Superintendent's Message - October 22, 2021

Superintendent's Message - October 22, 2021

Dear Butler D53 Families and Staff,

What a wonderful week within the District 53 school community! I had the pleasure of joining Brook Forest Elementary School on Tuesday at Brookfield Zoo as the school adopted a dolphin and enjoyed the spectacular Dolphin Show! This morning, Butler Junior High School celebrated the end of First Quarter with an assembly (the first in a year and a half), celebration of the National Blue Ribbon School Award, and pancake breakfast courtesy of our fabulous PTO. The excitement and energy within both of our schools is remarkable!

Additionally, the Board of Education held their regular monthly meeting on Monday, October 18, 2021. At this meeting, the Board of Education authorized the district and its architects to begin design development for upcoming capital improvement projects. Additionally, the Board of Education authorized the administration to work with financial partners to prepare debt certificate(s) not to exceed $20 million for approval at a future meeting. This action paves the way to physical improvements to our campus in alignment with our Capital Improvements Vision, without the need for a referendum through a disciplined debt service model. We look forward to sharing more information on these potential projects with you in the near future.

Furthermore, while we have done a wonderful job following our COVID-19 prevention protocols in-school, I would like to remind everyone to continue to make smart decisions outside of school, especially as Halloween approaches next weekend. The Butler SD53 COVID-19 Data Tracker Dashboard is updated weekly and the data represents new activity within the reporting period. Please be reminded that the District 53 Health Center offers free COVID-19 testing to all District 53 community members during normal school hours at Brook Forest Elementary.

Inclement Weather and School Closures

As the temperatures have started to drop and we turn the corner to fall and winter, I wanted to send a message relating to potential weather-related school building closures. While I consider closing our school buildings to be an exception and place a strong emphasis on keeping our schools open, my first priority is keeping our students and staff safe. It is important that you know that the weather prediction itself is not the only determinant. There are other factors that are carefully analyzed when making a decision to keep the buildings open or to close. To highlight some:

  • The safety and well-being of students and staff
  • The severity of the weather (extreme cold, excessive snow, ice, flooding, etc.)
  • Timing of the weather-related events
  • The ability of buses, cars, and walking students to travel safely
  • The operable condition of our buildings

In a situation of pending inclement weather, I am in constant contact with the Hinsdale Township School District 86 superintendent, surrounding community school administrators, the Village of Oak Brook, First Student Bus Company, and the Illinois Department of Transportation. While it is good to collaborate, I will ultimately make the decision with the focus on our own student and staff safety.

Notification of a Closure:  School building closure decisions will normally be made the evening prior, if at all possible. But the latest, by 5:30AM, the day of. The closure of school buildings also means that all extracurricular activities will be canceled. Notification to parents/guardians of students, and staff will be communicated as follows:

  • An automated BlackBoard Connect, email, and text (dependent on your notification preferences)
  • Butler School District 53 website
  • District social media accounts
  • Local media outlets

Parents/guardians must remember to update their contact information during registration each year, and throughout the year if you change any of your contact information. You can update your contact and notification preferences by contacting our registrar, Kristen Lugo (

Because our District has an approved remote learning plan on file with the DuPage Regional Office of Education, emergency days will not have to be utilized in the event the school buildings are closed. Students, teachers, and staff have the ability to remote teach and remote learn if it is declared a day that the buildings will be closed. 

Stay well, be safe!

Dr. Paul O’Malley

Superintendent of Schools