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Brief from the Board Meeting on Jan. 18, 2018

Ambassador for Excellence Awards:

  • The School Board presented an Ambassador for Excellence Award to Erin Gunsteen, the Keller psychologist, for receiving a grant from the 2017 United Against Bullying Grant Program to start the Kind Club at Keller Junior High School.
  • The School Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to students from Aldrin, Nerge and Lincoln Prairie for their performance in First Lego League competitions in December.

Discussion Topic – Literacy Curriculum Implementation Update:
The Literacy Task Force, consisting of 125 teachers, recommended the adoption of new literacy materials for the 2017-18 school year. This year, the task force continues to meet to share feedback on the new materials and suggest areas for improvement. The group agreed that the Benchmark Advance, Benchmark Adelante and myPerspectives materials allow for high quality instruction and have exceeded expectations. District 54 will continue to offer professional development opportunities for staff who are driven to provide high quality lessons with the materials.

Discussion Topic – Cultural Competency:
This fall, the Department of Language and Culture developed a Cultural Competency training for all district staff, which will be presented between January and April 2018. The activities in the training allow staff to reflect on current practices with diverse students and to identify areas for growth in understanding and reducing implicit racial bias.

Public Comment: One parent spoke, requesting after-school drama programs at all junior high schools.

Freedom of Information Act Requests:
District 54 received and replied to three FOIA requests since the last board meeting, relating to the Twinbrook demolition project, email records, and separation and settlement agreements.

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

  • Minutes of the regular and closed-session School Board meetings on Dec. 14, 2017
  • Resignations, retirements and employment of personnel
  • Checks dated Dec. 8 and 22, 2017, and Jan. 5, 2018
  • The Treasurer’s Report on Cash and Investment for November 2017
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for December 2017
  • A recommendation to accept the audit/comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017
  • Resolutions authorizing attorneys Franczek Radelet and Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn to intervene in appeals proceedings for assessment years 2018 and 2019 before the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board
  • A resolution authorizing intervention in tax objection complaint proceedings for the years 2018 and 2019 pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County
  • The purchase of math curricular materials from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • The destruction of the verbatim records of the closed-session board meetings held on June 16, 20, 21 and 23, and July 14, 2017, for which approved minutes exist

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss announced that District 54 has received several recognitions recently.

Superintendent DuRoss also presented the three draft goals developed by the Strategic Planning Committee, which includes a new goal focused on the whole child.

  • District 54 will perform in the top 10 percent of all schools as measured by state and local assessments in reading and math growth and proficiency.
  • District 54 will close the achievement gap for ALL students in reading and math as measured by state and local assessments.
  • District 54 will ensure success of the whole child grounded in the belief that each child deserves to be Healthy, Safe, Engaged, Supported and Challenged utilizing comprehensive approaches and programming.

Lastly, Superintendent DuRoss presented an update on the Happiness Advantage work in District 54. All staff members have been trained and District 54 has also shared its successes through a presentation at the Illinois School Board Association conference and the District 37 PTA Regional Dinner. We also created a book, which will be published by the International Thought Leaders Network, with 28 chapters focused on the happiness journey at each of our schools. Plans are now underway at the district level and at each school as we prepare for District 54 Happiness Month in March and Happiness Day on March 21.

Cabinet Report – Dual Language and Immersion Assessment Results
District 54 students in the third through eighth grade in the dual language and immersion programs participate in the Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages – AAPPL (Spanish and Chinese) or Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency – STAMP (Japanese). These tests assess reading, writing, speaking and listening proficiency. In the Spanish Dual Language Program, 80% of seventh-grade students and 94% of eighth-grade students are at the intermediate-mid or intermediate-high proficiency levels overall. In the Japanese Dual Language Program, 79% of eighth-grade students are writing at intermediate-mid or intermediate-high levels.

Chinese Immersion sixth-grade students have strong oral language skills with 87% of students at intermediate-low and intermediate-mid levels in listening and 68% in speaking. However, reading is an area of challenge with only 25% of students at the intermediate-low level due to the large number of characters needing to be memorized to understand texts in Chinese. These results along with classroom assessments will continue to guide our plans for staff development and instructional improvement.

Cabinet Report – Open Enrollment Fair
The Open Enrollment Fair began in 2000 as an opportunity to educate District 54 parents about the choices they have for education within our public school setting.  Instead of attending the neighborhood school, students who live in District 54 and are registered to attend a District 54 school can apply to attend one of our schools that offer unique learning opportunities. The participating schools are Lincoln Prairie; MacArthur, Enders-Salk, Hanover Highlands and Link for English-Spanish Dual Language; Dooley for English-Japanese Dual Language; Blackwell for sign language; and Campanelli for the Chinese Immersion program. This year the fair will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Professional Learning Center. Applications to attend an open enrollment school are due March 9 and can be found at

Cabinet Report – Social and Emotional Learning Task Force Update:
The Social and Emotional Learning Task Force, consisting of 98 employees from across all schools and grade levels, was formed in November to outline social emotional learning essential outcomes, resources, lessons and professional development to best support the development of the whole child. The essential outcomes include the core principles of positive psychology and resiliency research findings.

Cabinet Report – Instructional Innovation Task Force Update
The District 54 Instructional Innovation Task Force convened in December with 68 participants from across District 54 representing a broad range of teaching categories. The group is considering how to best use technology to enhance teaching and learning; how to fully engage students; how to ensure we are preparing students to succeed in the technologically advanced economy of tomorrow; and how to broaden learning opportunities provided the students. The task force will explore 21st Century learning space design, Makerspaces, problem- and project-based learning, and teaching tools to ensure deeper learning for all.

Cabinet Report – Response to Intervention (RtI):
RtI provides the district with a structure to make sure that core instructional and behavioral interventions are successful with the majority of students. It is a framework that helps the district as a whole, as well as individual schools and teachers, determine the success of initial instruction and how many students require support at higher levels, including special education. RtI is visually represented by a triangle showing three levels of support for students. Tier 1 is the core curriculum and behavior support provided to all students. Tier 2 involves additional support for 5 to 10 percent of students not progressing as expected with Tier 1 supports. Tier 3 is an additional level of support provided to 1 to 5 percent of students to help them be successful.

Report of the Board President:
President Mary Kay Prusnick thanked everyone at the district level, the Hanover Highlands staff and community, and the district’s attorneys for their support in helping one of our students return to school this week.

District Citizens’ Advisory Committee Report:
Board Member Barb Hengels reported that DCAC heard a presentation on Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS), a proactive approach to behavior that creates a positive classroom environment.

District 54 Education Foundation Report:
Board Secretary Bob Kaplan thanked everyone who attended the Windy City Bulls event in December. The Foundation raised more than $4,300 from the sale of tickets and had the pleasure of showcasing many amazing student groups. He also reminded everyone that the Foundation’s 21st annual golf outing will be held on June 11.

New Business:

  • The School Board approved an agreement with ECRA Group to design Personalized Learner Profile Software.
  • The School Board approved revisions to the following policies:
    • 7:90/7:90-AP, Student Arrival and Dismissal from School,
    • 8:100/8:100-AP, School-Community Partnerships and
    • 8:130/8:130-AP, Media Access.
  • The School Board had the first reading of revisions to the following policies:
    • Policy 1:60/1:60-AP, Prohibition of Sexual Harassment,
    • Policy 1:70/1:70-AP, Standard District Complaint Investigation,
    • Policy 6:235-6:235-AP, Acceptable Use of the Internet and
    • Policy 8:140, Distribution of Political Materials.
  • The School Board awarded a contract to Albrecht Enterprises, Inc. for the demolition of Twinbrook Elementary School.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 8:54 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters, business matters, legal matters and collective negotiating matters.

Further Discussion: After closed session, the Board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Hoffman Estates Park District for the Twinbrook property.