Superintendent's Message


A message from District 230 Superintendent Dr. James M. Gay about happenings at Sandburg, Stagg and Andrew High Schools
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This Is Who We Are: 
Committed to Each Other
In light of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida this week, we must recommit ourselves to each other. This news, and the news of violence that has come before it, is saddening, frustrating and infuriating. However, we cannot get stuck in that anger. It must spur us to continue to do all within our power to provide a safe learning environment, to see those in need, and to commit ourselves to providing a supporting, caring and safe school community.
Each of our schools works closely with local law enforcement to assure emergency plans are in place and that those plans are practiced by staff and students. Outside safety professionals have conducted safety audits of our campuses and we have implemented recommended procedures and facility improvements. We are thankful for the strong relationships we have with local police including School Resource Officers at each of our schools.
A safe learning environment doesn't stop there. It is all of our responsibility. Staff and students have committed themselves to developing a school culture that looks out for each other. If we see something concerning, we say something. We continue to build relationships among students and staff so that we feel safe speaking up when we are concerned or if we see something that could pose a safety issue.  Our Guidance and Dean staff are trained and prepared to assist those in need and to connect them with the appropriate resources available in our community.
I ask that you please continue to join me in providing a supportive, caring and safe learning environment.
Dr. Jim Gay
As we process these tragic news stories, the National Association of School Psychologists provides the following information about talking with students. This is useful information for us as educators as well as for families. 
This Is Who We Are: Engaged Learning

This week I have the opportunity to meet with Student Advisory at both Andrew and Stagg and visit classrooms to see staff and students engaged in learning. Here are some highlights from my Andrew visit. I am looking forward to my visit at Stagg this afternoon.
Freshman Honors English - Allen Cunningham
Two students lead the class in a review of Chapter 12 of The Odyssey.  They started with a Kahoot online quiz on some of the major events of the chapter.  Following the review, student presenters analyzed the chapter, identifying and describing key themes, literary elements, and character development. They make frequent references to the textual evidence they used to support their ideas. 

Concert Choir - Chris Moan
Mr. Moan provided direct instruction on vocal technique to singers as they rehearsed Scottish Farewell.  He demonstrated the importance of breath support on tonal quality and sound production.  He also worked with students on modifying the pronunciation of R's in order to create a more pleasing choral sound. Students could hear the improvement in their own performance as a result of these technique lessons.

Sophomore Academic English - Troy Hari and Kate Kowalewski
Students began a unit on poetry by reading several poems with themes relatable to their own lives.  Mr. Hari led an engaging discussion on each poem.  He prompted students to notice key imagery, repeated lines, and other textual features of the poems and then to connect these features to the larger themes and ideas expressed by the writers.  He encouraged students to consider their own experiences and perspectives in relation to each poem.  

EL 2 - Jill Hawbecker
EL 2 students used Actively Learn to help them read and study the novel Tears of a Tiger.  Questions embedded in the chapters helped students process what they read and then share their thoughts.  Ms. Hawbecker, in reviewing these responses, could easily see what her students were understanding and where they needed more assistance.  Ms. Hawbecker is currently piloting the use of a novel in Actively Learn.  So far, she is finding the tool very useful for her EL students.  Actively Learn includes tools like translators, dictionaries, and read-alouds that provide the support her students need to develop their reading skills.


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