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A Summer Update Message from Superintendent Heid

Dear Parents and Guardians,

District staff have been hard at work on numerous projects designed to ensure District 300 is prepared to successfully open schools on August 15. I want to provide several important updates to keep you informed and to address any questions you may have.

Bus Routes:

If your student(s) will ride a school bus during the 2017-2018 academic year, you can expect to receive information regarding your child’s bus assignment approximately one week prior to the start of school. The bus route information will be mailed directly from Durham Transportation Services on a small (postcard size) yellow card. In addition, beginning August 7, parents and guardians can also access this same bus route information through parent portal.

Please contact Mrs. Donna Bordsen at 847-551-8492 or by email at donna.bordsen@d300.org if you do not receive your child’s transportation routing information by August 7, 2017.  You may also contact Mrs. Bordsen should you have any questions or concerns related to your child’s routing schedule.

The District works with Durham through the first few weeks of school to track and modify routes. This process includes daily head counts to verify ridership. Based upon this information, Durham will work to address issues to help ensure that buses are balanced and allow for proper/timely routing. In the summer of 2017, the District 300 Board of Education approved a change to middle school start times. This change will provide additional time between our routes to help reduce the likelihood of later arrivals and/or pick-ups. However, I am asking for your patience during these first few weeks as our entire community shifts back to school traffic patterns. A few reminders:

  • If your child is a bus rider, it is important that they ride the bus the first week of school. Obviously, I know that many of you will opt to drop off the first day or so. However, I ask that you allow your student to begin riding the bus the first week to allow them to establish a routine, provide us with accurate ridership numbers, and help to reduce traffic/frustration in parent drop off/pick up lanes.
  • Please allow additional time if you do drive your child to school. The first week of school is very busy as our community stakeholders become acclimated to the influx of additional traffic each morning. In addition, traffic volume at our schools increases. While you may be a seasoned D300 parent, please remember that we have many new parents who will be dropping off each morning. Also, little ones move slowly and take time to gather their belongings. Adding a little time to your morning routine will hopefully help reduce frustration and set the tone for a great start.
  • Construction on Sleepy Hollow Road will impact Westfield Community School. It is especially important that families use caution each day in construction zones and be aware that additional time will be needed to get to school each day.

Durham Bus Tracker App:

District 300, in collaboration with Durham, continues to provide the Durham Bus Tracker app for parents and students. The Durham Bus Tracker app provides an accurate means for parents and students to monitor the location of a particular bus and/or possible delays in the arrival to a specific stop. Please understand that the app seems to update as if it is in “real time.” However, the US Government regulates the accuracy that GPS systems can function and, as a result, there is a built-in buffer. Knowing this, we ask that students arrive at their stop approximately 10-minutes early. While the app is fairly accurate, we still ask for an early arrival due to fluctuations in traffic, road conditions, construction, and/or weather. Any of these can result in an early or delayed arrival.  Please also note the following:

  • The app can be downloaded at https://m.durhambustracker.com.
  • The app is available in both English and Spanish.
  • The app cannot track a bus if there is a mechanical failure that results in a substitute bus being assigned during a route already in progress. If a mechanical issue is anticipated, then the system will be updated and you will not see any difference.
  • The new update allows us to replace a bus at the depot so the app will reflect accurate information for a particular route (again this is limited to replacement buses only. If a route is split during the course of the day this information cannot be updated in real time).
  • The district will make every effort to send an RCS if a substitute bus has been assigned or if the substitute bus has been delayed by more than 10-minutes. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect system and some instances will not allow for an update.
  • If you are having difficulty with the app, please email BusTracker@d300.org.

Student Vaccinations and Health Forms:

Illinois law [105 ILCS 5/27-8.1] requires schools to exclude students from school until they present proof of meeting the health exam and immunization requirements. All District 300 students must be up-to-date with their physical examination and immunization requirements prior to the beginning of the new academic year. All forms must be turned into the School Health Office no later than August 1, 2017, to ensure students can begin on the first day of attendance. Students will not be able to attend school until all health information is on file. A

listing of immunizations/vaccinations required can be found at http://dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/publications/2015-2016-IDPH-Min-Imm-Req-School-DCC-Entry-040716.pdf.

Specific exemptions or causes exist for students that precludes them from being excluded from school by the date specified and include:

  • Medical Exemptions: Students with specific medical conditions may be exempt from required immunizations/vaccinations. The medical exemption must be signed by a medical doctor licensed to practice medicine in Illinois. Healthcare providers may use their judgment, along with many sources of information about vaccination, to assess whether a child is likely to experience an adverse reaction. If the determination is yes, then the medical practitioner may issue a medical exemption or adopt an individualized schedule.
  • Religious Exemptions: Parents or legal guardians who object, for religious reasons, to their child being immunized for school entrance must submit a Certificate of Religious Exemption, which now must be signed by a health care provider.  Signed into law on August 3, 2015, this new legislation requires a health care provider to sign the certificate confirming they have provided education to the parents or legal guardians about the benefits of immunizations and the health risks of not vaccinating students. 

Parents or legal guardians must submit the certificate to their local school authority prior to children entering kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade.  
 
The new Certificate of Religious Exemption form will soon be available on both the IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education at http://dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/forms/religious-exemption-form-081815-040816.pdf

  • Newly enrolled students: New students enrolling at a school or within a District for the first time have 30 days from the initial date of enrollment to meet these requirements.
  • Proof of a scheduled medical appointment – School Code does allow students to be exempt from mandatory exclusion if they are able to provide evidence of a scheduled appointment for their shots. A copy of the scheduled appointment must be submitted to the school nurse. The nurse will call and verify the appointment and will follow up after the scheduled date to ensure that all records have been updated.  

Per School Board Policy 7:100, students not meeting the Physical Examination and Immunization requirements prior to the first day of school will not be allowed to start classes. Students who do not have their shot records completed will not be issued an actual school schedule. Students will have access to their courses through Infinite Campus but will not receive a final schedule. Students without their shots and/or completed registration who come to school will be housed on the first day in a central location. Staff will work to contact individual families and apprise them that their student(s) may not attend until all records are complete or the district receives evidence of a scheduled appointment or waiver submission.

Mumps:

Over the summer, we saw the last of our mumps related exposure events expire. In all, we had a total of 11 cases (7 confirmed and 4 probable). All of these students had prior vaccinations. It is important to remember that prior vaccination does not guarantee immunity as it is approximately 88% effective (with both shots).

There has been a rise in mumps cases in recent years for those who had been previously immunized. Currently, it is believed that this is due to the possibility that the current vaccine may diminish in its effectiveness after 10-15 years and that the vaccine doesn’t fully cover the current mumps strain.

At this time, neither the health departments nor District 300 is recommending a booster shot for students who have completed the MMR series. However, knowing that you may have questions or concerns, we do recommend you speak with your physician to discuss your child’s specific needs and determine if a booster would benefit your child.

Submitting Health Documents:

Parents and/or guardians may submit documentation of physicals and/or vaccinations/immunizations via fax, email (scanned), mail, or in person. Nurses are not 12 month employees and will not return to the school buildings until late July. If you have sent verification of shot and/or physical exams prior to July 21, please contact the school nurse to ensure that your child’s records have been received and are accurately reflected in the system.  As an alternative, you may also submit your child’s records to Mrs. Sherrie Schmidt, Coordinator for Health Services at sherrie.schmidt@d300.org or via fax at 847-551-8433. Should you have any questions or concerns you can contact Mrs. Schmidt at 847-551-8371.

Late Start and Early Release Schedule 

The 2017-18 school calendar has been updated and can be found at www.d300.org/Calendars.  The District will now have 10 days total for Early Release. The calendar also reflects a decision to move early release days to Fridays as this best fits within the existing calendar.

You can view the complete list of Early Release dates and times for all schools at: www.d300.org/Calendars.

School Bell Times:

Parents, please review the bell times for the 2017-2018 school year as some may be different than previous years. Most notably, all middle school buildings begin at 8:55 am (10 minutes later) this year. You can view all bell times by visiting: www.d300.org/Calendars

School Funding:

The legislature overruled the Governor’s veto of the state budget. However, this included a requirement for the Governor to adopt an Evidence Based School Funding model. It is readily apparent that a new school funding model is long overdue and will help address the issues of adequacy and equity. To date, nothing has been signed so we remain uncertain as to the future of funding.

The District will present the budget for 2017-18 at the August 8, 2017 Board meeting. Following the meeting, all materials and presentations will be posted online.

Construction:

Summer is a very busy time for our school facilities department. When I first moved here from Florida, I was told there are two seasons in Illinois winter… and construction. While a joke, it certainly has a ring of truth. Our teams have been hard at work to ensure that we are ready for the start of school. They really are an amazing team of individuals and I want to share a few highlights of the work that they have accomplished this summer.

  • Gilberts and Wright Elementary schools: I am pleased to share that the expansion projects at both schools are both complete (except for a few punch list items) and staff are already moving into their new classrooms. These expansion projects allow us to accommodate our K-5th grade students by adding classrooms and additional restrooms to accommodate growth.
  • Paving – The district has completed all paving projects, including Algonquin Middle, Dundee-Crown High School, Dundee Middle, Golfview Elementary, Hampshire High School, Jacobs High School, and Perry Elementary.
  • Sealcoating – Sealcoating and striping projects have also been completed at 20 sites.
  • Gym Floor Refurbishment – The District places gymnasiums on a regular preventative maintenance schedule. However, gym floors are refurbished on a rotating schedule. This summer, the district completed gym floor refurbishment at Algonquin Middle, Carpentersville Middle, Dundee-Crown High School, Hampshire High School, and Jacobs High School. 
  • Food Service Equipment - The District works to ensure that we address any issues with our commercial grade kitchen equipment on a regular basis through preventative maintenance or repairs. In some instances, equipment is beyond economical repair and requires replacement. This summer the District replaced kitchen equipment at Algonquin Middle, Carpentersville Middle, Golfview Elementary, Hampshire Middle, Jacobs High School, Lake in the Hills Elementary, Neubert Elementary, deLacey Family Education Center, and Westfield Community School.

Lead Testing:

Public Act 099-0922 states that all Illinois school districts must test lead levels in drinking water sources in any schools or buildings that house any grades between preschool and fifth grade that were built before January 1, 1987. In accordance with the state law, District 300, tested 11 schools including: Dundee Highlands Elementary, Golfview Elementary, Hampshire Elementary, Lake in the Hills Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Meadowdale Elementary, Neubert Elementary, Parkview Elementary, Perry Elementary, Sleepy Hollow Elementary, and Westfield Community School.

While the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation establishes that lead contaminates are an issue (and require remediation) if the test results exceed 15 parts per billion (ppb), the Illinois legislature established a more stringent threshold, requiring school districts to notify parents if lead is found in water levels at or above 5 ppb (for context, levels found in samples collected in Flint, Michigan registered up to 13,000 parts per billion).

District 300 has partnered with TEM Environmental, an environmental health company, to conduct the first phase of testing. TEM Environmental’s tests involved collecting two samples from each water source. One sample was drawn at the start of the day, after water was allowed to sit undisturbed overnight. This sample is referred to as the “first pull.” The second sample, called the “second pull,” was collected after water was allowed to run for 30 seconds.

More than 229 water samples were collected from the aforementioned schools. Of those samples, 51 tested at or above a state threshold of 5 parts per billion. Of the 51 samples that included elevated levels of lead, all but 7 of those samples would meet the EPA standards according to the water quality reports. 

District 300 has started permanent remediation at all locations that have exceeded the 5.0 ppb action level for lead. Once remediation efforts are completed, the locations will be retested before the start of the school year. As an added precaution, the district will replace any water fountain or sink (used for food preparation) where either sample came back above 5.0 ppb. For example, if the first sample tested at 6.0 and the second sample tested at 1.0, we will replace that unit. Parents will receive information regarding their schools testing directly. In addition our test results will be posted online at www.d300.org/WaterTestingResults.

1:1 Program Update

District 300 is looking forward to the second year of our 1:1 Program. Last year, we provided Chromebooks to all students in grades 1 through 8. This year, we will provide Chromebooks to all students in grades 9 through 12.  

As a reminder, while the 1:1 Program will provide digital curriculum and a Chromebook to every student in grades 1 through 12, only students in grades 3 through 12 will take their devices home. 

To ensure students understand how to use their Chromebooks, digital curriculum, and related tools, students will be completing the Chromebook Driver’s Academy during the first two weeks of school after they receive their Chromebook. Once the Acceptable Use Policy lesson has been completed, Chromebooks should be coming home with students by Friday, August 18th. 

Please refer to the 1:1 Parent Resource website at www.d300.org/OneToOneResourcesHomepage for more information, including fee information and how to access your student’s Haiku page. Please contact Mrs. Anne Pasco, Director of Digital Literacy and Innovation, with any questions or concerns at Anne.Pasco@d300.org.

Strategic Plan Update:

Our Five-Year Strategic Plan provides a clear pathway for how District 300 will continue to advance as a premier public education system through the year 2020. The Strategic Plan comprises four main goal areas: to Develop Great Teachers and Leaders, to Engage the Family and Community, to Ensure the Equitable and Efficient Use of Resources, and, to Develop the Whole Child.

We made remarkable progress on a large number of these items in the last academic year and I encourage you to view the progress of each goal area on our website at www.d300.org/StrategicPlan.   

In June of 2017, the District 300 administration team held its annual Strategic Plan summit to refine our existing plan and to add several select initiatives and action items that reinforced our central mission: to ensure all students are college and career ready upon graduation. These recently added items are also included on our Strategic Plan website.

D300 Parent/Guardian Handbook:

The District 300 Parent/Guardian Handbook for the 2017-2018 school year is available online at: http://www.d300.org/sites/default/files/documents/handbook04.pdf

The Parent/Guardian handbook contains pertinent sections from the District 300 Board Policy Manual, along with supplementary notices for students and their families.

SAT Update:

In 2016-17 the State made a decision to transition to administer the SAT in place of the ACT. Colleges accept both tests equally. It was not until 2007 that “all” colleges began to accept ACT scores. This table will help explain the similarities and differences between the SAT and ACT exams.

One of the added benefits is that the District can administer the SAT suite of assessments (including the PSAT and PSAT/NMSQT) on an annual basis leading up to the SAT administered at a student’s school during their junior year. The Suite of SAT assessments provides greater insight as to the specific areas where teachers and students should focus. The District will administer the PSAT (8-9thgrades), PSAT (10th grade), and PSAT/NMSQT (11th grade), and in preparation for the SAT administered at a student’s school (11th grade), which is funded by the State of Illinois.

The PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 support college readiness and success providing a clear focus on the skills and knowledge that matters most.  The SAT suite of assessments will provide our staff with an opportunity to:

  • Establish a baseline for student readiness
  • Assess and monitor student performance from the baseline to each subsequent annual administration
  • Pinpoint areas for improvement
  • Prepare students for the PSAT/NMSQT for scholarships and the SAT for college acceptance

The PSAT/NMSQT (11th grade) is a preliminary version of the SAT. However, it provides far more information than a mere practice test. The PSAT/NMSQT also helps students enter scholarship and recognition programs, plan for college and/or workforce development, understand their potential for success in AP examinations, and receive information from colleges.

Each student that participates in the SAT suite of assessments is provided an Individualized Score Report. In addition, students will also receive a custom SAT study plan that is aligned to online practice modules provided through Khan Academy.

The AP Potential report is a tool that is used to help identify and encourage more students to take AP courses and exams. The report is based on research that establishes significant correlations between PSAT test scores and AP Exam scores. The College Board research supports that a student’s score on the PSAT are better "predictors" of students' AP Exam outcomes than traditional indicators of grades, grades in previous coursework, and the number of courses a student has taken in the same content area/discipline.

However, the District will continue to use multiple indicators to ensure that no isolated data set is used to limit a student’s access to advanced coursework.  

Additional resources:

 

Student and Family Privacy Rights:

For specific information regarding privacy rights and restrictions on items such as student photographs, directory information, information supplied to the military and post-secondary education institutions, and Google Apps for education, please visit: http://www.d300.org/sites/default/files/documents/7-15-e2-student-and-family-privacy-rights_3.pdf

 

A Great Start to the New School Year:

Since the adoption of our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, District 300 staff have worked tirelessly to create an innovative, top-tier educational experience for every one of our students. One of Strategic Plan’s main goal areas is to develop the whole child. In District 300, we develop the whole child by working in partnership with our students to define what success looks like for them, while maintain high expectations for all.

I sincerely believe that District 300 can provide every student with the tools required to excel in the classroom and to flourish in the workplace. I also believe that every student must have the opportunity to learn and to grow in an environment that nurtures their physical, intellectual, and emotional development. As we look forward to a new academic year, I will continue to push for innovation to ensure that every child is college and career ready upon graduation.

The promise and the potential of each District 300 student inspires me on a daily basis; I am committed to ensuring that I can do everything I can to create an educational experience that inspires every student.

Welcome to the 2017-2018 academic year!

Sincerely,

Fred Heid

Superintendent

District Office
Phone: 847-551-8300
Fax: 847-551-8413
Community Unit School District 300

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2550 Harnish Drive
Algonquin, IL 60102
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