Superintendent's Message, 12.15.2016

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I am pleased to share that at their December 13th meeting, the Board of Education approved the appointment of Mrs. Amy Gluck to the position of director of educational services beginning July 1, 2017. Mrs. Gluck is a District 96 and Stevenson graduate who began her career here in 1997 serving as a 3rd-grade teacher and then reading specialist before becoming an assistant principal at Twin Groves in 2011. Mrs. Gluck was then appointed principal at Ivy Hall Elementary beginning August 1, 2012. We are excited to welcome her to the district-level team.

Learning and Celebrations
You may remember that in August I introduced our Twitter hashtag Inspire96 and encouraged our teachers and faculty to use it to share the exciting learning ongoing in our schools.

A picture, a brief video, or a description in a Twitter tweet gives a quick perspective on some innovative ways our faculty and staff connect with and engage your kids to help them learn.

I know that everyone doesn’t use Twitter–I was new to it then, myself–but as one committed to lifelong learning, I resolved to jump in and explore its possibilities as a communication tool for District 96. I’m glad I did. As I said, tweets are a window into D96 schools!

You’ll find simple how-to instructions included at the end of this email to help you set up your Twitter account and “step into” our classrooms!

As our tweets help to illustrate, since we began this school year together we’ve experienced quite a lot. In staying true to our value of celebrating success, several highlights emerge….  They include full-day learning opportunities for our kindergartners and the opening of the newly renovated Willow Grove Early Learning Center, a second U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon for Woodlawn Middle School, Country Meadows’ recognition in Chicago Magazine’s Lake County Elementary Schools list, and our student musicians’ and athletes’ proud accomplishments.

But this school year has also included experiences that have led us to return ever more frequently to our District values to guide our practices as a school community….

Inclusion and Unity
We’re barraged with images, audio, and details of events around the world–and close to home–that deeply concern us and challenge us as parents and educators working to prepare our children to be empathetic, ethical adults who enjoy healthy relationships. We’re committed to cultivating caring citizens able to dialogue effectively and respectfully to convey an idea, propose a compromise, or explain a position. That’s an important life skill, indeed, and–as a matter of fact–the results of our recent Parent Satisfaction Survey make it clear that the development of your children’s social/emotional skills are among your top priorities as parents.

More than ever, we’re both dedicated and determined to keep our schools places where all individuals are confident that they’re valued and respected–regardless of color, language, gender, religion or ability–true to our District value and commitment to every child, every school, every day.  These values translate into action as we intervene, support, and teach when behaviors contrary to our values are demonstrated at school.  We are unwavering in our commitment to our schools being places where disrespectful and discriminatory actions and words have no place.

We regard the diversity of our District 96 community as an asset–a rich resource that allows us to broaden our understanding and explore new and different ways of thinking. We’re working to help all of our stakeholders to recognize it as such, and to appreciate the global perspective that our diversity makes possible.

We are our best selves when we come together as a community focusing our resources, support, and talent to make our students’ education exceptional and authentic. Indeed, the fact that that is a priority we all share is something to celebrate as we challenge ourselves to model for others what we expect from others–another District value in action. And when we stumble along the way we don’t minimize or move on...we dialogue and grow together.

I hope the holidays ahead bring you opportunities for fun family times together. Like you, I’m looking forward to those! My daughter has reached an age where she is actively listening and forming opinions, so our family time together these days inevitably includes interesting conversation about her observations. Discussing together the value our family places on respecting everyone–and what that looks like and does NOT look like–seems a great way to start the new year! I am asking that you, as parents, partner with us and have the same conversations with your kids as we work together to all become our best selves.

I wish you and your family pleasant, peaceful holidays with time to enjoy being together!
-- Julie Schmidt, District 96 Superintendent 

I hope you’ll CLICK HERE and follow the specific step-by-step instructions to create and get started using Twitter. Then follow D96 tweets by going to and typing #Inspire96 in the Twitter search bar. Welcome to District 96 classrooms!