The Communicator

District 47's Newsletter - Fall 2021


  • Superintendent's Message

  • Important Dates

  • Fall 2021 Highlights

  • Financial Update

  • COVID-19 / ESSER Update

  • Operations Update

  • Board of Education Update

  • Connect with Us!


The 2021-22 school year is in full swing. We are excited by the sights and sounds of having students and staff back in our buildings teaching, learning and interacting.

For the past two months, students have been getting acclimated to new routines and being in school. For some of our students, it’s the first time in a year and a half that they have been in a school building. For others, it's their first time in a new building so there’s been plenty to learn.

We’ve also been busy teaching and assessing our students so we can meet them where they are at and provide appropriate academic and social-emotional supports to move them forward. At the November 15th board of education meeting, we’ll provide an update for the board on how our students are doing. Parents will also receive student assessment results in November and have an opportunity to discuss their student’s progress at parent-teacher conferences.

It’s important to remember that our students have been through an unusual experience as a result of the pandemic. However, through a coordinated and consistent approach we call MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports), District 47 educators and staff are ready to keep our students moving forward.

Thank you for working alongside us for the past 18 months and for giving us the privilege of sharing your child’s educational journey with you.


Dr. Kathy J. Hinz



October 2021

10/28 - Virtual BPAC meeting; 5:30 p.m. (English) and 6:15 p.m. (Spanish)

November 2021

11/5 - Teacher Institute Day (no school)

11/10 - Early Release Day*

11/15 - Term 3/Trimester 2 begins; Board of Education meeting, 7pm

11/22 - Parent/teacher conferences (preK-8); no school

11/23 - Parent/teacher conferences (preK-8); no school

11/24 - 11/26 - Thanksgiving break (no school)

December 2021

12/13 - Board of education meeting, 7pm

12/20 - 1/2/22 - Winter break

January 2022

1/3 - Classes resume

1/14 - Teacher Institute Day (no school)

1/17 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (no school)

1/18 - Board of education meeting, 7pm

1/19 - Term 4 begins

February 2022

2/21 - President’s Day (no school)

2/22 - Board of education meeting, 7pm

2/23 - Early Release Day*

2/28 - Term 5/Trimester 3 begins

Click the link for the 2021-22 school calendar.

FALL 2021

Watch the 3-minute video below for an overview of in-person learning in District 47! Note: Video was recorded outside of school hours and when no students or staff were present.
D47 In Person Learning


Meet our two newest administrators who joined the District 47 leadership team this year.

Dr. Ryan Schaefer - Assistant Principal, Coventry Elementary School

Dr. Ryan Schaefer joined District 47 in June 2021 as the assistant principal at Coventry Elementary School. Dr. Schaefer has been in education for 15 years, starting out as a teacher (grades 3, 5 and 7) then becoming an instructional coach for Huntley School District 158. He has a bachelors degree in elementary education; a masters degree in leadership and administration; a masters degree in literacy; and a doctoral degree in literacy. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Judson University.

Josh Gschwend - Assistant Principal, Hannah Beardsley Middle School

Josh Gschwend joined District 47 in 2021 as an assistant principal at Hannah Beardsley Middle School. Mr. Gschwend started his career as a math teacher and dean in central Illinois before serving as an assistant principal at Morton High School from 2012-2016. He and his family then moved to the area where he served as the math department chair at Huntley High School from 2016-2021. Mr. Gschwend earned his bachelors degree in mathematics in 2002 from Eureka College and his masters degree in educational leadership with an administrative endorsement in 2010 from Bradley University

PTO / PTA Recognition

Each September we recognize the hard work of our amazing PTOs and PTAs at our board of education meeting. Last year was an exceptionally challenging year for everyone, yet our parent teacher organizations found creative ways to support our schools, students and teachers. Check out this brief video that highlights some of the unique ways they rallied around us!
District 47 PTO/PTA Recognition - September 2021


District 47 is launching a new district wide staff recognition program called Elevate during the 2021-22 school year. The goal of the program is to identify and recognize District 47 employees who, in their contributions and service to the district, uphold and exemplify the district’s mission, vision and core values and who are making a difference in the lives of our students, schools and community.

Anyone (students, staff, parents or community members) can submit a nomination and any District 47 staff member is eligible for recognition. Click here to nominate someone you know! Nominations will be reviewed by the district’s recognition committee. Nominees and winners selected by the committee will be recognized three times per year at District 47 board meetings, in-person at school buildings and on social media.

District 47 is currently look for sponsors for this program. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Denise Barr, director of communications and public engagement, at Thank you for helping us “raise the bar” for educational excellence!


Students at Husmann, Canterbury and North elementary schools have new seating options this year. The new flexible furniture is part of a three-year rollout across all D47 elementary schools. The new furniture is comfortable, encourages collaboration and adapts to individual learning styles.


District 47 took part in Leadership Greater McHenry County’s Education Day event on October 14, 2021, which is a unique opportunity to highlight public education for county leaders.

  • Dr. Kathy Hinz participated in a superintendent panel discussion about in-person learning.

  • Board member Dr. Tim Mahaffy co-led a roundtable discussion on education funding with other school board members and school finance officials.

  • District 47 MTSS coach Brittany Stefani and Bernotas math teacher Teri Rahn organized an activity that engaged community leaders in a math lesson with Bernotas 8th graders.


Meet District 47 Alum and New Language and Assessment Facilitator Logan Kirkeeng

Logan Kirkeeng is a senior in college and District 47’s new language and assessment facilitator. Fluent in Spanish, Logan will support multiple areas of student assessment as well as the district’s English learner and bilingual education department.

A student in District 47’s dual language program for eight years, Logan attended Canterbury Elementary School, then Hannah Beardsley Middle School. At the end of his eighth grade year, he took a Spanish placement assessment for high school and began his freshman year in Spanish 3. Over the four years he attended South High School, he took dual credit and AP Spanish courses and received the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy from District 155 in 2018.

After graduating high school in the spring of 2019, Logan decided to pursue a degree in Spanish translation and interpretation at Grand Canyon University, a private university located in Phoenix, Arizona. Logan said he chose the school because it was one of the few colleges that offered a major in Spanish translation and interpretation. “Most of the other Spanish programs were more geared to education and those who want to teach Spanish,” he said.

Logan attended Grand Canyon in-person in the fall of 2019 until March 2020 when the pandemic hit, and has been taking courses online through the college ever since. In August he returned briefly to Phoenix to attend GCU in-person for the 2021-22 school year, but, due to low enrollment for his area of study, his classes were moved online. Now he and the other four students working toward the same degree meet online once a week to collaborate on their studies.

Kirkeeng said he hadn’t envisioned his college experience to turn out this way nor was he expecting to have a full-time job as a full-time student. “Not being able to do in-person instruction has had its fair share of challenges,” said Kirkeeng. “But your time and opportunities are so open when you’re studying online. I definitely wouldn’t have had this opportunity to get real-world, hands-on experience in my home town if I was on-campus in Phoenix.”

Logan is on track to graduate in the spring of 2022, which will have him completing his four year degree in only three years. “Being part of the dual language program in District 47 and taking AP classes in high school definitely gave me a jumpstart on college,” he said.


HBMS Students Present at October 2021 Board Meeting

At the board of education meeting on October 18, 2021, 8th grade NJHS students from Hannah Beardsley Middle School presented a comparison and contrast of remote and in-person learning during the pandemic. Students created a slideshow and read testimonials about the impact of COVID-19 on their academic growth and social-emotional well-being. These brave students provided the board with a unique perspective and honest feedback about their experiences. Way to go, Lillian, Audrey, Katherine, Ayden, Kemitha, Lila, Wilbur and Addison! #empoweringallstudents #beardsleypride


Through an extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), breakfast and lunch are being provided at no cost to District 47 students for the 2021-22 school year. While this is beneficial for many families, District 47’s food service provider Sodexo is facing a number of challenges this year, primarily due to staffing and supply shortages. Sodexo has recently had to reduce the number of breakfast and lunch options currently being offered. In addition, in recent communication to the district, Sodexo explained that it is currently working with a staffing agency to hire additional cafeteria workers, but that this may not be a feasible long-term solution. Sodexo stated that it may need to revert to a grab-and-go (“Fun on the Run”) option only for breakfast and lunch until the staffing situation improves.


2021-2022 Budget

On September 20, 2021, the District 47 Board of Education passed the 2021-22 budget. Within this budget, the board approved operational expenditures including federal ESSER funds (see below), as well as the continuation of Health and Life Safety Projects and strategic planning initiatives. While the majority of the District 47 budget (approximately 74 percent) comes from local revenue sources, the district continuously looks for grant opportunities to fund initiatives as well as ways to streamline state and federal money that is provided to the district. All debt (2010 Build America bonds, 2018 and 2019 debt certificates) will be paid from the district’s operating funds, eliminating the need for property tax previously levied for the debt service fund.

Student Fees

There was no increase in student fees for the 2021/22 school year. As in previous years, the district purchased many school supply items in bulk to help offset back-to-school costs for families.

Tax Levy

The tax levy will be discussed at the November 15, 2021 board of education meeting. For general questions regarding the district’s annual tax levy, check out Property Tax FAQs on the district website.

COVID ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) FUNDING

To help address costs incurred by school districts as a result of the pandemic, the federal government established the ESSER/Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In Phase 1, District 47 received $515,170, which was used to purchase technology devices for students in grades PreK-2. The additional devices provided continuity of instruction as classrooms moved from school buildings to a remote setting in March of 2020 and throughout the 2020-21 school year.

Federal funding has continued for two additional phases. The second phase, referred to as ESSER II, was intended to help schools address learning loss and prepare for reopening, which included testing, repairing, and upgrading projects to improve air quality in school buildings. District 47 received $2,130,551 in funding, which will be used to add air conditioning at Husmann Elementary School and Lundahl Middle School and to improve and enhance air quality in classrooms and offices throughout the district’s facilities over the next several years. HVAC projects had an initial estimate of $19.5 million, which will be funded partially through ESSER II and ESSER III/ARP (see below) funds. Remaining funding needed for HVAC projects will be obtained through other district operational funds.

The third phase, ESSER III/American Rescue Plan (ARP), requires school districts to allocate at least 20 percent of funds given to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and to ensure that those interventions respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups.

District 47 was granted a total of $5.1 million in ARP funding (federal and state allocation combined). The large share of this funding ($4.8 million) will be used to continue HVAC projects and to support various areas of curriculum, which are outlined below. The remaining funds ($336,497) were allocated by the state in accordance with evidence based funding. These funds may be used but are not limited to support for learning loss, summer enrichment, and after school opportunities.

  • Academic interventions: The district will implement resources and materials to support English language arts and reading interventions in both English and Spanish.

  • Social-emotional curriculum: Second Step is a research-based program that allows teachers to integrate social-emotional learning lessons into their universal instruction. The program has been implemented at the middle school level. To help support the social-emotional development for younger learners, District 47 purchased and implemented the Second Step curriculum for students in grades K-5 this school year.

  • Equity training: At the September 21, 2021 Board of Education meeting, the Board approved a two-year professional development leadership series for the Board and district/school leadership teams. The program, set to begin during the 2022-23 school year, will be provided by Corwin Deep Equity. Click the link for more information: Board Presentation September 20, 2021_ Corwin Deep Equity Professional Development .pdf (702 KB)


District 47’s projected facility needs over the next several years will focus on HVAC capital improvement projects as well as continued Health / Life Safety initiatives. These projects will be funded through several sources including federal ESSR funds over several phases as well as Health / Life Safety and Operational funds totalling approximately $19.5M based on the latest pre-design engineering estimates.

Initial projects include adding air conditioning systems at Husmann and Lundahl as well as replacing major mechanical systems at Woods Creek followed by other schools based on current conditions and life cycles to improve and enhance air quality in classrooms and offices throughout the district’s facilities over the next several years. Plans also include adding air conditioning at West, Canterbury and Bernotas.


The District 47 board of education meets monthly at the CORE Center, 300 Commerce Drive in Crystal Lake. Below are links to minutes from recent board meetings. Additional information about board members, meeting dates, agendas, FOIA requests and more can be found on the District 47 website under the Board of Ed tab.

September 20, 2021 Meeting Minutes

August 9, 2021 Meeting Minutes

July 19, 2021 Meeting Minutes

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