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2016 Highlights

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...from the August 9, 2016 Board of Education Meeting

REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS

Capitol Hill Challenge Stock Market Game
 

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation’s Stock Market Game Capitol Hill Challenge (CHC) is an exciting national financial education competition for junior high and high schools that reaches all 50 U.S. states and their members of Congress. Student teams manage a hypothetical $100,000 online portfolio and invest in real stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, with the top ten CHC teams earning a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet their Member of Congress and be recognized at an awards reception on Capitol Hill.
 

From February to May of 2016, during their junior year, Rachel Doyle and Gina Santucci made the investing decisions that led to their team finishing ninth in the country out of 4,288 teams, with a final total equity of $147,502.77, a 41.4777% return. Their trip to DC was sponsored by Senator Mark Kirk. They were accompanied and are coached by York Business Department chair Jim Borel.

 

Student Achievement Objectives – Administrator Academy and Retreat

 

Superintendent Dr. Dave Moyer explained that the two Administrator Academy and Retreat days served as an opportunity to come together as a team to create and launch the Student Achievement Objectives for 2016-17.

 

Emphasis was placed on culture over structure, as well as on the shift from what is taught to what is learned. For example:

  • From a focus on what was taught to fixation on what students learned
  • From coverage of content to demonstration of proficiency
  • From individual teachers to collaborative teams building shared knowledge
  • From infrequent summative assessments to frequent common formative assessments
  • From assessments that reward and punish to assessments that inform and motivate
  • From fixed time and support for learning to time and support as variable
  • From remediation to intervention
  • From an assumption that these are “my kids” to accepting that these are “our kids”

The 2016-17 Student Achievement Objectives (Objective I and Objective 2) focus on Balanced Assessment and Student Engagement. These two objectives guide the development of individual School Improvement Plans and drive the District's professional development and resource allocation decisions.

  • ALL students must learn and grow
  • We accept shared responsibility for student growth
  • We make decisions based on what is best for students
  • We are a future-focused community of learners

Dr. Moyer introduced the Rigor/Relevance Framework, a tool developed by the International Center for Leadership in Education to examine curriculum, instruction and assessment. The four quadrants are Acquisition (A), Application (B), Assimilation (C) and Adaptation (D).

 

According to Dr. Willard Daggett, “The Framework is a fresh approach to looking at college- and career-ready standards and assessment. It is based on traditional elements of education, yet encourages movement from acquisition of knowledge to application of knowledge. It offers a common language with which to express the notion of a more rigorous and relevant curriculum and encompasses much of what parents, business leaders and community member want students to learn.”

 

The Rigor/Relevance Framework was created along the two dimensions of higher standards and student achievement. It can be used in the development of both instruction and assessment. In addition, teachers can use it to monitor their own progress in adding rigor and relevance to their instruction and to select appropriate instructional strategies for differentiating instruction and facilitating higher achievement goals.

 

Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures

 

Churchville Principal Gina Pogue Reeder, Churchville Assistant Principal Peter Cunningham, Jefferson Principal Leslie Weber, Lincoln Principal Kathleen Tomei and Field Principal Tammy Poole attended the Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures conference this summer, where they were introduced to structures which promote high levels of authentic engagement for all, increase learning and reduce student achievement gaps.

 

“As a District we have included engagement and reducing the achievement gap into our improvement plans for the past few years. Now we have a new tool to help our teachers achieve these goals,” said Ms. Tomei.

 

“Dr. Moyer has discussed our moral imperative as educators as Raising the Bar and Closing the Achievement Gap for All Students,” she continued. “We cannot do this without changing how we teach. Throughout our time at the conference, we came to understand simple tweaks all teachers can implement which will drastically improve student engagement and increase learning for all.

 

“We are committed to integrating these structures into our staff meetings and professional development time with staff, as well as modeling strategies in the classroom. Through modeling we will begin to introduce the power of this structure to our teachers,” Ms. Tomei concluded.

 

“As Dr. Spence Kagan says, ‘Why would we call on one student when we can call on everyone?’” said Mrs. Pogue Reeder, who along with Mr. Cunningham, led the Board in a “timed, pair, share” exercise. The exercise demonstrated the difference between group work and cooperative learning, which truly engages students. It is defined by the acronym PIES:

  • Positive Interdependence – Do students need each other to work?
  • Individual accountability – Is individual performance required?
  • Equal participation – Is participation balanced amongst all?
  • Simultaneous interaction – What percentage of students are active at once?

“This really helps insure student engagement and that is the goal, because if students aren’t engaged, how much are they really learning,” said Mrs. Weber.

 

The principals thanked the Board for supporting their work and this professional development.

 

Finance Committee Report

 

Chris Blum, along with Chris Whelton, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, briefly discussed the next refinancing of debt service bonds. Mr. Whelton reported that this process began in May of 2012 and has amounted to over $12M in savings to taxpayers.

 

Elizabeth Hennessy from William Blair came to the recent committee meeting and will present to the Board on August 23 to provide details.

 

For the past four years, the Board has issued a parameters resolution to guide the refinancing, this time of $22M in debt service bonds, which will save another approximately $2M. This will be voted on at the next meeting.

 

Mr. Blum noted that the District finished the fiscal year with a surplus. Mr. Whelton will present a recap of FY15 at the August 23meeting, prior to laying out the tentative budget for 2016-17.

 

On another topic, the District worked to improve its facility rental process a couple of years ago. “This year there are more community users, so there are more unhappy people,” said Mr. Blum. “Our policy is not about who gives the most money, and we are not picking favorites. It’s first come, first served at cost, but there is a hierarchy: District 205, Park District, and then everyone else.”

 

Dr. Moyer explained that “We have an intergovernmental agreement with the Elmhurst Park District. Typically, other taxing bodies that share facilities with a school district are given priority, due to that partnership.”

 

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA – CONSENT

The Board approved the following item in a vote of 7-0:

  • Personnel Report

SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNICATION

Development of Future Facilities Concepts and Options

 

Dr. Moyer presented a draft proposal by architects Wight & Co. to provide further support to the Focus 205 efforts in helping to develop concepts and schema, as well as attaching costs to the related ideas the community will eventually vet. There are two steps to the proposal: support of the district-wide planning process and facility master planning.

 

“Wight has intimate knowledge of our facilities, but at a time where we might move to a large-scale project, that work would need to be bid,” said Dr. Moyer. “The idea is to put a price tag to [facility] concepts.”

 

Jim Collins reiterated that “We’re engaging Wight to develop some conceptual projects, with a reliable price tag attached, that would mesh with the Focus 205 educational findings in order to test what the community would be interested in supporting.”

 

Madison Early Childhood Center Stormwater Project

 

“We received 65% of the [Madison] plans in late spring and had some concerns at that point about the disruption of the educational process at Madison,” said Dr. Moyer. “We received the final plans about two weeks ago. We again expressed a concern about disruption of the traffic flow and congestion during pick-up and drop-off times.”

 

The Superintendent reported that he had received a memo from the City a few days previous, regarding a modification and two clarifications related to the Madison Early Childhood stormwater abatement project. He felt these points addressed the traffic disruption. The City has committed to doing road work after school or on Saturdays.

 

“They seem sensitive to our concerns and are willing to work with us to mitigate them,” he said. The work at Madison is set to beginSeptember 26. Initially, the plan was to start the work this summer. Dr. Moyer stated he didn’t know why the work got pushed back. He assured the Board that the District will work with the City to keep Madison families apprised of the related road work involved.

 

Mr. Collins requested that the administration ask for the work to be done outside of the school day, as per the suggestion of the District’s consultant (V3), so as not to disturb and distract the youngest and most vulnerable students.

 

John McDonough also wanted the City to assure that construction of the stormwater project would not disrupt school activities. “Once we go down that road, there isn’t much we can do,” he said, also noting that starting and stopping construction would be very difficult.

 

Mr. Blum suggested that the level of impact for certain construction activities be ascertained in order to make sure those activities only take place before or after school and/or on weekends.

 

Emily Bastedo, Karen Stuefen and Shannon Ebner were comfortable with moving forward, based on the assurances the Superintendent has received from the City. “I feel like we are micromanaging this,” said Mrs. Bastedo.

 

Margaret Harrell asked for further clarification from V3 on potential impact of the Madison project on the learning environment.

 

Dr. Moyer will attempt to present a clearer idea of the potential disruption at the next Board meeting, saying “This project was not going to transpire without some impact on the school.”

 

BOARD COMMUNICATIONS 

Dr. Harrell said the Foundation has asked the Board to become more involved with their work. The Foundation would like to see a Board member attend and participate in meetings and events. She asked if a liaison could be appointed or if members could rotate. She volunteered to attend the August 10 meeting.

 

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND IMPORTANT EVENTS

August 19 – First Day of School for Madison Early Childhood Education Center students
August 23 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
August 24 – Elementary Curriculum Night – 6:30-8:30 PM
August 25 – Middle School Curriculum Night – 6:30-8:30 PM
August 29 – York High School Open House – 7:00 PM

NOTE: Video footage of all Board of Education regular meetings is usually posted on 205TV within 48 hours. Audio is usually posted within 24 hours at www.elmhurst205.org/Audio (please click on appropriate meeting date). Specifics related to each meeting, including Board votes, may be accessed via BoardDocs at 
www.boarddocs.com/il/elmhurst/Board.nsf/Public.

NOTE: Video footage of all Board of Education regular meetings are posted on 205TV within 48 hours. Audio is posted within 24 hours at http://www.elmhurst205.org/Audio (please click on appropriate meeting date).