Summer Update from Dr. Kari Cremascoli – Aug. 16

Summer Update from Dr. Kari Cremascoli – Aug. 16
Posted on 08/16/2021

It is hard to believe that we are only a couple of weeks away from the start of the school year, and we are thrilled to be gearing up to welcome all students back for in-person learning. Our preparations for the start of the school year are continuing and we look forward to providing a detailed review during our Board of Education’s Committee of the Whole Meeting on Aug. 18 at 8 am. Please look for additional information to families later this week following the Board’s review and approval of these plans.  I hope everyone has had an enjoyable summer and are ready for a fantastic school year ahead. Below are some updates from the district ahead that I hope you find helpful.

Mitigation Planning Updates
District 39 has been diligently planning for the fall, relying on guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and other public health professionals. As always, we will collaborate with local public health authorities to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff while maximizing in-person instruction and learning. 

We will be providing a detailed review of our District 39 layered mitigation plans at the Board’s Committee Meeting this Wednesday, August 18 at 8 am. The agenda as well as links to join us remotely or in-person are provided here. We are planning to discuss the District 39 layered mitigation plans, including the following:

  • Universal Masking 
    • All students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask inside District 39 buildings, with some exceptions as outlined in Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order. At this time we are planning for District 39 to follow the Governor’s Executive Order and require all individuals to wear a mask while indoors. We continue to seek clarification from the CCDPH to help guide our planning in this regard.  
    • In accordance with other CDC guidelines, masks will be required for all passengers on school buses. 
  • Social Distancing 
    • Classrooms will be configured to accommodate at least 3 feet of distancing between students as much as possible in all settings.
    • Lunch protocols for indoor dining will maintain classroom cohorts and provide structure and additional distancing between students. At least 3 feet of distancing will be provided within assigned indoor lunch areas, and outdoor lunch will be provided whenever possible.
  • Layered Mitigation Strategies 
    • Frequent handwashing and hand sanitizer availability
    • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of classroom spaces and common areas throughout the school
    • Continuation of the District’s enhanced air ventilation and filtration district-wide 
    • Support and reminders for students and staff to stay home when sick with symptoms of infectious illness including COVID-19
    • Contract tracing, quarantining and communication when COVID-19 exposure occurs at school
    • Access to COVID-19 testing through community partnerships
    • Monitoring of local COVID-19 community infection rate metrics as well as cases/potential exposures reported by D39 students and staff

Vaccination Information
District 39 invites students, staff and visitors to voluntarily submit vaccination status information. Having this information in advance will allow the District to more efficiently implement public health guidance as we navigate the 2021-22 school year. Providing proof of vaccination is not required; however, those without a record of vaccination on file will be required to follow the health protocols for unvaccinated individuals. For example, current health department guidance excuses fully vaccinated individuals from quarantine unless they are symptomatic. Highcrest and Wilmette Junior High families, please review the email titled “Student COVID Vaccine Information” for more information and directions for submitting information.  

Extended Day Programming Options
We are excited to partner with the Wilmette Park District to provide after-school programming and clubs for the 2021-22 school year as options for our Wilmette D39 families. Through this expanded partnership, the Park District will be coordinating both before- and after-school programs for D39 students onsite at our D39 schools, including the early bird programming. Check out the Wilmette Park District’s Beyond the Bell website for more information. For details on Morning CARE or CARE please contact Ann Toma at, and for more specific information on Campus Clubs located next year at Central, Harper and Highcrest or any other After School Clubs for the upcoming school year, please contact Kimberly Barton at  

Strategic Planning
District 39 is excited to finalize its Strategic Plan this fall prior to presenting it to the Board of Education for approval at its regular meeting in September. District 39 launched a strategic planning effort in the early months of 2021, focused on community engagement and aspirational visioning. Following an intensive effort last spring, the D39 Core Strategic Planning Team of stakeholder representatives drafted the Strategic Plan reflecting the vision, needs and input of the community. This fall, the Team will seek community input on its final product. Please look for a final survey and opportunity for feedback in the fall as the school year kicks off.  For more information on Strategic Planning, visit our D39 Strategic Planning site.   

Jacqueline Brennan Named Assistant Principal at Harper
We are thrilled to welcome Jackie Brennan as the new Assistant Principal at Harper. Mrs. Brennan returns to District 39 after spending the last four years as the Assistant Principal at Scammon Elementary School on the Northwest Side of Chicago. Prior to her time at Scammon, Mrs. Brennan was a 4th grade teacher at Central School from 2015-17. 

While serving as Assistant Principal at Scammon, Mrs. Brennan worked closely with her Instructional Leadership Team to analyze schoolwide data and devise targeted instructional areas for improvement, facilitated cross-collaboration to include STEAM components in lesson plans and coordinated training and professional development for faculty and staff around school goals, curriculum, mission and vision. We are confident that Mrs. Brennan will be a wonderful addition to our Harper team!

Important Dates for the Start of the 2021-22 School Year
District 39 is planning for full in-person instruction and typical school hours to start the new school year.  The District 39 2021-22 school year calendar is available online. Below are some important dates to note for the start of the new school year:

  • Wednesday, August 18 - Board of Education Committee of the Whole Meeting (Agenda)
  • Wednesday, August 18 – Class Assignments Emailed to Parents
  • Thursday, August 19 – 5th Grade Orientation at HMS
  • Friday, August 20 – 7th Grade Orientation at WJHS
  • Monday, August 23 - Board of Education Regular Business Meeting
  • Monday, August 23 and Tuesday, August 24 – Teacher Institute Days
  • Wednesday, August 25 – First Half-Day of Student Attendance (AM) 
  • Thursday, August 26 – First Full Day of Student Attendance
  • Monday, September 6 – Labor Day (No School)
  • Tuesday, September 7 – Rosh Hashanah (No School)

We hope that you are enjoying these final days of summer! We are incredibly excited to be welcoming your children back to school on Wednesday, August 25. Please look for our next D39 update later this week with additional details regarding our return to school plans as well as for additional updates from your child’s school principal as we prepare together for a great start to the new school year.

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