School District 197 Superintendent Blog
Welcome to my blog! The purpose of the blog is to provide an avenue for communication with parents and community members. I will be sharing our progress in implementing the District Strategic Framework. Periodically I will also post photos and share news of special events that I attend in our schools.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Update on Security Upgrades

Dear Friends, Families, and Staff,

As summer draws near we are gearing up for our summer construction projects.  These include a variety of small repairs and some not so small renovations.  The renovation of the space we are leasing for our early learning program is an example of one of our large projects.  

As you know, we also have plans to remodel the entrances to our schools for the purpose of increasing safety and security, particularly during the school day.  This will be paid for with the $3.2M bond approved by our voters last fall.  Our intent was to complete all eight schools this summer, but plans have changed.  

Originally we put the projects out to bid in a combined proposal.  During this busy construction season, however, competition for contractors was high, and we received very few bids.  All were over budget.  We decided to do five of the schools where less renovation was necessary on a project by project basis, rather than as a single plan.  Consequently, renovation at Moreland, Pilot Knob, Heritage, Friendly Hills, and Henry Sibley will go on as planned and be complete by the start of school.  

The projects at Garlough, Mendota, and Somerset will not, however, begin until fall.  The reason is because these projects are larger in scale and will need to be rebid this summer.  Completion is projected for December or January.  I apologize for this delay.  We recognize the potential for disruption and the inevitably of inconvenience.  We will take all the necessary precautions for safety and ensure we do everything possible to minimize the impact.

Beyond construction, please know that the District has been moving forward with other parts of its security plans including the installation of cameras, lockdown buttons and security doors and locks throughout the district. Administrators have also conducted safety trainings with staff.

When all is said and done, we are confident all our security projects will be done well and within budget.  Your patience will be greatly appreciated.  


Nancy Allen-Mastro

Follow me on Twitter @Supt197

Friday, May 8, 2015

District 197 Parent Academy Graduates First Class

Dear Friends, Families and Staff of District 197,

Earlier this week we celebrated the accomplishment of more than 150 parents in District 197 who successfully completed classes in our Parent Academy.  A majority of them participated in a graduation ceremony on Tuesday.  We salute these graduates as well as those who were unable to attend and offer each our heartfelt congratulations!

This was our first year hosting classes in our Parent Academy in each of our schools.  Classes were offered in English or Spanish in seven schools and one school offered both an English class and a Spanish class.  The parent response to the invitation to attend was outstanding, and in some schools we had waiting lists.  This is evidence of a high demand on the part of parents who want to do everything they can to help their child be a successful student.

Parent Academy offers parents an opportunity to learn more about how to support their children in school, better understand school expectations, and help their child begin developing a personal vision for their future beyond high school.  It also provides us with valuable insight into what parents need and want from us and how we can foster stronger partnerships between home and school.

Many people were instrumental in launching our Parent Academy, but I would like to extend a special thank you to a few people who were central to its success:

  • Sarah Egberg, Equity and Integration Coordinator, for her commitment and coordination in leading the effort.  Well done!
  • Carmen Pineda, Sara Maldonado, Dominique Kanavati-Orth, and Elizabeth Klinkner, Parent Academy Instructors, for their passion, enthusiasm, and dedication. You are superstars!
  • Marcy Doud, Special Programs Director, and all of our building principals and associate principals, for their support in hosting the program at their school.  It could not have succeeded without you!
I feel great pride when a group of people come together and are willing to do whatever it takes to make something exceptional happen.  This is one of those times.  I can only imagine next year's Parent Academy will be even more successful! 


Nancy Allen-Mastro

Follow me on Twitter @Supt197 

 Entertainment at the Parent Academy Graduation was provided by the México Lindo dance group.

México Lindo is coordinated by Dora de la Torre, a District 197 parent.