Pandemic hasn't stopped students, staff

In January, we published the first edition of our “D86 Moving Forward” print newsletter. In my introduction for the publication, I reflected on our accomplishments from first semester and expressed optimism for a fantastic finish to our school year. Then the unexpected happened in the form of COVID-19, and our lives changed in ways we never could have imagined.

While I am incredibly proud of how we responded to the pandemic during the past nine months, what has impressed me most is the way our students and staff have handled this crisis. They have displayed incredible strength and courage in the face of adversity, exhibited tremendous resolve and determination in overcoming the obstacles before us and supported each other throughout this difficult and unprecedented time in our lives. It is because of them that we were able to not only survive this year, but achieve great things both in and out of the classroom that contributed to the success of our schools and those we serve.

For example, we continued to advance the work of our strategic plan, which included the implementation of changes to our science program that will help our students achieve their college and career readiness goals. It also included our decision to transition to an integrated math pathway starting in the fall of 2022, which will enable our students to develop skill proficiency and teach them how to effectively investigate, critique and apply knowledge.

We took positive steps toward improving racial and cultural equity and inclusion in our district. One of those steps was to form a Culture and Equity Leadership Team that is composed of students, staff, parents/guardians and board members, who are helping us actualize and celebrate the core values of equity and diversity that are a driving force for our strategic plan.

We completed critical upgrades and improvements to the learning spaces, athletic facilities and infrastructure at both high schools that were made possible by the voters who approved our referendum in 2019. Not only has this work been done on time, it is currently under budget by more than $770,000.

We also had students and staff members from across the district amass a number of impressive honors and accolades that are a testament to their hard work, dedication and tireless commitment to excellence.

As we look ahead to 2021, we do so with hope that an end to the pandemic is on the horizon and with excitement about the prospects and possibilities that may bring. In the meantime, we want to wish our community the happiest of holidays, and thank you for your continued support and partnership in helping our students down the path toward their ideal future.

— by Tammy Prentiss, superintendent, Hinsdale

High School District 86