Board Meeting Highlights

January 25, 2021
Complete Meeting Packet 

Board Reports

Facility Development Committee (FDC) -  Mrs. Poehling - Mr. Bultemeier presented and reviewed the construction project timeline for summer 2021. Projects include Romona and McKenzie KEEP39 construction, WJHS second floor air conditioning, along with Life Safety work at the junior high school. All projects are expected to be completed by fall start of school.

Mr. Papanicholas of Nicholas and Associates provided a budget update for projects at Romona and McKenzie, which is currently at $8.2M and included unforeseen roof replacement at McKenzie. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) reported the underground storm water systems at both schools needed to be addressed. $234K of the budget estimate was due to McKenzie roof replacement and storm water replacement at both schools. Mr. Papanicholas noted the junior high air conditioning/Life Safety project is at 60% design issuance and he would compile a budget assessment along with bid alternates to present at the February Committee of the Whole meeting.

School Finance Committee (SFC) - Mr. Cesaretti - Mr. Bultemeier reviewed the budget calendar and resolution to be approved during the Consent Agenda.

Mr. Bultemeier reported the federal government passed another round of stimulus over winter break. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) rough estimates provided toward education are quoted at $56B which equates to $210K or $50 per student for District 39. Districts would have the ability to spend the allocated funds through September 2022. 

Strategy  - Mr. Steen - Mrs. Jackson and Ms. Dominique led a team of teachers and administrators to explore options for the 5th-8th grade hybrid model that included a variety of options for 3rd quarter Mondays.  Options considered included utilizing half-day schedules and continuing with alternative full days of instruction within the hybrid model. The benefits and drawbacks to using Mondays for alternating in-person instruction was also explored.

Feedback from the targeted review of in-person programming, including parent and teacher surveys, requested a review of half-day in-person learning. The many options considered for half-day in-person learning and all ideas had logistic considerations. Ultimately, after much consideration, the team found the current hybrid model to provide the best instructional services to students while maximizing in-person learning across content areas and minimizing disruption.

The team began evaluating a review of alternating Mondays between A/B groups. Two significant disadvantages to this approach included the loss of the fully remote and synchronous whole group instructional days as well as an equivalent increase in asynchronous days to accommodate the in-person alternating days. Teachers value remote Mondays synchronous instruction as it allows the whole class to participate and foster discussion together, becoming one united class. Having evaluated all options, the team ultimately recommended maintaining Mondays as currently scheduled.

Liaison Reports

Community Review Committee (CRC) - Mrs. Poehling - The CRC is assisting the District with all phases of the strategic planning process. The team focused on Phase 1, Stakeholder Awareness. The three subcommittees are researching the best modes of communication, developing a draft communication plan for the community within stakeholders, and developing communication for at-large stakeholders.

Educational Foundation - Dr. Cremascoli - The Foundation presents The Silver Lining Project: Celebrating Unexpected and Rewarding Moments During COVID-19. Gripp Grant applications are currently open to D39 teachers. The Bingo Fundraising event will be held virtually on February 6th. 

Legislative Update - Ms. Stone -  The Education Reform Bill, HB 2170 was approved on January 11th. HB 2170 addresses the Illinois Legislative black caucus’ social justice reform package, includes required instruction in computer literacy skills starting in elementary school, requires all students entering kindergarten be assessed with a common assessment tool, and  creates a whole child task force to research and make recommendations for short and long-term recovery reactions for public school students in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. 

Information Items

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Announcements from the Superintendent

Metrics Team Update - Dr. Cremascoli - The team now meets bi-monthly. The Metrics Dashboard and Full Report has been updated and published on the website. Subcommittees of the team held meetings to discuss the SafeGuard Screening schedule and recommendations for February.

COVID-19 Testing Update and Discussion of February Screening Schedule - Dr. Cremascoli - The testing subcommittee recommended continuing testing throughout February. They acknowledged there is not sufficient data upon which to evaluate the program at this time. Screening is available for in person learners and staff. This a time of potential increased community spread risk due to reduced community mitigation efforts and as new, more potential contagious variants of the virus appear.

Educator and Staff Vaccine Update - Dr. Cremascoli - District 39 is working closely with neighboring New Trier Township School Districts, the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), the Village of Wilmette, and North Cook ISC to coordinate vaccine distributions for all D39 educators and educational support staff. The CCDPH has a huge task, considering the size and spread of the department’s jurisdiction, and approval for site and distribution plans is near. Approximately 95% of staff have indicated interest in receiving the vaccine.

Third Quarter Planning Update - Dr. Cremascoli - Third quarter began successfully with all enrolled students within their chosen enrollment program, both in-person and remote, without much disruption to class assignments. More students moved to in-person than to remote; thus, remote class sizes have been reduced.

A team of teachers and administrators spent a substantial amount of time examining options for third quarter adjustments to schedules for 5th - 8th grade campus. The team focused on the potential options, barriers, impacts, advantages and disadvantages of attempting to transition to half-day daily in-person programming for all students and concluded the disadvantages and barriers to implementation outweigh the potential gain.

Future Strategic Planning Coordination  - Dr. Cremascoli - The CRC continues to make progress in guiding communication and community engagement efforts. Virtual retreat dates have been selected with Strategic Planning expected to begin in March.  

Summer Planning - Dr. Cremascoli - District 39 will host summer school in July under strict mitigation measures. The focus is on in-person summer school opportunities for academic learning, intervention, and boosting. Special education extended school year programming will be offered along with the BASIC program for remediation, as well as some opportunities for academic practice. 

Revised Letters of Agreement Regarding COVID-19 Sick Bank - Dr. Cremascoli - The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and all related provisions expired on December 31, 2020. As a result, further delineation of the use of the COVID sick bank days was recommended. 

Property Tax Appeals - Dr. Cremascoli - the Board of Education approved a resolution authorizing intervention in property tax assessment appeals filed with the PTAB and with the Circuit Court of Cook County in accordance with policies and limitations established by the Board of Education. The District has received notice of property tax appeals. 

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Strategic Plan Updates

2020-2021 Strategic Plan Updates: Annual Business- Ms. Katie Lee - On September 21, 2020, the Board of Education approved the implementation of the 2020-2021 District 39 Strategic Plan. This executive summary report focused on mid-year updates under Annual Business section:  Building School Culture and Community, School Safety and Science Curriculum Review.

Annual Business

Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Calendar and Resolution - Dr. Cremascoli - The fiscal year 2022 budget calendar and resolution was reviewed at the January Committee of the Whole meeting and was presented to the Board for approval. 


The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Personnel Report dated January 25, 2021
Revised Letter of Agreement with Wilmette Education Association (WEA)
Revised Letter of Agreement with Support Staff Union (SSU)
Revised COVID Sick Bank for Employees in Non-Union Positions
Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Calendar and Resolution

The next  Board of Education Meeting will be held on Monday, February 22, 2021 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.