New Year!

January 21, 2020

We are 2 weeks in to 2020 already...I hope this briefing finds you well and still refreshed after the winter break and still not giving up on any new year goals you have established!

District Safety Team - Under the leadership Brice Stewart, this committee has been meeting since June of 2019. They are now ready to present a three-year safety plan with specific actions steps to the Board of Education. Attached is an overview of that plan for your reference. Many thanks to this team as we will all be better off as a result of their work!

Art Program Displays - Hats off to our Art Program at all 3 buildings now! Our students are so talented and our teachers are so exceptional...it has been wonderful to see all the new and additional ways to display this artwork throughout our school district and there is more to come!

STEAM Professional Development - Our partnership with Northern Illinois University is still relatively young with more years to go, but the progress of the teachers involved and what is starting to emerge in our classrooms for the students is amazing...for sure more to come with this! Thank you so much to the teachers that signed up and are involved.

District Math Team - This group of teachers representing grades K-12 and working with Nancy Bordbeck from the ROE, have been doing hero like work developing the necessary strategies at all grade levels that will lead to appropriate material/resource selection and a comprehensive curriculum with much needed vertical articulation. This is difficult work so a big round of applause for the staff dedicated to this endeavor and for working so effectively and efficient.

District Special Education/RTI Team - Each one of our schools have diligently, through the years, evolved to using data and strategies to effectively impact student learning as they move through the grades. This group of teachers representing grades K-12 and under the leadership of Lori McCoy and Carrie Reynolds, have begun the work of connecting the work of our three buildings to come up with a more district wide view of our strengths, challenges, and goals moving forward. Thank you to all the staff members involved.

District Leadership Team - This K-12, cross-curriculum team has been established to provide district oversight to everything related to: curriculum-instruction-assessment; professional development; technology; and the climate & culture of our school district. The best way to describe the work of this team is some very "heavy lifting" making sure we are all on the same page; that there is good communication; that we are best practice school district and competitive; and that we are building the leadership capacity in all of us to make continued progress on all of that, just to name a few things. We have had two all day meetings and hope to by May put out a more clear picture of our future moving forward related to all of these themes/topics. In the meantime, we wanted you to see a draft of the operating principles we have established to guide the work of this team which is attached. I very much appreciate the risks these staff members are taking serving on this team.

Need to Know

Monica Genta (former teacher of the year in Illinois) and author of 180 Days of Awesome - Will be our keynote speaker to open the 2020-21 school year...if interested you can google her in advance...she will also be accessible to our staff throughout our first day...some have seen her before and she comes highly recommended.

New Middle School Addition to the High School Referendum March 2017 - As you know, the School Board passed the following resolution in December to be placed on the 3/17/20 election ballot which is a question to build a New Middle School connected to our High School. In addition to the resolution, attached is a formal letter to all employees with important information to keep you informed and for you to use. I strongly encourage everyone to become as informed as possible so whether you are resident and plan to cast a vote you are prepared to cast an informed vote and/or if you are asked questions about the referendum you feel comfortable responding. Currently, basic raw data is found on our website related to the Middle School Steering Committee's work the past 8 months. James Keith of Maroa and Jeff Holmes of Forsyth are the Co-Chairs of the Citizens Referendum Committee that has been established. When not at work, employees are able to be involved in the work of the Referendum Committee. In addition to receiving information from the District Referendum Committee, as mentioned, the District will also be putting out additional information. In the meantime, I hope you will take the time to read the District Information Employee Letter that is available now...thanks.

"Shall the Board of Education of Maroa-Forsyth Community Unit School District #2, Macon and DeWitt Counties, Illinois, build and equip a new middle school building on the existing Maroa-Forsyth Middle School site, demolish the existing Maroa-Forsyth Middle School Building, alter, repair and equip the Maroa-Forsyth High School Building, improve school sites and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $33,000,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?"

Foundation Community Celebration, March 14, 2020 - You should have received in your mailbox a letter with details inviting you to a new annual Community Celebration event. We hope you considering joining in on this evening of fun, fellowship, and celebration of our past, present, and future! Please let me know if you need another copy of the staff invite...tickets are open to the public after January 24th so act now!!

Thoughts to Ponder

Trust your own instincts. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.

As time goes on, you'll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn't, doesn't. Time solves most things. And what time can't solve, you have to solve yourself.

When things get difficult, remember: you have successfully dealt with difficulty before.

Perfect is not of the world. Do your best and forget the rest.

Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.

As I take a deep breath and look at the contents of this email related to the many moving parts of our school district, it can be overwhelming and I'm always concerned about doing too much not well instead of a few things really well...we will continue to monitor this as our culture of trusting, caring, and respectful relationships always is the one most essential imperative goal! Have a great rest of this week and a great rest of the month January 2020!

With Maroa-Forsyth Trojan Pride,

John


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