More than 260 teachers were hired in School District U46 for the new school year, and the initial full-day kindergarten program had 119 enrollees, right on plan, the school board was told at a recent meeting.
Dr. Jeff King, chief operations officer, presented the overview of the district's readiness as classes began.
"We added 26 classrooms this summer to reduce our mobile utilization," he said. "Eighty-percent of our classrooms were ready by Aug. 1st for teachers to access them and start setting up their rooms, which I think is earlier than we've ever been ready to come in and access."
Schools were painted, lighting and security was upgraded and wireless infrastructure was installed over the summer, King said.
Melanie Meidel, assistant superintendent of human resources, said the conclusion of registration will determine if more teachers will need to be hired.
"We have a pool of candidates ready, willing and able to fill into those positions," she said.
Dr. Suzanne Johnson, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, said a rigorous professional development program over the summer prepared the 100-plus kindergarten teachers for the full-day sessions.
Johnson emphasized the district wants to build a learning culture.
"We want all of our students to start their educational career at U46 feeling confident and safe in their learning environments, want to help them love learning and love being a student in U46," she said.
Among the curriculum changes are dual language for 7th graders, math for K-8th graders and writing pathways for the elementary level.
"We're ready," CEO Tony Sanders said. "For 40,000 coming back, maybe a little bit higher than 40,000, depending on what happens."