Board Briefs – October 2017

The District 58 Board of Education held its regular business meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. View the agenda and presentation links. Highlights from the meeting include:

Flag Salute and Presentation: El Sierra

Jason Lynde, principal of El Sierra School, introduced Student Council sponsor Patricia Incrocci, who in turn introduced Student Council officers Taylor, Mia, Ryan, Maggie and Jonny. The students led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. The officers highlighted El Sierra activities, fundraisers, and events, including Spirit Days, Variety Show, Holiday Sing-Along, and Bobcat Fridays. Fundraising events this year include Hats for Houston, which raised $1,700 for hurricane victims. Last year’s sales of school supplies, Valentine rubber ducks and Penny Wars raised money to contribute to the purchase of a gaga ball pit. Community service projects included Socktober (donations of socks for shelters); crossing guard appreciation; and a veteran’s community project in which everyday items were collected for homeless veterans.

Beth McIntosh, El Sierra PTA President, highlighted PTA-sponsored events including the Fun Run that raised $11,000, Fall Fest, Breakfast with Santa, Fun Lunch, after school programs, and an adults-only game night fundraiser. The PTA is making plans for a new playground.

Spotlight on our Schools: 1:1 Learning Program

Director of Innovative Technology James Eichmiller showed a brief video of the new Chromebooks in action in the 7th grade. The Chromebooks have a touchscreen, and teachers are able to monitor and assess student work in real time using an app called GoFormative. In response to feedback from teachers and parents, only apps from a curated list are installed on the Chromebooks along with a new filtering product to minimize the distraction of games and outside apps. Restricted mode is also enabled in YouTube. Creative apps such as Explain Everything, WeVideo and Soundtrap are available to students, and additional apps, including Android apps, may be added as teachers request them. In addition, every middle school student had a device for MAP testing, which made test scheduling easier and more efficient. There have been some issues with printing from the Chromebooks to school printers. Experience with these new Chromebooks will inform future device upgrades on issues such as whether a touchscreen is valuable.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Kari Cremascoli reported that:

  • The Oct. 10 Teacher Work Day consisted of a half day of district-wide professional development and collaboration, where teachers addressed the ELA curriculum, recording strategies with the new report card, and parent communication. They also spent a half day of building-based collaboration where they had the opportunity to identify collaboration topics to discuss with colleagues and grade level teams.
  • The first parent information session on the revised report card was on Oct. 3, and additional sessions will take place on Oct. 11 and Oct. 19. Parents are encouraged to attend one of these sessions to learn more about the new report card format.
  • The Illinois Association of School Boards DuPage Division Dinner meeting is scheduled for Oct. 19. Board members are invited to this informational and networking opportunity.
  • The Curriculum Workshop on Oct. 23 will address school improvement plans and student achievement data, including MAP, AIMSWEB and PARCC results.
  • The District is preparing to deploy the new phone system, but its launch has been delayed to address some final technical issues. New phones are installed in offices and classrooms across the district. These new phones can currently call out, but calls dialed in are still routed through the old system. The new system will have voicemail features and greater dependability at a cheaper cost.

Business Report

The Board received business reports, the investment report, and revenue and expenditure summary reports for the month ending Sept. 30, 2017. Assistant Superintendent for Business/CSBO David Bein reported that the auditors are completing their report and he expects them to present it at the November board meeting. A CPI (Consumer Price Index) projection of 1.7% is estimated for the 2018 levy, though recent natural disasters may have some effect on the final rate. This year’s applicable CPI rate for the levy is 2.1%. The State of Illinois continues to pay its outstanding balance to the district from the last fiscal year. The current balance is approximately $885,000. The state is current for this year on General State Aid payments, which are estimated amounts based on the evidence-based funding model (EBM). The payments incorporate the prior GSA amount along with special education funding for personnel, pupil and summer school, as well as bilingual funding. The Illinois State Board of Education is still finalizing its calculations under the EBM, but no significant swings in funding levels from the current amounts are expected.

Board Committee Reports 

Policy Committee

Member Harris reported on the Sept. 19 meeting. The committee discussed Policy #8255: Board Communications. Although the policy at times makes communication between board members and administrative staff cumbersome, the consensus of the committee was against making changes that would suggest a lack of transparency. Instead, the committee will consider drafting an administrative regulation to clarify the existing policy.

Legislative Committee

Member Taylor reported on the Sept. 27 meeting. The committee set the date for the annual Legislative Breakfast for Feb. 9, 2018 at O’Neill Middle School. The Board also reviewed and considered recommendations of proposals set forth by the IASB in the 2017 Resolutions Committee Report to be voted on by the IASB membership at the Joint Annual Conference in November. Member Taylor is the District 58 delegate.

Financial Advisory Committee

Member Miller reported on the Oct. 2 meeting. The Committee held an in-depth discussion on school funding legislation. Member Miller noted that inadequately funded districts will have to catch up before other districts receive additional funding, so in effect, funding for District 58 will remain flat. The Committee also explored how District 58 compares to other districts in DuPage County, long-range forecasting assumptions, the medical reserve fund and increases in health care and prescription drug costs, and the long-term use of Longfellow Center.

Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee

Member Sigale reported on the Sept. 14 meeting, at which the committee reviewed strategic planning consultant proposals and prepared for interviews.

Ad Hoc Committee on Superintendent Evaluation Procedures

Member Purcell reported on the Oct. 2 meeting of this ad hoc committee. This ad hoc committee was convened in follow-up to the Board Meeting with IASB on August 21. Members Hughes, Harris and Purcell met with Dr. Cremascoli to create an updated superintendent evaluation tool. They fine-tuned an evaluation document reviewed by the Board on August 21, and updated the annual planning and evaluation cycle. After receiving additional input from the Board, the committee will be ready to present a final document.

Discussion: Strategic Planning Process and Facilitator

Member Sigale gave some background information about the strategic planning consultant proposal and interview process. She noted that the Board sought an outside consultant for several reasons: it is best practice, the district does not have internal resources to accomplish this project internally, and an outside firm brings additional expertise in making sure all stakeholder voices are heard. After reviewing four submitted proposals, conducting interviews and checking references, the Meet and Confer Committee recommends the firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, led by Dr. Steve Humphrey. Dr. Humphrey gave a short presentation of the strategic planning process. The Board discussed the proposal and offered insight.

Discussion: Enrollment Planning

Dr. Cremascoli presented the Board with four options, along with their associated pros, cons and challenges, to address current and forecasted high enrollment at Highland School.

  1. Boundary adjustment affecting all students, current and future.
  2. Boundary adjustment affecting only new/future students.
  3. Policy adjustment.
  4. Case-by-case adjustments.

After discussion, the consensus of the Board was to eliminate options 1 and 3. The Board asked Dr. Cremascoli to explore options 2 and 4 in greater detail in regard to Highland School. Those refined options will be presented at the November board meeting, with a recommendation for action at the December board meeting.

Board of Education and DGEEA

Member Taylor stated that it came to her attention that the DGEEA would like to meet with the Board. The Board discussed the goal that came out of its recent self-evaluation to increase communication opportunities with all stakeholder groups. Regarding engagement with the DGEEA, the Board’s previous early morning coffees did not always work for staff or board members. At the suggestion of the DGEEA, the Board recently implemented Meet and Greet times for staff to meet with members of the Board before Board Workshops. In addition, the Board has expanded membership on each of its Board Committees and has formed the Meet and Confer Committee, which includes representatives from various stakeholder groups including the DGEEA. The Board reaffirmed its willingness to hear from staff, but noted that IASB recommendations discourage meeting privately with any one collective bargaining group so as not show favoritism and to keep meetings open to the public.

During the meeting, the Board also:

  • Approved minutes from the Sept. 11 Regular Business Meeting.
  • Approved all items on the Consent Agenda as presented in the packet materials.
  • Approved the contract with Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates for strategic planning facilitation.
  • Adopted the Truth in Taxation Law Resolution regarding the estimated amounts necessary to be levied for the year 2017 ($56,083,567.36 of which $1,283,567.36 is the bond and interest levy).
  • Approved the Closed Session Minutes from Sept. 11.

Upcoming events:

  • Thursday, Oct. 12, 7:00 a.m., Meet & Confer Strategic Planning Committee, Longfellow Center
  • Tuesday, Oct. 17, 7:00 a.m., Policy Committee, ASC
  • Monday, Oct. 23, 6:15 p.m., Staff Meet and Greet with the Board
  • Monday, Oct. 23, 7:00 p.m., Curriculum Workshop, Lester School Staff

District 58 Board of Education members are: Doug Purcell, president; Elizabeth Sigale, vice president; Greg Harris, Darren Hughes, John Miller, Jill Samonte and Beth Taylor, with Dr. Kari Cremascoli, superintendent; and Melissa Jerves, board secretary.