By Dr. Nicolas Wade, District 401 Superintendent of Schools
To All Stakeholders of District 401,
Welcome back to District 401, and it is exciting for the 2018-19 school year to be finally here!
This will be a big year for our District as our Technology Initiative is further realized with Elmwood Park High School going 1:1, we implement updated and aligned curriculum in many content areas throughout the grade levels, we pursue facility improvements and expansion, and we take additional steps toward larger goals for the benefit of our students.
Elmwood Park High School will be the first school in the District to be 1:1 and give students the ability to take home devices. Elm Middle School will officially be going 1:1 next school year where the students can take home their devices, but for this year there will be over 450 devices available for students throughout the school day.
John Mills Elementary and Elmwood Elementary will also be seeing a significant increase in the number of available devices for students with there being over 400 available in each building, and the Early Childhood Center will have close to 100.
The District will be utilizing Google Classroom as the primary instructional platform for buildings that go 1:1. This platform will be an excellent way to be transparent with parents and guardians about what is happening in the classrooms, as well as for teachers to be further organized with materials, resources and assignments.
Stemming from the progress made by the District due to the Technology Initiative is the District's shift toward the use of e-texts. These texts offer a plethora of primary and supplemental resources that are aligned to state and national standards and expectations. They are accessible to parents and guardians via their respective student's access. And, perhaps most importantly, due to the acquisition of these new curriculum materials, District 401 , being a unit district, is now articulated.
This school year we will also see the expansion of the Enrichment opportunity for students in kindergarten through grade 2 with it being scheduled for all as a Special, along with music, art, computer/technology and physical education. Enrichment for these students will not be recorded for a grade, but to simply provide an opportunity to all students that was not originally available. Students in grades 3-5 are eligible for subject area acceleration, and Enrichment is available to eligible students in grade 6.
Other types of accelerated opportunities for students in grades 7-12 are currently being developed for students for the 2019-20 school year, which will include honors and high school credit courses at Elm Middle School and expanding Advanced Placement and dual-credit courses at Elmwood Park High School.
The District has also expanded its Department for Student Services and added special education and bilingual/EL teaching staff to meet the increasingly diverse needs of the student population. The District's Social Justice League is continuing its pursuit of increasing the presence of a social-emotional curriculum in the classroom. To support this, there is continued training of staff members and administrators to pilot a social-emotional learning curriculum.
The District will be working this school year on finalizing plans for a site improvement and expansion of Elm Middle School, which will allow the building to house grades 6-8. The District is hoping to break ground in the late spring/early summer for the project to be completed in time for the 2020-2I school year. This project will allow the District to take a significant step forward in being able to provide a full-day kindergarten program. Site improvement and/or expansion plans are also under development for the elementary schools.
There have been some administrative changes throughout the District. The following have seen a change in their position and/or responsibilities:
► Ms. Kyleen Coia
Assistant Principal, Elmwood Park High School (formerly an EPHS Dean)
► Ms. Stephanie Hagins
Assistant Principal, Elmwood Elementary School (formerly an Elmwood special education teacher)
► Mr. Kevin Seibel
Principal, Early Childhood Center (formerly Principal of Elmwood Elementary)
► Ms. Rebecca Siegel
Principal, Elm Middle School (formerly the Assistant Principal)
The following are new to the District:
► Ms. Sara Barrick
District Special Education Coordinator
► Ms. Ashley Groeneveld
Assistant Principal, Elm Middle School
► Mr. Matthew Lerner
Principal, Elmwood Elementary School
► Ms. Katie Plum
Dean, Elmwood Park High School
► Mr. Joseph Sierra
Director for Buildings & Grounds
► Ms. Pamela Stutzman
District Special Education Coordinator
There are articles up on the District's website on each of the aforementioned individuals about their history, philosophy and goals here at Elmwood Park.
I look forward to seeing the buildings full again when the 2018-19 school year begins on Aug. 15, and I continue to be excited about the direction the District is taking.
Dr. Nicolas D. Wade
Superintendent of Schools