Superintendent's Corner 😎 🏫 😎

Avoca District 37

In this issue...

  • Opportunities to Learn About and Confront Racism
  • Zoom Parent Focus Groups - Re-Opening School
  • Guidance on Opening School
  • Board Review Preview

Three Substantial Texts to Help Us Learn About Racism

I have not read Oluo's newest book but its reviews and outline bode well for learning about and understanding how to recognize, talk about, confront, and combat manifestations of racism. Baldwin's book is among the best writing of the 20th century and is considered a model for Ta-Nehisi Coates' seminal Between the World and Me. I am just finishing Kendi's best-seller, which is truly refreshing and challenging. Each, in its own way, will teach readers not just about racism or about the author's experience of racism, but will point to meaningful steps and beliefs that can be adopted to confront racism in one's self, in others, and in the policies that perpetuate racism in ways people often do not recognize.

ZOOM Parent Focus Groups Meetings - Re-opening School

As I did in June, I will again hold ZOOM Focus Group Meetings for parents in different groups: K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 parents. I sent out emails yesterday with links for the meetings, so if you did not get one, send me an email letting me know what grade your student will be in next Fall.

At these meetings, I will preview some more details of the options available - every student onsite, hybrid model, and fully remote. We are not 100% decided because, as expected, guidance is changing, and the landscape of the virus' impact is changing too. Your additional feedback will help us refine our decision, which we expect to communicate at the same time as the other New Trier Township districts, the first week of August.

Guidance on Opening School

As sure as our kindergartners can Google, we can find volumes of guidance on how we should be re-opening school. My administration team and I are following a few expert sources, although our research ranges farther and wider than just those.

First, the Illinois State Department of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued guidance 10 days ago regarding re-opening school. (Since that time they have revised their guidance details three times, hence our patience.). You can click on the icon below and access that document. We are required to follow this guidance.

Second, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidance for reopening schools, and that is presented in a very contextual and thoughtful manner, which I have found very useful. Click on the icon below and you can access their primary guidance.

Besides these two sources, I regularly consult with medical experts and with regional, township, and statewide superintendents (IASA), and our district's attorneys, the last group regarding our legal obligations related to re-opening.

Board Meeting Review / Preview

June 18

  • 2020-21 Calendar - Discussion
  • Re-opening School - Discussion
  • Tentative Budget FY21 - Action
  • Administrator Contracts - Action
  • Non-certified staff compensation - Action
  • Special Education Transportation Contracts - Action

July 23

  • Re-opening School - Discussion
  • Strategic Plan Items for 2020-21 - Discussion
  • 2020-21 Calendar - Action