Superintendent's Message, 8.12.19

I’m a parent as well as a superintendent of schools.

Like you, I know that a new school year follows a summer that seems to fly by faster every year.

Like you, I know that a new school year requires an abrupt change in routine that can really shake up the family!

And like you, I know that a new school year brings feelings of excitement and anticipation (even though your students might not admit it!) and also–for some children–concern and uncertainty in meeting new teachers and friends and navigating new experiences.
Be assured that, without exception, our faculty and staff are well-prepared and eager to make the school year ahead one of exceptional learning and nurturing growth for your student. Many of our teachers have spent significant hours this summer working collaboratively in writing and refining curriculum to best equip our students to succeed. In fact, our faculty completed over 4,500 hours of curriculum work over the summer! Our new teachers have participated in orientation and are paired and working closely with District mentors to embrace the culture of District 96, where our focus on the academic and social/emotional growth of every child, every school, every day is unwavering.
I hear again and again that families have chosen to move to this area for our schools. We’re welcoming many of you this school year, in fact, and I speak for all our administrators, teachers, and staff when I say genuinely that we feel privileged to work with your students. We are committed to a continuous cycle of improvement, with no place for complacency. I invite you to read my STATE OF THE DISTRICT REPORT, presented to our Board of Education at their meeting on July 16, to learn more about who we are and our District strengths, celebrations, and goals for growth.

New assistant principals this year include Twin Groves Assistant Principal Brandon Baisden and–introduced in a message to District families last spring–Assistant Principals Joshua Higgins and Michael Senatore supporting our work with your students at our elementary schools. Their assignments reflect student enrollments at our elementary buildings. Kimberly Mollerdino begins her third year as assistant principal at Ivy Hall, supporting Principal Bob Hanrahan. Mr. Higgins will support Kildeer Principal Vail Kieser. Mr. Senatore will support both Country Meadows Principal Meghan Bird and Prairie Principal Dr. Christine Pfaff.

Mr. Baisden succeeds Twin Groves Assistant Principal David DeMuth, whose growth in District 96 helped prepare him to accept the role of principal in another Illinois school district. We are thrilled Mr. DeMuth has this opportunity and wish him every success.

Likewise, we warmly welcome Mr. Baisden, selected from among highly qualified candidates to support Twin Groves Principal Jessica Barnes. He and his wife have three children and recently moved to our School District 96 community. 

Mr. Baisden’s professional experience is rich and relevant. Most recently, he was an assistant principal in Oswego School District 308–a position he held for three years. He brings experience managing school safety, fostering professional development of staff, using technology to enhance school function and communication, and leading Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum development.

Before he and his family moved to Illinois in 2016, he was an assistant principal and student support counselor for two years in the Buncombe County School District in Buncombe, North Carolina. There, he advocated for students and families and worked with staff and the administrative team to work collaboratively to prepare students to excel.

Mr. Baisden looks forward to supporting Principal Jessica Barnes in his new role at Twin Groves Middle School and is eager to meet Twin Groves parents during Curriculum Nights on Aug. 26 and 28.
A Celebration: Kildeer Countryside Elementary School Physical Education Blue Ribbon
Congratulations to Kildeer Countryside students and their 2018-2019 physical education teachers Ashley Almdale, Luke Emde, and Allison Groessl! The Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (IAHPERD) has recognized the Kildeer physical education program with a Blue Ribbon of Excellence. Representatives of IAHPERD visited the school late last spring to observe instruction and to interview parents, staff, and administrators. This is a distinguished honor that requires meeting and exceeding stringent criteria. The Kildeer PE Team and Principal Vail Kieser will be recognized in the fall by IAHPERD.
This week brings opportunities to Meet the Teacher (Grades 1 – 5 from 8:30–9:30 a.m. and Willow Grove students from 10–11 a.m.) on Tues., Aug. 13, and for Locker Set-Up (Grades 6–8 from 4–7 p.m.) on Wed., Aug. 14. Our first day of school is Thurs., Aug. 15 – a HALF DAY. Find specific dismissal times shared in E-NEWS 96. Please be sure to read E-NEWS 96 and Principal’s Message weekly communications so you are reminded of schedules and events and don’t miss opportunities to work collaboratively with us to support your student’s learning. I also appreciate your reading my Superintendent Messages sent approximately monthly throughout the school year, with news I want to share with you.

Best wishes for a smooth transition from summer to school and a great 2019–2020 year of learning!
--Julie Schmidt, Superintendent of Schools