Superintendent's Message, 11.25.19

Superintendent's Message, 11.25.19

District 96 schools and classrooms are active learning zones! I’d like to share some news–and views–with you:

Not the PE Classes You Might Remember….

What’s best for teaching kids? KCSD96 faculty and staff never stop asking that question.

Our best-practices research led to the introduction of –something new in KCSD96 elementary gyms this year that is taking physical education classes to another level. It’s action-packed, high-energy focused fun with benefits. And KCSD96 kids are big fans.

Last week the District hosted faculty from local multiple school districts interested in exploring the option for their gym classes. They talked with Ivy Hall PE teacher Todd Spangler, who sees Lü as “a great teaching tool” and observed it firsthand.

Lü is engaging our students physically and mentally, combining giant interactive projections, lighting, and sound with curriculum-based and social/emotional learning activities.

It was introduced two years ago and is used in 20 countries around the world. From individual and team exercises to developing specific skills such as overhand throwing, Lü is a learning tool that invites students to challenge themselves physically. There are Lü games that introduce mental challenge, as well, incorporating students’ knowledge of  math or social studies facts, for example.

“Lü brings a special energy in the gym and students are motivated to refine their skills!” notes Kildeer Elementary Principal Vail Kieser. Country Meadows Principal Meghan Bird agrees, citing the benefit of increased student engagement.

I invite you to take a look at Lü in action!

Leaders to Celebrate

District 96 is a place to learn and grow for people of all ages. Our focus on lifelong learning and development as leaders extends to faculty, administrators, and Board of Education members, as well. Thus, it’s my privilege to share news concerning two people with whom I work closely who are leaders supporting students’ learning well beyond the 20 square miles or so comprising School District 96.

Dr. Beth Dalton is the District’s assistant superintendent for human resources. Recently, she was sworn in as the president of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA). The focus of this national organization is to assist school districts in attracting, retaining, and developing highly qualified teachers and support staff, as well as substitute teachers. 

Dr. Dalton notes, “As a nation, we are facing not only a teacher shortage, but also a support staff and substitute teacher shortage. Therefore, the recruitment, retention, and development of employees becomes even more vital to our schools…. Our work of placing the best people we can with the students we serve is our obligation.”

Before her current role in AASPA, Dr. Dalton served as regional representative for three years and as the Board liaison to multiple committees. In addition, she is a founding member of the Illinois Association of School Personnel Administrators (IASPA), the Illinois affiliate of the national organization she now leads.

In addition, I want to celebrate the election of District 96 Board of Education President Marc Tepper as the Lake County Division director of the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB). In his new role, Mr. Tepper serves as a member of the IASB Board of Directors and serves on the nominating and investment committees. 

Mr. Tepper describes his new responsibilities in this way: ”The IASB Board provides an avenue for communication among local school boards, the Lake County Division, and the IASB. We encourage participation of members in local, state, and federal legislative processes, develop school board member governance and leadership skills, and advocate that all school boards be active members.”

Dr. Dalton and Mr. Tepper are a pleasure to work with and their genuine commitment to student’s learning is evident. We are fortunate, indeed, that District 96 students and faculty can benefit from their expertise.

School Day or Snow Day?

We’ve resigned ourselves to the cold months ahead, reluctantly acknowledging our need once again for hats, gloves, and Chapstick®. Doing so also reminds me of the need to share with you the procedure our District follows when we’re faced with a School Day/Snow Day decision. 

Please READ to learn what factors must be considered and when and how you should  expect to receive notifications.

Family/Educator conferences begin by appointment this evening (Nov. 25, 5–7 p.m.) and continue tomorrow (Nov. 26, 2–7 p.m.). Please make the most of this face-to-face time to listen and to discuss your student’s progress and opportunities for continued growth this school year. Our faculty have worked hard to prepare and are eager to meet with you.

As I consider the holiday ahead, I recognize that I’m grateful for so much–including serving a supportive community with safe, well-equipped schools, a rich and rigorous curriculum, and highly qualified teachers and faculty. 

Enjoy the holiday!
–Julie Schmidt, District 96 Superintendent of Schools