News from June 20, 2019 Board of Education meeting

News from June 20, 2019 Board of Education meeting

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Board thanks Dr. Heinz for her five years of leadership

To mark her final meeting on June 20, 2019 as D64's Superintendent, Board President Rick Biagi (photo/right) joined with former President Anthony Borrelli (photo/left) in praising Dr. Laurie Heinz for her five years of leadership, which dramatically changed the face of D64 for the better. President Biagi noted he had never met a more dedicated and hardworking person than Dr. Heinz and that her commitment to D64 and her students was unmatched and undeniable. Former President Borrelli, who was on the Board when Dr. Heinz was hired, thanked her for her unsurpassed work ethic, deep knowledge of the field of education, and her mantra of continuous improvement in inspiring students and staff to higher achievement and growth. Board members also added their thanks for her many contributions. The Board presented Dr. Heinz with a plaque in appreciation and as a reminder of the impact she has had on D64. On July 1, Dr. Heinz will become Superintendent of CCSD15 in Palatine, and D64 will welcome Dr. Eric Olson as our new Superintendent.

Congratulations! 2019 ELF Ethical Award winners
For more than two decades, eighth grade students have vied for the prestigious honor of being named winners of the Judith L. Snow Ethical Leadership Award, presented annually by the District 64 Elementary Learning Foundation (ELF). This year's winners were described as dutiful, honorable and full of integrity as they were officially presented to the Board at the June 20, 2019 meeting. They include Emerson Middle School - Claudia Domusiewicz and Jenna Pravecek, and Lincoln Middle School - Colleen Compton and Noah Collins. See photos and read more here.

Student learning benefits through 2020 Vision Strategic Plan
As Year Four wraps up, Dr. Heinz reported on progress within the plan's six strategic objectives, which address student learning, professional development, facilities, and finances. She reviewed the origins of the plan through a robust, community-informed strategic planning process, and reported on the activities accomplished, what remains to be done in 2019-20, and what might still need to be tackled in 2020-21 to fully implement the 2020 Vision. Here are a few highlights:

  • In student learning, Dr. Heinz reported on program reviews underway, such as the Middle School Master Schedule Review, and the design of even more inquiry-based learning units at all grade levels to ensure that D64 offers an engaging, motivating and challenging educational program. She pointed to curriculum reviews, such as in English Language Arts, social studies and math, that ensure an aligned, articulated curriculum, as well as a District-wide intensive focus on social emotional learning as part of the 2020 Vision to ensure a rigorous education. She noted the progress achieved in differentiating instruction in reading, for example, by the use of a grades K-8 program and how data from common assessments is informing a multi-tiered system of supports to better meet the academic and social emotional needs of all students.
  • Dr. Heinz also summarized tremendous progress on providing safe and secure learning spaces through a "safe, warm and dry" focus on health life safety, capital improvements and critical infrastructure driven by a separate Master Facilities Plan now in its third year of implementation funded through a financial framework utilizing a mix of cash from the District's Operating Fund balance; debt certificates paid through annual operating funds; and potentially the sale of bonds utilizing the authority now in place.
  • On the horizon, Dr. Heinz noted the District would be exploring the potential of expanding to an all-day kindergarten program, which may also impact space use at the elementary schools and the long-term use of Jefferson School. Further review of a recent demographic study also is needed to identify pressure points for enrollment by school in coming years.

The Board thanked Dr. Heinz for her work to create and guide the plan's successful implementation, and her efforts to seamlessly transition leadership in its fifth year to Dr. Olson.

In addition to the items reported above, other highlights from the meeting include:

  • Assistant Director of Student Services appointed - Angela Phillips was approved as the new Assistant Director effective July 1. Mrs. Phillips has devoted her career to special education, and comes to District 64 most recently from North Chicago CUSD 187, where she has served as an Assistant Director of Special Education for two years. “We look forward to welcoming a veteran in the special education field to partner with Director Lea Anne Frost, as they carry forward the multi-year renewal of all aspects of our special education program and services already well underway,” according to Dr. Heinz, who introduced her at the Board meeting. Read more here.
  • Washington School auditorium floor project approved - Due to the advance of the regular June meeting date, the Board authorized the award of a contract not to exceed $300,000 to the lowest responsible bidder at the opening on June 21 to infill the auditorium floor so the space may be used more flexibly. The bid will be brought to the Board at the July 15 meeting for ratification.The conversion of the auditorium is the first step in addressing overcrowding issues at the school, as recommended by the Washington Space Utilization Committee. The Board also received an informal update on the committee's June 18 meeting, which focused on several options presented by the District's architects for adding classrooms. The committee will meet again in July to review updated plans, and is expected to present a recommendation at the Board's regular July 15 meeting.
  • 2019-20 Tentative Budget Draft review completed - Completing its review of the first draft of the 2019-20 budget initiated on June 10, the Board walked though expenditures within the remaining four funds (Operations & Maintenance, Municipal Retirement, Social Security, and Capital Projects) as well as Other Financing Sources and Uses. At the July 15 regular meeting, the Board will also review revenues before adopting the tentative budget formally. A public hearing will be scheduled for August 19, 2019. The tentative budget will continue to be revised and refined as new information becomes known during the summer, such as final hiring based on enrollment, until it is ultimately approved in its final form at the September 23, 2019 meeting.
  • Policy review continues and year-end actions completed - The Board reviewed recommended changes in policies contained in PRESS packet #100 and policies 7:20 and 7:180, as reviewed by the Board Policy Committee and D64's administrative group. The policies will be returned for final reading and approval in July. Among consent agenda items, the Board authorized several financial actions needed as the fiscal year comes to a close on June 30.