathering an unprecedented amount feedback for our Board of Education as it strives to make the best decision it can to secure the future of our school facilities, learning environment, and finances.
But what happens now?
Wednesday night was the last meeting of the Facilitating Team. It reviewed again all the feedback from the Open Houses (over 100 people took tours and 84 completed feedback forms) and the survey results (598 responses, with more than 25% by people who have never had a child in Avoca schools). The Facilitating Team will finalize its report to the Board and present the report at the Board of Education on November 16.
But what happens then?
The Board will review the Facilitating Team's report, including any recommendations (the team does not recommend a specific option though), then deliberate on what is the best next step forward to secure the future for Avoca students, staff, and community. The Board will make a "next step" decision no later than December 14, 2023. The Facilitating Team's report and results will be public documents.
You can find more information at the All in for Avoca 37 webpage.
Combating Discrimination and Bigotry
The U.S. Department of Education just yesterday issued a "Dear Colleague" letter to school districts based on prevailing circumstances it is monitoring regionally or nationally. The letter begins:
"As we witness a nationwide rise in reports of hate crimes and harassment, including an alarming rise in disturbing antisemitic incidents and threats to Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian students on college campuses and in P-12 schools, the fulfillment of school communities’ federal legal obligations to ensure nondiscriminatory environments have renewed urgency...." (You can see the whole letter here.)
While the District works to live up to its mission to nurture diversity, we have to work to protect the environment where diversity can flourish. Both this year and last year the District has confronted incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia among students, and we will continue to do so. While we do have proactive steps in curricula that teach inclusion and acceptance, we also have policies that empower us to investigate claims of discrimination, including religious discrimination.
It is important to talk to your child about reporting to a trusted adult any incidents which could be antisemitic or Islamophobic or discriminatory in any way. Often times getting at the details of such interactions can be challenging, but the District will investigate claims to the fullest extent possible so that our students know our schools do not tolerate bigotry of any kind.
Board of Education Vacancy
Dear Community Members,
On November 1, a Board member resignation resulted in a vacancy on the Avoca School District 37 Board of Education. Per state law and Board of Education Policy (2.070), the Board is now posting the vacancy and any adults who reside inside the boundaries of the Avoca School District may apply.
The Board is accepting letters of interest with a resumé or statement detailing professional history until November 12. At that time the Board will review the materials and contact potential candidates regarding any subsequent steps.
The Board of Education has until December 16, 2023 to appoint a person to fill the vacancy. The person appointed by the Board would serve until April 2025, when the departing Board member’s term ends.
Interested persons should send their letter of interest and accompanying resumé or statement of professional history to me, Board President Sumit Dhar, via email at email@example.com by Sunday, November 12, 2023. All related inquiries should be forwarded to me via email.
Sumit Dhar, President
Board of Education