News from November 12, 2018 Board of Education meeting

News from November 12, 2018 Board of Education meeting

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On site at Washington School - 2018 Blue Ribbon School Winner!

Continuing its long-standing tradition of meeting on site at each school annually, the Board met at Washington School this month. The meeting on location allowed the Board and community members to personally congratulate students, teachers and families for being recognized as a 2018 Blue Ribbon School winner from the U.S. Department of Education.

Washington Principal Stephanie Daly (right) and Assistant Principal Janet Van Arsdale (left) introduced a special video celebrating the school's Blue Ribbon award. Washington teacher Sara Slimak displays the commemorative award plaque, while the official flag is displayed by Technology Director Mary Jane Warden and Dr. Lopez. The award was presented November 7-8 in Washington, D.C.; Washington was one of only 16 Illinois public schools to be selected this year as an exemplary, high performing school.

Led by President Anthony Borrelli, Board members received certificates of appreciation from Dr. Heinz during a celebration of School Board Members Day. The 2018 statewide theme – Leadership: Sharing the Vision – highlights members’ critical role in making decisions as the community's elected representatives to ensure opportunities for local students to learn and succeed during their years in D64 and as they advance to high school and beyond.

Other highlights from the meeting include:

  • Board will vote at December meeting on discontinuing plans to establish School Resource Officer (SRO) pilot program for middle schools - The Board reached consensus to take a formal vote at the December 10 regular meeting on ending work to establish a pilot program of utilizing SROs at Emerson and Lincoln middle schools for 8-10 hours weekly. The new SRO Board Committee had conducted its first meeting on October 30, but will not be reconvened as the Board instructed the District to discontinue all activities related to the SRO pilot until the December action. The SRO proposal was originally approved by the Board in August 2017.
  • Plan selected for Field School vestibule/office reconfiguration - Wrapping up discussions underway since the summer, the Board selected a final plan and approved bidding for an addition in summer 2019 near the parking lot on the Elmore Street side to house a multipurpose room with stage similar to Emerson's multipurpose room, while the existing auditorium would be renovated as a secure entry/office area. The existing main office would become classroom space. Funding for facilities projects slated for summer 2019 and 2020 also was discussed as a continuation of the Financial Framework already in place. The next step will be to authorize issuance of Working Cash Fund bonds, which is expected at the December meeting.
  • Changes to 2019-20 school calendar proposed - The District proposed delaying the start of the upcoming school year by one week to provide a longer window for summer facilities projects, including work at Field, Franklin and Carpenter. Adding a fourth Institute Day for staff professional development during the year was also considered. The calendar will return in December.
  • 2017-18 student achievement and new School Report Cards reviewed - Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Lori Lopez reported on student performance on the 2017-18 Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments in reading and math as well as the spring 2018 PARCC assessment in English Language Arts (ELA) and math required by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Dr. Lopez also provided an overview of performance on the Illinois Science Assessment, and shared key findings from the new October 2018 Climate & Safety Survey results. In addition, she introduced the new 2018 Illinois School Report Card created in compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Convenient, "at-a-glance" versions of the report cards for D64 and each of our schools are posted on this webpage along with direct links to the ISBE interactive website to explore a wide array of easy-to-understand data about District 64 schools and others across Illinois. A printed copy of the Report Card is available by phoning the Department for Student Learning at 847-318-4300. Turning to the District 64 2020 Vision Strategic Plan objectives, Dr. Lopez noted the Balanced Scorecard had been updated with this year's metrics, too. Visit the Student Achievement webpage for Dr. Lopez's complete fall update.
  • Board addresses financial topics - The Board conducted a public hearing on the 2018 tax levy, which will be adopted at the December meeting. In a related topic, the Board also approved new Policy 4:25 Loss and Cost regarding the debt service portion of the levy. In other action, the Board approved the purchase of two new pieces of equipment for ground maintenance to improve safety, boost efficiency and provide flexibility for year-round operations, which are also expected to result in long-term savings. The approval of new software for HR/Financial Management was deferred to next month so the contract review may be completed.
  • Monthly progress on Special Education reported for October to November - Student Services Director Lea Anne Frost reviewed the steps undertaken since the last Board meeting in the four key areas of staffing, professional development, consistency across the District, and creating a message of inclusion. Her presentation may be viewed here.
  • Board endorses Village of Niles application for grant to improve safe walking and biking to Emerson Middle School - The Board endorsed the Village of Niles application to win a competitive Safe Routes to School grant from the IL Department of Transportation, which would be used to add sidewalks in Niles along the west side of Prospect Avenue from Farnsworth Drive to Monroe Street. The City of Park Ridge dropped its participation in a joint grant application for a larger project originally proposed in October. Niles now will request up to the full $200,000 available and would add additional sidewalk in the neighborhood east of Emerson depending on the grant awarded, if successful. Grant awards will be announced in spring 2019.
  • FOIA officers appointed - The Board appointed three staff members to serve as its designated officers to process requests for records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. A log of requests received by District 64 beginning October 2018 is now available on the D64 website, as requested by the Board earlier this fall.