Kindergarten smiles May 2023

Hello! It is May and the last month of the school year. Can you believe it? This is our last monthly communication before the summer break is upon us. I know you are all looking forward to the time off. I know we all need it. But we still have a lot to do this month, so let’s finish strong! Let’s finish those projects. Let’s get the grades up. Let’s continue to come to school every day and on time. And then, let’s enjoy summer break!


Teacher Appreciation Week is May 8-12

This week reminds us to take a moment to say thank you to all of our DeKalb Classroom Teachers’ Association (DCTA) members for everything they do for our students and our community. Their impact is truly beyond measure, and we are grateful for the countless ways they invest in our children. Thank you!


Student and Staff Safety

As a parent, I have always worried about keeping my kids safe from sickness, scary monsters under the bed, the barking dog, and the guy in the car giving away candy. As a teacher, I upped my game by adding my 30-plus students to my circle of safety. Now, as the superintendent with 7,000 students, my level of anxiety and circle of safety is beyond what I could have ever thought. But it is always there, and recent events that threaten the safety of our most precious cargo demonstrate that we must always be diligent.

An email was sent to all district families on April 19 that provides as much information as we can share. It is critically important that we do not compromise the processes that must be taken under the law. I assure you that every effort is being taken, and we are actively working with authorities. We are also offering support to our students, families, and schools and will continue to make as many resources available as needed.


Communication is imperative. Systems and structures that support policy are foundational. Advocacy for equity and appropriateness is central. Help me by saying something when you see or hear something. Don’t wait to see if someone else will come forward. Bad actors and bad situations have no place in DeKalb.


Registration and Enrollment

District-Wide Registration Night with Pizza. Please join us at Littlejohn Elementary School (1121 School St) from 5:30-7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 3, to register your student(s) or if you need assistance registering for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. It is important that your students register early for the next school year. Registering now allows the district to plan and schedule classes.


Keep in mind, ALL students MUST complete online registration each year in order to attend any DeKalb public school. Any current elementary student not registered by Thursday, May 11, may not be able to attend their current or home school. Middle school and/or high school students who are not registered will receive their schedules once online registration is completed.


Please plan to join us on May 3, if you have questions or need assistance with the registration process. We are excited to offer this community district registration event.


Summer Programming

As the regular school year winds down, we are transitioning to our summer programming that supports students across the district. The summer programming across the district will begin on June 5th and conclude on June 30th. There will be no programming on June 19th in recognition of the state and federal Juneteenth holiday.

General summer programming will support core subjects, enrichment, STEAM, credit advancement, credit recovery, and social-emotional programming.

  • Kindergarten – 5th Grade will be at Tyler ES on Monday – Friday, 8 am-Noon

  • Middle School (6th – 8th Grade) will be at NIU Campus on Monday – Friday, 8 am-Noon

  • High School at DeKalb HS on Monday – Friday, 8 am-Noon

We are also offering Extended School Year (ESY) again this summer. ESY is a program that helps students with disabilities maintain their skills and offer fun experiences aligned to their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. This year’s ESY theme is “By the Sea.”  ESY is located at Cortland Elementary for early childhood through middle school students and at DeKalb High School for high school students. The first day of ESY will be on Monday, June 5, and runs through June 30, with no student attendance on Monday, June 19. ESY runs from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with free breakfast daily.


New Board of Education Members

We have three new board members, Steve Byers, Vanta Bynum, and Christopher Boyes, and one returning member, Samantha McDavid. Prior to their seating at the May 2nd board meeting, we organized an orientation meeting with the new board members to get them acclimated to the structure and framework of the work, specifically meetings and communication. We look forward to welcoming our new members, and along with our returning board members, continue to work collaboratively to advance the priorities of our district.


As a reminder to everyone, we do want board members to feel welcome in the school buildings. If staff or school leadership is inviting a board member to an event, it is required to copy me on the invitation. If a request from a board member is made to visit a school, I will forward that to the school leader.


Board members are required to wear their IDs when visiting in an official capacity. If the board member is a parent and is entering the building as such, they do not wear their ID but must sign in like all other visitors. Please keep in mind, the board members speak in one voice. If you have an issue/complaint, please follow the protocol.


New School Building – Update

Two design team meetings focused on working through the renovated building’s physical view (layout, room location and size, etc.) have been held. We are in the midst of deciding on the actual number of classrooms to ensure we have enough room for some growth and the weight of the cost of that addition. We would hate to end up at the school’s opening without adequate space for additional programming or growth.


In addition, we are at the board meeting information/action stage for approval of the architect contract to continue our work and stay on the timeline. We are currently reviewing proposals and bids for the construction management work to begin the next phase of our renovation. Members of our academic teams have gone on a couple of school visits (new buildings) to see what is being built in Northern Illinois. Our peer districts are also doing impressive work with their learning spaces, so it’s helpful to see what works well and what may not and then bring some of these great ideas to our district. The next step is the interview process for a construction manager. We have invited a Finance and Facilities Advisory Committee (FFAC) and Board Member to participate in the process along with our facilities, tech and financial teams. And we will be reaching out to our demographer to begin discussing next steps on redistricting. Bringing a new school online that promises to improve educational opportunities for students is an exciting and pivotal moment for DeKalb. There is a lot of work to be done and I will be reaching out to invite participation from our community as we progress through the process. Stay tuned!


The New District Logo

We are in the final stages of finalizing the logo that will be used to represent DeKalb CUSD 428. The final two options have been selected and shared with administrative and building leadership and at the last board meeting for feedback. Those options are:


Option 1: More than the wing of the mascot, this design communicates the journey from elementary school to graduation. The D428 brand mark can stand alone as well as be used in conjunction with the wordmark. The font reflects the curved nature of the forms in the brand mark.


Option 2: An open book, topped with a graduation cap and tassel, represents the growth of students throughout their educational journey. This concept also exhibits the crossroads of technology and agriculture that is unique to DeKalb.


As a reminder, this logo is meant to be distinguishable from our prominent athletic and high school identity but is not meant to replace or diminish it in any way. D428 will be implementing district logo usage similar to the majority of school districts nationally, regionally, and locally, such as the following examples:



We look forward to bringing more consistency and clarity to DeKalb CUSD 428, representing all entities of our District, the early learning center, eight (soon to be nine) elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, and three communities of DeKalb, Malta, and Cortland. Feel free to email me ([email protected]) your preference, final decision will be made Friday, May 5.


The New School Year

I realize that the school year hasn’t ended yet, and I am already talking about the new school year, but I am that person that likes to get ahead of the game early. Having said that, I would like to remind everyone that we will have our 3rd Annual Ice Cream Social coming to a neighborhood near you the week (August 7 – 10) before the Back to School Bash on Saturday, August 12th at the DeKalb Sports and Rec Center (address)


I plan to have three to four stops with the ice cream truck (Malta and DeKalb) and a walk-up at the ice cream shop in Cortland (same as years prior). During this time, aside from getting a red ticket for a free ice cream, we will also be giving out raffle tickets for prize drawings during the Back to School Event. No raffle tickets will be given out at any other time, so don’t lose it. We will try to schedule ice cream stops after 2 pm or later. A flyer will be sent out via Twitter, FB, and our website, along with an email reminder. I would love to see as many smiling, eager faces show up and tell me when the first day of school is.


That’s it for now. Thank you for all you do for all of our students. I wish everyone a safe and fun-filled summer. Keep the children reading. Keep the children moving. Happy Summer!


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