Henry Puffer Student Council, PTA and Playground Updates
The Henry Puffer Student Council proudly shared some of their recent achievements with the Board. In the past year, they hosted several creative events to raise money for good causes, including their annual spring charity run that benefited bone marrow research.
The Puffer-Hefty PTA reported that they raised more than $30,000 last school year, thanks to successful PTA fundraisers, including their Trivia Night. These proceeds supported new classroom technology, school events/assemblies and other endeavors. They look forward to hosting the annual VIP Day next week.
The Henry Puffer Playground Committee announced their “Everybody Plays at Puffer” playground effort and requested the Board’s support. The committee hopes to raise $250,000-$300,000 to replace Henry Puffer’s outdated playground equipment. They created a Facebook group, video and YouCaring website to start the fundraising. The Board thanked them for their hard work and encouraged them to begin.
Spotlight on our Schools: Math Committee Update
Several teachers and administrators on the District’s Math Committee reported making significant progress toward their math strategic goals this school year! View their presentation. Highlights reported include:
Math Blueprint developed at all grade levels:
Tracy Moriarty, Pierce Downer resource teacher, shared that the committee has developed the new Math Blueprint for all grade levels. The blueprint is the ultimate teacher guide, offering teachers organized math skills and lesson plans with aligned resources and a flexible timeline to help them navigate their daily instruction.
“We’ve had the opportunity to get a lot of feedback from the teachers on the blueprint, and it has been positive,” Moriarty said. “We’re going to continue to solicit feedback from all of the teachers as we get deeper in the year to make sure what we put in place is meeting the needs of both the students and the teachers.”
Enhanced math professional development provided:
Katie Hurckes, Henry Puffer first grade teacher, said that teachers recently completed their first of four full-day professional development trainings with the Metro Chicago Math Initiative. This opportunity is equipping teachers with ideas for high cognitive demand experiences, or, in other words, new techniques to provide deeper math instruction.
“We have received some really positive feedback from those days from our teachers,” Hurckes said. “They appreciated having an outside group come in to give a consistent training across the board to our kindergarten through eighth grade teachers.
Tracy Debuhr, Pierce Downer third grade teacher, said the Math Committee participated in a Regional Office of Education training on math assessment creation on Nov. 2. This opportunity gave committee members an introduction into assessment design and development. The training will continue in December.
The committee plans to use these new skills to begin developing high cognitive demand resources and math assessments for the Math Blueprint.
New math acceleration opportunities launched:
Linda Vanacora, Whittier fifth grade teacher, shared exciting news regarding math acceleration at the elementary level. The Committee developed an updated consistent process to identify students for accelerated math. Students must consistently score in the 85th+ percentile on the MAP Math Assessment, receive a teacher recommendation and receive principal approval. The school will also provide parent notification. Students who fall in the 80th-85th percentile may be considered in the future. All schools will implement this acceleration process by second semester this school year.
Kelly Messineo, O’Neill math teacher, and Matt Neustadt, Herrick principal, reported that the committee analyzed and streamlined its middle school math acceleration to ensure all students were appropriately challenged throughout middle school and into high school. Accelerated elementary students will continue into an accelerated middle school math program. Middle school Math A and B will still exist for high-achieving students who did not complete the accelerated elementary math track.
“To try and meet the needs of every child in your classroom is overwhelming and to have this blueprint for a teacher is just so awesome,” said Board Member Roberta Diehl, who also is a retired District 58 teacher. “I know when I taught, to try and meet every child’s needs seemed unbelievable. But with this blueprint, you’re finding a way to do it. Thank you so much for your hard work.”
District 58’s Math Committee comprises nearly 40 teachers and administrators working together to create meaningful math curriculum that aligns with the Common Core Standards. View their entire presentation.
Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli shared updates with the Board including:
- Board Workshops: The Board recently held a very informative Curriculum Workshop, which piloted the extended reception of visitors for the first time. This extended community engagement opportunity went well and will likely be offered again during the upcoming Nov. 28 Financial Workshop.
- OKEEP Update: The District’s Optional Kindergarten Enrichment and Enhancement Program successfully expanded to all schools this year. Due to increased enrollment, Henry Puffer recently opened an additional OKEEP section.
- Parent-Teacher Conferences: Conferences take place this week. The District streamlined the online signup process on SQUIRREL. Overall, this update made signing up more efficient for families, although there were a few technological glitches that the District since resolved.
- Teacher Inservice: Staff participated in a productive day of staff training and learning during the Nov. 10 Teacher Inservice. Sessions included a wide variety of topics from which teachers could select as well as offerings related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) instruction and building-based topics.
- Annual Survey: District 58 will administer its annual school survey for parents, students and teachers in the coming month. Survey results annually help building and district leaders with their school and district improvement efforts.
- Thank You: As the Board prepares to adopt the American Education Week Resolution this evening, Dr. Cremascoli reflected on the past five years in District 58. She said that District 58 has experienced incredible change and improvements, with much to be proud of. She recounted some of the major improvements, which included updated facilities, improved security and new services as well as the implementation of the MAP assessment, the 1:1 program, differentiated instruction, a new math curriculum and improved curriculum committee structures, while adding new programs such as the OKEEP, Biliteracy and RISE programs, to name a few. She acknowledged that the change has been significant and has challenged teachers, administrators, support staff and the community as they adjusted. She said that the District has so much to be proud of and has, too often, failed to pause to celebrate its successes and to thank everyone. Dr. Cremascoli appreciates the collaborative efforts of everyone involved to help make the District successful. She thanked everyone for their hard work, dedication and support as the District moves forward.
- Special Events: The Science Fair opened registration last week and several students have already signed up for this special annual event. The Reading Games opened registration almost two weeks ago and filled up in an incredible 21 minutes. Dr. Cremascoli thanked the community for supporting these two important District 58 events.
Assistant Superintendent for Business David Bein shared the monthly business report with the Board:
- Revenues and expenditures are operating at normal, expected amounts this month.
- Two investments recently matured. Bein reinvested them, although the interest rates remain at a meager 0.87 percent.
- Bein is investigating the cost savings of moving the District’s medical reserve account from US Bank to the Community Bank of Downers Grove. He anticipates that this measure could save the District $700-$900 per month. He also is considering moving the District’s cafeteria account to Community Bank or MB Bank. All three banks mentioned here are approved District depositories. He expects to finish his research and make an official recommendation within the next couple of months.
- The District is currently bidding for a new special education transportation provider, as its current provider is not providing adequate service. The District hopes to gain improved service at the same or lower cost. The District is also bidding its student cab/taxi transportation. He expects to have more information regarding these bids next month.
- The General Assembly may vote on Senate Bill 2912 next month. If passed, this bill would make it easier for individuals to obtain a substitute teacher license, which could help ease the substitute teacher shortage affecting not only District 58, but many school districts across Illinois.
- Bein and other area school officials recently attended a breakfast with local legislators, who indicated that any school funding reform will likely include pension cost shifts. Given the nature of Illinois politics, it is unknown when or what form a cost shift will take, but should this occur, it could have a $2-$2.5 million annual impact on the District’s cost structure.
Board Committee Reports
Member Sallie Lupescu reported on the Oct. 18 Policy Committee meeting and made the following recommendations for first reading:
- Revise Policy #5150.2 – Students – Student Athlete Concussions and Head Injuries to align its text with the state’s new Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act.
- Revise Policy #8022 – Internal Board Operations – Meetings to add language allowing Board members to attend a meeting by video or audio conference if he or she is prevented from physically attending the meeting due to personal illness/disability, employment or District business, or a family or other emergency.
The Board moved to approve the first reading of both policy revisions and place them on the December board agenda for final approval.
Member John Miller reported on the Nov. 8 Legislative Committee meeting. The committee reviewed the Illinois Association of School Board’s 2016 Resolutions Committee Report for the upcoming 2016 Delegate Assembly meeting. The report included several resolutions that will be voted on by the IASB membership at the meeting. The committee reviewed each resolution and unanimously showed support for the IASB’s proposed recommendations.
The committee also discussed 2017 Legislative Breakfast date options, and narrowed the options to three. When the General Assembly’s 2017 calendar is published, District 58 will be able to finalize its Legislative Breakfast date.
Financial Advisory Committee:
The Financial Advisory Committee did not meet in November.
Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee Preliminary Planning Discussion
Members Elizabeth Sigale and Doug Purcell shared an update regarding the proposed Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee of the Board. This committee will involve representation from several stakeholder groups, including the DGEEA, DGESP, DGCMA, principals, central administration and PTA Council, among others. The Board hopes this proposed committee will provide them another avenue for communication, feedback and ongoing strategic goal review.
Members Sigale and Purcell recently discussed this proposed committee with several stakeholder groups, including a meeting with the PTA Council presidents and individually with members of various District 58 teacher/staff unions. They plan to have an informational meeting about this committee on Dec. 6. The committee will comply with the Open Meetings Act and meetings will be open for anyone interested to attend.
Cropper GIS Consulting, in collaboration with McKibben Demographics, recently performed a thorough 10-year District 58 population and enrollment forecast. The District requested this report to better predict future enrollment, plan facilities projects and determine if future building additions or boundary changes should be considered.
Demographer Dr. Jerome McKibben presented his findings to the Board. He shared that each District 58 school boasts unique demographics and enrollment forecasts.
Assuming the economy remains relatively stable over the next 10 years, Dr. McKibben’s research found that District 58’s overall enrollment should stay relatively steady. However, there may be some fluctuations at the individual school levels, due to factors that include (but are not limited to): starter home availability, household size, population’s age/fertility, in-migration and apartment occupancy rate.
Board Member Orientation Discussion
Member Elizabeth Sigale said that the Board will hold a Board Orientation on Monday, Nov. 28 immediately following the 7 p.m. Financial Workshop at the Longfellow Center. The Board Orientation will provide helpful information for community members considering running for one of the four open Board seats in April 2017. Member Sigale prepared the draft orientation agenda and shared it with the Board.
The Board Orientation will cover the school board election process, board member expectations and responsibilities, school board organization, school board meetings, school finances and school board governance.
During the meeting, the Board also:
- Provided the public an opportunity to comment on the recommended 2016 tax levies. The Board received zero public comments.
- Formally received the 2016 School Report Cards, which are posted on the State’s Illinois Report Card website.
- Approved minutes from the Oct. 17 Regular Board Meeting, Oct. 24 Curriculum Workshop and the Nov. 3 Fairmount Coffee with the Staff.
- Approved all items on the Consent Agenda as presented in the packet materials.
- Received comments from visitors regarding OKEEP, curriculum, building principals and Board policies.
- Adopted a resolution acknowledging American Education Week.
- Approved the 2017-18 school calendar as presented
- Designated the District’s 2003 Chevy Astro Van as surplus equipment.
- Approved second readings on four policies: Policy #1150 – Community Relations – Citizen Communications with the Schools and Board; Policy #5131 – Students – Student Behavior and Discipline; Policy #5131.1 – Students – Bus Conduct; and Policy #8255 – Internal Board Operations – Board Communications. One new policy was adopted and revisions to three policies were adopted.
- Nov. 18-20: IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Conference in Chicago, Illinois
- Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7 a.m.: Policy Committee Meeting at the ASC
- Monday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.: Financial Workshop and Board Candidate Orientation at the Longfellow Center
- Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m.: Hillcrest School Building Tour and PTA Meeting
- Monday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Business Meeting at the Longfellow Center
District 58 Board of Education members include: John Cooper, president; Doug Purcell, vice president; Roberta Diehl; Christopher Heppner; Sallie Lupescu; John Miller; and Elizabeth Sigale, with Dr. Kari Cremascoli, superintendent; and Pam Osika, board secretary.