District Digest

Glen Ellyn School District 41

January 22, 2020

Safety Message from Superintendent Kaczkowski

I would like to take this opportunity to share a bit more information about safety at Board meetings and to hopefully help everyone understand the decision the Board of Education made to have a police officer attend Board meetings.

As superintendent, I am ultimately responsible for the safety and security of all students, staff members, and visitors to our district. This responsibility extends to Board meetings. After having staff members, visitors and community members share their concern with personal safety at the meetings, the decision was made to reach out to the Glen Ellyn Police Department to see if they could support safety by sending an officer to our next couple of meetings. As always, they were and continue to be a valuable source of support to D41.

After I consulted with the Glen Ellyn Police Department, I also reached out to my superintendent colleagues, members of our District Threat Assessment Team, and our threat assessment consultant, Dr. Nancy Zarse. For those of you who may not be familiar with a new law that requires all school districts to establish a Threat Assessment Plan and team, I am including a link to information provided by our district legal counsel. I am also providing a link to provide a deeper understanding of Threat Assessment. All of these resources agreed that, as a school district, we have very few tools available to us to maintain an expectation of civil discourse at public meetings. When that discourse takes on a level of intensity, there are people who do not feel personally safe. In this day and age, D41 cannot dismiss those concerns. We have an obligation to do what we can to respond to them and work to ensure that everyone in the room feels safe and welcome. One of my goals is to have staff and students attend our meetings. The Board and the community deserves to hear from those directly engaged in great work with our students. The Board and community deserves to hear directly from those whom we serve, our students. If we want to establish an environment where this is possible, we need to strive for meetings that foster civil discourse. Healthy and productive disagreement is possible when the conversation is about issues and not people. I am a firm believer that difficult and challenging questions, when offered in the spirit of improvement, only makes us better. We are committed to improvement and not just celebrations.

The Board of Education discussed this in Closed Session because it pertains to safety. A decision was made to continue to request that an officer attend the meetings and to be transparent about it. It is important to note that we are not pulling an officer off the streets and away from their policing responsibilities. We are paying for an officer’s time when they are off duty. There may be times when they do not have an officer who can attend. We are not obligated to continue this arrangement and I am certain that the Board will continue to discuss the need. The District will continue to develop our Threat Assessment Plan and teams under the guidance of Dr. Nancy Zarse. We have done extensive work this year in the area of safety, emergency preparedness, crisis and threats and we will continue to explore resources that directly impact students and families. This is just one piece of a much larger puzzle.

It takes us all to keep our schools and community safe. Thank you for your continued support and thank you to the Glen Ellyn Police Department.

Dr. Melissa Kaczkowski


Parent Camp Featuring Cyber Safety Expert Liz Repking - February 1

Join parents and staff for a morning of conversation about what’s good for kids!

The 5th Annual District 41 Parent Camp will be held on Saturday, February 1 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln School. Parent Camp is an "unconference," meaning that sessions are meant to start a conversation and engage all the members of the small group as opposed to the traditional "stand and deliver" format of a traditional conference. The morning will be split into three 40 minute sessions.

Cyber safety expert Liz Repking will present a keynote with information and tips for keeping kids safe online!

All District 41 families and staff are welcome to attend this free conference!

Childcare will be provided by the Hadley Junior High Builders Club - They will be showing the movie Wonder Park.

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An Evening with the Board - February 13

The Board of Education will host “An Evening with the Board” on Thursday, February 13 , 7 - 8:30 p.m. at Innovation DuPage located in the Glen Ellyn Civic Center. This is an opportunity to engage with the Board and ask questions related to board business. All are welcome!

What is Institute Day?

This past Monday, teachers and staff across the district spent the day in district without students to focus on their own learning. There are eight Institute Days each school year. The days are used to set aside time for teachers and staff to participate in professional development opportunities provided by the district. Some of the topics staff learned about this past Monday included building professional development on reading strategies, behavior intervention strategies, cycles of inquiry, trauma sensitive practices and teaching and learning in the PreK classrooms.
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D41 Kids Foundation

In early 2018, a group of community members from across District 41 gathered to address the reality that public education and its revenue are increasingly at risk from national and state sources. In a series of visioning meetings, the group reached out to a diverse range of stakeholders to discuss the issues facing our district, identify existing support systems, and explore the opportunities for a D41-focused foundation. The group collectively identified both a need and desire to create a pathway for those who want to make a greater investment in education, similar to foundations established in Wheaton District 200, Downers Grove District 58 and Naperville District 203.

A small working group then conducted a startup workshop to explore the vision, mission, board structure, and potential names for the foundation. From there, members developed branding materials, drafted by-laws, and established a founding board. After collaborative conversations with both D41 administration and the PEP Foundation Board, in June of 2019, D41 Kids Foundation was announced to the District 41 School Board.

“D41 Kids Foundation is committed to the belief that every child is worth our investment. Our community values education and the success of our students, no matter where they begin, the challenges they face, or the talents they dream of pursuing,” said Foundation President Kathy Bayert. “The D41 Kids Foundation is committed to providing the support they need to overcome those challenges and chase those dreams.”

For more information about the D41 Kids Foundation, go to www.d41kids.org

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Glenbard Parent Series for District 41 Parents!

The Glenbard Parent Series presents Amy Morin speaking about “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do: Raising Self-Assured Children and Training Their Brains for a Life of Happiness, Meaning and Success.”

Wednesday, January 29, 7 p.m.

College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center (MAC)

425 Fawell Blvd. in Glen Ellyn

Thursday, January 30 at noon

Marquardt District 15 Administration Building

1860 Glen Ellyn Road in Glendale Heights

For the entire GPS schedule, Click Here. All are welcome - free!

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