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Brief from the Board Meeting on September 5, 2019

Discussion Item – Social Emotional Health Supports for Students:
Assistant Superintendent Paul Goldberg shared a variety of supports available to students designed to match the challenges they face. Teams of administrators, teachers and support staff collaborate to determine which proactive approach would best serve each child. Some of the resources include internal supports such as the guidance staff, as well as external resources such as the Kenneth Young Center and area hospitals.

We offer support and interventions through our Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) systems. Last year we began administering a Universal Screener. The screener requires staff members to take a survey about the District 54 students they serve to determine whether any students need additional social and emotional supports. Staff members have also participated in ACES training (Adverse Childhood Experiences) so that they can be more responsive to students who have faced traumatic events.

District 54 also launched a social emotional learning curriculum last year in early childhood through eighth grade, with a focus on long-term optimism. This fall students, staff and parents will participate in a social-emotional learning survey that will allow us to further support whole child success. We also offer digital citizenship lessons so students know how to navigate the online world safely.

Discussion Item – Crisis Planning and Prevention:
The safety and security of our students and staff is a top priority. District 54 takes all reports seriously and investigates them thoroughly.

Executive Director of Community Relations Terri McHugh shared information about the District 54 standardized crisis plan, which includes a variety of scenarios and mandated training for all staff. Each school is required by Illinois School Code to conduct three fire drills, one bus evacuation drill, one tornado drill and one lockdown drill. These help to ensure our students and employees know what to do should an emergency occur. The feedback from our local police and fire departments, who attend our drills, is that our students and staff are well prepared.

District 54 also has a plan for crisis response and communication. The first priority is communicating to the students and staff at the schools affected to ensure their safety. District 54 will always notify families of lockdowns, evacuations, relocations and significant weather events that impact the child’s day. For medical situations, the district only notifies the parties involved.

Public Comment: No one asked to speak.

Freedom of Information Act Requests: Five requests were received and responded to since the last report to the Board regarding transportation contracts, enrichment activities at three schools, purchasing records and photos or renderings of time out rooms.

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

  • The minutes of the regular and closed-session school board meetings on August 8, 2019
  • The resignations, employment and salary adjustments of personnel
  • Checks dated August 16 and 30, 2019
  • A recommendation to authorize the assistant superintendent of business operations to negotiate a 2- or 3-year contract for electricity
  • A memorandum of understanding with The Kenneth Young Center

New Business: 

  • The Board approved revisions to the following policies:
    • 4:140(b) – Waiver of Fees for Low Income Families,
    • 4:170(c) – Emergency Closing of Schools (Prior to the Beginning of the School Day),
    • 4:170(d) – Emergency Closing of School(s)(When School is in Session) and
    • 4:170(e) – Building Access Security.
  • The Board brought revisions to the following policies for a first reading:
    • 4:20 – Fund Balance and
    • 4:270 – Disposal of District Property.


  • Board members Mary Kay Prusnick and Barb Hengels have maintained master board status and Board President Bob Kaplan has leveled up.
  • Board members also praised the amazing students and their teachers who performed in the musical concerts at Septemberfest last weekend.
  • The Board thanked the volunteers who parked cars or worked in the food tent to raise funds for the District 54 Education Foundation.
  • They also thanked the employees who created the float for the School Board and participated with the Board.
  • Board members praised the presenters at New Teacher Induction Week.

Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 8:27 p.m. to closed session for the semi-annual review of closed-session minutes.