D86 community survived, thrived in 2021

As I reflect on the past year, one word that comes to mind is community. As the world endured another year in a global pandemic, the District 86 community continued to display strength and overcome adversity while achieving great success both in and out of the classroom.

District 86 remained committed to preserving and protecting the health and safety of our students and staff in the face of COVID-19. We implemented layered mitigation strategies in our buildings, hosted several community vaccination events and partnered with Northshore Clinical Labs to provide on-site COVID-19 testing services at both high schools. As a result of our diligent efforts, our district was able to keep people in school and offer traditional in-person learning all year long.

Despite the challenges this year brought, our students and staff earned a number of impressive honors and accolades as they continued to strive for excellence. Below is a sampling of those achievements.

Hinsdale Central was named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School.

Nearly 300 District 86 students were named Illinois State Scholars.

More than 90 District 86 students earned the Seal of Biliteracy during the first semester of the 2021-22 school year.

Hinsdale South increased its English language arts scores on the SAT at a time when most high schools have seen their scores decline.

We made positive steps toward improving equity across the district in conjunction with our strategic plan. In January, our board of education approved the district’s equity statement to ensure all of our students have the tools they need to meet their learning and well-being requirements. We also appointed Dr. Patrice Payne as the district’s director of instructional equity. Payne’s work is focused, in part, on supporting the goals of our equity statement, and providing professional development opportunities for staff members that are helping create an engaging and inclusive learning environment for all students.

We continued making progress on our three-year Future Ready Facilities plan, which is scheduled for completion in 2023. Some of the projects we finished this year include:

• addition and renovation of the special education area at Hinsdale Central

• renovations to the existing fine arts space at both schools

• renovation of the cafeteria at Hinsdale South

• addition of the natatorium at Hinsdale Central

In addition to this work, the district also renovated a second location for the Transition Center located in Burr Ridge.

We cannot look back on all that we accomplished in 2021 without thanking our students, staff and community for their hard work and commitment to excellence. We wish our community happy holidays and look forward to working together to help all of our students pursue their ideal future.

— by Tammy Prentiss, superintendent, Hinsdale High School District 86