Preparations for a Great School Year!

Preparations for a Great School Year!
Posted on 08/10/2022

Dear 39 Parents and Guardians,

I hope that you and your loved ones have enjoyed a fun, safe, and joyful summer to this point. We have been busy in our preparations ahead of the 2022-23 academic year and are looking forward to a fantastic school year! From construction projects and summer school to curriculum work and summer professional development, summer is time for improvements across our district to prepare for the first day of school on Monday, August 22. As we all gear up for the start of a great new academic year, I wanted to touch base to share some information with you.  

Registration Reminder
Please make sure that your child has been officially registered for the 2022-23 academic year and that any outstanding instructional materials fees have been paid prior to the start of school. Both matters can be resolved by logging into the PowerSchool Parent Portal.

School Office Open 
Our school offices are now open at all six of our schools. Secretaries and building administrators are back on-site and working hard to ensure a smooth start to the school year. Please feel free to contact your school office with any questions ahead of the return to school.

School Supplies Information
School supply lists are available on our individual school websites under the “Parents” tab. Please contact the school office with any questions regarding supplies for the upcoming year. Take advantage of the Illinois state sales tax holiday on school supplies and clothing by purchasing your back-to-school gear between now and August 14 to enjoy these savings. 

School Protocol
The District will follow more typical, pre-pandemic protocol for the start of the school year with pre-pandemic procedures and activities in place, including regular school-day schedules and typical arrival and dismissal procedures, lunch procedures, extracurriculars, middle school sports and field trips. District 39 schools will be mask-optional environments for students and staff. If students or staff members test positive for COVID-19, they will be required to adhere to the isolation requirements mandated by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH). Currently, the guidelines require five days of isolation at home and, if symptoms are improved, five additional days of masking (including at school on school days). The District will consult with the local health department regarding cases within the school environment and will continue to monitor health guidance and local conditions. Monday's Committee of the Whole Meeting will include a brief presentation regarding COVID protocol. 

School Safety Information
As always, the safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. Our schools have a comprehensive safety plan in place that is reviewed and updated annually in partnership with the Wilmette Police Department and we are proud of the strong, collaborative relationship that we have with both the Village of Wilmette and Wilmette Police. As a part of this plan, please know that all exterior doors at all six of our schools are locked at all times and visitors can only enter our school buildings by being buzzed in through the main entrance. In addition, review and training of our plans and protocol is an ongoing and critical part of our annual work.

     Safety Plans, Training and Education
We are in constant communication with the Wilmette Police Department (WPD) regarding best practices in safety plans, training and education. This summer, we coordinated with the WPD, who conducted live training exercises with their officers onsite at WJHS regarding school safety and protocol. Our partners at the WPD also recently completed table-top exercises with our administrative team to review crisis protocol, plans and procedures. Additionally, we are very fortunate to have Officer Valerie Davis as our Community Resource Officer. Officer Davis is a terrific liaison between D39 and WPD for any threats or suspicious activities in or around our schools and her presence is an important element in protecting our school community. As the school year gets underway, we will continue to review safety plans and provide training for our teachers and staff along with completing our annual safety drills at each school.

     See Something, Say Something
I cannot overstate the importance of the role our supportive Wilmette community plays in helping keep our schools safe. We want to remind you of the importance of See Something, Say Something. Please call 911 if you hear of an imminent threat or use Safe2Help Illinois to seek help if you see someone in need or something that doesn’t feel right within the schools. Students at Highcrest Middle School may also report through our HAWKS reporting form and at Wilmette Junior High School through our WOLVES reporting form once school starts. Being vigilant and reporting suspicious or concerning activity helps to keep our schools and community safe.

     Mental Health Awareness and Support
We continue to recognize the importance of mental health awareness and support. Help is available within our schools and throughout our community for those who may need it. We continue to enhance our social-emotional learning programs while working to strengthen the sense of belonging, inclusion and community for all. Thank you for supporting these important initiatives. Please look for additional information regarding our social-emotional learning curriculum and programming throughout this school year. 

Our first Parent Education Event, titled “Feeling Safe in District 39 Schools”, will be held on Wednesday, August 24 at 11am over Zoom and be posted to our YouTube channel afterward. Please register here for this presentation by District 39, the Wilmette Police Department, and Family Service Center.

     Responsible Firearm Safety
Lastly, the Village of Wilmette, Wilmette Police and Wilmette District 39 are dedicated to promoting safe firearm practices. To help avoid a potential tragedy, we would like to remind residents about firearm safety and available safety programs. Responsible firearm safety is critical to keeping our community safe. If you are a gun owner, please review safe storage practice, which includes keeping guns secured in a locked container, rendering it inaccessible or unusable to any person other than the owner or another lawfully authorized user. Please click the following links for more information:

Board of Education Meetings
Our Board of Education will convene for its first meetings of the 2022-23 school year. The Board will hold its Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Aug. 15 ahead of the first Board meeting of the new school year, set for Monday, Aug. 22. Materials for the meetings will be posted here the Friday prior to the meeting.

Important Dates
Below are a couple of important dates to remember between now and the start of school:

  • August 12: Principals will email their return-to-school newsletter with updates on planning plus information on the first week of school.
  • August 17, 4 pm: Homeroom teacher assignments (elementary school students) and class schedules (students in grades 5-8) sent to parents via email.
  • August 18-19: Teachers return for Institute Days.
  • August 22: First day of school for students!

We are super excited to welcome our students back later this month! Educating the children of Wilmette is our passion and we are focused on fulfilling our mission of engaging, empowering, and inspiring our students to lead academically successful, socially responsible, compassionate, and purposeful lives. 

We appreciate your partnership, support, and assistance as we enter the final stages of our planning for the 2022-23 academic year with the goal of prioritizing safety and promoting a strong sense of community for all.

Your partner in education,

Dr. Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D.
Superintendent

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