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Brief from the Board meeting on Nov. 2

Discussion – Strategic Planning Committee Update:
One of the key projects in School District 54 this year is to engage in a strategic planning process. On Sept. 27 the district held the first meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee, a 72-member group that includes teachers, support staff, parents, community members, board members and administrators. The committee reviewed the current mission, vision, collective commitments and goals documents, as well as the current state of the district, including demographic data and assessment results. The committee also discussed the changing national and state education landscape. Whereas the former No Child Left Behind Act focused exclusively on academic proficiency, the new Every Student Succeeds Act plan in Illinois also looks at academic growth, attendance, school climate and fine arts participation.

At the next meeting on Oct. 23, the committee reviewed District 54 plans for meeting the needs of the whole child through a focus on social emotional learning. Those plans include convening a Social Emotional Learning Task Force to develop social emotional learning standards based on the principles of positive psychology, examining resources and developing lessons to effectively teach those standards, and developing a staff training plan based on those standards. District 54’s plans also include convening an Instructional Innovation Task Force to examine opportunities to strengthen problem-based learning, student engagement, student voice, critical thinking, self-assessment and connected learning.

The Strategic Planning Committee will continue to meet this year to arrive at a consensus regarding revised District 54 goals and to develop student success indicators and strategies in support of those goals.

Discussion – Digital Learning Update:
After a successful pilot last year, District 54 implemented a 1:1 digital learning program this year for all five junior high schools and in the middle level classes at Lincoln Prairie using Chromebooks and Google’s suite of apps. This year, a pilot group of fifth- and sixth-grade teachers is exploring the use of Chromebooks and Google apps at the elementary level. One junior high teacher and two elementary school teachers shared their experiences in implementing the Chromebooks in their instruction. District 54’s six digital learning coaches are assigned to the junior high schools, as well as the elementary schools in the pilot, to support teachers as they embed the technology into the curriculum. This winter, the District 54 Digital Learning Task Force will examine the expansion of Chromebooks to more elementary schools and explore additional content resources.

Public Comment: No one asked to speak.

Consent Agenda: The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • Minutes of the regular and closed-session School Board meetings on Oct. 19, 2017
  • Resignations and employment of personnel
  • Checks dated Oct. 13, 2017
  • The Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO and Blue Advantage HMOI medical insurance rates for calendar year 2018
  • The Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO Self-Funded medical insurance rates for calendar year 2018
  • The Delta Dental and Vision Care insurance rates for calendar year 2018
  • Workplace Solutions as the provider of the Employee Assistance Program
  • A resolution electing exemption from certain provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
  • The continuation of long-term disability, life, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance for calendar years 2018 and 2019
  • An American Education Week Proclamation

New Business:

  • The School Board had the first reading of a new policy entitled Board Member Code of Conduct – 2:80. With the adoption of this new policy, the Policy Committee is recommending the deletion of Board Member Ethics – 2:105(a).


  • Board members attended the Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Awards on Oct. 28 to celebrate the five awards received by District 54 staff.
  • The Board is looking forward to attending the many events scheduled next week in honor of Veterans Day.
  • Superintendent Andy DuRoss presented the Board with two options for the 2018-19 school calendar and asked for feedback. The first option is similar to this year’s calendar. The second option aligns more with District 211’s collegiate calendar.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 8:20 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters, business matters, student disciplinary cases and collective negotiating matters.