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2014 Highlights

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Board Highlights

Previous versions can be found on the Board Audio/ Highlights/Minutes page for 2011 and 2010

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...from the July 22, 2014 Board of Education Meeting


Establishment of New Administrative Position

  • REACH and Professional Growth Coordinator

The REACH and Professional Growth Coordinator will provide support in three major categories: REACH, elementary school support, and professional learning/evaluation.

REACH Coordinator

The coordinator will work on REACH identification, including analyzing the identification of REACH students and recommend modifications to the identification process. Additionally, the coordinator will be able to work with parents on identification and strategies for students who do not qualify.

Elementary School Support

The coordinator will be able to provide much needed support at three of the largest elementary schools: Emerson, Hawthorne, and Lincoln. The support will be primarily in the area of evaluation of certified staff, but the coordinator will also be able to assist the principals in planning staff meetings and other professional learning opportunities.

Professional Learning Support

The coordinator will work with the rest of the Curriculum and Instruction team to plan professional learning opportunities during the school year and summer. Additionally, the coordinator will analyze the mentor program and recommend modifications to the program.

Dr. Michelle Fitzgerald, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, also noted that the new 
REACH and Professional Growth Coordinator will assist with District 205’s mentor program for new teachers in order to help them be successful and retain them in the profession.

Superintendent Dave Pruneau reported that there are 90 new teachers being hired for the 2014-15 year, one of the largest groups in many years. “So the emphasis on professional learning is important in both the short and long term to sustain and increase excellence in education here in Elmhurst.

“In addition, this realignment allows us to employ a full time, dedicated English Language Learner Coordinator - and, as you know, ELL needs are growing in the District - so it addresses several major areas of need at the same time,” said Mr. Pruneau.


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

  • Personnel Report
  • Approval of REACH and Professional Growth Coordinator Position

Hired as part of the Personnel Report were Leslie Weber, as the new Principal of Jefferson Elementary School, and Ariana Leonard, as the new ELL Coordinator.

Mrs. Weber comes to Elmhurst from Oswego District 308 where she served as Assistant Principal at Wolf’s Crossing Elementary for the past two years. She also was a fifth grade classroom teacher in Plainfield District 202 for seven years, as well as a third and fifth grade teacher for six years at Western Trails Elementary in District 93 prior to that. Leslie holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Northern Illinois University (1998) and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University (2008).

Mrs. Leonard has been an educator for the District School Board of Pasco County, Florida (with 65,000 students) since 2005, serving as a middle and high school Spanish and ELL teacher, as a District Supervisor for ELL and World Languages and as the District Senior Instructional Specialist for World Languages. She has developed, implemented, supervised and evaluated ELL curricula, programs and teachers. Prior to that, Ariana was a bilingual kindergarten teacher at Garfield School in Chicago Heights, Illinois. She holds two Bachelor of Art degrees - one in Political Science and one in Spanish - from Illinois Wesleyan (2003) and Illinois State University (2005), respectively, as well as a master’s in Educational Leadership from Saint Leo University in San Antonio, Florida (2009).


Board of Education Vice President Shannon Ebner gave an update from the most recent meeting with the City/Park/School Committee studying storm water solutions. Superintendent Pruneau and School Board representative John McDonough were also in attendance. This was the first time that all three entities met together.

“We continue to focus on balancing student needs with resident needs,” said Mrs. Ebner. “We need to look more closely at demographic data for the Madison Early Childhood Center as well as a long-term facility plan, so that we can share long-term needs of our school buildings. That should be married with community engagement and a discussion of what the community wants for its schools long-term. These are really complex issues that we will continue to talk about.”

Mr. McDonough explained that although the Park District is most significantly impacted, there are three school sites that were proposed. “The District has a facilities maintenance and preservation plan that keeps these existing buildings in shape, but we don’t have a capital plan for the future that spells out where we’re going to be in how many years and what we will need.

“For me, it’s hard to commit to this snapshot plan, even though we can make it work with the facilities we have now, but what it does is permanently restrict our options for the future. There are short-term, mid-term and long-term plans, where we look at the land independent of the buildings,” he said.

“The idea is to look at long-range development. Madison, for example is on a four-acre site, which is small for a school (five would be a minimum and the State recommends ten). As an example, it might be a better plan to rebuild the Early Childhood Center in another location (through a land exchange agreement) at some future point in time and use that entire four acres for storm water retention that could better serve community needs.

“If we could make an agreement with the City that meets three different phases with different ‘triggers’ that would be within our control, I think we could very easily make a commitment to make that site available,” said Mr. McDonough. “I think it has the potential to meet our needs and theirs, taking advantage of all the tools available.”

Mrs. Ebner said representatives of the City were intrigued with the idea of a short- and long-term solution. “Their need for storm water is much higher than our need to have a school at that location, because Madison is not a neighborhood school.”

“It is our fastest growing school,” noted Board President Jim Collins. “Twenty-five percent of this year’s kindergarten population will have attended the Madison Early Childhood Center - and that’s growing. It’s had very little renovation done since the 1950s. At this point, we are almost completely out of classrooms there. If we can find a win-win situation, I think we should all be in favor of that. We serve the same taxpayers, so let’s do what’s in the best interest of Elmhurst.”

The next joint City/Park/School meeting is August 4.


August 12 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
August 15 – First day of school for York High School students
August 19 – Finance and Operations Committee Meeting – 6:30 PM – District 205 Center
August 20 – First day of school for all District 205 students in grades K-8
August 21 – First day of school for all Madison Early Childhood Education Center students
August 27 – Committee of the Whole Board Improvement Meeting – 7:00 PM – District 205 Center

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).