• 65 from District 65   
    Facts, Tips, and Resources for a Great School Year 
     
    As part of this fall's 'Meet the D65 Leadership Team' event hosted by District 65 and the PTA Council, members of the leadership team compiled a list of 65 facts, tips, and resources for a great school year! This document is chock-full of information ranging from valuable tools and ways to stay connected to important departmental information to ideas to help support your child and facilitate learning at home. This is an especially great resource for new families to District 65! 
    1. Evanston/Skokie School District 65 consists of 10 attendance-area elementary schools (grades K-5); three attendance-area middle schools (grades 6-8); two magnet schools (grades K-8); an early childhood center; and a school for students with special needs. 
    2. Each middle school serves students from the nearby elementary schools. Do you know the middle schools and their elementary feeder schools?
      • Students from Dawes, Oakton, and Walker elementary schools attend Chute Middle School.
      • Students from Kingsley, Lincolnwood, Orrington, and Willard elementary schools attend Haven Middle School.
      • Students that attend Dewey, Lincoln, and Washington elementary schools attend Nichols Middle School.
    3. The District 65 Special Services Department maintains a Resource Guide for Parents of Children with Special Needs. It is designed to provide families with an understanding of the special education process and procedures. It can be requested from the Special Services Department or downloaded at www.district65.net/ssresourceguide.
    4. Parents have online access to a wealth of information about their children through the SISK12 parent portal (www.district65.net/parentportal). Through this portal, parents/guardians can look up grades, attendance records, assessment scores, and a variety of other information.
    5. To develop young mathematicians, District 65 currently uses the Common Core Aligned Everyday Mathematics 4th Edition in grades K-5 and the Connected Mathematics program in grades 6-8 to teach the grade level standards for mathematics. The Common Core Aligned CMP3 Edition is currently used to instruct in the following Courses: Math 6, Math 7, Algebra 8, and Algebra 1. Each grade level is carefully mapped and aligned to the grade level standards to build mathematical proficiency as children progress to the next grade level.
    6. Talk with your child every day. Use ordinary activities such as preparing a meal, going to the grocery store, or cleaning the house to develop your child's vocabulary and language. Communicating in ANY language that you speak at home will impact your child's learning positively.
    7. Meetings of the District 65 Board of Education are streamed live and are also available on-demand within 48 hours of the meeting taking place. Meeting coverage can be accessed through the ‘Live/On-Demand Meetings’ button of the District 65 website.
    8. English Learners in District 65 represent 67 different non-English languages. 
    9. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a Multi-tier Systems of Support (MTSS) problem-solving model that focuses on student behavior and school climate at all three tiers in the MTSS model. All District 65 schools and programs are implementing the PBIS system. Each school has "School-wide" (Tier 1) and "Tier 2/3" student support teams that meet regularly to design and evaluate interventions which provide structure and assistance, at increasing levels of intensity, to our students.
    10. Each spring, District 65 opens its annual registration process and offers parents an opportunity to apply for placement in magnet schools, magnet programs, and permissive transfers to other neighborhood schools. More information is available under the ‘Registration’ tab of the District 65 website. Be sure to respond promptly to requests for re-registration so that your child remains enrolled in District 65 for the next school year.
    11. District 65 maintains a collection of databases to support, enhance and enrich the curriculum. These databases provide information, books, and digital resources that help students and teachers research ideas and explore interests. Students are taught to look at library databases as a rich source of age appropriate information to support critical thinking skills. The library databases are located under the ‘Parent Resources’ section of the District 65 website.
    12. In 2015, District 65, in conjunction with City Traffic Engineer and Evanston Police Department, updated many student bike/walk routes to and from school. Suggested safe routes and safety tips are available at all District 65 schools and are also available at www.district65.net/saferoutes.
    13. District 65 provides integrated social studies experiences that require students to engage in critical thinking and evaluate competing interests. Students can further enhance what they have learned in the classroom through such resources as CNN Student News, Maps 101, Ben's Guide to Government, and ICivics. These resources are available on the District 65 website under the 'Curriculum and Instruction Department.'
    14. Each week, the District compiles a listing of enrichment and extracurricular activities and events throughout the community. Approved materials are included in the Digital Backpack and can be accessed via the district and school websites.
    15. Social emotional learning is an educational process for learning relationship skills such as character education, restorative justice, peer mediation, bullying prevention, anger management, drug/alcohol prevention, violence prevention, school climate, healthy decision making, and positive behavior supports. Different types of SEL programming occur in every school. One of the district’s strategic goals includes assessing SEL programming in each school and determining expansion of this work where needed.
    16. Continuing routines at home gives your child a sense of self-discipline and security. Showing you are interested in what your child is doing or has learned in school shows you value education and his/her success. Make sure to ask what the best part of their day was, what they learned, what they need help with, and if they have homework. Checking the homework folder or assignment notebook solidifies your child’s educational success.
    17. Student and childcare fees can be paid online through the District 65 website by clicking on the ‘Pay Fees Online’ button. There is no fee for using this service.
    18. Did you know that District 65 has a school-age childcare (SACC) program for students in grades K-5 enrolled in elementary and magnet schools? The SACC program provides a nurturing, caring, and safe environment for children before and after school. For more information about enrollment, please visit www.district65.net/childcare or call (847) 859-8306 or (847) 859-8118.
    19. Attending school every day has a positive impact on student learning and helps to put students on a track towards success. In the event your child will be absent from school, parents/guardians are responsible for notifying their child’s school. Please call the main number of the school and follow the automated reporting instructions. 
    20. Each school has a Health Office staffed with an individual certified in both CPR/AED and First Aid. Health Office Personnel provide assistance with first aid, administer medication to students, and notify administrators and parents in the event of health problems or injuries at school. For questions related to health services, please visit www.district65.net/healthservices or call (847) 859-8120.
    21. District 65 has a talented and knowledgeable staff comprised of 1,119 full-time employees and 325 part-time employees. Employment opportunities become available throughout the school year and open positions on the D65 team can be found through the ’Employment’ tab of the District website.
    22. District 65 offers Multi-tier Systems of Support (MTSS) and Response to Intervention (RtI) services to assist school-based and grade level teams in the identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. Those struggling academically or behaviorally are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. Ongoing assessment data is collected to monitor the rate of learning and inform subsequent educational decisions.
    23. Each year, the District 65 Business Office creates a budget that tracks the district’s revenues and expenditures. The FY16 budget is approximately $124 million. In an effort to provide transparency and foster a greater level of understanding, the District recently developed a Budget-at-a-Glance document. The FY16 Budget documents are available on the website at www.district65.net/budget.
    24. The meals, food, and beverages sold in District 65 schools meet state and federal requirements that are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This ensures that meals and snacks are well-balanced, age-appropriate, full of whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, and are low in fat and sodium. Nutrition information is available under the ‘Nutrition Services Department’ on the D65 website or can also be requested by calling (847) 859-8130.
    25. If you move during the school year, please send an email to parents@district65.net or call (847) 859-8065 to initiate a change of address. If you move within Evanston, you must provide proof of residency; this can be done electronically. Even if you move to a new attendance area within D65, your child can continue attending their current school through the end of the school year.
    26. Each year, District 65 hosts a ‘State of the Schools’ event in conjunction with Evanston Township High School District 202. Save the Date (January 28, 2016) for this year’s event!
    27. Did you know that District 65, in collaboration with ETHS District 202, Northwestern University, and other community partners, has embarked upon a collective initiative to achieve STEM literacy for all Evanston youth? The EvanSTEM initiative will work to improve access and engagement for students who have traditionally underperformed or have been underrepresented in Evanston STEM programs. 
    28. Agenda, materials, and minutes for School Board meetings are available on the District 65 website. They can also be requested from the School Board Secretary by calling (847) 859-8111.
    29. Teachers have worked over the past several years to develop the district's writing curriculum based on best practices and research from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. Faculty and writing coaches teach students on how to effectively use varied writing styles.
    30. The District 65 website contains an interactive calendar that can be filtered by school or event type. Visitors can also choose to export the event calendar or subscribe to an iCal feed to sync the district or school calendars with iOS, Android, or other calendar programs.
    31. To develop young scientists, District 65 uses the Full Option Science System (FOSS) program in grades K-5 and the Interactive Science program in grades 6 - 8. Units engage students in science through active learning that fosters an inquiry-based approach.
    32. Did you know that the District participates in various purchasing cooperatives that allows purchases at discounted or bulk rates? Items purchased through cooperatives include food and food service supplies, copy paper, district vehicles, insurance (medical & general liability), furniture, office/school supplies, and energy (gas & electric).
    33. Oakton Elementary School is home to the African-Centered Curriculum (ACC) program and features lessons and activities that engage students in African and African-American history. Small class sizes and strong family involvement help students to develop a deeper understanding of these rich cultures. For more information on magnet program enrollment, please visit www.district65.net/magnetprograms.
    34. Read with your child every day in English or in your home language. Reading in ANY language will support your child's learning in school.
    35. In March 2015, the School Board approved the district’s strategic plan. This plan was developed with significant input by staff, parents, and community members. The five-year plan contains goals and strategies that will guide work within five priority areas including High Quality Teaching and Learning, Thriving Workforce, Family and Community Engagement, Safe and Supportive School Climate, and Financial Sustainability. The complete plan is available in English and Spanish at www.district65.net/strategicplan.
    36. Did you know free and reduced-price meal applications can be completed online, on any device that has Internet access? Visit www.district65.net/mealapplication.
    37. District 65 currently transports approximately 2,000 students on 152 different bus routes each day. Time sensitive transportation questions, concerns, or requests should be directed to the Transportation Department at (847) 424-2425. Non-emergency transportation questions and/or concerns can be sent to transportation@district65.net.
    38. In the event of an emergency situation or school closing, it’s important that the District has the most up-to date family contact information on file. The District also uses this contact information to share other important non-emergency communications. To update your contact information, visit the parent portal, send an email to parents@district65.net, or notify the school office. 
    39. Annual Financial Reports are available on the District 65 website under the ‘Business Services’ section. The AFR includes all funds, account groups, and other components that satisfy the school district’s audit requirements.
    40. Transportation fees are only charged to students enrolled in magnet or special programs such as Two-Way Immersion (TWI) or (ACC). For more information about student fees, please visit www.district65.net/studentfees.
    41. Take advantage of the many wonderful events, resources, and opportunities that are available in the Evanston and Skokie communities. Many of these are FREE! Go to storytime at the library; check out a concert in the park; or visit the farmer's market or local art fair. There are many great opportunities to spend quality time with your family!
    42. District 65 has a Restorative Justice Coordinator that supports school communities in the implementation of restorative practices with aim of building positive relationships and enhancing students' learning. Currently, there are eight district schools participating in the Restorative School Communities (RSC) initiative that are in the process of implementing Restorative Circles to strengthen classroom learning environments, respond and problem-solve issues when they arise, and address more serious behavioral incidents as a disciplinary measure. 
    43. The District 65 strategic plan contains metrics, including student outcome measures, to evaluate progress and ensure the District remains on-track to achieving its goals. This information can be found at www.district65.net/strategicplan.
    44. Park School is a self-contained special education school that is jointly funded and operated by Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and Evanston Township High School District 202. Students, ages 3-22, benefit from a self-contained educational facility for reasons of safety, health, and/or the need for an intensive therapeutic environment. For more information about Park School, please visit www.district65.net/park.
    45. Each winter, District 65 hosts a series of events for families with students entering kindergarten. These include information nights and open houses and are great opportunities to learn about the kindergarten experience. Stay tuned for more details!
    46. State of Illinois law requires school districts to have certain health information on file for students entering a specific grade including verification of immunizations as well as physical, dental, and eye examinations. Health requirements and examination forms can be requested from the school office or by visiting www.district65.net/healthforms.
    47. When you have a question or a concern, communicate proactively. Email or call your child's teacher, visit your child's school, or contact someone from the district office. Not sure who to call? Click on the ‘Staff Directory’ or ‘Contact Us’ buttons of the D65 website. We are here to help!
    48. As part of the strategic plan, the District is committed to fostering collaborative learning among teachers and offering diverse opportunities for professional development. Over the next several years, the District will implement Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in each school. The PLCs allow for professional learning tailored to each teacher's learning needs and provide a forum for reflection on how to apply knowledge attained through other professional learning opportunities to a particular school's context.
    49. Approximately 907 children are identified as English Learners in District 65. The District offers a variety of programs to meet their needs, including: PreK Bilingual Self-contained; PreK Sheltered English; K-5 English as a Second Language (ESL) Resource; K-5 Two-Way Immersion (TWI); 6-8 Bilingual/ESL Support; and 6-8 Spanish for Spanish Speakers. Combined, the various programs serve over 1,500 children. 
    50. Staffing expenditures account for 84 percent of District 65 expenditures, which is typical for school districts in Illinois. Staffing needs are driven by student enrollment and programmatic needs. 
    51. The District 65 website has many STEM related resources to facilitate student learning and also for families to better understand the instructional materials used in the classroom. These resources can be found at www.district65.net/STEM.
    52. Student lunch and breakfast menus are available on the district and all school websites by clicking on the ‘Lunch Menu’ icon on the homepages.
    53. In the event your child leaves something behind on the bus, please call the Positive Connections Bus Company directly at (847) 492-0115.
    54. Connect with D65 on social media! District 65 currently operates an official Facebook (search Evanston/Skokie School District 65) and Twitter account (@District65). Like and follow us!
    55. Did you know District 65 has an Assistive Technology Team comprised of a Speech and Language Pathologist as well as an Occupational Therapist? This team is available to any school or student, who has an individual education plan, in the district. The Assistive Technology team can consult and/or provide an assessment to help support children who are confronted with barriers to the curriculum or their school environment due to a significant language or motor deficit.
    56. This school year, District 65 is implementing a late start option in the event of inclement weather. All schools and centers would open 90 minutes after their regularly scheduled start time. More information will be sent to families this fall!
    57. District 65 uses a reading workshop-style approach for students in fourth through eighth grade. This approach emphasizes the use of authentic text materials and offers students the opportunity to collaborate with their peers, and work in small groups or also one-on-one with their teacher.
    58. School meals can be paid online through MySchoolBucks.com and can be accessed through the District 65 website. In addition, the pre-payment system allows parents/guardians the option to track and review meal history and to set up low-balance notifications.
    59. Volunteers can make a meaningful impact in schools and help to enhance the educational experiences of students. There are many ways to get involved. Contact your child’s school or the school PTA to learn more! In addition, the District 65 Volunteer Handbook is a great resource and is available at www.district65.net/volunteer
    60. The Evanston and Skokie communities are rich with diversity. Make an effort to get to know others in your school community who may have a background different from yours, may speak a different language, or come from another country. Encourage your children to do the same. Join the D65 PTA Council for two parent workshops this fall on navigating real-life diversity! More information is available at www.district65.net.
    61. District 65 students can receive speech and language support in the following areas: voice, articulation, understanding or using language, fluency/stuttering, or pragmatics, the understanding and use of social language skills. There is a Speech and Language Pathologist at every school who is licensed to screen or evaluate children suspected of a delay in one of the above areas. Speech and language support can be provided through a student's individual educational plan, a support plan or through a Tier III RtI plan. 
    62. STEM is an acronym for four related and interconnected disciplines: the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In D65, the purpose of STEM education is to develop "STEM-thinkers" and "STEM-doers." STEM education provides all learners with experiences that take advantage of the clear connections between all of these disciplines and practices. This fosters inquiry-based approaches to learning and problem-solving academically and in everyday life.
    63. Did you know that you can click on the ‘Staff Directory’ button of each school’s website and view a listing of staff and their contact information? By clicking on the ‘Staff Directory’ button of the District website, you can also search by name, school, or position.
    64. Curriculum Nights and Parent Teacher Conferences are wonderful chances to meet your child's teacher(s) and learn about what will be taught this school year. These opportunities allow parents and guardians the chance to build a relationship with the teacher(s) and learn about classroom expectations and routines. Parent Teacher Conferences will be held during the week of October 19 and the week of February 8 during the 2015-2016 school year.
    65. Set aside 30 minutes a day to read aloud with your child. If you are listening to your child read, be encouraging and patient if he or she is struggling. If you are reading a book to your child, pause throughout the book asking questions (e.g., Who are the characters in the story? Where did the story take place? What happened to the characters? When did the story take place?). This will greatly help your child’s comprehension of the book.