Board Meeting Highlights - April 2015

Below are highlights from the District 39 Board of Education meeting on April 28, 2015.



Board Committee Reports

Alice Schaff reported. Final CRC report will be presented at the May Board of Education meeting. 

Educational Foundation
John Flanagin reported. Distinguished citizen event is April 30 honoring D39 alum Sydney Martin. “Rack*it” bike tour is May 9. Science Olympiad Varsity team placed 9th out of 49 teams at the state meet. Gripp grants were awarded at the March meeting. Ed Foundation Annual Meeting is May 27th at 7:00 pm. 

School Finance
Keith Dronen reported. Committee met on April 6. Discussion included summer abatement at Romona, operating funds tentative budget, and expenditure assumptions, noting that in fiscal year 2016, the operating fund will be tied to CPI from 2014. Next meeting is Monday, May 11 at 8 am. 


Legislative Update

Keith Dronen reported that the Illinois Senate recently approved SB 669, which would move school board elections to coincide with the partisan general elections in November each year. This is now under consideration by the House of Representatives.  


 Action Items Discussion

 Dr. Lechner commented: 

  • The non-reemployment of part-year support personnel happens annually. All were hired after December 15th and are considered temporary employees. Most will be hired back once staffing needs are known.
  • The snow season is over, so the District can approve the final school calendar for this year; the last day of school will be Friday, June 12th with an early release schedule.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Dave Palzet and Dr. Margaret Clauson, both taking Superintendent positions for next year. 
  • These promotions create opportunities for administrators internally, and changes are reflected in the contracts presented for approval. 


Board Action

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following: 

  • Minutes of the March 23, 2015 Regular and Executive Session Meetings
  • Release of Executive Session Minutes for October 27, 2014
  • Disposal of Executive Session Audio Recordings for May 20, 2013; June 24, 2013; August 26, 2013; September 23, 2013; October 28, 2013
  • Personnel Report for April 28, 2015
  • Non-Reemployment of Part-Time/Part-Year Support Personnel Employees
  • 2014-15 Amended School Year Calendar
  • Administrator Contracts

The Board approved the 2012-2020 Support Council of District 39 Collective Bargaining Agreement.  


Outgoing Board Members Recognized

Karen Donnan and Keith Dronen were each recognized for their eight-year tenure on the D39 Board of Education. Each was presented with framed artwork created by a WJHS student, which will hang at the MEC. 



  • Newly elected Board members Tracy Kearney, Frank Panzica, and Alice Schaff were sworn in.
  • Board officers were elected: Alice Schaff as president and Cindy Levine as vice president 


Announcements from the Superintendent

  • Sydney Martin is this year’s Educational Foundation Distinguished Citizen. She is a D39 graduate and New Trier senior who is a survivor of a rare blood disease. She created Syd Rocks, a jewelry company that donates 100% of its profits. Her efforts have raised over $340,000 to date. 
  • Over spring break, the District repaired Central’s gym from flood issues and handled abatement in Romona's boiler room in preparation for construction. Trees were also removed at Romona where the addition will be located.
  • The District had 36 students qualify for New Trier Math – 14 girls and 22 boys – including one current 5th grader. 
  • A 2nd grade keyboarding pilot was completed this spring and elementary technology teachers are drafting changes for grades 2-4. A summary will be provided at the May Board of Education meeting.    


Information items 

  • Mr. Denenberg - 1:1 Learning Teacher Showcase  - The report provided an update on how D39 teachers are meeting the goals of the 1:1 Learning Program. Teachers from Highcrest and WJHS shared experiences with iPads from an instructional perspective. 
  • Mrs. Horowitz and Ms. Lee  - Mandarin Curriculum Update – In 2015-16, Mandarin Chinese will be a four-year option in D39, from grades 5-8. This report detailed progress with the roll out, and reviewed plans for final implementation. It included information about the District’s first Mandarin cohort entering New Trier during the 2016-17 school year.
  • Dr. Clauson  - Enrollment Projections - This report provided initial projections for enrollment and class sections. K-4 sections are carefully monitored, especially Kindergarten and 1st grade. The report included updates on: WJHS computer coding, improvisational drama, and the RtI early morning pilot at Highcrest.
  • Mrs. Horowitz  - State Mandated Kindergarten Assessment Waiver - This report updated the District’s KIDS waiver application. ISBE denied the waiver request, and the District filed an appeal. The appeal will be reviewed by the Illinois General Assembly in October 2015.
  • Mrs. Horowitz and Mrs. Flemming - Social Studies Implementation Update. The new Social Studies curriculum was implemented this year. Summer writing will consider teacher feedback from the first year. 
  • Mrs. Horowitz, Ms. Buscemi, Dr. Thrasher, Mrs. Flemming, and Mrs. Goldin – District 39 Data Dashboard - As part of the District’s ongoing strategic communication efforts, a Dashboard is being developed and the first effort was presented. The intent is to provide brief, at-a-glance information to members of the community.
    (Note: Dashboard can now be found on D39 homepage.)
  • Dr. Clauson  - District Employee Wellness Committee – This report highlighted the committee’s focus on bringing fitness opportunities to staff.  Step It Up and on-site T.R.U.E. Fit classes are two examples.


 Board Action

  • Approved the Board Policies
  • Approved the 2015-2016 Board Calendar

The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday,
May 18, 2015 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.