We look forward to welcoming your students for the new school year! I want to let you know as your new superintendent, I am here to learn, understand, gather information, and fully take in the culture of District 287. I am a servant leader for students at my core – so our students are always at the very center of all of my decisions. I am excited to get to know our students and families more over the coming year.
The beginning of the school year often brings with it many emotions, and this year is no different. As we prepare to welcome students into our schools for the 2022–23 school year, I realize that the question of school safety is at the top of many of your minds. As a trauma-responsive and healing-centered District – this is where our emphasis will continue to be.
I want to let you know about some important changes that are taking place this year and remind you of the ongoing procedures we will continue to use as we work to provide a safe learning environment for all students.
We all are looking forward to the start of school and welcoming your student!
New Evolv Weapons Detection System
The District has chosen Evolv Weapons Detection Systems as an additional layer of safety for our schools. Evolv is very similar to a metal detector; its advantage over a traditional metal detector is that it is able identify weapons that would not necessarily be detected by a metal detector. This system also increases the number of people who can pass through a detector at the same time.
The systems we have installed from Evolv are solely a weapons detection system (similar to metal detectors). We will not be installing or using any facial recognition technology at any of our sites.
We understand that some of you will welcome the news of a weapons detection system, and others will see this as a setback for racial equity and school climate. We want to assure you that we will be closely monitoring our entire screening process to evaluate its effectiveness and its impact on those entering our buildings.
Student & Visitor Screening
All students, staff, and visitors entering a 287 facility will be required to go through one of two entry points where an Evolv Weapon Detection System (WDS) is located. All visitors will be required to go through one entry point and pass through the Evolv WDS. If the system alerts because it detects a potential weapon on someone’s person or in their belongings, a secondary search will be conducted of the area the system indicates as a potential location for a weapon.
Any student that exits the building unchaperoned or temporarily leaves their staff member’s view while outdoors must go through the screening process again to re-enter the building.
RAPTOR Visitor Check-In
We also have a new visitor management system (RAPTOR). The new system is similar to the previous visitor check-in system but is able to do a more comprehensive name search.
A form of identification will be required to enter a 287 facility and sign in to RAPTOR. The best proof of identification is a picture ID, such as a driver’s license, state identification card, or passport.
Layers of Safety
A comprehensive approach to school safety means that we must double down on the foundational trauma-responsive practices, such as trusting relationships with students, mental health supports, strong check-in and screening processes, and a rigorous and engaging curriculum. Relationship building is the number one layer of protection. View our layers of safety chart here.
COVID-19 Safety Measures
We continue to be proactive with the daily monitoring of any developments with the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please be assured that as a part of our procedures, we have a Pandemic Response Plan to guide us in the event of an outbreak of an infectious virus.
Families are welcome to visit the COVID-19 Dashboard to view case rates at their school. As always, it is your choice to keep your student home from school should you believe that quarantine is necessary. We have rapid tests available for students to take home; please contact your school nurse to request a rapid test if your student is symptomatic.
We ask that you keep students with any of these symptoms at home and report any student’s positive COVID-19 test to your school nurse.
While monkeypox is a serious illness and we need to take precautions, it is important to note that it is different from COVID-19 in that it does not appear to spread nearly as easily. We know that it does spread through person-to-person physical contact and by coming into contact with items or surfaces that have been touched by an infected person’s rash.
If there is a confirmed case of monkeypox in your student’s school or classroom, we will notify families as soon as possible. Anyone who has the illness will be asked to stay home until they are no longer experiencing symptoms, per CDC guidelines.
Meal Application Form
Beginning this school year the USDA has determined that meals will NOT be free for all students. A qualifying meal application will need to be completed to obtain free or reduced-price meals during the 2022-23 school year. Even if you believe you do not qualify for free or reduced meals, all families should still complete the meal application to potentially qualify for other benefits, including:
- Possible reduced rates for middle and high school activities in your home district
- Reduced AP testing and college application fees
- Compensatory funds (which can amount to more than $2,000 per form returned) for the District to reduce class sizes, to provide counseling and social work services, and hire specialists
You may apply online or reach out to your school’s front office to receive a paper application.
School Calendar & Notification of an E-learning Day or School/District Closure
You can view the 2022-2023 school calendar for this year on our calendar webpage.
If the District ever decides to move to an e-learning day or to cancel school, you will be notified using the contact information we have on file for your student. If you ever need to update your contact information, please reach out to your school’s front office.
Transporting District 287 students is contracted through the student’s home school district. Please contact your home school district’s transportation department for transportation questions and needs. Visit our transportation webpage to find their contact information.
Questions, comments, or concerns?
If you have any questions or want to reach out to us, please feel free to contact your school’s front office or your school’s family engagement representative, and they will be happy to assist you.