Superintendent's Message, 12.16.15

Julie photoOnly 15 days left in December!??

As we look forward to spending time with family and friends in the last of 2015, I’m already thinking about what’s coming next….

Though the jump to 2016 is really only the turning of a calendar page, the new year is a clean slate – the invitation to follow through on plans to try something new and challenge ourselves in different ways. (This always is an interesting discussion with my husband and daughter!)

In District 96, a team of experienced staff already is fully engaged in planning to make the learning experience for future Willow Grove kindergartners ever richer and more relevant. The change to a full-day kindergarten program – effective in August with the start of the 2016–2017 school year – will give our kindergartners essential additional instructional minutes in academics and in developmental foundations (including social/emotional learning).

Increased academic rigor in elementary grades and beyond makes this additional instruction necessary. Our staff implementation team is building schedules and exploring options to use every school-day minute optimally, guided by research and best practices for young children’s learning.

Leadership at Willow Grove is another facet that will change in the next year. Dr. Barbara Cirigliano – Willow Grove principal since the kindergarten center opened in 1999 – has announced her intention to retire on June 30, 2016. For 17 years Barb has contributed significantly to our students’ success and we wish her the best as she decides what’s next for herself.

I’m very pleased to share that last night the Board of Education appointed her highly qualified and enthusiastic successor, Mrs. Jennifer Smith, effective Aug. 1, 2016.

I wish you fun and relaxing family time during Winter Break. Enjoy! District 96 schools close at the end of the school day on Fri., Dec. 18. We’ll welcome our students and staff back to school on Mon., Jan. 4, 2016.
Best wishes,