A recorded video of this board meeting will be available on the District 54 YouTube Channel once it has finished uploading.
Discussion – Elevate Student Success Overview:
Knowing that the learning needs of every student varies, especially going into a third school year impacted by a pandemic, the district has been strategically planning ways to support students beyond what is offered during the school day. Research shows that an emphasis on grade level instruction and high expectations are the most effective strategies for improving student achievement.
To have the biggest long-term impact for our students, District 54 has created a new afterschool program called Elevate Student Success to support students who need additional assistance in math and literacy. Students in second through eighth grade were invited to attend these small group tutoring sessions with District 54 staff twice a week after school based on their fall MAP results and teacher recommendations.
Elevate will also build on students’ confidence and competence. This investment of additional time and opportunity is needed for some students in order to close any gaps that exist as an outcome of the pandemic.
Discussion – Operational Update:
District 54 continues to operate from a sound financial position that has been further strengthened by receipt and expected receipt of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER). These additional funds have been directed toward providing academic support to students, student social-emotional and mental health support, HVAC improvements and PPE supplies.
District 54 provided an update on capital improvement projects, enrollment and facilities use. The district’s average class size is 22 at elementary schools and 24 at junior high schools. As always, the district continues to closely monitor enrollment and classroom usage at all schools. With that goal in mind, the administration recommends contracting with RSP & Associates to develop an enrollment analysis to best plan for future enrollment fluctuations.
District 54 received two online public comments and two in-person public comments related to bullying and to masks. Click here to read the electronically submitted Board Meeting Public Comments for Sept. 16, 2021.
Freedom of Information Act:
District 54 received and replied to five Freedom of Information Act requests since the last report to the Board. Click here to access the board memo with specifics of the requests.
Consent Agenda: The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.
District Citizens’ Advisory Committee Report:
Board Member Barbara Hengels reported that DCAC heard an update on summer activities for students and staff in District 54.
District 54 Education Foundation Report:
Board Vice President Jim Pye thanked everyone who participated in the Foundation’s Lou Malnati’s fundraiser yesterday and those who worked during Septemberfest parking cars. The funds raised from these events help support the Crisis Fund and Food 4 Thought Breakfast Program, among other programs for financially struggling families.
Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Report:
PTA Council President Cheryl Gleason sent in a report thanking District 54 staff for all they have done for students during the pandemic. The PTA is excited to be back in schools to support and engage both students and their families.
The Board adjourned at 8:20 p.m. to enter closed session for employment/appointment matters, the semi-annual review of minutes of closed-session meetings, legal matters and collective negotiating matters.