August 6, 2020


    Greetings Homestead Families,

    Despite being a very different summer, I hope everyone found time to relax and have some fun. I want to personally thank you for your patience as the district navigates this new world of how to safely open schools for the 2020-2021 school year. This has been, by far, the most challenging for me as a school administrator. I know the decision to go Remote for All was not an easy one for our Superintendent, Dr. Sparlin, and the Community Unit School District 308 School Board. I know that there are many questions about the start of the school year, and I will get information out to you as soon as I have it. Although the start of the school year will be unique, this is an outstanding time to teach our children to be resilient, flexible and determined to overcome obstacles and challenges.

    This leads us into our theme for the 2020-2021 school year: “We are HOMEstead”. The theme originated from three picture books Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave, I’m Gonna Push Through and That’s Life. All classroom teachers are receiving these three books to share with their students. At Homestead, we want to teach our students that life will throw you some challenges, but it is how we react when we are faced with these challenges that shows our character and determination. These past several months our world has been faced with turmoil, including a global pandemic, ongoing racial injustices and inequalities, and economic hardships. As educators we have the unique opportunity to partner with families to support “our” children when crisis occurs in order to give them the tools of resilience and perseverance. We are here for your children, We are HOMEstead!

    We have a lot of new staff at Homestead this year! We welcome Mrs. Jill Ochoa (Kindergarten Teacher), Mrs. Terri Adame (Special Education STARS Teacher), Mrs. Nicole Walker (Behavior Specialist for our STARS program), Miss Karrighan Quick (Speech and Language Pathologist), Ms. Lisa Devol (Gifted Education Math Teacher), Mrs. Lynn Amoni (English Language Learner Resource Teacher), Mr. Matt Hotuyec (PE Teacher (half-time)), Mrs. Jocelyn Nolan (Special Education Program Administrator) and Mrs. Carol Marszalek (STARS Program Administrator). We welcome back Mrs. Shabri Roy (Third Grade Maternity Leave for Mrs. Julie Cumblad). We also welcome Mrs. Karen Vitanovec to the Fifth Grade team. I am proud to call each of them Homestead Huskies! We are still in the process of hiring a Fifth Grade Maternity Leave substitute teacher for Mrs. Sarah Guzauskas.

    To help all students and families transition back to school and to their new grade levels and classes, we are in the works for planning a virtual Preview Night, welcome back videos and a supply pick-up for materials. Dates are still being worked out as well as the official start date for school.

    I will miss the first day of the typical in-person excitement of students in the hallways eager to get to class and see their teachers and friends. I will miss getting to know our Kindergarteners and new students in-person in the first few days of school, and I will miss sitting with the Fifth Graders at lunch sharing stories of the summer. With that being said, I can’t wait to join the Go Live sessions of each of the classes welcoming them to Homestead and the new school year. I can’t wait to offer raffles to students to have personal “live” sessions with Mrs. Bobosky, myself and surprise guests, as we did in the spring. I can’t wait to see all of the new technology our students will learn while Remote Learning. We will be back together once again when it will be safe to do so. We are all in this together, We are HOMEstead!


    Mr. Casey O’Connell