February 2017

Board Meeting Highlights - February 27, 2017

Complete meeting packet

Board Assignment Reports

Strategy Committee – Cindy Levine reported –Committee discussed the new strategic initiatives that are part of the update later in the Board meeting. They also discussed new initiatives for 2017-18. Next meeting is April 3rd at 8:00 am

Facilities Development & School Finance – Alice Schaff reported – This was a “committee of whole” meeting. Construction bid for WJHS boiler replacement was under budget, but bids for Romona and McKenzie Learning Commons were 50% over budget. The committee approved the boiler replacement and agreed to refine the scope of the learning commons and rebid the projects. The McKenzie roof will be bid separately. The space study for HMS is underway and the architect has been working with HMS staff; there is strong support for more classroom space and additional small group instructional space. The state recently enacted a law for lead testing. D39 had testing done by the village last fall and is exploring whether that testing will qualify or if new water tests are needed. Quotes are coming in for a new phone system. Three bids for transportation for 2018-2020 have been receive and analyzed and will be covered in a later report. Next joint meeting is March 13th at 8:00 am

Insurance Advisory – Tracy Kearney reported - Discussed current claims experience and open enrollment for this year in early June. Discussed wellness screening currently offered to staff. Next meeting is May 1st at 4:00 pm

Community Review Committee – Cindy Levine reported – Committee is working on their reports. One is the annual audit of 2012 report on technology and learning environments. The two subcommittees on school climate are getting ready to survey parents and will soon survey students and teachers in grades 5-8. Next meeting is March 6th at 7:00 pm

Educational Foundation – Alice Schaff reported - Science Olympiad courses completed and they held a successful open house. Fine arts committee is having a Swiss artist come to work with 8th graders in 2D and 3D art. She will also work with social studies teachers to incorporate the concept of courageous people. Plans are progressing for the Ten Everyday Heroes event, which will be on Thursday, April 27th at the Kenilworth Club. Next meeting is March 15th at 7:00 pm


Legislative Update - Kimberly Alcantara reported – In late July the Governor announced a commission to identify opportunities for overhauling the funding formula by February 2017. The commission’s report identified issues, providing recommendations in some areas and in other areas noting issues remain unresolved. With respect to D39, one of the biggest issues includes the idea of a hold harmless provision so that districts spending adequately would not lose funding. The commission recognized that the current funding formula is outdated for determining what is adequate for each district; it does not demonstrate that adequacy targets differ based on individual student needs. The report acknowledges the state does not have the resources to ensure all districts are funded to their individual targets. Committee expressed a desire to improve equity while approaching adequacy. They discussed whether CPI or Employment Cost Index (ECI) should be used to reflect wage adjustments, noting that using ECI would mean that the minimum funding level would eventually grow larger than the amount that property taxes can rise. Illinois has a nationally recognized inequity in funding, due to too much dependency on local property taxes and to an inefficient and inequitable formula. The report touched on district consolidation and the more than 100 unfunded mandates. Pension spending remains an issue. The report noted that to increase equity they should take into account local capacity, and questioned how that can be calculated. Lastly, the Governor and some commission members support the availability of school choice tax credits. 


Information items 

Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

New Principal for McKenzie School – Dr. Denise Welter is retiring in June, after a long and successful tenure at McKenzie. The District began a search process in November and can now announce Rachel Filippi as the new principal for McKenzie Elementary. Ms. Filippi comes to District 39 following four years of administrative experience in District 109 in Deerfield. She has spent the last three years as Assistant Principal at Walden Elementary School and, prior to that, she was Assistant Principal for Student Services at Shepard Middle School. Ms. Filippi holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree in special education from National Louis University, and a master’s degree in school leadership from Concordia University.

Revised 2017-18 School Calendar - District 39’s practice is to have two school improvement days on the calendar each year; he January draft calendar had only one. The calendar has been revised to add February 2, 2018 as the second school improvement day.

Screenagers - New Trier Township Schools hosted a Family Engagement Night at Central School in Glencoe for a panel discussion and screening of excerpts from the documentary, Screenagers.  The panel included current and former District 39 students and a D39 parent. Discussion ranged from what life was like before cell phones to setting limits on technology use for teens and adults. 

Summer Enrichment Program - Enrollment for the Summer Enrichment Program 2017 is under way and the first registration phase closes March 10th. Parents are encouraged to register soon since decisions about which classes will be held are based on enrollments.  Once classes are finalized, registration reopens on March 20th through May 5th.

Staff Recognition - Congratulations to three dedicated D39 staffers:

Dr. Romy DeCristofaro earned her doctoral degree from UIC last May. Her dissertation, titled “A multi-case study examining reflection within collaborative teacher inquiry,” was recently announced as the winner of the Dissertation of the Year Award from the Leadership for School Improvement associated with the American Educational Research Association. Dr. DeCristofaro will be receiving her award in April.

WJHS 7th Grade Science Teacher, Peter Ower, earned his Doctorate of Education from DePaul University. His dissertation was: Experiencing the Implementation of New Inquiry Science Curricula

Katie Lee will be the Administrator for Curriculum &Instruction. She has been serving in an interim capacity and is well suited for the permanent position. The Board will be approving her contract later this evening.

Parent Teacher Behavior Advisory Committee- New Policy 2:150 refers to standing District committees that are required by law.  The Parent-Teacher Advisory Committee and Behavioral Interventions Committee are permitted to join into one. The first meeting for this new committee) will be scheduled before April elections. A Board member will be appointed to this committee as a liaison. 


Strategic Plan Updates

  • School Climate: Creating a Culture of Empathy– Ms. Lee and the administrative team - District 39 has sought to review its current practices and develop short- and long- term plans to improve school climate and create a culture of empathy. Proactive measures have taken place, especially in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.  This update includes action steps taken this year and plans to address this goal moving forward.
  • School Attendance– Dr. Thrasher - The goal of obtaining 80% positive attendance rate will be met by the end of the 2017-18 school year. Monthly monitoring continues and parents receive a monthly attendance report. In addition, direct conversations with parents of students with chronic absences take place.
  • Revised K-4 School Day Schedule– Dr. Glowacki - The K-4 scheduling committee was established as a result of the new teacher contract.  The report reflects recommendations for changes to the K-4 schedule that reflect best practices as well as priorities for District 39. The recommended changes support both student learning as well as improved opportunities for teachers to collaborate, plan, and instruct.
  • Proposed School Start/End Times – Dr. Lechner - For several years the District has considered issues impacting school schedules. This includes research on adolescent sleep needs, concerns about early band practice, issues with bus schedules and long before school wait times (especially at Highcrest), and the need for more K-4 teacher planning time. Given a longer K-4 student day, it is now possible to address all of these concerns.

Annual Business

Summer 2017 Construction Project Bids – Ms. Buscemi – The planned construction projects for the boiler, roof, and large space HVAC address the District’s most immediate needs. Bids came back and at this time, the recommendation is to approve boiler replacement at Wilmette Junior High. Another priority is to renovate the library, technology and media spaces at Romona and McKenzie Elementary Schools. However, the initial bids came in significantly higher than estimated so architects are redesigning and the projects will be rebid in March.

Regular Student Transportation Contract FY 2018-2020 – Ms. Buscemi - An invitation to bid for regular transportation services was made available to the public January 26, 2017. The District received bids from three companies. These bids were evaluated based on six criteria within a matrix; North Shore Transit (NST) is recommended for Board approval. North Shore Transit provided District 39 the strongest proposal and continues to be the best fit for District 39.  NST decreased the per route cost by 13% from the current year.

Revised Special Education Workload Plan – Dr. Thrasher - After Board approval in October 2009, District 39 submitted its Special Education Workload Plan to ISBE. It serves as a framework to evaluate a special education personnel workload. The 2009 Workload Plan was reviewed and revisions are suggested. 

Board Action

The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

The following item was pulled from the Consent Agenda and approved separately:

The next meeting of the District 39 Board of Education will be on Monday,
March 20, 2017 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.

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