District 57 welcomes students back for in-person learning, kicking off year with Dr. Gorr as new superintendent, plus an expanded elementary school

  • Students prepare to enter their classroom in the new wing of Lions Park School on Aug. 18, District 57's first day of school. Lions Park was expanded over the summer, to help manage growing enrollment.

    Students prepare to enter their classroom in the new wing of Lions Park School on Aug. 18, District 57's first day of school. Lions Park was expanded over the summer, to help manage growing enrollment.

 
 
Updated 8/19/2021 8:26 AM

Mount Prospect School District 57 has kicked off the 2021-2022 school year with in-person learning, a new superintendent, an expanded elementary school and other districtwide changes.

The District is welcoming 2,263 students, starting with first- through eighth-graders on Aug. 18, with kindergartners to follow on Aug. 20 and early childhood students on Aug. 24. It's the first time in 12 years that District 57 is starting the school year under new leadership. Dr. Mary Gorr became the new superintendent on July 1, replacing retiring Dr. Elaine Aumiller.

 

"This is an exciting time for me, personally, as I am happy and honored to be superintendent of this district that is so important to me," says Gorr, who was previously District 57's assistant superintendent of teaching and learning and principal of Westbrook School for Young Learners before that. "This is also a great time for District 57. We're thankful we have come so far and are able to be together in the buildings on the first day."

Last week, District 57 released its COVID-19 Safety and Operational Guidance, which includes the requirement that all teachers, staff, students and visitors wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, in adherence with Illinois' Executive Order for schools. The guidance also includes protocols and plans regarding social distancing, quarantining, the lunchroom and more -- all of which were developed based on direction from the Centers for Disease Control, Illinois Department of Public Health, Cook County Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education.

"Our COVID plans are intended to keep everyone as safe as possible so we can sustain in-person learning this school year," Gorr says. "We are confident that our families, students and staff will be vigilant about following the protocols, and we expect to have a safe and smooth start to the year."

In addition to Gorr, District 57 welcomed several new leaders to the administrative team over the summer. Jason Kaiz became assistant superintendent of finance and operations, and Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar became assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. Kaiz comes to the district from Springman Middle School in Glenview, where he was principal; he was principal of District 57's Lincoln Middle School before that. Vonder Haar had been principal of Westbrook. Danielle Crandall, previously assistant principal of Lions Park Elementary School, is the new principal of Westbrook. And Elise Dean, formerly a teacher and instructional coach in Schaumburg, has joined District 57 as assistant principal of Lions Park.

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"I feel very fortunate that these experienced, passionate administrators are part of our team. We've had a very smooth and productive transition over the summer, and we are ready," Gorr says. "I'm also impressed with the new staff members we've brought on board, and, of course, our wonderful existing staff. We all came together this week for two institute days, and this was a valuable time for us to reconnect, learn together and collaborate on plans for the new year. Everyone is eager to welcome students back and get the year underway."

Also this summer, District 57 completed two major building projects on time and under budget. Four classrooms were added to Lions Park and the multipurpose room/cafeteria was expanded, to help manage growing enrollment. And the district completed Lincoln's floor replacement project, replacing floors in the hallways and common areas. These projects were on the Master Facilities Plan, which prioritizes maintenance that was deferred in the years leading up to the 2018 successful tax referendum.

District 57 serves approximately 2,263 prekindergarten through eighth-grade students in the community of Mount Prospect, Illinois, preparing them to learn and succeed in a changing world.

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