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Brief from the Board Meeting on April 16, 2020

Call to Order: All board members were present.

Public Comment: No one submitted comments.

Freedom of Information Act Requests: 
Three requests were received and responded to since the last meeting related to postage and mailing equipment, bid results of the summer 2020 renovations and the 2019-20 contract with First Student.

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

  • The minutes of the regular Board of Education meeting on April 2, 2020
  • Resignations, retirement and employment of personnel
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for March 2020
  • The monthly reports on cash and investments for February 2020
  • Checks dated April 10, 2020
  • A contract for masonry remediation at Addams, Eisenhower and Mead junior high schools, and Armstrong, Aldrin, Dirksen, Blackwell and Collins elementary schools during the summer of 2020
  • A contract for roofing replacement at Campanelli Elementary School
  • A proclamation recognizing Tuesday, May 5, 2020 as National Teacher Day

Board Secretary Ken Van Dyke read three letters of thanks from the individuals who were appointed principal at the last board meeting – Carrie Azab, Priscilla Buchanan and Amy Houlihan.

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss provided an update on the current work in School District 54 during the school closure. District 54 is in its fourth week of providing remote learning. Last week the district sent a survey to all families, asking for their feedback on remote learning, and received 673 responses. Responses indicated 99% of families felt supported, including 61% saying they felt very supported by District 54. When asked about the workload, 96% said it was manageable.

DuRoss said he has received messages from some parents that the workload is too light and messages from others that the workload is too much. While academic growth is important, the primary focus during this unprecedented time is the well-being of our students.

Associate Superintendent Erin Knoll provided an update on virtual learning including the new social-emotional learning lessons that were rolled out last week, grading expectations and student participation. More than 94% of students log in daily. District 54 employees are reaching out to students who have not connected remotely and offering support so that 100% of students are participating. The social-emotional learning lessons are tailored to the needs we are hearing from students and staff during this unique situation.

District 54 has also offered supports for families, including food distribution three times a week, a new D54 Foundation Crisis Fund to meet other needs of financially struggling families, and a new special education website with resources for the families of students who regularly receive accommodations at school.

District 54’s technology department has repaired or replaced more than 100 student and staff devices since remote learning began, and recently received a shipment of hotspot devices for individuals who do not have internet services at home.

The School Board thanked the administration and all staff members for all that has been done to support students, staff and families.

President’s Report:
Board President Bob Kaplan reported that the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) has been hosting weekly Zoom meetings.

National School Board Association/Illinois Association of School Board Report:
Board Vice President Mary Kay Prusnick announced the dates of upcoming webinars and calls hosted by IASB.

PTA Report:
PTA Council President Jim Sklena announced that a Campanelli student, Karina Shah, had her literature project advance to the national level of the Reflections competition. The PTA elementary scholarship applications were due last week. Students will be allowed to use the funds for fall programs if summer programs are cancelled this year. Jim also announced the names of the individuals elected to the council next year. Those names can be found on the PTA website – He thanked the school district for its response during this pandemic.

Foundation Report:
Mary Kay Prusnick reported that the golf outing is still scheduled for June 8. The Foundation is trying to raise money for fiscally struggling families, and these funds are needed more than ever. She encouraged people to reach out to potential sponsors.

New Business:
The Board approved the appointment of Special Education Coach Dana Scalzitti, PBIS Coach Julie Goolish, Mentor Dilshad Patel, Digital Learning Coach Lauren Rivera, Frost Dean Melinda Perez and Keller Teacher Mandy Moore as assistant principals for the 2020-21 school year. School placements will be determined.

The Board thanked everyone for supporting our students, staff and families.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 7:47 p.m. to enter closed session for employment/appointment matters.