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Briefs from the Board Meeting on October 3, 2019

Discussion Item – Cultivating Innovation in Instructional and Facility Design:
District 54 continues to focus on cultivating innovation in instructional and facility design as outlined in the 54 Promise strategic plan.

This summer District 54 purchased “Future Ready” furniture, installed interactive digital monitors and painted accent walls in vibrant colors in classrooms throughout the district. As part of the addition at Link School, new classrooms were built and upgrades were made to the Link Creation Studio, including a digital recording studio and film production studio. Creation Studio renovations were also completed at Eisenhower, Frost, Mead and Addams. These include sound labs, vision labs, virtual and augmented reality labs, flexible seating and technology integration.

All kindergarten through second grade students received iPads and all third through eighth grade students received Chromebooks through the district’s 1:1 device initiative. Students have completed digital learning lessons at all grade levels. Innovate 54 teams of teachers and administrators from each school continue to meet with a focus on implementing high quality STEM/STEAM lessons, using technology to accelerate learning and assessing student progress. In September, the district began training all teachers by grade level to build a shared understanding of the district’s vision for cultivating innovation.

Discussion Item – Championing Every Student:

District 54 has maintained a mission of ensuring student success for many years. This success focuses on supporting students socially and emotionally as well as academically.

On August 13, happiness representatives and leaders from each school and the district office attended a retreat focused on sustaining and growing the commitment to positive psychology and long-term optimism among students and staff. Plans were developed for recommitting to positive habits, professional development on emotional intelligence for staff, self-care for optimistic educators and fostering an Orange World by bringing the message to families and the greater community. Later that week all 2,000 District 54 staff came together to kick off this year’s theme, Everyone Needs a Champion. Keynote addresses inspired staff to focus on their “why” to ensure student success.

During the district’s first half-day inservice in September, the entire staff sat at each school reviewed a chart showing the names of every student. They were asked what they know about each child to make sure that each one of our more than 15,000 students has a true connection to an adult. Teams created a plan for ensuring each student had a champion.

Other ways in which the district is ensuring whole-child success include the following.

  • The district’s third through eighth grade Student Ambassador program focuses on strengthening student leadership qualities and creating opportunities for students to influence their school community in a positive way.
  • District 54 staff and junior high students will learn how to increase their ability to identify students who need emotional support and to be aware of the resources available to those who may be considering suicide.
  • We Clubs were created at each junior high school, so all students have a place where they belong and feel accepted.
  • Students participate in a variety of programs offered by Special Olympics including Club Unify, the Youth Activation Summit and District 54’s junior high mini-summit.
  • A Social Emotional Survey will be given to students, staff and families this fall to provide a better picture of whole child success. Results will be published on a new student profile. The profile will be shared with parents at report card time.

Public Comment: No one asked to speak.

Freedom of Information Act Requests: One request was received and responded to since the last report to the Board regarding a surveillance video and photo.

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 September 19, 2019
  • The resignations, retirement, termination, employment and salary adjustments of personnel
  • Checks dated September 27, 2019

New Business: 

  • The Board had the first reading of revisions to Policy 7:270 – Administering Medicine to Students.

Announcements:

  • The Board congratulated the Early Learning Center for receiving the Gold Circle of Quality, indicating that the program met the highest standards for quality in three areas: learning environment and teaching, administration, and training and education. Gold Circle programs are actively engaged in continuous quality improvement.

Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 7:48 p.m. for employment/appointment and student matters.