Malta students enjoying the snow

February already. Time flies by, doesn’t it? We are well into the second semester. Pretty soon, we will be talking about spring break!



January 31 was the first meeting to set norms and organize for the DeKalb Classroom Teachers’ Association (DCTA) contract negotiations. Over the course of the next few months, district and teacher union leaders will meet to review and propose updated or new language to the working conditions of our teaching staff.

I realize that these sessions can sometimes be difficult, but the outcomes and the alignment to the educational improvements for our students deserve the attention. We will work collaboratively to ensure our meetings are productive, constructive, and focused on our common goal of providing excellence in education for our district. Initial meetings will take place in the Education Center’s temporary location until we are back on 4th Street (if needed).


Board Member Elections

As you know, elections for the four open board member seats will be on April 4. I don’t have to tell you how important those seats are to the work the district is doing. Please be sure to do your homework and vote for the best folks to help guide us in running the school district. This isn’t about popularity, this is about students. We are looking for great collaborators focused on improving educational systems for our students and our future. I have sent each candidate an introductory letter wishing them well on this journey.


NIU/Roberts Building

As I am sure you have already heard, we are in need of more space. Our need is greater in one of our north-side communities that house 32% of our elementary student population. These students (k-5th grade) get on a bus to and from school every day in the dark, cold, rain or bright and sunny days. But sometimes they miss the bus and don’t come to school at all because they don’t have another ride to get there. Simply put, we need to consider where our students live and support neighborhood schools. If you have questions, reach out to Amonaquenette Parker ( or join a Community Conversation or email me.


Superintendent Goals Update

The Superintendent’s goals were amended during the January board meeting to include data and outcomes from the HumanEx survey that was completed before Thanksgiving break. School leaders and feedback from cabinet members determined these additional goals during a session with the HumanEx consultants in early January. The main focus of improvements comes in moving the needle on responses from district employees in the following areas:

  • increase the district’s overall mean score by 5% – showing improvement in staff overall satisfaction and engagement of their work and;
  • increase of three or more dimensions (areas) at the district and administrative level to a 3.8 or above on a scale of 5; areas of improvement would be relationships, talent & fit, and career development.

My intention related to our growth goals is to:

  1. Catalog and institute informal and formal methods of providing recognition and gratitude.

  2. Improve the recruitment process to ensure consistency and reliability.

  3. Provide a tool/method to improve coaching and feedback to staff.

So that no one is surprised, the Board has elected to have a spring survey conducted at the end of April to ensure feedback sessions can occur on May 12. I will again ask and stress to everyone within the district to complete the survey within the specified dates. The data is important for school and district improvements.


Tale of Two, or Three, or Four Facebook Pages

I don’t want to assume anything, so please pardon my naivety. As I know, the District manages an official Facebook page where our Communications Coordinator shares information and goings on of the District. This FB Page is named DeKalb School District 428 and has more than 4,400 followers.


We also know there are several other pages out there that include the District or school names, including private groups, that have been created by individuals who are not associated with the District. These pages are not managed by, or in many cases, able to be seen by district staff. Pages like these share perceptions, ideas, questions, and concerns, which their purview. However, please be aware these are NOT pages that District staff reviews or responds to as representatives of the District. There are many staff members that have joined these groups but are doing so through their personal accounts and again, not as representatives of the District.


It is also important to know that all of the District-managed social media pages are intended as platforms to share information about school, District, and community-related news and events. DeKalb CUSD 428 acknowledges that social media sites are suitable venues to communicate and encourage engaging conversation about events, services, news, accolades, programs, organizations, and people. These channels are not intended to be a forum for problem-solving or reporting wrongdoings and will not be managed as such.


I want to be clear: if you have questions or concerns, it is best to reach out to the school administrator or the District Office, including my office, and we will be happy to assist. I will also remind everyone that posting student or staff identifying information is inappropriate. Please be cautious of doing so.


District Website Redesign

The District website serves as a digital front door to the district and needs to be one of the most effective tools available to improve communication, engage families, market strengths, recruit talent, and build trust and deeper relationships within the community. While our site houses a plethora of needed and helpful information and resources, we know it is in need of a refresh. Our primary goals for the site are:


  • To update and modernize the district website to improve overall communication to engage and inform district families and community stakeholders.

  • To establish the district website as a source of current, relevant and reliable information through increased functionality, useability, and accessibility.

  • To market the district’s strengths to our larger community, potential families and students, and potential employees.

We’re excited to begin this process in earnest and will be partnering with a vendor specializing in K-12 websites. We hope to have the new site ready to go with the start of the new school year in August.


Recognitions and Celebrations

I want to make sure I’m sharing the excellent work of our staff and community members more formally and publicly. I have gathered a team to help us put our pride out there. If you would like to recognize someone, send me an email, I would be happy to include it in this newsletter or send them an email. We all love to hear from you.


February is the month to commemorate and celebrate Black History. Please take time to consider and reflect on how our students and staff can connect this month and every day. If there are events, activities, or lessons that you would like to share, please let me know.


February 14 is a day to celebrate friendship, kindness, and connectedness. It is a good day to showcase what that looks like in your school and classrooms. Be sure to take pictures and share them with me (


February 20 is Presidents’ Day, and schools and offices will be closed in observance of the federal holiday.


Thanks for tuning in. See you back here next month.


Minerva Garcia-Sanchez, Ed.D.
DeKalb CUSD 428


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