MESSAGE FROM SUPERINTENDENT
November 2021 Superintendent’s Update
We are happy to be back in our buildings serving students! Thank you for your partnership throughout these first months of the school year. Along with our school principals and staff, I am excited that our students have returned to learning environments and are experiencing high quality teaching and innovative programs!
Through our American Rescue Plan funding support we have expanded our staff to include more opportunities for students to engage in small group learning in reading and mathematics at all of our District 163 schools. We also have crafted our school schedules and allocated resources to expand staff and include dedicated time for student mentoring and counselling, social emotional learning and innovative STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) programs.
New for 2021 we are offering newly designed media labs at all of our primary schools, a Lego engineering lab and outdoor classroom at our 4th and 5th grade center, and Amazon Future Engineers computer science classes at our 6th – 8th grade middle school. Another exciting new program for our 8th grade leaders is our Agriculture Science pathway and participation in the National FFA (future farmers of America) Organization and opportunity for Agriculture Science high school credit. This expands ongoing collaboration with our high school partners to offer District 163 8th grade leaders rigorous courses in Algebra and Geometry. Excellence in education is evident throughout District 163 schools!
We are committed to monitoring the health in our school community and communicating promptly when there is a need to suspend in-person learning for individual and clusters of students. All decisions to suspend in person learning are made in collaboration with the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH). We need your help to keep our staff and students well. Remember to keep your child home if he/she experiences symptoms of COVID-19. Contact the school secretary and we can arrange for health testing without potential exposure to other students and our staff. We also need your support in monitoring remote learning experiences when students are required to pivot to at home learning due to an outbreak (the CCDPH defines an outbreak as 3 or more positive cases or 10% of a cluster linked through in-school exposure). Thank you families for your partnership and support.
We appreciate your participation in our continued virtual parent engagement activities and virtual Parent University social emotional learning workshops. We look forward to opening our doors to families for our upcoming winter programs. All attendees will be required to provide proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the program.
We are thankful for our dedicated Board of Education that continues to lead our school community through new and uncharted territory. This time has been like no other, reimagined ! Our staff and leadership team have shown an extraordinary dedication to shifts in our educational environment due to the COVID-19 health pandemic. Restoring learning and creating communities of care is at the forefront of all that we do.
The District 163 team has demonstrated unwavering commitment to prioritizing health and safety in our facilities, providing equitable access and resources to high quality academic programs for all learners, and engaging students in meaningful learning experiences! We continue to prioritize excellence in education!
Stay safe and well !
Dr. Caletha White
“Intelligence plus character, that is the true goal of education.” Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
Park Forest Chicago Heights School District 163 is committed to meeting the needs of our diverse student body and to promoting high educational standards by differentiating instruction, nurturing active, strategic and higher level thinking skills and inspiring a love of lifelong learning.