Letter: Murphy on back to school plans
Welcome! We are preparing for another great school year for you and your children. I hope the following information on District procedures will aid you in a successful and convenient start to the school year.
K-8 students start school on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Later in September, Pre-K students at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center begin their school year.
We appreciate our families who completed the registration process for the coming school year. Not everyone must re-register, but all students new to District 65 and any student entering Pre-K, kindergarten, third, or sixth grade must complete a registration for the 2012-13 school year.
If your child is entering a grade where registration is required and you have not already done so, please register as soon as possible. Timely registration is so important for our planning. It helps us ensure that our schools and classrooms are staffed appropriately. Forms and information are on the web.
Forms can be downloaded and completed online, but the registration process is finalized in-person at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center with applicable identification and residency verification documents. For families whose children are not returning in the fall, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to alert the district. This notification will help to expedite enrollment at your new school.
School bus routes are almost complete. Eligible families will receive route information and, where applicable, fee information. Student safety is very important, so please remind your children to travel with a friend, cross only at crosswalks, listen to crossing guard instructions, and use suggested walk/bike routes on the way to and from school. Suggested routes are available online.
Student and School Meal Fees
Student fees (including transportation service fees) are due before the first day of school unless families are eligible for or have an approved fee waiver, or have made payment-plan arrangements with the District.
Checks may be mailed (cash must be paid in person) to the Joseph E. Hill Education Center. Families also may use the e-pay system. An important change this year is that the system for paying for school meals will be separate from the system used for student and transportation fees.
Watch for information from the Food & Nutrition Services Department to learn about the new meals payment system that allows families to prepay fees and check the status of their child's balance.
New Telephone System
A new phone system using a voice-over IP system that will net substantial future cost savings will be implemented this fall. Several classroom exchanges will be new, so please check school websites after the school year begins to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
Most school main phone numbers remain unchanged. In schools with new phone numbers, your calls to the old number will roll over for an extended period of time. New numbers will be published soon.
In the next several weeks, many schools are hosting open houses, picnics, kindergarten meet and greets, and other welcome events. These events are a great way to connect or re-connect with your child's classmates and their families. The Communications Department offered to post events on the District's web calendar on behalf of school PTAs. This information is updated frequently, so please check the website often to find out more about your school's upcoming events.
Capital Improvement Projects
Construction, renovations, and remodeling efforts continued this summer as part of our plans for addressing space and capital needs.
Lincoln School's addition is well underway and will be substantially completed and ready for occupancy before the first day of school. Other projects across the District, ranging from renovations to garner additional classroom space to masonry and roof repairs, are also on schedule and will be substantially completed for the opening day.
In closing, I know that our principals, faculty, and staff join me in welcoming you to the 2012-13 school year. Over the past few months we have been preparing for this opening day. In addition to school construction, remodeling, renovations, refinishing gym floors, cleaning, class scheduling and staffing, we have been negotiating with the teachers' union and plan to have a tentative agreement that is fair, fiscally responsible, and focused on high quality instruction and learning for all students in our district.
Our teachers are dedicated professionals, and I can assure you they and we have the same interests at heart - what is best for your children.
Hardy Murphy is the superintendent of Evanston/Skokie School District 65.