Board Briefs: April 2017

The District 58 Board of Education held its regular business meeting on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.  View the agenda and presentation links.

Highlights from the meeting include:

Flag Salute and Presentation: Lester

Lester School Student Council Members Kyle, Claire, Jackson and Maggie shared highlights from this past school year. For example, they collected food to provide Thanksgiving baskets for 20 local families. They hosted a Holiday Pie Throwing Contest that netted more than $1,200 to provide holiday gift cards for families in need, and they collected and donated winter wear via the school’s Giving Tree. Recently, they raised more than $1,500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Lester School PTA President-Elect Chad Esslinger reported on the PTA’s achievements. The PTA supports many Lester activities, including several field trips, assemblies, extracurricular activities, the One Book One School program, book fairs, Science Olympiad, Reflections, Destination Imagination and more. They hold three major fundraisers – Fun Run, Holly Days and a winter fundraiser – to raise money to support these initiatives.

Spotlight on our Schools: Technology Update

Director of Innovative Technology and Learning James Eichmiller shared a technology update with the Board. In the fall, District 58 will refresh its middle school 1:1 device fleet with new Google Chromebooks, the type of 1:1 device that District 99 uses. Elementary students will continue to use the District’s iPads. These existing iPads are several years old and will likely need a refresh during the 2018-19 school year. Next school year, the Technology Committee will consider options for refreshing the elementary 1:1 device fleet.

Eichmiller also shared a video created by the Technology Committee that highlights some of the many ways District 58 students and staff use iPads to enhance instruction and learning.

View the District 58 Technology video here.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli reported several updates with the Board including:

  • Board Member Recognition: Dr. Cremascoli shared that the community elected four new members to join the Board – Greg Harris, Darren Hughes, Jill Samonte and Beth Taylor. These members will be seated during a special reorganization meeting on May 1 at 7 p.m. at the Longfellow Center. Dr. Cremascoli thanked the outgoing Board members – President John Cooper, Roberta Diehl, Christopher Heppner and Sallie Lupescu – for their service and dedication. She noted that the outgoing Board members will be officially recognized during the April 24 Budget Workshop.
  • Tenure Recommendation: Dr. Cremascoli noted that the Board will be asked to approve tenure recommendations for 19 teachers under the meeting’s Consent Agenda. Dr. Cremascoli said she is very proud to recommend tenure for these outstanding teachers, and looks forward to their continued contributions to District 58.
  • 2017-18 Registration: Registration for the 2017-18 school year opens April 12. Dr. Cremascoli encouraged families to complete registration by the Friday, May 12 deadline, as it will help the District plan staffing needs for the upcoming school year.
  • Summer School Registration: Dr. Cremascoli reminded the Board and audience that Summer School and Extended School Year registration is due on Friday, April 14.
  • Lester Feasibility Study: Architectural firm Wight & Company will present highlights from their recent feasibility study of Lester School during this evening’s meeting. The District plans to more closely review the study’s financial components during the April 24 Budget Workshop.
  • District 58 Personnel Hiring: The District is in the process of hiring a Pierce Downer School principal and a Superintendent/Board secretary. The District has also begun posting some of the anticipated job listings for the 2017-18 school year on the District’s website.

  • Curriculum Committee Updates: The English-Language Arts (ELA) Committee is piloting new ELA curriculum resources in at least one grade level at every school. Teachers are eagerly using the new materials, and they will report their insights and feedback to the ELA Committee in May. The Math Committee is looking at potential common assessment tools and resources. A common assessment bank would provide all teachers with access to Common Core-aligned assessments.
  • Select 58 and DSA: The Education Foundation annually hosts two spring award programs: Select 58 and the Distinguished Service Awards. Select 58 recognizes 58 eighth graders (29 from Herrick and 29 from O’Neill) who exhibit excellent community service. The Select 58 recognition banquet is Wednesday, May 10. The Distinguished Service Awards program honors exceptional staff. The DSA ceremony is Tuesday, May 16. The District looks forward to recognizing the fantastic achievements of its eighth graders and staff!
  • Superintendent Engagement: Dr. Cremascoli recently formed two groups focused on stakeholder engagement – one for staff, one for community members. The staff-based Superintendent’s Communications Council has held two meetings. The first focused on the Council’s goals and ideas, while the second meeting focused on curriculum committee communications. The next meeting will focus on planning for next school year. The community-based Superintendent’s Community Advisory Council held its first meeting April 3. It focused on District and school communication strengths and areas for growth. Dr. Cremascoli said she is excited about both committees and looks forward to continuing the conversations.
  • Village Partnerships: Dr. Cremascoli met with Village Manager David Fieldman to learn more about the village’s facility planning. The village is considering several options to redevelop its village hall and police station. Their proposed new facilities may have multi-purpose space that District 58 could use for larger community meetings. Dr. Cremascoli said she is proud of the District’s continued partnership with the village.

Business Report

Assistant Superintendent for Business/Chief School Business Official David Bein provided the Business Report to the Board. Key highlights include:

  • The State of Illinois recently vouchered a mandated categorical payment to District 58, but they have not yet released the funds. Currently, the State owes District 58 $2.5 million. Bein anticipates a shortfall of state revenue this fiscal year.
  • The District’s expenditures are on budget. The District’s revenues have a shortfall, due to the State’s missed payments.
  • The Senate has introduced Senate Bill 1, and the House has introduced House Bill 2808. Both bills relate to reforming school funding using an evidence-based funding model. The future of these bills is uncertain; however, they hold the prospect of improving the equity of public school funding in Illinois.

Board Committee Reports

Policy Committee:

Member Sallie Lupescu reported on the March 21 meeting, and the Policy Committee made the following recommendations for first reading:

  • Revise Policy #5131.1 – Students – Bus Conduct. This revision makes minor point-of-view updates to ensure consistency.
  • Revise Policy #5138 – Students – Prevention of and Response to Bullying, Intimidation, and Harassment. This revision clarified two words.

The Board moved to approve the first reading of both policy revisions and place them on the May board agenda for final approval.

Legislative Committee:

Member John Miller reported on the March 15 Legislative Committee meeting. The meeting reviewed the March 10 Legislative Breakfast, welcomed three new members and discussed changing the committee’s meeting times for the 2017-18 school year to make them more convenient for the public.

Financial Advisory Committee:

David Bein reported on the April 3 Financial Advisory Committee meeting. The committee welcomed three new members and discussed the following topics: summer projects, facility needs, employee health insurance, the FY18 budget, state education legislation and the State’s failure to pay District 58 its mandated categorical payments.

Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee:

The Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee has not met since the March Board meeting.

Discussion: Lester Feasibility Study

District and Lester administrators recently met several times with the District’s architect, Wight & Company, to initiate the feasibility study for a Lester School addition. Brad Paulsen and Amy Fuller from Wight & Company shared their feasibility study results with the Board during the April Board meeting.  

Paulsen and Fuller said they reviewed Lester School’s needs, the District’s budget, Lester’s site conditions and available building space, among many other considerations while creating the feasibility study.

The feasibility study presented five possible renovation scenarios. The lowest-cost renovation focused on creating additional classroom space to house the Optional Kindergarten Enrichment and Enhancement Program, as well as freeing up current space for special education and intervention programming, and would likely cost the District $1.7-$2.0 million. The other scenarios also addressed other space needs at Lester, and incorporated additional flexible learning spaces and building storage spaces.

The District will more closely evaluate the study and its potential financial impact during the Board’s April 24 Budget Workshop, and will revisit the discussion of a possible addition at future regular Board Meetings.

View the feasibility study presentation.

Discussion: 2017-18 Calendar

This school year, District 58 increased its teacher professional development opportunities. These opportunities provide staff with valuable collaboration and training time to enhance their instruction. The District recognizes that taking teachers out of the classroom for professional development can be disruptive for students. To help remedy this issue, the District has been examining ways to maximize current professional development days as well as opportunities to add to the current institute days. Dr. Cremascoli asked the Board to consider revising the District’s 2017-18 school year calendar to add two additional half-days (Jan. 26 and April 27). On these days, students would attend classes in the morning and be dismissed at lunchtime. Staff would remain to participate in professional development and school improvement activities in the afternoon.

Dr. Cremascoli shared that the State allows school districts to add additional school improvement days to their calendars without adding days to the work calendar. In addition, both principals and union leadership support this revision to the school year calendar.

The Board will consider the proposed calendar change and place it on the special meeting Budget Workshop agenda later this month.

During the meeting, the Board also:

  • Recognized students who won the 2017 Illinois Young Authors Contest.
  • Recognized students who participated in the Downers Grove Solo/Ensemble Days.
  • Approved minutes from the March 13 Regular Meeting and the March 21 Whittier Building Tour and PTA Meeting.
  • Approved all items on the Consent Agenda as presented in the packet materials.
  • Awarded a bid for a 2017 work truck to Bill Stasek Chevrolet for $28,998.36.
  • Awarded a bid for a Boss Super Duty Straight Blade Snowplow and Stahl Challenger Service Body to Tri-Angle Fabrication and Body for $15,186.
  • Awarded a bid for paper for the 2017-18 school year to Paper 101 for an estimated cost of $46,407.55.
  • Approved second readings on four policies: Policy #1150 – Community Relations – Citizen Communications with the Schools and the Board; Policy #2050 – Administration – Board Secretary; Policy #8341 – Internal Board Operations – Duties of the Secretary of the Board; and Policy  5133.1 – Students – Exemption from Physical Education. The Board approved revisions to all four policies.

Upcoming events:

  • Thursday, April 13 at 7 a.m.: Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee Meeting at Longfellow
  • Tuesday, April 18 at 7 a.m.: Policy Committee at the ASC
  • Thursday, April 20 at 7:30 a.m.: BOE Coffee with the Staff at Lester
  • Monday, April 24 at 7 p.m.: Budget Workshop at Longfellow
  • Tuesday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m.: Building Tour and PTA Meeting at Pierce Downer
  • Monday, May 1 at 7 p.m.: Special Meeting/Board Reorganization at Longfellow
  • Monday, May 8 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at Longfellow

District 58 Board of Education members are: 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.