Superintendent Community Relations Council

Year Two - 2016-17 School Year

Council members returned for a second year of work together to foster two-way communication with the District and community.

First Meeting - November 30, 2016

Superintendent Laurie Heinz welcomed everyone back and led a sharing session on questions and topics community members had raised with Council members since the last meeting. Chief School Business Official Luann Kolstad and Director of Facility Management Ron DeGeorge updated the group on the approximately $7 million in facilities projects completed in summer 2016, including the replacement of windows at Lincoln Middle School to commence shortly. They also previewed the projects being proposed for summer 2017 and noted these were selected from the 10-year Health Life Safety survey and Master Facilities Plan, working in conjunction with Studio GC architects to group them into a five-year plan. CSBO Kolstad also updated the Council on the various financing options being considered to fund this five-year plan, and noted that the recently settled teacher's contract would offer savings that could be invested in facility work going forward. Director of Innovation and Instructional Technology Mary Jane Warden then led provided an overview of 21st Century/Future Ready Learning Spaces, showing how our classrooms are adapting to the expectations of the world our students will face. She shared two videos of learning spaces improved through ELF grants and other funding at Lincoln Middle School. Public Information Coordinator Bernadette Tramm reviewed the findings of the first Thoughtexhange online townhall-style forum conducted in late spring, as introduced to the Council at its final meeting last year. She and Dr. Heinz also de-briefed on the Board's discussion about communications from the Board meeting earlier in the week, which will lead to a communications evaluaton in the spring. Dr. Heinz and Council members continued their dialogue on how to reach more community members who do not have students currently in our schools and the topics most of interest to this group.

Second Meeting - February 23, 2017

Dr. Heinz was joined by Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Lori Lopez who reviewed the latest data on student achievement. She pointed out that the heart of the 2020 Vision Strategic Plan was rigor, and that math and reading performance on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment is exceptional based on national norms. She also reviewed the focus areas for the current year: Director of Student Services Jane Boyd provided an overview of the work of the Core Plus Committee focused on providing quality, timely support for students who need it in math, English Language Arts, and social emotional learning. Public Information Coordinator Bernadette Tramm reviewed the plans underway for the communications evaluation that will be conducted in late March and early April to gather a variety of qualitative and quantitative input from focus groups, opinion leader interviews, review of outbound communications, and phone and online surveys. Dr. Heinz also provided details on the Financial Framework that was approved by the Board earlier in the week to fund over the next five years the high priority needs identified through the 10-year Health Life Safety survey and Master Facilities Plan.

Third Meeting - May 10, 2017

Dr. Heinz welcomed members to the final meeting of this school year. The focus of the meeting was a debriefing from Dr. Heinz and Public Information Coordinator Bernadette Tramm on the results of the communications audit conducted by Patron Insight. To better understand what community members know and think about District 64 schools, in spring 2017 District 64 teamed with consultant Patron Insight to conduct a wide-ranging evaluation of our overall communications outreach. The goal was to determine what community members are thinking and talking about when it comes to District 64, whether we are on target in meeting their needs for information, and how we might improve. In all, the opinoins of more than 1,200 individuals were collected as part of this process. Dr. Heinz and Ms. Tramm reported on the four brand elements identified through the audit, as well as the specific action findings. Council members then brainstormed ideas to implement changes and improvements.

Year One - 2015-16 School Year

Inaugural Meeting - September 15, 2015

Dr. Laurie Heinz (right) welcomed 19 members of the new Council for its inaugural meeting. Read more details

Inaugural Meeting

Second Meeting - January 12, 2016

Dr. Heinz was joined by Chief School Business Official Luann Kolstad and Director of Facility Management Ron DeGeorge for an in-depth focus on Strategic Plan objectives related to facilities and finance. They reviewed the District's Master Facilities Plan and 10-year Health Life Safety study, and studied architectural drawings of some of the construction projects proposed for 2016. They also learned about the District's finances, including the budget, fund balance policy and long-range financial projections. Finally, members previewed a draft of the 2015 Financial Report with Public Information Coordinator Bernadette Tramm.

Third Meeting - April 12, 2016

Dr. Heinz was joined by Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Lori Lopez and Director of Innovation and Instructional Technology Mary Jane Warden for an in-depth focus on student learning and use of technology to support the 4 C's (Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity, and Communication). They also reviewed how District 64 measures our success and reviewed the ways we share data about our results. Finally, members previewed a new online forum, called Thoughtexchange, as a means to create a dialogue about satisfaction with families, staff and community members.

2015-16 Call for Members

**News release is available here**

Call for Applicants from Dr. Laurie Heinz, Superintendent

Ensuring that stakeholders in the Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 community have a clear understanding of what the District is striving to accomplish while also ensuring the District is aware of the thoughts and desires within the larger community is a priority to me.  Therefore, I am forming a Superintendent Community Relations Council that will open lines of communication and develop liaisons between District 64 and the larger Park Ridge-Niles community.

Interested District 64 residents should complete the attached application to be considered for membership on the Community Relations Council. I will strive to assemble a diverse council that provides a balance of stakeholder voices from throughout the school community. The primary goal of the SCRC will be to increase two-way communication flowing from stakeholder groups to the Superintendent of Schools and vice versa.

The council will be composed of approximately 20 members representing a cross-section of District residents. The council will share their external perspectives on District 64’s strategic objectives/areas of focus, finances, educational as well as demographic trends and on other critical school-related issues. Members will act as communication ambassadors to increase the community’s understanding of District 64 and to provide the Superintendent with feedback about how the District is meeting the expectations of the community.

The group will meet three times a year with the kick-off meeting taking place on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. The remaining meetings will be held on Tuesday, January 12 and Tuesday, April 12, 2016 also from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.  Members will serve for up to a period of two years and must demonstrate willingness to openly communicate, work toward positive outcomes, and have the best interests of both District 64 and the larger community at the center of their volunteerism.

Applications of interest should be submitted on or before Monday, August 24. Electronic copies are preferred, but they can be mailed as long as they arrive on or before the deadline.

I thank you for your interest in District 64 and look forward to forging stronger relationships and open lines of communication within the community.

Dr. Laurie Heinz,
Superintendent of Schools