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Brief from the Board Meeting on October 18

Public Comment:
Darlene Schlenbecker, the executive director of planning, research and institutional effectiveness at Harper College, spoke about the college’s referendum on the November ballot. Click here for more information.

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

  • The minutes of the regular and closed-session Board of Education meetings on October 14, 2018
  • The retirement, employment and salary adjustments of personnel
  • Checks dated October 12, 2018
  • The treasurer’s reports on cash and investments for August 2018
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for September 2018

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss reflected on the 54 Promise Strategic Plan and highlighted the work completed to date this year. For example, we have implemented a new social-emotional curriculum, launched a student ambassador program at the junior high schools and Lincoln Prairie middle level, started training the Innovate 54 instructional innovation teams, opened creation studios at Churchill and Dirksen and Makerspaces at all elementary schools, and continued to recruit and develop exceptional personnel. We are able to focus on student learning and provide teachers with strong instructional resources because we’ve been fiscally responsible.

Cabinet Report – Leadership Academy:
Assistant Superintendent Pete Hannigan shared an overview, objectives and schedule for this year’s District 54 Leadership Academy. Participants are provided an opportunity to gain the tools, framework and leadership techniques needed to become a leader in District 54. Emphasis is placed on building and sustaining effective learning environments, and improving the overall instructional excellence in District 54. This year 92 individuals applied for the Leadership Academy. Participants are required to attend six sessions throughout the school year, attend at least one day of the District 54 Symposium in June and meet regularly with a District 54 administrator assigned as their mentor.

Cabinet Report – Data Retreats:
Assistant Superintendent Paul Goldberg reported on the data retreats that school administrators and teacher leaders attended this fall. The purpose of the retreat is to analyze their current student learning data and set goals connected to the three District 54 Board Goals. School goals are focused on the whole child, growth and proficiency in math and literacy, and school culture related to our work in positive psychology.

Cabinet Report – English Learner Targeted Assistance Writing Program:
Assistant Superintendent Danette Meyer announced that 130 teachers will implement our 10-week targeted writing program for more than 1,200 English Learners in first through eighth grade. Students meet after school twice a week and study topics aligned with the current science and social studies content. Students build their background knowledge of these topics by watching videos, collaborating with peers, and reading short passages with visual supports. This year the program will be held at 27 schools from October 16, 2018 through January 17, 2019. This program has made a significant impact on increasing the rate of student attainment of English proficiency.

Cabinet Report – Makerspace Implementation:
Assistant Superintendent Erin Knoll provided an update on the implementation of Makerspaces in all elementary schools. Strategic Focus Area 2 of the District 54 Promise strategic plan involves cultivating innovation in learning space and instructional design. This fall all elementary students began receiving 30 additional minutes of time in the learning center, to practice the 4 C’s:  critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. This Makerspace time is designed for teachers to serve as facilitators as students make both high- and low-tech creations.

District Citizens’ Advisory Committee: Board Member Barbara Hengels reported that DCAC heard a presentation on student ambassadors, Makerspaces and the mentoring program in District 54.

Illinois Association of School Boards/National School Boards Association: The Board discussed proposed resolutions that will come before the Illinois Association of School Boards for a vote at the November conference. The Board directed IASB delegate Charlotte Kegarise to oppose proposals related to giving school boards the authority to allow arming teachers and a proposal allowing districts to borrow or obtain money without referendum to purchase energy saving equipment. The Board supported proposals related to funding mental health services and student voter registration.

District 54 Education Foundation: Board Secretary Bob Kaplan reported that the Foundation is partnering with the Windy City Bulls on December 14. The evening will include the participation of a number of student groups, including a Special Olympics basketball game at halftime. Click here to buy tickets or for more information.

New Business: 

  • The Board approved a resolution estimating the amount of the 2018 aggregate tax levy at $180,000,000.
  • The Board approved Nicholas & Associates to act as construction manager to oversee the 2019 construction projects.
  • The Board approved a resolution authorizing the release and termination of rights of reverter to the Twinbrook School property. The property was transferred to the Hoffman Estates Park District.
  • The Board approved revisions to Policy 2:140(a) – Communications To and From Board.

Announcements:

  • The School Board congratulated the District 54 recipients of the Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Awards who will be honored at a banquet on Saturday.
  • Board members expressed their appreciation for the Professional Learning Communities workshop for new employees, the PTA Fall Conference Dinner and the work of our PTAs.
  • The Board also commented on how impressed they were when they visited a Lincoln Prairie class using virtual reality headsets and visited the new learning spaces at Churchill School.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 8:45 p.m.