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News from March 16th, 2023 Board of Education Meeting

News from March 16th, 2023 Board of Education Meeting

The District 64 Board of Education held a regular meeting on Thursday, March 16th, at Jefferson Early Childhood Center.


Student & Staff Recognition: St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser

  • Superintendent Dr. Eric Olson gave an update on the St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser to the Board. 
  • The affectionately named Lincoln/Emerson Baldies raised a staggering $451,000 and counting. As of writing this, D64 has the top St. Baldrick’s event in the WORLD, and it is the most successful one we’ve conducted. Additionally, Lincoln and Emerson have helped raise more than $1.2 million throughout the five events dating back to 2011.
  • The efforts culminated with head-shaving events at Lincoln and Emerson on March 8th. The head-shaving was an incredible experience as more than 300 students and staff shaved their heads. We are amazed by our middle school students and what they accomplished with the community’s help.
  • “This has grown to this massive experience for our students, our parents, and our community,” said Dr. Olson. “It was very exciting to see last week. It is a staggering amount of money, and the generosity of this community is amazing. We look forward to continuing this great event in the future.”
  • You can watch a recap of the head-shaving events on our website


Spotlight on Carpenter Elementary School

  • Carpenter Principal Brett Balduf gave a passionate presentation on the “little school with a big heart.”
  • This year, the theme at Carpenter is “Engaged” - engaged in academics and behavior. 
  • While acknowledging that the main focus at Carpenter and at all other D64 schools is academics, teaching, and learning, Balduf pointed out that his team tries to be very purposeful and focused on instruction and driving a positive culture and climate. 
  • Carpenter has Cougar Dens - which are made up of students from every grade. 
    • “Our younger kids get the opportunity to get to meet some of the older kids, or older kids get the opportunities to be a good role model and support our younger students,” said Balduf. “It helps develop that community feel that we have at Carpenter.”
  • Part of the presentation included slides that read “Make school a fun place to be” and “Make the community a fun place to be. Balduf, along with Assistant Principal Sean Degman, have been able to accomplish that through numerous different activities and groups. 
  • Click here to learn more about Carpenter and hear Balduf’s presentation. 

Administration of Oath of Office for Newly Appointed Board Member

  • New Board member Demetri Touzious took the Oath of Office and was sworn in on Thursday. Board President Dr. Denise Pearl administered the oath. 

Discussion of Lincoln LRC Wall

  • The Board brought back up the discussion of the plan to mitigate and restore the interior and exterior walls of the Lincoln LRC. 
  • Last week, Director of Facility Management Anthony Bersani described what needed to be done, and the motion was approved. You can read more about that plan here
  • This week, the Board agreed to move forward with the plan to remove paint on the interior walls of the Lincoln LRC so that the District can restudy the moisture in the walls.

Presentation of Student Services Plan

  • Alicia Schmeisser, Director of Student Services & Karen Hess, Special Education Teacher at Emerson, gave a presentation and in-depth look at the Student Services Action Plan. The Student Services Action Plan Committee was created to develop short- and long-term goals for the student services team in District 64. 
  • Here is a summary of how the process went:
    • In September 2022, the District reached out to families and staff to invite stakeholders to engage in the process.  The committee was assembled to include representation of all stakeholders, resulting in 30 members.  
    • Led by Director of Student Services Alicia Schmeisser and Superintendent Dr. Eric Olson, the committee met on October 14 & 15, 2022.  
    • The committee's first task was to complete a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis and prioritize the needs of student services in District 64. All committee members developed goals individually to be considered for the future work of our student services team. Committee members reviewed their individually identified goals in small groups and sorted each plan into categories. 
    • The committee met again on January 28, 2023 to review and finalize an Action Plan. The goals identified through the committee's work also align with the recommendation of the Special Education Audit conducted by Atlantic Research Partners in May of 2022. 
    • For the full breakdown of the Student Services Action Plan, you can view the written memo here, or the slideshow presented to the Board here
  • “We want to make sure that we can continue to expand our family communication and involvement and do everything that we can to increase inclusion and awareness among students, staff, and families,” said Schmeisser. 
  • “The level of excitement was palpable,” said Hess when describing the planning and work the committee did. “I think almost everybody said, we will do this, if this is what it’s going to take to get us back to being great. I think the process really allowed people to feel comfortable at being honest.”
  • Hess also noted that this plan was exciting because it gives the District a roadmap to use no matter what happens with leadership. 

Board Authorizes 2023-2024 Staffing Plan

  • The administration asked the Board to extend the 4.5 Math Intervention Teachers indefinitely. 
  • According to Dr. Joel Martin, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, the administration is seeking approval to add an additional Structured Learning Community (SLC) classroom for the 2023-2024 school year. 
  • Since the SLC program started in 2020, “It has continued to expand and currently supports the educational needs of students in grades kindergarten through 5th. Next year, additional students will be recommended for SLC. Therefore, an additional classroom is proposed as the District will exceed the 8 student program size agreed upon in the program proposal of April 2020,” said Dr. Martin. 
  • Motion Approved

Approval of Recommended Personnel Report

  • Motion Approved

Consent Agenda

  • Motion Approved

Approval of Minutes

  • Motion Approved

Superintendent Search Update

  • Mark Friedman with BWP gave an update on the search for a new superintendent. The search firm just began its screenings but said they would have five to six candidates to present to the Board for the first round of interviews. 
    • He added that they’d received about 21 applications. 
    • “The most important thing is when we started this, there was a question if anybody was going to be interested. We’ve proven that there is interest,” said Friedman on the search. “There are people who are not outgoing after every job that’s happening, and they’ve targeted this position.”
  • The Board will begin interviews with the candidates on the week of April 10th. On April 11, the Board will go over the Superintendent's profile and other information and continue on April 12 and 13. The final round of interviews will be on April 18 & 19. 
    • These meetings will start at 6:00 pm and be closed sessions. 
  • The Board plans on announcing the new superintendent at the April 20th regular Board of Education Meeting. 

Together We Discover, Learn, Grow & Care

At D64, our mission is to foster opportunities for discovery, engagement, and growth for all students. We accomplish this by nurturing interdependence, appreciation of differences, and care for self and others.

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