Friday, August 6
Ms. Carter and I are so excited to be serving as Co-Interim Principals of Beye Elementary School this year! We are really looking forward to meeting all of the students and families. Today's first edition of the Bobcat Blog is to introduce ourselves and some new staff members as you will see below. The Bobcat Blog will be sent to you weekly and archived on Beye's website. In next week's edition you will receive a lot of important Beye back to school information. Today, we would like to further introduce ourselves beyond the newspaper articles you may have seen copied below.
This year marks my 27th year in Education. After teaching for 19 years, I served as a Student Support Specialist, Interim Principal, and Assistant Principal. This will be my fifth elementary school I have had the privilege of working at in Oak Park. I am so honored to be joining the Beye Community. On a personal note, my husband and I have lived in Oak Park with our 3 kids for 23 years. Bill went through the D97 and D200 schools himself and is now a Cook County Circuit Court Judge. Our oldest daughter Cali graduated from Notre Dame in May and has committed to Columbia Law School in New York. Due to their over-enrollment and generous offer to wait, she will head to Columbia next fall. Our twins, Patrick and Megan, are headed off to the University of Illinois and Miami of Ohio, for their junior year. Rounding out the family are our two dogs, a 12 year old Lab mix (Wrigley) and a 3 year old Golden Retriever (Sadie). I still can't believe we have two dogs and the Cubs said good-bye to so many players this summer.
I began my career in Oak Park in 1977 as a Grade 2 teacher for two years at Lincoln SchooI. After receiving tenure, I was moved to Whittier School and taught for fourteen years in grades 2-4. In 1993, I became the Assistant Principal at Lincoln for five years. In 1998-2015, I was the Principal at Hatch School for 17 years. I retired in June 2015.
I was asked to return to Lincoln in November 2019 – June 2021 to support the school as an administrator. I totally enjoyed returning to the school where I started my career. I was also able to help out Holmes School for five weeks as a Substitute Assistant Principal. That was awesome!
There is a Grade 1 teacher at Lincoln that was in my first class.
There are three teachers on staff at Lincoln that were students in the building when I was the assistant principal.
One of my former students at Whittier became a pilot for Air Force 2 under the Obama Administration.
There are at least two parents at Lincoln and four parents at Holmes that were my former students at Whittier. Seeing them again was absolutely wonderful!
During a memorial service for one of my PTO presidents last summer, I met a former student of mine that is the football coach at OPRFHS. Too cool!!
Here’s what I know: Children are a gift! It is our job to make a difference. I look forward to the opportunity!
I’m so excited to work at Beye School. I knew the former principals: Jonathan Ellwanger and Susan Gibson very well!! It is going to be a wonderful experience for me. Mrs. Sullivan and I will do all we can to make it a great year for the Beye Community!
Enjoy the remaining days of the Summer,
As you can seen from the pictures back on July 15, Beye is undergoing a major renovation project. We can't wait to see the new library space, elevator, and other improvements.
Welcome New Beye Staff Members
Theoni Acosta - K-2 Music Teacher
Hello, Beye community! My name is Theoni Acosta and I’ll be teaching music at both Beye and Holmes this year. My family just moved back to Oak Park from Madison and I am thrilled to be back in my hometown. In Wisconsin, I taught K-4 elementary music and previously I directed the choirs at Trinity High School. It’s so great to be back in this area and I can’t wait to make music and memories with the Beye students :)
Sarah Adduci: 5th Grade Teacher
Hello, Bobcats! I am Sarah Adduci (previously known as Sarah Wells), and I am so excited to join the Beye community! Last year, I taught 5th grade at Holmes, and though I am saddened to leave my Hawks, I'm looking forward to being a Bobcat! Prior to the 2020-2021 school year, I taught nine years in Terre Haute, Indiana (my hometown). I attended Indiana University to obtain my bachelor's degree in elementary education and Indiana State University for my master's degree in K-12 administration and supervision.Outside of teaching, you may find me spending time with my husband, two dogs, and family and friends. I'm a HUGE fan of track and field (coached for four years!) and swimming! You can also ask former students; we're pretty big on kickball! I hope 2021-2022 will be the best school year yet!
Meghan Eubeler - 3rd Grade Co-Teacher
My name is Meghan Eubeler. This will be my second year at Beye and after long term subbing in 3rd grade last year I’m so excited to now be co-teaching 3rd with Kelly Ferguson! I graduated from Drake University in 2020 with a BA in Elementary Education w/ endorsements in Reading and and English as a Second Language. I grew up in Downers Grove, and now live in downtown Chicago. I love art, movies (I know way too much movie trivia), reading and going for long walks. I am so excited to continue this upcoming school year as a Bobcat!
Chelsea Hosler - 4th Grade Co-Teacher
My name is Chelsea Hosler, and I'm originally from Berwick, PA where I grew up on a dairy farm. I graduated from Grove City College with a Bachelors in History and Sociology, and then later graduated from UIC with a MEd in Special Education. For the last four years, I was a SPED teacher at Jose de Diego Community Academy in CPS. My (new!) husband and I purchased a home, not far from Beye, this year. I am so excited to join the Beye community and to be part of the exciting and innovative future of co-teaching. Some fun facts about me: I have two dogs, I love live music, and I have 32 first cousins.
Erin Woodson: Instructional Coach
My name is Erin Woodson and I’m excited to join Beye as the instructional coach this year. I’m a Chicago native who grew up in the Austin neighborhood. I attended UIC for undergrad and UIS for my graduate studies. I am a 2005 Golden Apple Scholar of Illinois and have had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best educators across the state. In total, I have 12 years of classroom experience at various levels. I taught six years in Chicago Public Schools before transitioning to District 97 in 2015. I’ve been teaching at Irving for the last six years. In my free time, I enjoy taking Zumba class, crafting and binge watching movies on Netflix. I look forward to collaborating with you this year!
Upcoming Vaccination Opportunities
According to the CDC and IDPH, vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic and help schools safely return to in-person learning. Vaccination is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, and helps avoid severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Aug. 9 (Oak Park and River Forest High School)
To make getting vaccinated as easy as possible, in partnership with the health department, the Oak Park Department of Public Health and Oak Park and River Forest High School are hosting an on-site vaccination clinic on Aug. 9, from 12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. The clinic will be open to all.
Students from Districts 90, 97, and 200 who are age 12 and older, staff members from all three districts, and community members are encouraged to participate.
Individuals will receive the Pfizer vaccine—the only one approved for youth--and second vaccination appointments will be automatically scheduled, and will also be administered at the high school.
If needed, the health department will open more slots to accommodate all who are interested, even if an additional clinic is needed
Students ages 12 through 17 will need a signed parent’s consent to receive the vaccine (click here to download the consent form). Please download, print, and bring it with you. Children under 14 must also be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
To pre-register for the vaccination clinic, click here.
Letter to Community on Tuesday, August 3
Dear District 97 Families,
We hope that you are enjoying a safe and restful summer. With the first day of school just a few weeks away, we know that our community has been eagerly awaiting details about our back-to-school plans. Our team has been working diligently this summer to prepare for the upcoming year, and we are excited for all of our students and staff to return to full in-person learning. Today, our goal is to share as much information as possible to help you prepare for the first day of school.
As we previously shared, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) fully adopted the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools during the 2021-22 school year. This guidance recommends many school-based mitigation strategies as safety measures for staff and students. Per IDPH guidelines, decisions regarding the management of positive COVID-19 cases, contact tracing and quarantine were made at the direction of the Oak Park Department of Public Health.
In response to this guidance, District 97 has developed a comprehensive back-to-school plan to keep our students and staff healthy and safe while they learn in person five days a week. Our approach implements data-informed response measures that are aligned with the most up-to-date scientific research and best practices for K-12 schools. The plan also reflects rising concerns about the transmissibility of the Delta variant, the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, and the fact that the majority of our students (Pre-K through sixth grade) are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Below is a brief overview of some, not all, of the safety mitigations that will be in place for the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. New procedures are starred (*).
*Full-Day, In-Person Instruction for All Students: Per state guidance, remote learning will only be provided only if a student is placed in quarantine by the health department or if students qualify as medically fragile.
Universal Masking: Masks will be required for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status. Distanced mask breaks will be provided.
*Weekly Screening Testing: District 97 will partner with SHIELD Illinois to provide weekly testing to all students in Pre-K through eighth grade. This is a non-invasive saliva test that will be conducted on site during the school day. Testing is optional but strongly recommended. No action is necessary to participate; those who wish to opt out need to complete the SHIELD Opt-Out Form by Tuesday, Aug. 10. CLICK HERE to learn more about SHIELD testing.
*Updated Quarantine and Contact Tracing Procedures: At the direction of the Oak Park Department of Public Health, unvaccinated individuals who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or who test positive for COVID-19, must quarantine/isolate from school for a period of 10-14 school days. Students and staff may return after following the protocols outlined in our plan. As of today, quarantining is no longer required for vaccinated individuals unless they are symptomatic. The CDC and IDPH have also updated their close contact definition for classroom students, which we hope will minimize disruptions to in-person learning this year.
Daily Symptom Screenings: District 97 will continue daily CrisisGo health screenings for all students.
Physical Distancing: We will make every effort to maintain as much distance as possible between students—at least 3 feet—in classrooms and during lunch.
Cleaning and Disinfecting: Staff will perform regular school cleaning and disinfect all high-touch surfaces daily. The full classroom disinfection process will occur weekly.
As you are aware, the pandemic continues to evolve quickly, as does the guidance from the CDC and our state and local health departments. We are confident in our plan and our ability to adapt as conditions change. All of our decisions will continue to be guided by our three priorities: the health and safety of our students and staff; providing consistent, high-quality learning experiences; and our commitment to equity.
Further updates about our back-to-school plans will be shared by the district and building principals in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can contact the district using Let’s Talk (2021-22 Back-to-School Plan/COVID-19).
We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back later this month. Until then, we hope that you and your family enjoy the remaining weeks of summer break. Thank you for your continued patience and support.
Dr. Griff Powell and Dr. Patricia Wernet