Superintendent's Message, 9.7.2016

Summer flew and we’re back to school. We’ve made a great start! I hope you’ll take a few moments to read my Superintendent Messages throughout the year, with information, news, and celebrations I’m eager to share with you.

Is that your phone ringing?
In the next few weeks, some of you will receive a phone call from School District 96. If you are among the parents called, I hope you’ll take time to answer (the caller ID phone number will appear as 877-586-9559) and accept the invitation to participate in our anonymous Parent Satisfaction Phone Survey. We want your candid opinion about your experiences.

Who will be contacted? A random sample of parents who have one or more District 96 students in their household has been selected by an independent research firm using a computerized system to be contacted. The Board of Education and administrators worked together to write the survey questions that will allow us to measure your satisfaction with a variety of District programs and services and to compare your responses with results from previous years’ surveys.

How long will the survey take? Answering the phone interviewer’s survey questions will take approximately 10 minutes.

When will calls be made? If called, can participation occur at a more convenient time? Calls will begin on or after Wed., Sept. 14, and will be made Monday–Friday, 5:30–9:00 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; and Sunday Noon - 8 p.m. Calls will continue until interviewers have completed a sufficient number of interviews for a statistically representative sample. If there is no answer, the interviewer will leave voice mail, including a number parents may call.

Participant selection for our Parent Satisfaction Phone Survey is random and all responses are completely anonymous. I sincerely hope that if you are called you will choose to participate in this process of engaging parents that District 96 has used for over 20 years. The Board of Education and District administrators highly value your feedback and consider it carefully in planning strategically to best serve our students and our learning community. I will report results from the survey in a future Superintendent Message.

Updated learning environments welcome District 96 students
Over 200 full-day kindergartners are engaged in learning at our newly renovated Willow Grove Early Learning Center – a bright, colorful, welcoming environment thoughtfully designed to accommodate our youngest students. Work on the cafeteria continues and is expected to be completed by mid-October. In the meantime, our kindergartners are enjoying eating their lunches at new tables in an area of the gym. We look forward to the school rededication on Tues., Oct. 18. At that time we’ll also dedicate the interior courtyard in the Willow Grove Learning Center in memory of our former Board of Education member Lauren Gordon–a tribute appropriate to one so devoted to meeting the social/emotional as well as academic learning needs of every child.

Our students in grades 6–8 at Twin Groves and Woodlawn also have newly updated classrooms in their schools. Districtwide, nine renovated middle school science classrooms now feature work surfaces, lighting, furniture, and flooring that reflect best practice in design and function. Students and their teachers use state-of-the-art technology as they hypothesize, conduct experiments, and compare and discuss conclusions. District 96 students are equipped, indeed, to succeed!

Join in a fun District 96 tradition
Of the many great traditions we have in District 96, one I particularly enjoy is the District 96 Dash–a 5k walk/run for families and faculty. This is the morning our community comes together annually for fun fitness and to benefit those in our own District. It’s organized by all seven of our Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) working collaboratively–a districtwide event for students of all ages and their parents.

Whether you run or walk the course from the Twin Groves Middle School parking lot through nearby residential neighborhoods, you’ll be glad you took the time for fun and fresh air with family and friends. This year participants will end their run/walk in photo-finish style on the new track. Students in Dash-participating families also can choose to join in their grade-level Mini Dash at 9:45 a.m., included at no additional cost.

The 6th-Annual D96 Dash is Sun., Sept. 25. Check-in at the Twin Groves Middle School parking lot (2600 N. Buffalo Grove Rd.) starts at 7:45 a.m. and the warm-up starts at 8:15 a.m. The 5k Run/Walk Dash steps off at 8:30 a.m. REGISTER NOW – I look forward to seeing you there!

Learning and teaching in School District 96–where every day we observe our students, faculty, and staff being innovative, solving problems, developing as leaders, and persevering–mean we have lots of inspiring highlights to share.

We began the school year by introducing #Inspire96 and inviting our staff to share the good work we’re doing. #Inspire96 Tweetable moments feature daily teaching and learning triumphs, celebrations, proud moments, and focused work.

We hope you’ll follow #Inspire96 on Twitter and join us in using social media to highlight the many positive ways our District 96 students are learning and excelling. This gives community members an exciting “real-time” peek into what is happening in our classrooms every day.

In fact, I’m in our schools and classrooms almost every day and am truly awed by what I see. I invite you to ask your children to talk to you about what they’re enjoying learning–I’m sure you’ll hear some outstanding #Inspire96 Tweetable moments!

Best wishes for a great year of learning and growing,
Julie Schmidt, Superintendent, District 96 Schools