News from CCSD15

May 27, 2021

From the Desk of Dr. Laurie Heinz

Dear District 15 Community,

I know I speak for everyone in District 15 that there were times this year where we weren't sure if we’d all make it through this unprecedented school year, but we did it! It was hard -- full of new and novel experiences, but we found strength we didn’t know we had. I am grateful and proud of what we have accomplished this year -- an unusual year to say the least.

Although it was a year unlike any other, we still have so much to celebrate as a District. Here are but a few highlights:

  • We educated students for an entire school year under ever changing pandemic conditions;

  • Students adapted to learning from home and adjusted to in-person learning;

  • Thanks to the dedication and support of the District’s tech team, we officially became a 1:1 District and provided devices for all 12,000 learners;

  • Leroy J, a Hunting Ridge student, placed 8th in the National Science Bee;

  • Courtney M, a D15 Alum, started a campaign called “Painting Peace” with her mom which recognized and celebrated International Peace Day;

  • Our Nutrition and Transportation Departments served over 1,258,544 meals to families between March 16, 2020 and March 16, 2021;

  • Walter R. Sundling was nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Award. We are awaiting news as to whether or not they have been awarded this prestigious award;

  • Mr. Martín Da Costa, Principal of Winston Campus Junior High School (WCJH), was named a winner of the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership;

  • Haley Little, a Stuart R. Paddock 3rd Grade Teacher, was selected as WGN’s Teacher of the Month based on her nomination from a student and her family;

  • Joanna Angelopoulous, a Gray M. Sanborn Art Teacher, received the prestigious honor of being named the 2020 Illinois Art Teacher of the Year by the Illinois Art Education;

  • Jeff Zilke, band director at Sundling Junior High School, was accepted into The American School Band Directors' Association;

  • Eight District 15 teachers obtained or renewed their National Board Certification, known as the gold standard for professional educators;

  • Vanessa Caro, Secretary of the Department of District Improvement and Data, received the Meritorious Service Award in the Educational Service Personnel category of the Those Who Excel Awards;

  • Conyers Learning Academy’s PBIS team received the Meritorious Service Award in the Team category of the Those Who Excel Awards;

  • Thanks to a nomination from Renee Urbanski, Assistant Superintendent for Multilingual Programs, Partners for our Communities (POC) volunteer, Lisa Hanson-Braun, earned a Meritorious Service Award in the Those Who Excel Awards in the Community Volunteer category;

  • Board Member Wenda Hunt received the LeaderShop Academy Recognition Award and Board Member Zubair Khan received the Master Board Member Program Recognition Award.

  • ...and so much more…...please enjoy the year in review video below that represents the joys of teaching and learning during the 2020-21 school year.

Finishing Strong and in Celebration of Students

Our teachers have worked tirelessly all year and have remained committed to finishing this year strong despite the many challenges it presented. I am so proud of and thankful for the way in which everyone came together in order to ensure the educational and social-emotional needs of our students remained at the center of our response efforts while still continuing to improve our programmatic offerings through our curricular initiatives.

Our teachers and building leaders were invested in finding creative ways to close out the year that included the ABC Countdown, outdoor graduation ceremonies, spirited kickball games, reverse car parades, and other fun ways of honoring our students and their hard work during the 2020-21 school year.

Everyone has certainly earned a much anticipated summer break. I hope you enjoy all that summer has to offer.

Looking Ahead to the 2021-22 School Year

As we wrap up the school year, we have already begun to turn our focus to summer construction. We have several construction projects taking place across the district including but not limited to HVAC at three schools, flooring and locker upgrades at Winston Campus, and several classroom renovations at Conyers Learning Academy to accommodate our growing Early Childhood program. We are looking forward to completing these much needed building improvements!

Even more importantly, we are also planning for the start of the 2020-21 school year with the hope that we continue to move toward a bit more normalcy.

Mark Your Calendar for the First Day of the 2021-22 School Year

  • We will welcome first - eighth graders back to school on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

  • We will welcome preschool and Kindergarten learners on Thursday, August 19, 2021.

COVID-19 Guidance Updates

We expect to receive updated guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health within the coming weeks regarding recommendations and/or requirements for the upcoming school year. As we have done this year, we will follow that guidance to ensure we are ready to open schools safely. Please know we are committed to keeping our community up to date with the latest news and information as soon as it is available.

Stay Connected this Summer

As we head for the summer, I wish you a safe and healthy few months of much deserved rest and relaxation. I hope our students continue to read each day, find time to write about what they are doing over the summer, put down the computer and get outside and enjoy time with their family and friends.

Summer Reading Programs

To help students continue to enjoy books all summer, please consider participating in one (or all) of the library reading programs listed below:

In closing, I want to again offer a sincere and heartfelt thank you to our students and parents/guardians for all of your efforts and support this school year. We could not have had such a successful year without everyone working together with one common goal - the continuation of education for our 12,000 students. I know this year has not been easy, but your partnership helped us make it through a tough year together and we are stronger as a result.

Your partner in education,

Laurie Heinz

District 15 2020-2021 Year in Review!

District 15 2020-2021 Year in Review

New Residency Re-verification Process

District 15 has updated its proof of residency process for the 2021-22 school year. The District has begun using a program called CLEAR Batch, ID, which searches publicly-available residency records. Starting this June, District 15 will begin using the CLEAR program to verify every family's last known addresses and phone numbers. In situations where CLEAR identifies a family as having inconsistent records, that family will be contacted directly by the District and asked to verify their residency for next school year.

If you are enrolling a student for the 2021-2022 school year entering Kindergarten, fourth grade, or seventh grade, or you are asked to verify your residency, you will need to provide your school with the required residency reverification documents which can be found on our website. Documentation can be brought directly to your student’s school.

All District 15 schools will be open until 7 pm on June 8 and June 14 to accommodate families that cannot come to school during business hours.

If you have multiple children in grade levels that require reverification of residency, the family only needs to provide the documents once to prove residency.

Proof of residency (to complete the registration process) and student fees are due by July 1, 2021.

Reminder: Online Registration Deadline Approaching

Online registration is open for all students for the 2021-2022 school year. We need your help! If you have not already done so, you should register your student here. Doing so will allow principals to finalize class lists and ensure our buildings are appropriately staffed.

Registration will continue until Thursday, June 17. Please know that families not registered by then will not receive teacher assignment, class schedule, or school open house information until registration is completed.

May Parent University: Keep the Learning Going!

It's been a really challenging year, and many parents have questions like -- how can I keep the learning going with my student this summer? Check out this awesome list of ideas for learners of all ages, across subject areas.

Get involved with programs at our local public libraries, have a dance party, or take some time to volunteer-- as a family! This newsletter, as part of our Parent University series, is a resource you can access all summer long. Check it out!

Program Assistants Needed for Extended School Year!

We are looking for program assistants for the Extended School Year summer program! If you are interested, please visit our website for more information or to apply.

Substitute Teachers Needed for 2021-22 School Year

We are looking to increase our substitute teaching pool. Anyone with a 4-year college degree is eligible to qualify for a substitute teaching license through the state of Illinois.

Interested? Please reach out to Chanell Lopez ( with any questions.

Substitute School Nurses Needed

We are always looking to add substitute nurses to our substitute pool as well! Illinois Licensure and CPR Certification are required. If you're interested, please apply online.

Image: ECDEC Early Childhood Screening


  • June 9 - Board of Education Meeting
  • June 23 - Board of Education Committee of the Whole Meeting
  • August 11 - Board of Education Meeting
  • August 18 - First Day of School (1st - 8th grade)
  • August 19 - First Day of School (preschool and Kindergarten)