March 2021

Board Meeting Highlights

March 22, 2021
Complete Meeting Packet

Board Reports

Facility Development Committee (FDC) - Mrs. Sternweiler
The Romona and McKenzie summer construction projects will begin construction staging during spring break week. The WJHS mandatory construction pre-bid meeting was well attended. The bid opening took place on March 16th. This construction item was reviewed and presented for approval.

The Central Avenue road construction has resumed. The focus of the work is expected to be east of Central School. The Village expects substantial completion of the project to occur by the time school starts in August. The one-way traffic pattern will continue through spring and summer.

School Finance Committee (SFC) - Mr. Cesaretti
Due to the continued constraints and uncertainty caused by COVID, summer programs are being modified to focus on academic review, reinforcement and enhancement. The Extended School Year (ESY) Program will be offered to eligible students with IEPs. Two additional academic programs are also being offered this summer. The previous BASIC classes have been renamed and redesigned to a focus on ‘Review and Reinforcement’. These classes will be offered to students who demonstrate need based on benchmark assessments, teacher recommendation or request. Academic Camp classes will be available in either reading and writing or math. To limit transitions and the mixing of students, two class periods will be scheduled with each class being 90 minutes. Students may sign up for either or both classes. This allows for more in-depth instruction, as well as the opportunity for community building and social emotional connections.The fees are consistent with previous year fees, with some adjustments made to accommodate the longer class periods. Transportation will remain the same.

In mid-February, the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) announced a new supplemental plan that employees would be able to contribute to. The announcement was met with a lot of push back and questions from member districts as TRS stated all school districts had to get board approved participation by March 31st, 2021. TRS has since revised their rollout plan.

Strategy - Mr. Steen
Last month, the Board asked administration to evaluate programming options that would allow the merging of A and B in-person learning pods at HMS and WJHS. Understanding the merger required reduced distancing within classrooms to 3-4 feet, the Board requested a review of the layered mitigation plan as well as the CDC and IDPH guidance to evaluate the ability to adhere to safety guidelines and maintain healthy classroom environments.

A proposal of this plan was reviewed at the Board’s Committee meeting last week, and has continued to be refined. The District is prepared to launch the merged A/B in-person learning pods on Monday, April 12 along with increased optional in-person opportunities for students enrolled within the fully remote program. The Fully Remote Program will remain intact for the fourth quarter, with increased optional opportunities for in-person connections. Transition requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis. There will be no significant changes to elementary programming; however, opportunities for increased in-person optional activities for fully remote elementary students are being planned. Administration continues to plan for a return to full in-person programming for all students in the fall.

Liaison Reports

Community Review Committee (CRC) - Mrs. Poehling
The Community Review Committee met on March 2nd. The committee discussed which two team members would participate on the core strategic planning meetings. The main discussion of the CRC focused on the Environmental Scan phase of the strategic planning process, which is the next phase of strategic planning and will begin by collecting information from all of the stakeholders. The committee discussed a survey, focus groups, and interview questions. The members met in three (3) subcommittees to discuss and recommend survey questions for stakeholders from the community-within and community-at-large. One of the subcommittees was more focused on researching educational trends at the local, state, national and international levels.

Educational Foundation - Dr. Cremascoli
The Educational Foundation held its last Regular Board Meeting on February 10th, which was reported on at the February Board of Education Meeting. The Educational Foundation will meet again on March 23.

Insurance Advisory Committee (IAC) -Mrs. Poehling
The Insurance Advisory Committee met on March 8th. District 39 continues to participate in the Cooperative 90’s health and dental insurance cooperative. Representatives from both the WEA and SSU joined administration in reviewing current health and dental insurance provisions. Health insurance premiums are expected to increase 3-4% with no plan changes.

Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA) - Mrs. Poehling
The Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA) held an Advisory Board held its Regular Board Meeting on Monday the 22nd prior to the D39 Board Meeting. The WCSEA Advisory Board discussed the budget calendar, projected expenditures for this year, and projected costs for next year, as well as the upcoming summer programming. The next Advisory Board Meeting will be held May 24, 2021.

Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) & Legislative Update - Ms. Stone
On the federal level, on March 10, the U.S. Congress approved a nearly 1.9 trillion pandemic recovery bill which includes approximately $122 billion for K-12 schools. On March 1, the U.S. Senate confirmed Miguel Cardona as the next U.S. Secretary of Education by a vote of 64-33. On the state level, on March 8, Governor Pritzker signed into law HB 2170 Education Reform Bill that is the education pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus' social justice reform package. Among other things, it creates an Inclusive American History Commission and a Whole Child Task Force. It also requires ISBE to assess all students entering kindergarten with a common assessment tool. House Bill 7 would force school consolidations across Illinois of 25% of districts. IASB opposes this bill on grounds that consolidation should be a local issue and has encouraged districts to oppose this measure. The bill was debated but was not called for a vote, largely due to the advocacy of school district leaders. In a related bill, SB 635 contains nearly identical language as HB 7 and would give ISBE the authority to consolidate elementary school districts with elementary school districts and high school districts with high school districts without voter approval.

Information Items

Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

Metrics Team Update - Dr. Cremascoli - The Metrics Team did not meet this week, and is scheduled to meet again on March 26th. The Metrics Dashboard continues to be regularly updated, and this week’s full report has been published.

SafeGuard Screening - Dr. Cremascoli
The Testing Subcommittee of the Metrics Reopening Advisory Team met on Friday, March 19 to review the District’s SafeGuard Screening experience data as well as the recommendation to extend screening through the second week of April. The Subcommittee affirmed their previous recommendation to continue the SafeGuard Screening Program through the second week of April, followed by a focus on ensuring consistent access to PCR testing for those who need it as well as use of resources to continue to strengthen the District’s mitigation efforts. With lower community spread, few cases being identified through SafeGuard Screening, and ongoing needs throughout the District, the Subcommittee recommended discontinuation of the SafeGuard Screening program following the second week of April while strengthening access to PCR testing and lunchtime mitigation supports. The Board discussed this recommendation and reviewed the experience data in-depth. Upon further reflection and discussion, the Board decided to extend the SafeGuard Screening Program through the end of April, with a planned review of experience data again at the April Board Meeting.

Student Recognitions - Dr. Cremascoli
  • Anti-Defamation League (ADL) First Amendment Essay Contest
    The District recognized and celebrated Avni Arora, HMS 6th grader who was awarded first place in the Junior High Essay Writing Contest. Students from more than 230 schools shared what the First Amendment personally means to them (as well as the educators and caregivers who helped them think about their freedoms). Congratulations to Avni and to the teachers and family who support Avni.
  • North Cook Illinois Service Center (NC ISC) Spelling Bee
    The District recognized and celebrated Elaine Xu, HMS 6th grader who won first place at the 11th Annual North Cook ISC Scripps Spelling Bee. The spelling bee went 9 rounds and Elaine's winning word was "Attributive." Elaine represented the North Cook region at the Suburban Cook County Spelling Bee held at McClure Junior High School in Western Springs on March 16 and finished in 4th place overall. Congratulations to Elaine!
Freedom of Information (FOIA)

Strategic Plan Updates - Mrs. Kelly Jackson
5th - 8th Grade Fourth Quarter In-Person Planning
In-Person Opportunities for Fully Remote Students
April 5, 2021 Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Planning Day

Principal Kelly Jackson provided a review of the plan, which was further refined since its review with the Board at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on March 15th. In addition, planning for increased in-person options for the Enhanced Fully Remote Program students was reviewed. A summary of the survey feedback gathered from parents and students was given, along with a review of the options, opportunities, and process that will be used to finalize plans for April and beyond. The Fully Remote Program remains intact for fourth quarter with increased optional in-person opportunities. Program transfer requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

There will be no significant changes to the elementary programming; however, the elementary team is also evaluating opportunities for increased in-person optional activities for fully remote students. Transition requests will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

In support of planning for instructional programming for fourth quarter and beyond, the District will utilize one of its five planning days allotted by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in accordance with the ISBE Public School Calendar Guidance for 2020-2021. Monday, April 5th will be a non-attendance day for students and a work day for teachers, staff, and administrators.

Annual Business

Letter of Agreement with Support Staff Union (SSU) - Dr Cremascoli
The SSU Letter of Agreement codifies Juneteenth as a paid holiday for 12 month employees and building secretaries when their work year extends through June 19. The holiday will be recognized on June 19th or, if June19th falls on a weekend, it will be recognized on the closest work day preceding or following June 19th.

Special Education Child Count - Dr. Swanson 
ISBE gathers special education enrollment information annually. The actual number of students receiving special education services in District 39 currently is 15.34%, which remains consistent with last year’s percentage of 15.68% and with the state percentage of 15%.

2021-2022 School Calendar - Dr. Cremascoli
The proposed calendar was presented for review at last month’s Board meeting and was presented for approval on the Consent Agenda.

Board Policy Review
Second and Final Reading of Board of Education Policy 7:345 - Dr. Cremascoli
This new policy was suggested to be adopted by the Board as part of continued efforts to address the requirements of the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA).

BOARD ACTION
The Support Staff Union Letter of Agreement was pulled from the Consent Agenda.

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Personnel Report dated March 22, 2021
Approve 5th-8th Grade Fourth Quarter In-Person Education Plan
Approve April 5th as Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Planning Day
Second and Final Reading Board of Education Policy 7:345 Use of Educational Technologies: Student Data Privacy and Security
Approve the 2021-2022 School Calendar

Separately, the Board approved:

Approve the Letter of Agreement with Support Staff Union (SSU)
Approve Bids for the Classroom Air Conditioning and Electrical Renovations at Wilmette Junior High School
Approve the Resolution Authorizing the Honorable Dismissal of Teachers
Approve the Resolution Authorizing Notice of Non-Renewal to Probationary Teacher Other Than Final-Year Probationary Teacher

The next Board of Education Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 (due to elections) at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.

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