Expanded Ideals:

Full inclusion and equity for all students

I firmly believe that each student should be supported and have a plethora of opportunities, however, their needs can be different, and those opportunities should be tailored to their diverse needs.  

Equality is not equity, as I have learned being the parent of twins with vastly different needs, both educationally and emotionally. One of my twins is an honor student in an Academy, and the other is in a self contained ILP classroom. Yet, here in U-46, they are both thriving because they have access to what they need to be successful.

As members of the educational community, we need to be certain that each of the over 39,000 students in U-46 have access to a quality education that allows them to be successful regardless of disability, gender, orientation, religion, ethnicity, and income.  We need to listen to the experts and our own statistics.

Finally, we need to recognize that our diversity is our greatest strength. By making equity and full inclusion our goal, we can nurture our diversity and be a place where all truly means all.

Investing in our future

As a member of the Board of Education, I would focus on investing in our classrooms, on our students, and in our teachers and their professional development.  

For example, as we expand our use of Chromebooks, I suggest continuing to provide professional development for teachers and students on how to use that one on one technology most effectively while being certain we do not become dependent on the Chromebooks. Input from teachers, parents, and students is vital.  

Additionally, I recommend looking at the needs of each school and classroom. For example, does each of these have enough aides, speech therapists, social workers, lunch room/recess monitors, and other vital support staff?

Another example would be to ensure teachers and staff all had access to trauma informed care training, as well as making secondary care available to those who support our students.  

A final example would be professional development that provides teachers with ideas, lessons, and activities that are immediately applicable to their classrooms. Along the way, I would recommend ensuring that parents, teachers, staff, and other stakeholders were a part of the process, informing them of the progress along the way and asking for input.

We need to maintain a balance between taxpayer needs and wants with student needs and wants.  

Supporting and expanding our present programs

My family has been privileged to participate in a variety of programs within U-46.  We have found excellent teachers and programs within the Specialized Student Service programs.  I look forward to expanding U-46’s focus on inclusion for all students focusing on each individual student’s needs, skills, and strengths.  

We have experienced Dual Language at two schools. I have watched it improve the lives of my daughters and their classmates. We have enjoyed our time at the Streamwood WLISA Academy.  I look forward to the expansion of Pathways, offering my own experience as a parent and educator as it expands, adapts, and educates our students for the future.

I have also been a Band parent and have expanded this year to be an Orchestra parent. These activities are preparing my children and their fellow students for life after high school.  

Within the various and diverse programs, clubs, and extracurricular activities in U-46, we have a unique opportunity to make sure all our students are college and career ready.

My experience teaching in higher education, my experience teaching both middle and high school, and being about to face life after high school for my children gives me a balanced perspective to ensure all U-46 students are ready for what lies in their future.

Kate Thommes for U46 School Board

Experience – Inclusion – Vision


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