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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 January 24, 2017 Board of Education Meeting



With one member missing, the Board voted 6-0 to approve the following consent agenda items:

  • Personnel Report

  • Financial Reports

  • Bid #17-02 - Musical Instruments and Equipment

  • Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS) Policy Manual Updates - Section 2: Board of Education (First Reading)

  • PRESS Policy Manual Updates - Section 4: Operational Services (First Reading)

  • PRESS Policy Manual Updates - Section 5: Personnel (First Reading)

  • PRESS Policy Manual Updates - Section 6: Instruction (First Reading)

  • PRESS Policy Manual Updates - Section 7: Students (First Reading)

  • PRESS Policy Manual Updates - Section 8: School-Community Relations (First Reading)

  • New Policy #7:315- Restrictions on Publications: High School (First Reading)



With one member missing, the Board voted 6-0 to approve the first two consent agenda items, and approved the third item 5-1, each by separate vote:

  • Donation from the District 205 Foundation for Educational Excellence of Two Designated Donations for York High School

  • Donation from the District 205 Foundation for Educational Excellence to Support the English Language Arts Curriculum

  • Board Operation and Communication Norms


The Board Operation and Communication Norms represent an update, following a routine review. They Board norms have not been updated since November of 2014, according to Board President Shannon Ebner. In the spirit of continuing improvement, she kicked off a conversation.


“It’s about Board professional development and how we can best represent the community. In November we met with representative, Barb Toney, from the IASB. There aren’t many changes, but it was an opportunity to review the norms,” said Karen Stuefen.


“Words on paper are difficult to understand without any context. It took four hours of discussion to get to this point. Our intent is always to ensure as a Board that we are adhering to the values of the community while being supportive of our administration,” said Margaret Harrell.


“We always want to encourage people to come and speak to the Board. The role of the Board is to oversee the administration, not to implement, and to then funnel that back to administration. This doesn’t mean that we don’t need a procedural process. Just like in any other business, you start at the level that is most appropriate. If you don’t get the information you need, you take it to the next level. For community members, ideally, since the Board does not implement decisions, information needs to be forwarded to the person in charge. Its purpose is not to inhibit or restrict, but to talk about the protocol.”


John McDonough stated that “the IASB provides best practices for school boards. We are trying to encourage efficiency and effectiveness in communication, providing structure for everyone. These are suggestions that must be filtered through local culture. Things should bubble up to the Board, so I think the spirit of the document is correct.”


Chris Blum said, “We hire one employee – and that’s the Superintendent. The question is how do we avoid being disruptive to the organization? Dave’s process needs to be respected. This is a large organization that has to have an effective management structure in place.”


Noting that he had no objection to the document itself, Jim Collins explained that the Board has been doing everything outlined therein. “This is an agreement amongst ourselves. The caution is that we’ve been through this [Board norms process] a few times, but it seems to cause more confusion within the community than it does provide clarity. So I am opposed to the way we handle this.” Mr. Collins then voted no to the motion.


The District 205 Foundation has received two designated donations totaling $15,000 to benefit York High School. The first gift of $5,000 from a donor wishing to remain anonymous, will be used to purchase additional security cameras to increase coverage and further provide a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff.


The second donation of $10,000 is in the form of a grant from the CME Group Foundation. Upon learning that York had been selected as a potential recipient of a grant, Foundation Executive Director Lisa Fanelli contacted the York High School Administration to discuss immediate needs for the funding. York is committed to providing college and career readiness for all students, and the kitchen/classroom of the Family & Consumer Science Department is in need of updating and additional equipment. This facility not only serves students but the community as well through its student-run restaurant, La Brigade.


The D205 Foundation Board of Directors determined last winter that they would support the new elementary English Language Arts Curriculum, and $23,000 was raised at the 2016 Gala and earmarked to purchase additional resources for this initiative. In pursuit of its mission, the Foundation strives to create equal opportunities for all students. Therefore, in collaboration with the Learning and Teaching Department and K-5 Principals, a plan was created to disburse the funds across all elementary schools for the purchase of additional reading materials to enhance the student libraries. The funds were allocated based upon $5.00 per pupil, in addition to some variable supplemental funding to ensure equity across all of the student libraries.


Dr. Moyer noted that the Foundation worked with the Learning and Teaching Department to identify needs within the District and determine how the money could best be utilized.


“Thank you to the D205 Foundation, but also the community members who are so generous and supportive of the Foundation and the work that they do. With the new curriculum it is important to support reading, critical thinking and creativity – all the things we’ve been talking about for the last year and a half. This is a really good investment,” said Mrs. Stuefen.


“The District 205 Foundation has been incredibly helpful with raising funds for a number of areas – including the model classroom. This is just another example of how they’re stepping up again. We just want to thank the Foundation for all of the work they do for our community,” said Dr. Harrell.


“Many people use the 205 Foundation as a conduit for directed gifts. Thanks to our anonymous donor and to the CME Group Foundation for their generosity,” said Mr. Collins.



Freedom of Information Act Requests


The District received two FOIA requests:

  • One regarding staff information, which was granted.

  • One regarding bargaining agreements, which was granted.


District Management Group Summit Recap


The District Management Group’s (DMG) 2017 Superintendent’s Strategy Summit focused on innovation (note: District Management Group was formerly known as District Management Council). Ninety-one superintendents from 15 states, including eight from Illinois, were in attendance at the conference, which was held Jan. 11-13.


Workshop sessions were Innovating with Impact, Innovations in the Classroom: Challenges and Opportunities, Innovating to Higher Productivity and More Learning, The Challenge of Innovation and Organizational Effectiveness, and Starting, Scaling, and Sustaining Innovation. DMG’s definition of innovation is “achievement of pattern-breaking performance improvement that can be scaled and sustained.”


The group also participated in two Harvard Case Studies: Denver Public Schools 2015: Innovation and Performance? and Ivy Academy: Blended Learning in Downingtown Area School District. Dr. Michael Tushman of the Harvard Business School facilitated the Denver case study discussion, which was easily the highlight of the conference. His latest book is entitled Lead and Disrupt: How to Solve the Innovator’s Dilemma.


Student Achievement Objective Two is Increase Student Engagement in All Grades EC-12. A part of that objective is implementation of Mobile Learning Implementation in grades 4-12. The conference focused on increasing student engagement, the issue of developing metrics to measure innovation that are different than traditional measures of achievement, and the role of technology in supporting innovation.


January Principal Professional Development Update


The Community Compact, which is the foundation for the District’s efforts to improve student achievement, states, “The District will invest in building capacity and developing leadership at all levels of the organization.” On Thursday, January 19, the principals continued their study of Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School by Andy Hargraeves and Michael Fullan and Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems by Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn.


Ryan Doherty, Jason Crockett, Jeff Gail, Peter Cunningham, Dr. Anderson, and Linda Fehrenbacher facilitated work on Chapter Five of Professional Capital entitled “Professional Capital.” The chapter highlighted what it means to be a professional; the difference between human, social, and decisional capital; and the importance of reflective practice. Presenters connected to the ideas to Domain Four of the Charlotte Danielson Framework: Professional Responsibilities. The components of professionalism according to Danielson are 4a Reflecting on Teaching, 4b Maintaining Accurate Records, 4c Communicating with Families, 4d Participating in a Professional Community, 4e Growing and Developing Professionally, and 4f Showing Professionalism.


Jane Bailey, Beth Gregor, Susan Kondrat, Jim Pluskota, Tammy Poole, and Drew McGuire facilitated work on Chapter Two of Coherence entitled “Focusing Direction.” The four major topics addressed in this chapter are Purpose Driven, Goals That Impact, Clarity of Strategy, and Change Leadership. Principals will revisit key concepts from this chapter and other main ideas from the book at the March Institute Day when the make the connection to the District’s four Belief Statements: ALL students must learn and grow; We accept shared responsibility for student growth; We make decisions based on what is best for students; and We are a future-focused community of learners.


January 17, 2017 Institute Day Report


Mary Baum, Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching, reported on the January 17, 2017 Institute Day. To view the sessions offered, please click here.


“When planning for large-scale learning opportunities for staff, the guiding focus is always our student achievement objectives. Additionally, we believe it’s important to leverage our unit district status and find opportunities for all staff, EC-12, to learn from and with each other. With that in mind, our team in Learning and Teaching began in the early fall, working with our leadership team to identify potential breakout session topics. As staff applied to present, they indicated how their session would support our achievement objectives. All staff were then able to select and register for sessions that would best meet their own learning needs,” she said.


“About 45% of certified staff responded to our follow-up survey. Some 93% of respondents felt the structure of the morning supported their learning. And 93% of respondents felt there were a variety of sessions supporting our student achievement objectives. When asked specifically how they supported, here are examples of comments:


‘The sessions provided a lot of ideas for how I can support my students through formative assessment, digital learning, and accommodations/modifications. I was able to select areas that I needed further information in.’


‘I went to breakout sessions geared toward working with second language students and students with special education needs, and every minute of each was so worthwhile. I learned a lot of new information that will directly impact my students when they are in my classroom, as well as impact my teaching. This was a fantastic morning!’


‘We had time to both learn about some innovative teaching methods and technological tools, but also time and opportunity to learn, explore, play and ask questions. PD days of the past often featured information overload and no time to digest, which made the information next to impossible to retain.’”


Not surprisingly, 97% respondents would like a similar structure for future Institute Days.


“We know that if staff simply attend a breakout session on a topic and then do nothing further, no meaningful change in practice will happen. With that in mind, we also asked staff if they would like to pursue additional learning on any of the topics with their instructional coach. Two-thirds of respondents identified specific learning goals that they could look to their coach to support. Continuing their learning increases the likelihood that the learning will lead to a change in instructional practices and therefore furthering the progress toward our student achievement objectives,” noted Ms. Baum.


The afternoon was spent working by levels on specific agenda items. The Early Childhood level spent time learning about E-portfolios; elementary staff worked by grade level on English Language Arts-specific learning; middle schools and York High School targeted their learning on Professional Learning Communities and enhancing teacher collaboration.


“The March 3rd Institute Day will include vertical articulation for our secondary teachers, an introduction to our new K-5 math curriculum for next year, and work at all levels to align all of our work taking place, ensuring there is coherence with our district objectives and priorities,” she concluded.


“You hit on vertical articulation. Can you give us a little preview of that?” asked Dr. Harrell.


“Our teachers will meet by department – all math teachers 6-12, for example. We will be looking at curriculum alignment and consistency of expectation. Dr. Moyer has modeled for the Leadership Team how to keep this in the forefront of teachers’ minds, so that they understand that everything has a purpose,” said Ms. Baum.


“Thank you for linking the PD, with the instructional coaches, with the student achievement goals. This shows the reason we are doing things,” commented Mrs. Stuefen.




Understanding that the competition for top principals is fierce and the best way to attract quality candidates is to begin early in the hiring season, the District 205 administration moved to fill its known vacancies for next school year soon after the winter holidays.


Coming out of closed session, Mr. Collins moved that the Board approve Jennifer Barnabee to lead Lincoln School as its principal in 2017-18, with a base salary of $117,819.


He also moved that the Board approve Michelle Thompson as principal of Emerson Elementary School in 2017-18, with a base salary of 114,274.


And lastly, Mr. Collins moved that the Board approve Christine Trendal to lead Jackson School as its principal in 2017-18, with a base salary of $111,274.


Details for each of the candidates is posted on the District 205 website (see related news item).




February 1 – Focus 205 Community Engagement Meeting #6 – 7 PM – York High School Commons

February 14 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center

February 20 – Presidents’ Day Holiday – No School

February 28 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center


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 (please click on appropriate meeting date). Specifics related to each meeting, including Board votes, may be accessed via BoardDocs at


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