School District U46 Opens Doors on Aug16

School District U-46 Opens Doors on Aug.16
First Day Ready focuses on updated health records

First Day Ready Backpack Logo


Classes resume Aug. 16 for nearly 40,000 kindergartners through 12th graders across U-46. The school year promises continued innovation and excellence, whether through the District’s universal play-based Full-Day Kindergarten or its successful dual language programming that is now offered through eighth grade. 


“While we anxiously await our state budget, nothing has stopped us from preparing for a great 2017-18 school year, including new curriculum and resources,” said U-46 CEO Tony Sanders. “We cannot wait to see our students on August 16.”


CEO Sanders welcomes back families in this video:


As part of the back-to-school preparations, U-46 is reminding parents that students must show proof of meeting all health requirements before or on the first day of school. The policy aims to ensure a healthy environment for all students and reduce the number of students identified for non-compliance of state student health requirements. The U-46 First Day Ready campaign reminds students and parents the importance of meeting those requirements so that students are prepared to learn beginning the first day of school. These requirements specifically apply to students starting preschool, kindergarten, sixth, ninth and twelfth grades. Forms and requirements are located within the menu of the health services page on the District website at


To support the District’s policies, the U-46 Health Services Department will host a Health Fair from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14 at Larkin High School, 1475 Larkin Ave., Elgin. The fair will feature programs for students, such as D.A.R.E, Food for Greater Elgin, Gail Borden Public Library and many others. Advocate Children’s Hospital will provide physicals and immunizations free of charge, on a first-come, first-served basis to U-46 students with Medicaid or without insurance.


During the 2017 spring semester, School District U-46 adopted a new science curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards, for students in first through eighth grade, and at the high school level for biology, chemistry and physics courses. A team of teachers designed a performance assessment for each science unit and a rubric to help measure student performance. The new standards emphasize critical thinking, creativity and innovation.


After more than a decade, U-46 will revamp its music and arts education this school year for kindergarten through twelfth grade students. The District will introduce a new fine arts curriculum which incorporates new technology aligned with the National Core Arts Standards. The prior music education program focused on students mastering tasks while the new curriculum aims to engage the more than 22,000 students enrolled in music education (band, orchestra, chorus or general music) to think more analytically through hands-on interactive lessons in order to identify how music and rhythm come together.


Physical education teachers in U-46’s eight middle schools will welcome a new curriculum to help students understand their individual fitness levels and needs. The curriculum, aligned with the District’s Strategic Plan, and state and national physical education standards, will focus on students’ individual growth. From the approved proposal, iPads, audio/visual equipment, and heart rate monitors will be available for students to use to keep track of fitness and performance levels. The new curriculum will begin in seventh grade and move to eighth grade next school year.


The District’s Dual Language program continues to grow in middle school, moving up to eighth grade. The program was implemented at the secondary level during the 2016-17 school year beginning in seventh grade with two courses in Spanish: Spanish Language Arts and Social Studies.


For the third year, U-46 will offer a free event aimed at fifth through 10th graders to highlight the connection between U-46 classes and post-secondary options and careers. Explore 2017: A Community, Curriculum, and Career Expo will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, October 14 in Building B at Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Dr., Elgin. The expo is offered in partnership with the Alignment Collaborative for Education (ACE), an organization which aligns community resources to better support schools for a prepared workforce. From ultrasound technicians to attorneys, dozens of local professionals at Explore 2017 will engage with students and demonstrate some of the skills used in their specific field.


Additional upcoming U-46 events and highlights include:


The eighth annual Back-to-School Supply Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 at Elgin Community College (ECC), 1700 Spartan Dr., Elgin. The event, known as “Project Backpack,” provides school supplies for students in need as they prepare for the upcoming academic year.


More than 10,000 backpacks have been distributed since the launch of Project Backpack in 2010. Donations collected throughout the Elgin community will provide a backpack filled with the following supplies:

     6 folders

     4 spiral notebooks

     1 pack of loose leaf paper

     1 package of pencils

     2 black pens

     1 pair of scissors

     2 glue sticks

     1 ruler

     1 pack of crayons


Filled backpacks and supplies will be distributed at ECC on a first-come, first served basis; limit one backpack per student. Recipients of supplies must provide proof of residency or school enrollment within the ECC boundaries.


The Citizens’ Advisory Council (CAC) will host their first meeting of the school year at 7 p.m.Thursday, September 7 in the library at Elgin High School, 1200 Maroon Dr., Elgin. CAC is a volunteer organization that represents the needs and the ideas of each individual school, offers a variety of educational programs, and offers input and recommendations on school and District programs and services.