September 2020

Board Meeting Highlights

September 21, 2020

Complete Meeting Packet

Board Reports

Facility Development Committee (FDC) - Mrs. Sternweiler. The Facility Development Committee met September 14th th as part of the Committee of the Whole Meeting. Members discussed the Romona and McKenzie KEEP39 Projects. Colby Lewis of STR Architects provided an overview scope of the projects. McKenzie will net two additional classrooms with a total of 5,000 sq.ft of addition space and 5,000 sq. ft. of renovation space. Romona will add one classroom to the kindergarten wing along with a new special education classroom and additional meeting space near the office area. Mr. Papanicholas of Nicholas and Associates gave baseline estimates for both projects. He reported the baseline budget for McKenzie was $4,566,341 with an alternate of $250K for a restroom. The baseline budget for Romona is $2,941,552 with no bid alternates.

The committee also discussed the wrap up of summer 2020 projects. Mr. Papanicholas reported his crew was finalizing punch list items at Harper, Central and Highcrest. He was also obtaining warranties and closing documents for each project. He noted there was unused allowance remaining and all projects were finished on schedule and under budget.

The committee was updated regarding Village Construction Projects. The administrative team has held weekly meetings with the Village regarding the stormwater project behind HMS and Central Avenue water main project near Central School. The HMS stormwater project is finishing up. Due to restroom problems there was some disruption to the parking lot which will be restored before final paving can be completed. The Central Avenue project was scheduled to begin in August when school started but was delayed due to state funding issues. The Village navigated construction to accomodate in-person instruction although the schools were at 20%-25% of physical attendance.

School Finance Committee (SFC) - Mr. Cesaretti reported the Finance Committee met as part of the Committee of the Whole on September 14th. The SFC reviewed the cash flow spreadsheet provided by Mr. Bultemeier. The report showed monthly actual amounts for the last year and projected amounts for the current fiscal year.

Mr. Bultemeier also presented a summary of Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) criteria for obtaining an excellent financial profile score. He explained the five financial profile indicators and noted District 39 has had an excellent rating for well over a decade.

Mr. Bultemeier reminded the members that with the change in ISBE budget procedures the monthly student activity accounts would be presented as part of the Board of Education informational meeting reports for transparency purposes.

A formal letter from Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, the District 39 auditors, was presented to the Board to explain their methods and procedures and provide contact information. Members requested having a representative of the firm present the financial audit outcomes.

Strategy - Mr. Steen reported the Strategy Committee met as part of the Committee of the Whole meeting. The Strategy Committee did not have matters of business to report, but looks forward to this evening’s presentation on the 2020-2021 Strategic Plan seen later on tonight’s agenda. While the Strategy Committee did not have a report, per se, Dr. Cremascoli did provide the team with an update on the work of the District 39 Metrics Reopening Advisory Team.

The District 39 Metrics Reopening Advisory Team composed of teachers, support staff members, administrators, parents, board members, school nurses, medical experts and a COVID strategy expert studies the metrics and progress related to the COVID-19 transmission and the District’s Reopening Plan. The group meets every Friday to review the latest data and offers insight and recommendations to the superintendent. There is a lot of information that the Metrics Team takes into consideration and analyzes every week including COVID positivity rates and cases in Wilmette, throughout the New Trier Township, suburban Cook County, and other neighboring communities, operational and supplies metrics, and staff and students absences. The District announced a metrics dashboard displayed on the D39 website that includes the weekly reviewed data and additional information.

Last week (9/14/2020) the team reviewed the metrics and discussed operations within schools during this first week of in-person instruction. The team also discussed options for expediting elementary students’ frequency of in-person days, including bringing elementary students back in-person earlier, and considered a creative recommendation that would bring K-1 students back a week earlier than others. Although the team did not recommend expediting frequency for elementary students for the upcoming week, it was eager to evaluate how elementary students did as they transitioned to full-days of attendance. The team agreed to consider increasing full-time attendance in the weeks to come.

Other adjustments were made to ensure plenty of PPE supplies, cleaning supplies and onsite access for all faculty and staff, new contactless thermometers, expanded cleaning and disinfecting procedures for all classrooms and offices where in-person students attend, include electrostatic spray and targeted UV-C light use, improvements to lunch procedures, ongoing review and revision to bathroom schedules, and targeted review of remote learning environment, connections and needs.

That is a summary of the discussions and recommendation of the Metric Team from their meeting on September 14th. The Metric Team met again on Friday, September 18th to advise adjustments for Monday, September 28. Dr. Cremascoli provides a report on those team deliberations as well as an update on that meeting later this evening under the administrative reports to the Board.

Liaison Reports

Educational Foundation - Mrs. Poehling reported the Educational Foundation met virtually on September 16th. Although the Attire to Inspire Fashion Show was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Foundation partnered with Plaza del Lago’s Fashion Show and Luncheon held on September 17th, which was a great success. The next Foundation meeting is on October 20th.

Illinois Association of School Boards - Mrs. Sternweiler reported the North Cook Division Fall Meeting is scheduled for October 28th. All IASB meetings will be held virtually. The 2020 IASB Resolutions Committee Report has been posted for review. Each Board is allowed one voting member and the IASB Delegate Assembly will convene on November 14th. There are eight new resolutions proposed and a new Equity Belief Statement.

Information Items

Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

Parent Webinar in Partnership with PASS39 - Dr. Cremascoli - A parent webinar was held to welcome families to the new school year and answer questions about special education services in these unique learning environments. About 45 families attended. The District will continue to collaborate with PASS39 and families throughout the school year.

Parent Event in Partnership with Family Service Center - Dr. Cremascoli - District 39 has scheduled monthly parent events on topics ranging from social emotional health to technology. The next event, “Parenting During COVID-19: Supporting Adjustment at Home and at School” will be held September 22nd and will be hosted by the clinical staff from the Family Service Center of Wilmette.

Reopening Planning - Dr. Cremascoli - The District experienced continued success through the first few weeks of school. The progressive start provided opportunities for teachers and students to build connections, establish routines, and launch learning. It also allowed for the effective implementation and practice of health and safety protocols and procedures with fewer students on campus. The enhanced fully remote program continues to provide instruction to our students enrolled there, connecting students and teachers regularly through synchronous zooms, daily instruction and myriad learning activities. The district is doing a targeted review of its programming needs, beginning with teacher insight and identified needs, followed by a parent webinar next week and then parent and student surveys thereafter. The District continued to make improvements to procedures as the IDPH updates its guidelines. Guidance provided by IDPH and county departments of public health have also continued to offer frameworks useful to schools in interpreting COVID metrics.

Curriculum Nights - Dr. Cremascoli - District 39 schools hosted curriculum nights virtually this school year. While teachers and administrators missed the opportunity to share classrooms, the connections between teachers and parents were still fostered in meaningful ways. Each event was well attended and many commended teachers and staff for their incredibly hard work and dedication to supporting students.

Metrics Reopening Advisory Team Update - Dr. Cremascoli - The Metrics Reopening Advisory Team met again on Friday, September 18 to review metrics and advise on the district reopening protocol and plans. The metrics are favorable and across the district everyone is working exceptionally hard to support implementation of the new health and safety protocol and procedures. The Board requested the team consider accelerating elementary in-person instruction for the week of September 28th for PreK-4th grade students.The team discussed a variety of options for doing so, however, could not reach consensus. While the COVID transmission and positivity rate data being tracked are very good, concerns remained regarding the ability to implement health and safety protocols with integrity if all students return earlier than currently planned. The team discussed the needs of our youngest learners for more targeted support and additional time to practice, build routines and learn in-person, as well as staff readiness to support this additional time. After careful deliberation of all insight shared, Dr. Cremascoli favored an early return to in-person instruction for PreK-1st grade students for the week of September 28th to allow two additional days of in-person instruction for our youngest learners. This allows younger children to practice routines and problem-solve challenges before all elementary students return to in-person instruction the week of October 5, while also providing additional in-person learning time which will be beneficial and the metrics indicate is possible. The district looks forward to welcoming its PreK-1st grade students back to school daily in the week of September 28th, followed by a return of 2nd-4th grade students daily in the following week. The district has also launched full implementation of our 5th-8th grade hybrid model.

Student Academic Assessment Plan - Dr. Cremascoli - The District will return to its traditional assessment practices to assess student readiness and performance. Both in-person and full remote models will incorporate assessment practices that were in place prior to the shift to remote learning in March. The student academic assessment plan is provided on the district website under “District 39 Assessment Overview”. The District will implement these assessments (such as MAP, aimswebPlus, DESSA, MESH) and state mandated assessments (like IAR, ISA, Fitness) during this school year. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has stated these assessments will be required and no waivers are allowed.

Right At School - Dr. Cremascoli - D39 is partnering with Right At School to provide D39 staff a child care option for their school age children who are not able to attend in-person classes. The program will be held in two classrooms at Regina Dominican High School.


Strategic Plan Updates

    Response to the Community Review Committee (CRC) Report - Dr. Cremascoli shared this report as the Superintendent’s response to the CRC Report, “Strengthening Parent Partnerships," which was presented to the Board of Education in June. The recommendations reflect the year-long project of the CRC which focused primarily on ways to ensure that all District 39 parents and teachers engage productively and build partnerships that support learning and foster students’ academic success. The recommendations will be embedded into the 2020-2021 Strategic Plan.


    2020-2021 District 39 Strategic Plan - Ms. Lee reported District 39’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2021 outlined new and continuing initiatives for Board of Education approval. The new initiative focus has been on the District 39 Re-Opening Plan. Continuing Strategic Initiatives include delivering a Kindergarten Enrichment Program, measuring Student Growth through Diffferentiation and Personalization, and Creating Flexible Learning Environments.

Annual Business

    Summer Enrichment Program 2020 - Dr. Cremascoli - District 39 has historically offered a very robust Summer Enrichment Program (SEP). Due to COVID-19, summer offerings were reduced. The bulk of planning for the summer program usually occurs in spring when the state was subject to a stay-at-home order. Summer school was held July 6 - August 7, and all programs were held remotely with a targeted focus on academic development. The District 39 Extended School Year (ESY) program is available to qualifying students with IEPs and was offered as a hybrid or remote option. The district was very proud to be one of the only districts to be able to offer some in-person instruction to this targeted group of students, and experienced tremendous success in doing so. A new class, JumpStart, was also offered this summer. JumpStart was a two-week class provided to give students a head start on returning to school this fall.

    Enrollment Update - Dr. Glowacki - The annual enrollment report was modified to reflect staffing for a typical year as well as staffing/enrollment for in-person and remote learning. Homeroom/classroom teachers had a net increase of 13 staff members and LBSs had a net increase of 5.33 FTE. Dr. Glowacki reviewed enrollment data across the district for both in-person and remote learning programs.

    Letter of Agreement with Support Staff Union (SSU) - Dr. Cremascoli - The Letter of Agreement with the SSU was negotiated to reflect the needs of staff as a result of the health crisis and fall return to school.

    Fiscal Year 2020 Administrator and Teacher Salary and Benefits Report (ATSB) – Dr. Cremascoli – The ATSB report is an annual ISBE requirement that details salary and benefits information for teachers and administrators. This information is required to be posted on the District website after the Board meeting.

Board Action

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Personnel Report dated September 21, 2020
Approve the 2020-2021 District 39 Strategic Plan
Second and Final Reading Board of Education Policies 2:220, 4:180 and 7:190
Support Staff Union (SSU) Letter of Agreement
Right At School Contract

The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday, October 26, 2020 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.

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