Diamond Edge November 2023 Edition

School Board Members Day

D76 Celebrates School Board Appreciation Day 11.15.23 by honoring the unwavering commitment and invaluable contributions of our amazing board members. Each of them plays a critical role in shaping the teaching and learning environment for our students and staff. We are grateful for their leadership, dedication and service.


This month students in Kindergarten through 5th grade received their Trimester One Standards-Based Report Card (SBRC) in all subjects. Standards-based grading is the practice of measuring student proficiency against defined standards and learning targets. Because standards based grading closely ties academic performance to learning standards, it allows for a more accurate and specific report of student academic performance. While traditional grading may include such behaviors as student motivation, extra credit, participation, organization and other non-academic behaviors, standards-based reporting is designed to report student progress toward achieving an academic standard while separating out all other non-academic behaviors. The goal of standards based reporting is to provide clear feedback to teachers, students and parents as to the academic performance of the student. West Oak Middle School is using the traditional grading system for this year as they prepare their SBRC for the 24-25 school year.

For information about our grading system and to view sample report cards, please visit our Report Cards page on our district website. If you have any questions about your child’s report card, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher for assistance.


Diamond Lake School Playground

In October, Diamond Lake Elementary School finished installation of their expanded playground which added an additional playground structure and removed all the gravel surfaces and replaced with grass. This provided more usable space for students to play and the new playground structure is age appropriate for preschool age students. Overall, this has been an excellent improvement for the students at Diamond Lake Elementary School and the project was 100% grant funded.


2023 Tentative Tax Levy

At the November 14th Meeting, the Board of Education approved the 2023 Tentative Tax Levy. The proposed 2023 tax levy is $16,681,500 (exclusive of Bond and Interest). The increase is based on 5.0% for existing property (the 2022 CPI capped maximum amount under PTELL) and an additional 8% to capture new construction and remodeling. While D76 does not reasonably expect to get this much in property tax revenue, due to the Tax Cap Law in place, we must request a levy sufficient to capture all potential new property growth or risk losing this revenue. This process is referred to as “balloon levying.” The main reason for this is that the two main factors for calculating the tax rate, Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) and new property growth, are unknown at the time the levy is developed.

Many homeowners may have seen an increase in their tax bills. In theory, property tax increases are limited to a 5% or CPI increase, whichever is lower, from one tax year to the next. However, individual tax bills may increase more than 5% or the CPI due to one or more of the following reasons: A home addition was constructed, property was under assessed or reassessed, homeowner’s exemption changed, commercial and industrial property tax assessment appeals shift the tax burden to residents.

As state and federal funding for education shrinks and property tax appeals are on the rise, D76 is aware of the extra burden individuals face. D76 makes every effort to responsibly use the dollars of our community taxpayers. As part of our D76 goals and action plan, programs are constantly evaluated for their effectiveness, staffing plans are reviewed annually and department budgets are carefully monitored and redeveloped from a “zero” base every year. The leadership team examines grant opportunities to help fund programs, equipment purchases and facility improvements.

Please visit our website www.dist76.org for detailed budget and tax levy information.


Last month, the D76 Instructional Technology Committee convened to evaluate genuine student feedback, aiming to shape our Responsible Use Policy concerning technology usage. We are making significant progress in crafting a contemporary policy that comprehensively addresses students' expectations and promotes positive digital conduct. Furthermore, Mr. Hansen led a professional development session for our staff in collaboration with the committee, focusing on establishing a solid base of comprehension and application of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance teacher productivity and instruction. We are poised for an exhilarating journey ahead as we expand our fundamental understanding and dispel apprehensions about the unfamiliar.

Student Services

D76 hosts Parent University on a variety of topics. In November, the format of Parent University was updated in order to get the information out to more families. The topic for November was Social Emotional Learning. The following tips were provided to help families in supporting their children:

  • Establish routines
  • Participate in acts of kindness and service as a family
  • Be creative together
  • Celebrate small wins
  • Help children name their emotions
  • Support child in managing their big emotions

The presentations are available on our Parent University webpage. In December, the topic will be Home School Connection.


  • December 4, 2023: Last Start for Students
  • December 5, 2023: West Oak Campus Band Concert
  • December 7, 2023: West Oak Campus Choir Concert
  • December 12, 2023: PTO Meeting
  • December 12, 2023: Board of Education Meeting
  • December 25 - January 5, 2024: Winter Break


Diamond Lake District 76