Board Briefs: January 2020

The District 58 Board of Education held a regular business meeting on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. View the agenda and presentation links. Click here to access meeting video and audio (to be posted soon). Highlights from the meeting include:

Approval of 2020-21 School Calendar:

The District 58 Board of Education approved the 2020-21 school calendar. Calendar highlights include:

  • First Day of Student Attendance: Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020
  • Thanksgiving Break: Wednesday, Nov. 25-Friday, Nov. 27, 2020
  • Winter Break: Monday, Dec. 21, 2020-Monday, Jan. 4, 2021
  • Spring Break: Monday, March 29-Monday, April 5, 2021
  • Last Day of Student Attendance: Monday, June 7, 2021 (if no emergency days are used)
  • Emergency Days (to be canceled if not used): Tuesday, June 8-Monday, June 14, 2021

District 58 created the calendar using feedback from the recent parent school calendar survey. Based on parent feedback, District 58 recommends a calendar that aligns the District 58 and District 99 calendars for all holidays and break periods. Although District 58 and 99’s start and end dates will differ, the proposed calendar aligns all full days off with District 99. 

The approved calendar does not include approval of the early release model that was implemented this school year. A separate presentation and discussion related to Professional Learning Mondays (the early release model) will be shared at the February Board meeting.

Approval of 2020-21 Student Fees:

The Board approved fees for the 2020-21 school year. Most fees will increase by the anticipated consumer price index of 2.2%. The District’s transportation contract increased 4.5% this year, so transportation fees will increase by 4.5% to account for this rise. 

The District’s Optional Kindergarten Enrichment and Enhancement Program is completely self-funded by student fees. The Business Office analyzed this program’s 2019-20 costs and noted that program costs exceeded the revenues it raised via student fees by $35,000. The Business Office estimated the program’s expected salary, benefits and supply costs for 2020-21 and recommends that the program increase its fee 6.9% to meet the program’s expected costs for next year.

Kingsley Flag Salute and Presentation:

The Kingsley Student Council led the Board and audience in a flag salute and presented an overview of their achievements. They focus on serving the community, both near and far. Among their many charitable initiatives this year, they helped with Australian bushfire relief, raised funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and organized a giving tree to support local Kingsley families in need.

Principal Mel Sawisch shared how Kingsley uses data to drive instructional decision-making. During data review days and on some Professional Learning Mondays, staff collaborate to deeply review student data to ensure the school is meeting the needs of each student. The staff look at unique data patterns to identify students who might not traditionally stand out as needing assistance; for example, staff identify high-achieving students whose academic growth has slowed and determine new approaches to appropriately challenge these students. 

School Board Vice President Greg Harris thanked Ms. Sawsich for taking this approach with her staff, noting that using student data consistently to make improvements helps build a culture of continuous improvement.

PTA President Kim Breier shared highlights from this year’s PTA programming, including providing staff with classroom resource grants, hosting an all-school ice cream social, and funding extra landscaping services, among others. The PTA is also partnering with the Village of Downers Grove and the District 58 administration to identify solutions to improving pedestrian safety in the area surrounding the school.

View the Kingsley presentation.

Spotlight on our Schools: Math Committee Update

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Justin Sisul and several Math Committee members presented a 10-year history of the District’s Math Committee and the decision-making that led the District to pilot new math resources this school year and potentially adopt new math resources districtwide next school year. 

Math Committee Timeline:

2010-11: Illinois adopts the Common Core Standards and the Math Committee forms.

2011-12: The Board of Education accepts the Math Committee’s recommendation to adopt Math in Focus for grades K-5 and Glencoe Common Core Math for grades 6-8.

2012-13: The District fully implements the new curricula; Math Committee members begin a gap analysis, identifying areas that are not truly Common Core-aligned, particularly with Math in Focus. The Committee begins to identify supplemental online resources.   

2013-14: The District implements the Curriculum Web App, an online platform allowing teachers to access digital resources for instruction. The Committee identifies and discusses the need for common assessments. 

2014-15: The Committee develops a longitudinal instruction and reporting model, based upon a progression of mathematical skills. This model is piloted in selected classrooms. 

2015-16: The District fully implements longitudinal instruction and reporting; reflection on this system leads to the creation of the Math Blueprint, a standards-based scope and sequence for instruction and aligns the currently available resources to the blueprint. 

2016-17: The Math Blueprint rolls out; District 58 partners with the Metro Chicago Math Initiative to provide teachers with additional math professional development. District 58 implements new acceleration procedures. The Committee discusses the need for common math assessments.

2017-18: The District implements common math assessments; The Committee reviews its acceleration and intervention procedures. Districtwide Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment data analysis identifies a pattern of lower relative growth and achievement in grades 3-5; the Committee focuses on instructional gaps in the blueprint in these grade levels, attempting to fill those gaps with free/online available resources.

2018-19: Through strategic planning, the District articulates actionable goals regarding curriculum, and a Curriculum Council forms. The Math Committee recommends District 58 pursue a new core resource for possible fall 2020 implementation; the Curriculum Council and administrative team endorse this recommendation inclusive of additional support for teachers in the coming years. The Committee thoroughly reviews math curricular materials, interviews six resource vendors, selects three resources to pilot in 2019-20, and receives training on these resources. 

2019-20:  46 elementary (grades preschool-5) classrooms pilot “Bridges” and “EnVision” math resources and 16 middle school (grades 6-8) classrooms pilot “Envision” and “Big Ideas” resources. All pilot teachers and grade 6-8 students (in pilot classrooms) complete surveys evaluating each resource. This winter, the Math Committee will review all feedback and have discussions regarding these resources. Their goal is to reach consensus on a recommendation of new math resources for elementary and middle school math this winter, so all teachers can receive thorough training for a fall 2020 implementation. The 2020-21 budget will include funding for these new resources.

“In my experience working with other school districts, this is the playbook for how a math curriculum adoption is done well. Kudos to you and your team! Other districts should look to you for guidance on how to adopt a curriculum in a thorough and inclusive way,” said Board Member Kirat Doshi, who works for a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps low-income students prepare for college.

View the presentation.

Spotlight on our Schools: Education Foundation Grants

Community Relations Coordinator Megan Hewitt reported that the Education Foundation awarded 16 teacher grants to 24 teachers and staff, totaling more than $14,000, to enhance education. Each grant is aligned with at least one strategic goal.

(Pictured left: Education Foundation grant recipients pose with Superintendent Kevin Russell, Board President Darren Hughes and Education Foundation representatives.)

View the presentation.
View a related news release.

Spotlight on our Schools: Winter Data Snapshot

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Justin Sisul provided a preview of winter 2019 assessment data. Overall, District 58’s key performance indicators are on track. In Reading, the median student performs between the 71st and 79th percentile, depending on grade level, when compared to the national median. In Math, the median student performs between the 63rd and 77th percentile, depending on grade level. Sisul said that school teams analyze student, classroom, grade and school MAP assessment data during building-level data meetings and during some Professional Learning Mondays to tailor instruction, interventions, acceleration and resources to ensure each student is successful.

View the presentation.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell provided the Board with information and updates, including:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: Dr. Russell thanked the Math Committee and Justin Sisul for their thorough curriculum review. He also reported that District administrators will receive training from the DuPage County Regional Office of Education on the “Cycles of Inquiries” model for school improvement. This model helps principals refine their leadership skills and promote a culture of continuous school improvement.
  • Finance: The District is working with the Financial Advisory Committee to develop a fund balance policy. See the Financial Advisory Committee update below for more information.
  • Facilities and Public Relations: The District held its first Citizen Task Force meeting on Dec. 18. This meeting focused on educating the group on District 58’s facilities history, enrollment trends, finances, recent facility planning work, the public engagement process and more. The second meeting will take place Jan. 22 and will focus on the grade 6-8 middle school model. The task force will review and discuss this model, along with the grade reconfiguration and middle school building additions it would require. Ultimately, the task force will make a recommendation regarding whether District 58 should ask the community, via a scientific survey, if they would support the grade 6-8 middle school model.
  • Personnel: The Personnel Office is planning staffing for next school year. Their goal is to ensure each school has the appropriate staff to meet each student’s needs, while serving as prudent stewards of taxpayer money.
  • Technology: The Innovative Learning and Technology Committee discussed the process for replacing staff MacBook Airs, which are currently in their seventh year of service. They developed a survey to better understand how staff use their current devices. Dr. Russell also shared that parent-teacher conference registration opened. The online system worked well and in one week, more than 3,900 conferences have been scheduled.
  • Special Services: Grove Children’s Preschool will hold open houses on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Henry Puffer and on Thursday, Jan. 23 at Indian Trail. The open houses are geared toward prospective and current families. Learn more.
  • Other: Dr. Russell wishes the community a happy new year and said he looks forward to working with everyone to make 2020 a fantastic year. As a reminder, he said that schools will be closed Monday, Jan. 20 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Business Report

Assistant Superintendent for Business Todd Drafall reported that revenues and expenditures are trending as expected. Transportation costs continue to rise, and the District continues to identify efficiencies to negate some of these increased costs. 

He shared that the State has made two payments to the District so far this fiscal year, which is slightly ahead of recent years.

He noted that the 2019-20 audit is complete and will be presented later in the meeting.

Committee Reports

Member Tracy Weiner reported on the Dec. 17 Policy Committee meeting. The Policy Committee is updating the District 58 policy manual with the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) policy manual customization service. An IASB representative attended the meeting and gathered information to include in the first draft of this manual. When the first draft is complete, the committee will break into groups to review and edit it.

Member Kirat Doshi reported on the Dec. 18 Legislative Committee meeting. The Committee discussed question topics for the upcoming Feb. 7 Legislative Breakfast, in which local and state legislators will participate in a panel discussion on education policy. Potential topics include: pension cost shifts, capital funding, school safety and mental health needs, secure entrances, unfunded mandates, charter schools, seclusion/isolation legislation, and upcoming education issues legislators foresee.

President Darren Hughes reported on the Jan. 10 Financial Advisory Committee meeting. Due to health premium increases and employee deductibles, the committee anticipates lower medical costs this month. The committee also reviewed the 2019-20 audit and discussed the need for a fund balance policy. They recommended the District create a fund balance policy to ensure funds are always available to cover emergency repairs, capital projects and to pay for bills without borrowing. The Committee will review a proposed policy at its next meeting. 

The District Leadership Team and the Health and Wellness Committee have not met since the last Board meeting.

During the Meeting, the Board Also:

Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 7 a.m.: Policy Committee Meeting at the ASC
  • Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 3:45 p.m.: Legislative Committee Meeting at the ASC
  • Monday, Feb. at 3:45 p.m.: District Leadership Team Meeting at Longfellow
  • Monday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m.: Community Coffee with the Board at Village Hall
  • Monday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at Village Hall

District 58 Board of Education members are: Darren Hughes, president; Greg Harris, vice president; Kirat Doshi, Emily Hanus, Steven Olczyk, Jill Samonte and Tracy Weiner, with Dr. Kevin Russell, superintendent; and Melissa Jerves, board secretary.