January 2018

Complete information packet


  • Facility Development – Alice Schaff reported – Committee received update from STR Architects about the Highcrest renovation. The project will go out for bid January 24th. Costs look to be within budget. Next meeting is February 14 at 8:00 am.
  • School Finance – Frank Panzica reported – Focus was on where revenue is spent. Ms. Buscemi provided details and several line items were examined in depth. Suggestion for an outside fiscal group to get involved in analyzing spending was discussed. The risk of revenue disruption or loss and whether reserve targets should be adjusted were also reviewed. The extension of the auditor contract was discussed.
  • Strategy – Alice Schaff reported – Three topics were covered: 1)Kindergarten Enrichment - first step was reviewing space needs for all four elementary buildings. Now, operating costs were reviewed including how much could be covered by tuition. Payback period could be 10 years. Next step is parent survey to gauge interest; 2) Instrumental Music -  Ms Lee reported very preliminary results from the survey. More information will be presented at the next meeting; and 3) Student Growth – Ms. Lee talked about the new math assessment and how it will provide more info on student growth. Next steps are for teachers to use this info. Topics discussed for the future were nutrition and gender. Next meeting is February 14th at 8:00 am.
  • CRC – Alice Schaff reported – Focus this year is personalized learning. The meeting was a working session for the subcommittees. Next meeting is February 5th at 7:00 pm.
  • Educational Foundation – Ellen Sternweiler reported  - Planning for the future board has just begun – board members serve up to two three-year terms. Trivia night sold out immediately; Foundation is still working on raffle prizes. After review of fundraising history, the Foundation decided on a paddle tennis event this spring. Discussed presenters for Math in the Real World. Next meeting is February 21st at 7:00 pm


Tracy Kearney reported. Legislature won’t convene until January 30. The impact of the Governor’s amendatory veto of the education funding bill is unclear.


Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

Interim Administrative Appointments -Dr. DeCristofaro has worked in the field of special education for 15 years  and came to D39 eleven years ago. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of Student & Special Services. She earned two masters’ degrees from Northern Illinois University, one in Special in Education and a second Educational Leadership. In 2016, Dr. DeCristofaro earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Illinois at Chicago. Ellen Crispino holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from Boston University. She recently received her Chief School Business Official Endorsement from Northern Illinois University in conjunction with the Illinois Association of School Business Officials. Ellen has been Controller in Wilmette District 39 for the last 4½ years, and is responsible for the accounting operations and financial reporting. She has also plays a key role in developing and managing the District’s annual budgets.  

League of Women Voters Students Government Program – For over 40 years, WJHS 8th graders have participated in the League of Women Voters Student and Government Leaders Program. The official kickoff was last Thursday. Students are assigned an elected official or department head to work with. The entire program culminates with a mock board meeting in March.  

4th to 5th grade transition – During the week of January 29th, fourth grade students will view a video in Spanish class that previews course options they will have at Highcrest. The five World Language classes will be highlighted along with Academic Strategies and WIN (What I Need). Academic Strategies and WIN are course options for students needing academic support and would be an alternative to a World Language or Related Arts. In the past, these two classes were not included in the video. However, since they are meaningful options for students, the video has been updated to include them.  We will be seeking feedback from parents, teachers, and students to evaluate the impact of this change.


Strategic Plan Updates

Annual Business

  • January Special Education Child Count Dr. Thrasher and Dr. DeCristsofaro - Each January a Child Find Count report is generated and provided to State Board of Education to be used for special education funding and for monitoring trends in disability identification.  The overall number of students who qualify for special education services in District 39 has remained stable at 504 students This represents 13.97% percent of students with disabilities, and is on par with the state average.
  • 2018-19 School Calendar Dr. Lechner - Based on input from administration, teachers, and the township, the calendar is ready for final approval. After Board acceptance, it will be we submitted to ISBE for final approval. 


The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Mrs. Kearney requested the item below be pulled from the Consent Agenda; it was approved separately.

The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.


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