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2014 Highlights

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...from the October 14, 2014 Board of Education Meeting



Change of Name for Curriculum and Instruction Department


Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michelle Fitzgerald reported that when her department met to plan for this school year, they created the following belief statement: The Learning & Teaching Team believes all students will learn when appropriate academic environments are created and nurtured. The largest factor impacting the academic environments is the effectiveness of the teaching.

“As a result of this discussion, we decided we’d like to change the title of our team to the Department of Learning and Teaching, since the learning is what’s crucial – whether that’s student learning or teacher learning,” said Dr. Fitzgerald.

“This is a big deal because it represents this district’s evolution and shows how serious we are about putting our focus on learning, as well as how important the teacher in the front of that classroom is. I think it’s a great change and, at the same time, a philosophical statement,” said Board President Jim Collins.


Overview of York High School Course Proposals

Eighteen new and modified proposals were brought by York High School to the Board of Education for consideration in 2015-16. “This is about engaging kids; there are some exciting proposals from York this year,” noted Superintendent Dave Pruneau.


York Assistant Principal Dr. Chris Covino highlighted a few of the courses as follows.


A new partnership with Indiana University - Bloomington will result in the development of a concurrent enrollment program called Advanced College Project (ACP). It pairs a series of courses that will provide students with both high school credit and college credit from Indiana University. Students fulfill requirements for high school graduation while beginning a college transcript. Mr. Covino reported that this type of transcript carries a lot of weight nationally. York will be the first public high school in the State of Illinois to enter into such an agreement with IU.


“This will give our students a foot in the college door before they leave high school. The fee is very small in comparison to the cost of an actual on-campus course - $50 per credit hour. Indiana University will waive the tuition for students who are part of the free and reduced lunch program. There are four specific classes that will be offered: Public Speaking (IU’s COLL P155/S121), Elementary Composition (IU’s ENGW131), Literary Interpretation (IU’s ENG L202), and Personal Finance (IU’s BUS F260). These are, to some extent, places where we have been looking to offer additional coursework,” he said.


“We are in the process of applying for adjunct lecturer status for our teachers who will be teaching these courses. Once approved, these teachers will attend a summer workshop where they will work closely with the IU faculty on course standards. The coursework will be rigorous; the teachers who are applying are very excited about this and so are we.”


“This is going to expand college exposure opportunities to something that’s broader than AP,” noted Vice President Shannon Ebner, who chairs the Board’s Learning and Teaching Committee (formerly the Curriculum and Instructions Committee).


“I would characterize this announcement as probably the most exciting that I have heard in my tenure on the Board,” said Jim Collins. 


Another course highlighted by Dr. Covino was Enriched Advanced Algebra Trig Honors. “This is the title we have used for the sophomore class for a long time,” he said, “but from next year on, it will be a freshman course. It was designed to be the course that follows geometry, which is now being taught at the eighth grade level. It is also designed to fit all of the students at the highest level of math. This is a significant change, and we have invited parents to a 6 PM meeting on Tuesday, October 21, in the York Choir Room to talk about the course sequence.”


The proposed Student Tech Internship course was developed in response to our Mobile Learning Initiative. It is modeled after courses in other high schools that have one-to-one technology environments. In those districts, these students are truly the first line of tech support in a building, as well as working on pathways to certification in various real-world areas.

Mr. Pruneau offered the caveat that this would most likely be a smaller class than usual, at least in the beginning, and would also represent additional monies if this course were to be approved.


“There are some start-up costs,” said Director of Technology David Smith. “There’s a summer boot camp to learn our ticketing system. There’s definitely going to be a hit on the technology team to start with, but I envision these students will get involved in AV/media issues, basic repair of laptops and repair of items from around the District.”


“It also offers a set of resources that we might otherwise have to fill,” noted Board member Chris Blum. “Let’s look at the impact over several years so that we’re balancing the columns - cost versus real benefits.”


Board members praised the idea of the internship, noting that this casts a wider net of opportunity for our students, representing real world experience and real world credentials that give our students more value to potential employers.


Additionally, the York PE Department is proposing several additional courses. A few courses are being presented by the science department, thanks to the expansion from two to three required science credits for graduation. One course was proposed by the World Language Department, based on the recent English Language Learners audit by the State. And several courses are being slightly modified or represent simple name changes.


Further information regarding the process and the proposed courses is available here.


Senate Bill 16


Mr. Pruneau asked about the Board’s desire to pass a resolution to oppose Senate Bill 16. The Board agreed to take a look at a short and general resolution when it meets again on October 28. Karen Stuefen complimented the PTA on putting the message out to the community.


Learning and Teaching Committee (formerly the Curriculum and Instruction Committee)


The Learning and Teaching Committee of the Whole met on October 1, 2014. Minutes may be accessed by clicking here. Topics discussed included:

  • Introduction of the New Instructional Technology Coaches
  • The Mobile Learning Initiative
  • York Course Proposals for 2015-16

Shannon Ebner reported that the discussion with the new Instructional Technology Coaches (ITCs) was very exciting. Michelle noted that evaluation of the Mobile Learning Initiative will be critical to making improvements next year and for the K-5 rollout. The first round of survey data should be available in January. The ITCs will bring an update to the full Board in a few months.


Performance Management Committee

The Performance Management Committee met on September 18, 2014. Minutes may be accessed by clicking here. Topics discussed included:

  • District Performance Indicators (DPIs)
  • PERA Update, including the proposal for a building-wide Student Growth component
  • Superintendent’s Goals and Evaluation Timeline

Chairman Karen Stuefen added that the committee talked about the Harris Survey results and what can be shared with employees regarding progress made on the main concerns/topics which employees brought forth at the brown bag lunches held last year. This year’s brown bag lunches are currently being scheduled with the schools.



The Board voted unanimously to approve the following consent agenda items:

  • Ratification of Approval of Application for Recognition of Public Schools for 2014-2015
  • Approval to Purchase Equipment, Software and Professional Services for Power School System Upgrade
  • Approval to Sell Surplus District Vehicle (14-year old driver’s education vehicle)

Mr. Collins noted that the first two items are required by the State of Illinois



The Board voted unanimously to approve the following consent agenda items:

  • Approval of Donation (Jackson Elementary School PTA) - $2,000 for landscaping
  • Approval of Donation (Edison Elementary School PTA) - $3,700 for new sound equipment

Mr. Collins thanked both of these organizations for their generous support of District 205 students.




Legislative representative Karen Stuefen provided a brief update on the District 200 SB16 forum, held recently in Wheaton. Districts in attendance were unanimous in seeking accountability among all school districts. Mandate relief was another topic of discussion, as was the inequity of similar students across the state. “This bill was supposed to solve inequity, but it will create more than it solves,” she said.


The District 205 administrative team is involved in a book study and crucial conversations related to Dylan Wiliam’sEmbedded Formative Assessment. Each Board member was given a copy of the book and was invited by Dr. Fitzgerald to attend the February 27 Teacher Institute Day, where Mr. Wiliam will be the featured speaker.


October 27 – Committee of the Whole Finance & Operations Committee – 6:30 PM – D205 Center
October 28 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
October 30 – Performance Management Committee – 7:00 PM – District 205 Center
November 6 – York Distinguished Alumni Induction – 7:00 PM Reception – 7:30 PM Program

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).