BACK TO SCHOOL UPDATE, AUGUST 17, 2016: FROM SCHOOLMESSENGER

Good afternoon, this is Scott Kuffel, Superintendent of the District 228 schools. Here is the Wednesday, August 17th Start of School Update.

 

We completed the occupancy walkthrough with our Assistant Regional Superintendent.  She was very thorough in her review of the inside and outside of the building and did approve occupancy of Millikin School.

 

All Geneseo Schools will be open for student attendance this Friday, August 19th.  School will be dismissed one hour early on Friday.  School will be dismissed one hour early on Monday, August 22nd as well.  District PreSchool classrooms, both the Ladders and the Early Childhood Education classrooms will begin on Tuesday, August 23rd.

 

There will be a Back to School evening from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, August 18th at Millikin School.

 

While many, many people need to be thanked for their commitment, energy, sacrifice and persistence to bring so many moving parts together to complete work at Millikin School, I want to take a moment to give special thanks to a few—

 

Randy, Mike, and Chad from our Maintenance Department

Karen and Paula who have cleaned and moved so much in such a short period of time

LaNae and Sarah for relocating several times to keep the office and operations at the building moving amidst a myriad of boxes

Jamie and his crew from Hodge Construction

The entire teaching staff from Millikin for their banding together to stay focused, both during inservice time, but also in between daylight and nightfall to get rooms ready for children.

Parent and support staff volunteers from other schools, who helped move furniture, set up bulletin boards, etc

Members of the Green Machine Football team who gave up several hours to do some really heavy lifting.

These are but a few of the many who have saved us from missing several days of attendance and keeping us down to but one day of late starting the year.

 

We are a better district working through some of these challenges, and over the next couple of years, our buildings will be better for these efforts and so will our level of instruction and care for our students.

 

We look forward to seeing buses running, full of students, and many smiling faces on Friday, August 19th.  Thank you all for your patience, understanding and commitment to our mission to Teach, to Learn and to Care.

 

Have a wonderful evening!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Construction Update

SchoolMessenger August 16, 2016 Construction Update

Good evening, this is Scott Kuffel, superintendent of the District 228 schools, and here is the most recent construction update from Tuesday, August 16th. This is starting to feel a little like an evening Prairie Home Companion episode, but I’m hoping we don’t have too many more of these!

Progress continues to roll at Millikin School. All flooring and floor trim work should be completed by early this evening and flooring contractors are out of the building. Crews have already been putting furniture back into the remodeled classrooms and teachers are working feverishly to put items back in order to start the year. New library and office furniture arrived and is being assembled and put into place… while it isn’t all in and completely set up, those spaces will be functional by Friday for sure.

We walked through the entire building and outside the grounds with our Assistant Regional Superintendent in advance of our 1 pm meeting Wednesday, and she seemed pleased with the progress. Without putting words in her mouth or any undue pressure, it certainly seemed that she shared our confidence that we will be able to open schools on Friday morning, August 19th. The asphalt playground area and front parking lot still need good cleaning, classrooms will need to be re-cleaned a bit, the hallways, cafeteria and gymnasium need some polish, but all in all the building is buttoning up quite nicely.

So barring something totally unforeseen and out of left field for which we have no control, please plan on sending your children to school on Friday, August 19th. School will be dismissed on Friday and Monday, August 22nd 1-hour early. Millikin School will host their Back to School night on Thursday, August 18th from 5-7 p.m. The Ladders PreK program will not begin until Tuesday, August 23rd. We will continue to update you with any new, breaking information, but for now, we wish you a successful Back to School Night at Southwest and Northside tonight, and at the MS and HS tomorrow evening.

Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow afternoon’s walk through!

Monday, August 18th Construction Update

Monday, August 15th Construction Update from the superintendent:

Good evening, this is Scott Kuffel, superintendent of the District 228 schools. Here is your Monday construction update.

We see tonight that four more classrooms have the vinyl tile installed at Millikin School, leaving four classrooms to be completed. It appears that the final four classrooms will be completed and the flooring contractor will be out of the building by Tuesday evening. There are still items that need to be completed before students would be able to attend, plus we are still required for our Regional Office of Education to complete a walkthrough to grant us occupancy. The person from the Regional Office who will make the occupancy recommendation has already been on site and is following progress closely, and she has been very helpful as we work towards opening the school. The final check for occupancy is not scheduled until Wednesday afternoon.

We can confirm with you all that we will not be opening school for student attendance on Thursday, August 18th. To be clear, this means that none of the Geneseo Schools will open on Thursday. However, it is our goal to open for student attendance on Friday, August 19th. Our plan right now is to switch one of our second semester teacher inservice days (the Monday after Easter) for this Thursday, which means the Monday after Easter becomes a day for student attendance. So please make arrangements for childcare this Thursday, August 18th.
We then will know fairly early on Wednesday afternoon if we will be able to open all schools for Friday. You will get a final confirmation call on Wednesday to alert you one way or the other. If we attend school Friday, it will be a one-hour early dismissal.

While you may disagree with a plan to open on Friday, we want to share with you the rationale to perhaps help you understand the thinking:
1. Much like a play has a dress rehearsal, or a team has a pre-game warmup, we would like to get a day of student attendance in so if there are procedures that need changing; such as drop-offs or pick-ups, lunch logistics, etc, we have some time to think carefully and make those changes over the weekend. Even in a “normal” year, the first day has its share of hiccups.
2. If we are approved for occupancy at Millikin on Wednesday afternoon, we have a chance for that building to have another 24+ hours for final cleaning, teacher setup, and to allow for a Backpack Night on Thursday evening.
3. We are also completing some parking lot work at Geneseo High School, which will greatly benefit from another day to complete since a great deal of parking has been lost due to the demolition at the south end of the building.
4. We know that work will still be ongoing at three of our schools, regardless of when school begins—but there is really not a reason to continue to hold out students at all schools when the main areas are renovated, clean, safe, secured and cleared to occupy, especially at Millikin.

To review—no student attendance on Thursday, August 18th at any of our schools. The Back to School Nights scheduled for Northside, Southwest, Middle and High School are still going on as planned on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

Our goal now is to open all schools on Friday, August 19th, with a one-hour early dismissal attendance day. Monday, August 22nd would also be a one-hour early dismissal day. The Ladders PreK program would not begin until Tuesday, the 23rd at the earliest, but further notifications will be forthcoming.

Look for another update on Tuesday evening. Thank you again for your patience during this time of frustration and impatience. The spirit of collaboration and community has been fantastic and we truly appreciate all of you making this so worthwhile. Have a good evening.

Scott D. Kuffel, Superintendent

Sunday, August 14, 2016 Progress at Millikin

As you know, we have been awaiting the delivery of the flooring for the southwest corner of Millikin School to be able to bring the building into readiness for occupancy.  The flooring was delivered yesterday and the offices and 3 of the 11 classrooms needing flooring were substantially completed.

We will urge parents at all five schools to make contingency preparations for childcare for both this Thursday and Friday.  We will update you with Monday’s progress, and hope to make a final decision about the start of school at all the buildings on Tuesday afternoon.

We appreciate your patience and hope you will agree when you see the progress over the next couple years, that the frustration of awaiting the work finishing was well worth it.IMG_8634 IMG_8635 IMG_8636 IMG_8637 IMG_8638 IMG_8639 IMG_8640 IMG_8641 IMG_8642 IMG_8643 IMG_8644

August 11 SchoolMessenger: IMPORTANT

This is Scott Kuffel, Superintendent of the District 228 schools.  We hope that you have had a wonderful summer.  It has been very busy here with the beginnings of much of the ProjectLEAF construction underway.

This message brings hope for a fantastic 2016-17 school year, but it also brings a warning of the potential that unforeseen construction issues could delay the start of our school year for student attendance by a couple of days.  This would be a delay that would be in place for ALL 5 schools.

Candidly, the flooring contractor for the Millikin school renovation dropped the ball and did not order the custom vinyl, low maintenance flooring we requested, and it is not scheduled to arrive and be installed when we expected.  If the flooring arrives on Saturday, which is one possibility, then it appears that installation can occur starting Sunday afternoon and we can put things back into place and open school on Thursday as planned.

If the flooring does not arrive on Saturday, then we may need to delay the start of student attendance until Monday, August 22nd.  Therefore, I ask your patience and cooperation and plan for a contingency for child care for next Thursday and Friday, August 18th and 19th, just in case.  Again, this would be a change for all five of our schools.

I apologize for this possible inconvenience, but there are many reasons that we would want to open all of our schools at the same time, and we are examining all possible scenarios.  Please be assured that we will work diligently to keep you as informed as we can with the most accurate information we discover– so be aware there will be more calls, Facebook posts, and web posts.  Thank you for your consideration and joining us in contingency planning. Please know that we make these types of decisions on what we believe is best for student safety, security and success.

No more PARCC testing for High School Students

An announcement made on July 11, 2016 by the Illinois State Board of Education ushers in a new era of testing for high school juniors.  No longer will the ACT be the entrance exam of choice offered by the State Board of Education, but instead all juniors will be provided an SAT test in April.  Because of federal requirements (I know, there are federal requirements also) high school students will still take a science exam.  This is good news though as it will reduce the spring testing burden for our high school students.