June 30, 2016

Dear District 41 Community,

Although school is out for summer, there is much happening in our school district to prepare for the year ahead. Here is an update on some of the summer work happening across the district and for the Board of Education.
First, we are very pleased to welcome a new Board member. The Board interviewed 19 candidates and selected Willie DiFabio to fill the seat of Dean Elger who moved to Utah.  Mr. DiFabio has accepted the seat and was publicly sworn into office on Monday, June 27 at the Board Meeting.  Mr. DiFabio served previously on the Board from 1997-2005. He is a member of the District 41 Community Facilities Task Force, and most notably, has been serving as a substitute teacher in our classrooms for several years. His term on the Board will expire in April 2017 when three seats will be up for election.
The 18 other community members who applied for the open Board seat are committed and passionate about our schools.  We encourage each of the applicants to continue to or become involved in the many opportunities for engagement through district and school-based committees, participation via PTA, and attend Board meetings and special workshop meetings, to name a few. And, to continue to share your thoughts and feedback with the board.
Summer Projects
There is no "down time" in District 41! Summer facilities projects are happening at each of the buildings.  Some of the highlights include improvements to the Churchill parking lot, retrofitting and painting lockers at Hadley, replacing lockers with cubbies at Forest Glen, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln School will receive a new emergency announcement soundsystem, and Churchill and Ben Franklin will see upgrades and new equipment on their playgrounds for the fall. Click Here to see photos of some of the work being done at all of the schools.
Board of Education Work  - Two Long-Term Priorities
The first priority is the update to the Long-Range Plan (LRP) adopted in 2008 and updated in 2012.  The next scheduled update was planned for 2016 and the process is moving along. Seven Strategic Priorities and Indicators or "Measures" of Success have been set by the board.  The Long-Range plan process includes collaboration with Dr. Gordon, district administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents via the Continuous Improvement Team (CIT).  In July, all D41 staff are invited to attend a Long-Range Planning Workshop to offer their recommendations on Key Performance Indicators and Action Steps on the Strategic Priorities. You can see by this work that all members of the D41 Community are invited to join in developing the plan to continue a strong and high-achieving district for all children.
The second priority is District 41 facilities. The Board has reviewed the data including the report created by the Community Facilities Task Force over the past 9 months. The June 15 special board workshop gave Dr. Gordon direction to have Green Associates, D41's Architect firm, deliver an estimate to the board for costs associated with developing plans and financial estimates for facility options. Click Here for the report presented by the Community Facilities Task Force. Also, the board asked for a review of space utilization in the buildings. At the June 27 board meeting, the board approved Green Associates proposal to deliver plans and financial estimates for the facilities work to the board. Each step is a critical part of keeping our facilities relevant for the ever-changing needs in education to keep our learning environment current with flexibility for the future.
On behalf of the Board of Education, have a great summer with your family and keep reading and learning!
Erica Nelson