Board Briefs – May 2018

The District 58 Board of Education held its regular business meeting on Monday, May 14, 2018. View the agenda and presentation links. When available, meeting audio will be posted here. Highlights from the meeting include:

Spotlight on our Schools: Refresh and Renew 1:1 Learning in District 58

Director of Innovative Technology and Learning James Eichmiller and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Justin Sisul presented the District’s 1:1 initiative history, accomplishments, challenges and plans for the future.

Eichmiller shared how iPads have enhanced learning, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills in District 58. He also acknowledged, though, that the District has not been as successful at expecting and supporting these practices as integrated components within its instructional program district-wide. Sisul said that the District is committed to this initiative and plans to enhance its staff professional development next year to ensure that the technology is used consistently district-wide.  

“The District will work to ensure all teachers have the time, support and encouragement needed to pursue 1:1 technology to its fullest,” Sisul said. “Since so much of the District’s curriculum contains a technology component, professional learning about technology should naturally coincide with all other aspects of our staff professional development.”  

Superintendent Kari Cremascoli said the District must do a better job supporting teachers and nurturing collaboration, but it needs the tools to do that. Technology professional development will be included in District institute days, school faculty meetings and grade-level collaboration meetings, among other opportunities.

District administration plans to bring a 1:1 refresh recommendation to the Board in June. They plan to recommend 1:1 iPads with keyboard for students in grades 3-6; 1:1 iPads without keyboards for grades 1-2; and 2:1 iPads for kindergarteners. Middle schoolers will continue to use their existing Chromebooks.

Board members Darren Hughes and Beth Taylor shared that they recently visited Lester School and appreciated seeing how teachers seamlessly integrated 1:1 technology into their instruction. Board members stressed that they want to see increased consistency and accountability with the District’s 1:1 initiative, should the refresh be approved next month. Member Jill Samonte shared concerns about the refresh, noting that it is an expensive purchase at a time when budgets are tight.

View the Refresh and Renew 1:1 Learning in District 58 presentation.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli provided the Board with the draft 2018-19 meeting calendar, a 2018-19 school registration update and the Board vacancy application timeline. Members of the community who wish to be considered for this appointment may submit an application here.  She also shared recent and upcoming celebrations, including last week’s Select 58 event recognizing eighth graders for service and this week’s Distinguished Service Awards ceremony recognizing staff.

Business Report

Assistant Superintendent for Business/Chief School Business Official David Bein gave an update on the projects funded by the District’s recent bond sale—the Lester construction project is on schedule, and bids have closed on the Kingsley fire alarm and Fairmount electric work projects. Bein also shared that the State of Illinois paid approximately $400,000 to District 58 last month. The State currently owes the District nearly a half million dollars, primarily for special education and early childhood education.

Belle Aire Spotlight

Belle Aire School Student Council Officers Abbey, Megan, Gianna and Kate shared some of their school’s recent charitable efforts, including a Thanksgiving fundraiser, a holiday giving tree and their upcoming Cancer Awareness Week fundraiser to support St. Jude’s.

Carrie Blonigan, Belle Aire PTA president-elect, said that the PTA led many diverse activities and services this school year, including offering fitness, Spanish and engineering classes and providing a Belle Aire alumni scholarship.

Belle Aire Principal Brent Borchelt noted that he often receives questions about Belle Aire’s open concept floor plan from families considering a move to the area. To help new families better envision the school, he created a short video.

“My original intent was to capture the inner workings of our school and its open concept, but after putting it together I realized I captured much more, the very heart of our school and culture,” Borchelt said.

View the Belle Aire School video.

During the meeting, the Board also:

Upcoming events:

  • Thursday, May 24 at 7 a.m.: Meet & Confer Strategic Plan Committee Meeting at Longfellow
  • Monday, June 11 at 6 p.m.: Board Special Meeting at Downers Grove Village Hall
  • Monday, June 11 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at Downers Grove Village Hall

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.