Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Welcome to the 2013-2014 School Year!

We are very excited about the start of the new school year in Coal City Community Unit School District #1.  Our school year started on August 14th and 15th with Teacher Institutes, and the first day for students was on August 16th.

At our opening day in-service, we talked about our District theme for 2013-2014, which is "Passion & Professionalism".  One of the highlights of the first day was a short video of Rita Pierson, which was shown to all faculty members.  Rita was a fierce defender of public education and the important role educators play in the lives of our students.  She believed that "Every child deserves a champion", which is a phrase we will be using often this year in District #1.  Unfortunately, Rita passed away only a month after giving this passionate speech.  I hope you get a chance to view the video as it is quite powerful.  Our faculty and staff looks forward to putting our "Passion & Professionalism" on display everyday as we proudly serve the students and wider communities of District #1.

As we start the new school year, there are a couple of items I wanted to share.

Some of you may be aware that the Early Childhood Center is now a "Peanut-Free School".  This procedure was instituted because we have a student in that building with a very severe allergic reaction to any peanut protein. The American's with Disabilities Act requires that we educate all students with disabilities in the "least restrictive environment."  Also, the school district is required to make any "reasonable accommodations" necessary to provide that "least restrictive environment".  The court system has consistently maintained that making a school "Peanut-Free" is a "reasonable accommodation" and one that must be made to provide students with an education in their "least restrictive environment".  A very recent appellate court case out of Michigan once again supported this position public schools must take.  As I expected, our parents and school community have been very supportive of this new procedure…especially once they understand the potentially dire consequences for this student.  However, anytime a new procedure is put in place, people want to know the rationale behind the change.  Hopefully, this provides that information.

During this summer's HVAC project at the Intermediate School, the contractor discovered some damage to a roof truss above the Library.  Therefore, we have closed the IS Library until we can get the issue fixed.  In the meantime, I would like to thank Tina Vignocchi and the Coal City Public Library for still providing library services to our IS students during this time.  The Public Library has even been opening early to accommodate our IS students, and Mrs. Vignocchi has gone above and beyond for our kids.  It is nice to see two public entities cooperating so well to provide a valuable service to our students.

All of us in District #1 are excited about the 2013-2014 school year.  We look forward to partnering with you to provide the best possible educational experience for our students.

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