It feels like summer has barely begun and we’re already getting ready for the upcoming school year. The 2023-2024 school year kicks off with a professional development day for teachers and staff on August 14, followed by our Back to School Night from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at all elementary schools. The first day of school will be August 15 for all students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Liberty Junior High School will host their Back to School Night that evening from 6:00 to 7:30 pm.
Our summer projects began immediately following the last day of school. The most exciting project being the playground at Fry School, which was built by staff and community volunteers the week after Memorial Day. The park has been named after our very own Kristi Mueller, Director of Grants and Public Relations. She worked with the faculty at Fry School for several years tirelessly researching and applying for various grant opportunities for playgrounds. Her dedication and perseverance paid off and now Mueller Park at Fry School is open and ready for fun!
In curriculum news, we adopted the McGraw Hill Reveal Math series for our Junior High Math resource, which you can read more about on page 2. Throughout the summer, teams of teachers have been meeting to choose focus standards in Reading, Writing, and Math. These standards will guide learning in our district for the next several years. The first step was to choose district-wide, grade-specific focus standards from the Illinois State Priority Standards. These team decisions were based on Northwest Education Association Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) data and Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) data. After choosing focus standards, the teams then updated curriculum pacing guides to highlight the parts of each lesson for additional focus. These updated pacing guides will support consistency in teaching throughout each grade level in the district.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has encouraged District 111 and many Illinois school districts to apply for funding to offer preschool services, aimed to increase access to preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds across the state and filling critical gaps in underserved areas. This grant funding is the first step in Governor JB Pritzker’s four-year Smart Start Illinois plan to eliminate preschool deserts in Illinois. Governor Pritzker and ISBE have requested that the General Assembly appropriate an additional $75 million to expand state-funded preschool in FY 2024, which would increase access to an estimated additional 5,000 children throughout Illinois. On June 14, 2023 we submitted our Preschool For All application for funding to serve 130 students. ISBE has 90 days to accept or deny our application. Please check our district website for upcoming preschool screening dates and any Preschool For All updates.
The start of school is quickly approaching and I am looking forward to another productive year for District 111. In closing, I would like to invite our families to join us at the Back to School Rally on Saturday, August 26 at Burbank School. It’s a family friendly event and a great way to celebrate the new school year. As always, great things are happening in District 111!
Dr. Franzy Fleck