Aug. 17, 2020
Dear Thornton Fractional High School District 215 Students, Families, Staff, and Community,
Welcome to the 2020-21 school year! I am delighted to begin this school year alongside District 215 staff who are excited and ready to teach our student scholars and prepare them for the future! As you know, we are starting our school year with a remote-only learning format, meaning that students will be joining live classes via Zoom and utilizing Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms to access texts and submit assignments. During remote learning, all attendance counts, deadlines matter, and assignments are graded as indicated by teachers.
I know these first weeks of school will be a big adjustment for our students, families, and staff, but I am confident that as we work together, supporting and helping one another, our students will be fully engaged in remote learning this first quarter.
I want to encourage all District 215 students and families to utilize our websites and social media to access important information, and to also carefully watch for emails and robocalls from our schools. Additionally, you will want to keep a close watch on Power School, our student information system. Rest assured that our staff is eager to assist in resolving issues that arise and working diligently to ensure that our students transition into this new normal with ease. I’m so grateful for the mutual patience and grace that I am already witnessing as we work together in these uncertain times.
As we kick off this new school year, we recognize that adjustments may need to be made along the way. Please know that your voice is important and your feedback is welcome. Thank you for partnering with us.
Be well and stay safe!
Dr. Sophia Jones-Redmond
Thornton Fractional District 215
July 1, 2020
Dear Thornton Fractional High School District 215 Staff, Students, Families, and Community,
As I begin my new journey as your Superintendent of Schools, I want to take a moment to greet you and communicate how excited and humbled I am to be a part of Thornton Fractional High School District 215! I am looking forward to meeting you, working with and alongside you, and learning about how I can best serve the needs of our District 215 community.
As your Superintendent I will always refer to our students as “Scholars”. I can’t wait to meet our scholars in person. Your voice is vitally important to the success of our district, and I am depending on you to be an active participant in your educational process as we enter a “new normal”.
Parents, guardians and community partners, the school district recognizes that your involvement is essential to the success of every scholar in our school district. I will work tirelessly to ensure that communication is provided on a timely basis, and that decisions pertaining to your child are implemented in their best interest.
Faculty and staff, I have much to learn from you about our schools, our students, our strengths and our weaknesses as a district. I look forward to being your partner in this most important work we will do together as employees of TFD 215.
As we look toward our 2020-21 school year and begin to adjust to the “new normal” in the time of COVID-19, I ask for your patience and flexibility as we plan carefully for the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Although we may have many more unknowns than ever before as we look forward to the start of the 2020-21 school year, I have a sense of excitement because of all the possibilities that working together will provide.
Be well and stay safe!
Sophia Jones-Redmond, Ed.D.
Dear Thornton Fractional 215 Family,
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently released our annual School Report Card at www.illinoisreportcard.com. The Report Card shows how well our district and more importantly how your child’s school is progressing on a wide range of educational goals. We are proud that both TF North and TF South are identified as commendable schools, according to Illinois State Board. The designation, commendable, means we have zero underperforming student groups at or below the “all students” group in the lowest-performing 5% of all schools. Additionally, our four-year graduation rate stands at 84%, which is well above the 67% threshold.
Two notable highlights include an increase of our students’ participation in early college coursework such as Advanced Placement (AP) and dual credit courses. Specifically, more than 40% of our students took one or more AP class and/or one or more dual college credit bearing course(s). This is an increase of more than 6% from last school year. This progress reflects the investments we have made and continue to make in exposing our students to more rigorous courses and classwork early and often. Additionally, our five-year graduation rate is 94% and 6% higher than the state’s average.
We are proud that during this 2019-2020 school year, our Board of Education approved our district budget. Thus, we were able to utilize our Evidence-Based Funding dollars to hire additional classroom teachers as we expand our AP course offerings. Moreover, we are in the midst of overhauling our curriculum by relying on the expertise and time of our teachers and consultants. Our teachers, administrators, and staff, in partnership with you, are continuing to focus on elevating student performance across the board, from assisting our students in persisting through ninth grade to excelling on the SAT state assessment, which serves as a gateway to many institutions of higher learning. There is room for improvement and we continue to look for ways to make sure our students persist through grade nine, on time and graduate college and career ready.
We welcome this opportunity to dive into our data and talk about additional improvements and investments we can make to support all of our student scholars in reaching their goals. Our schools are strongest when we all work together.
Thank you for your continued partnership.
Teresa A. Lance
Dear #TeamPhenomenal215 Family,
It is my hope that the school year has been a positive one thus far! As we move into October, I want to share with you a priority on which I continue to focus: the importance of listening to student and parent voices.
Research is clear that student voice matters. Consider the research of John Smyth, who explored the positive contribution of student voice in an article entitled, "Educational Leadership That Fosters Student Voice." Smyth explains that inattention to soliciting the voice and input of students to improve curriculum and teaching and learning is one the most important concerns in education today.
Because we know the importance of student voice, our Board of Education held listening sessions with our students last year and will engage in a similar format this year. We’ve asked students, parents, and staff to participate in our Thought Exchange program, and many have also taken the time to email me or contact me via Twitter. In addition, I am holding two "Soup with the Superintendent" events this school year, which provide an opportunity for parents to dialogue with me in a relaxed setting. Although registration is full for the October event, we do have another event planned for later in the school year. AND, you can frequently catch me at school events!
We are still evolving, but in the end we recognize the importance of hearing from students, parents, staff, and community members.
Teresa A. Lance, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Thornton Fractional 215
Dear Parents and Guardians:
The first day of school will be Tuesday, August 20th. Check back soon for student orientation and book pickup dates.
Starting this fall, all students will be required to submit proof that they received the Tdap vaccination along with the required school physical forms. Students, unless they have an approved religious or medical exemption, will not be allowed to register for classes until their immunization records have been submitted to the school.
If you are uninsured, underinsured, or receive Medicaid your child can receive immunizations at no cost. Contact the Cook County Department of Public Health at (708) 232-4500 to make an appointment for services.
Please contact your child’s school if you have any questions regarding these issues. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Dr. Creg. E. Williams