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2017 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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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).

...from the June 20, 2017 Board of Education Meeting­
 

REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS

First Place Churchville Middle School Coderz Team

The following Churchville Middle School Coderz team members competed nationally against other sixth through eighth students and were awarded first place by completing all 141 "CoffeeScript" challenges without error: Lucas Barmada, Adyssen Clay, Nicholas Dobrowolski, Matthew Huffman, Andrew Koczur, Logan Maloney, Jackson Nehls, Hristo Tonev, Kayla Tutunji and Adrian Zhuang. The team is coached by Churchville’s Computer Literacy Teacher Debra Segiet.

Beginning in March of 2017, the ten-member Churchville Coderz team began playing through a series of weekly challenges, ending with the team unlocking the last of 40 challenges on April 17, allowing each team member to earn an automatic score between 1 and 3 for each solution, based on the quality of the solution.

As a reward for their first-place standing, the Churchville Coderz team received a CodeMonkey official trophy plaque, a yearly classroom subscription, plus one set of DK’s best-selling coding books for children.

CodeMonkey nurtures problem-solving skills, logic and creativity in an interactive platform that introduces student teams to coding in a real programming language called CoffeeScript (CodeMonkey software) and requires team members to play through a total of 141 challenges, covering programming topics such as objects, functions, simple loops, variables, arrays and for-loops.

CodeRush is a nation-wide competition for teams of students in grades three through eight, hosted by CodeMonkey, Inc. and sponsored by DK Books, publisher of highly visual, photographic, non-fiction for adults and children.


Student Achievement Objectives Annual Report

Superintendent Dr. David Moyer, along with members of the administrative team, presented the Student Achievement Objectives Annual Report for 2017. The two student achievement objectives are to:

  • Develop a Balanced Assessment System and improve assessment literacy throughout the District
  • Increase Student Engagement in all grades EC-12

The Data Wise school improvement process will be used to create more rigorous School Improvement Plans (SIP) for 2017-18 and beyond.

End of year coaching surveys revealed that 95% of Elmhurst teachers who worked with their instructional coach once a month or more agreed or strongly agreed that the work had a positive impact on their instructional practice. The most common obstacle was time, particularly in the two schools where coaches are part time.

The use of data, including student work, is increasing as teachers strengthen their Professional Learning Communities. This leads to shared expertise and an increased personalization of learning, as well as a greater sense of ownership of all students.

The creation and use of common assessments continues to be an area of emphasis.

The elementary Grading Task Force has been established with the goal of creating a fair and consistent grading process across District 205. Standards-based reporting will be piloted at Field and Hawthorne schools during the 2017-18 year, with full elementary implementation expected to take place in 2018-19.

“We have a team of teachers working with proficiency scales and will be gathering feedback from parents, teachers and students as we pilot the standards based reporting,” said Dr. Henderson.

D205 University offers technology courses, with 121 K-5 teachers participating in three introductory courses. The goal of this job-embedded professional development is to increase the capacity of teachers to personalize instruction. There is an emphasis on understanding and applying the SAMR model, which is a model for effective technology integration into instruction.

Instructional Rounds

Pia Bartolai, Instructional Coach at Jefferson, talked about implementing the workshop model in reading and writing consistently across the District.

Dave Beedy, STEM Coordinator, thanked all of the teachers who spent many hours developing the math curriculum that will be implemented in the fall, using Eureka Math as a resource. Curriculum targets and assessments are ready and available online to teachers. About one third of D205 teachers were early adopters, piloting the curriculum this school year. Many of the remaining teachers are involved in professional development (spring, summer and fall courses).

Mr. Beedy met with all K-8 Parent-Teacher Associations to explain changes to the math curriculum and to answer questions, so there would be no surprises.

Jefferson Elementary School Principal Leslie Weber is working to become a certified trainer for Kagan Structures, which are simple step-by-step instructional strategies that increase student engagement and cooperation. The Kagan model is primarily used to:

  • Foster 100% participation in learning activities
  • Ensure that all voices in the classroom are heard
  • Incorporate movement
  • Encourage working with new and different partners

Dr. Moyer noted that the Student Achievement Objectives are annual goals that help keep the SIP process going; language used reflects the global District vision; principals’ school improvement goals will be much more targeted. “These goals provide a framework and guide the work of the schools,” he said.

“We’re currently not consistently able to verify how all students are growing in reading in grade 3. We are working to be more scientific in our use of data and are strengthening our school improvement process with more sophisticated data that can be accessed in real time.”

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - CONSENT

With five members present and two absent, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the following items:

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - ACTION ITEMS

With five members present and two absent, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the following items, voting on each item separately:

  • Resolution Approving Bank Depositories
  • Stipend Memorandum of Agreement
  • RFP #17-07 Construction Management and Estimating Services – ICI International Contractor, Inc. of Elmhurst was chosen from among eight submitted proposals
  • District Architect – Wight & Company (see rationale below)
  • Thoughtexchange Service Agreement – contract for continued survey support
  • Funding from York Student Enrichment Team – $39,000 from the D205 Foundation on behalf of YSET, in order to support students/families that may need assistance
  • Donation (York High School) - $10,000 from the Rotary Club of Elmhurst (Rosecrance Health Network partnership, counseling space and sessions for at-risk students)
  • Donation (Transition Center) – $7,945 from F’real Blender Company (commercial blender)
  • Donations (Jackson School) – $22,410 from the Jackson School PTA (books and supplies)
  • Donation (Field School) - $1,841 from the Field School PTA (3 picnic tables)
  • Donation (Jefferson School) - $70,000 from the Jefferson School PTA (playground)

Dr. Jim Woell, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, explained that the work of the Stipend Committee was a two-year process involving a committee of about 30 teachers, which he co-chaired along with John Gaunt, Ken Ross. “We were able to completely fund all previously unpaid stipends and still save money,” he said. A Memorandum of Understanding was supported and signed by the Elmhurst Teachers’ Council.

Regarding the construction management RFP, John McDonough thanked everyone who was involved in the process. “We had asked that you please demonstrate to the community that you are spending their dollars wisely. We are trying to look at the quality of procured services, and I think the community is grateful. We’re very pleased to have a local organization of quality (ICI International of Elmhurst) to work with,” he said.

Regarding the architect contract, Mr. McDonough explained that “Procurement laws and practices allow for choice of professional services in this way. Wight & Company has demonstrated its great work throughout the Chicago metro area and we have a longstanding relationship with them. They have proven the quality of their work with District 205.”

According to the rationale stated in BoardDocs, “In considering options to create a long term Facilities Master Plan, addressing the needs and desires identified in the Focus 205 process and on the capital needs survey, it is essential that Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 engage the services of an architect. The District recognizes that hiring an architect who has performed at a high level for the District in the past promotes continuity, efficiency, and quality. Wight & Co. has developed and designed all of the District’s projects, large and small, over the past 20 years. The most significant of these projects, York High School and Hawthorne Elementary School, are widely recognized as examples of excellence in design and function.”

Board President Shannon Ebner noted that “Wight has knowledge of our buildings that can’t be matched by any other firm, so I also think there will be a cost savings there.”

The Board accepted the various donations listed above in accordance with Policy #8:80 - Gifts to the District. Dr. Harrell thanked everyone related to YSET, the York Student Enrichement Team.

Dr. Moyer noted that conversations have been going on for about two years with the Elmhurst Rotary Club about how to partner with agencies to support students in need and to help address the opioid crisis. “York Assistant Principal Melissa DeLaRosa did a lot of work on this,” he said. Karen Stuefen thanked everyone involved in this process.

ACTION ON CLOSED SESSION ITEM

The Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Mariann Lemke as the new Executive Director of Research and Program Analysis, effective July 14, 2017, at a base salary of $133,382.

Ms. Lemke come to Elmhurst from the American Institutes for Research (AIR), where she has spent the last eight years as the Managing Director. She has nearly 20 years of experience managing large-scale research, evaluation and assessment projects in education at the federal, state and district levels. At AIR, Lemke leads and acts as senior advisor on projects related to the use of assessment data and educator quality. She served as a project director on an impact evaluation of principal preparation programs and principal investigator on an evaluation of a teacher residency and incentives program.

She also leads a project aimed at building capacity in districts to improve professional learning. She manages projects related to educator effectiveness, which includes current or past work for the Florida Department of Education, Baltimore City Public Schools, New York State Education Department, Delaware Department of Education, Texas Education Agency, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in Washington, D.C.

She joined AIR in 2009 from the Chicago Public Schools, where for two years she was the Director of Assessment and responsible for administering state and district testing, new test development and the district’s overall assessment strategy. Prior to that, Ms. Lemke managed the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the International Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey at the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education for seven years.

Ms. Lemke holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Chicago (1993) and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (1998). A former elementary teacher, she is a published author and is fluent in Spanish.

 

“Mariann has some great experience. As you heard earlier tonight, we’re anxious to hear more about the research data. We’re very grateful to have you and welcome you,” said Mr. McDonough.

SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNICATION

Freedom of Information Act requests

There were five Freedom of Information Act requests filed:

  • One requesting specific purchasing records, which was granted.
  • Two requesting specific contract information, which were granted.
  • One requesting Board meeting minutes, which was granted.
  • One requesting specific course information, which was granted.

LUDA Update

The annual Large Unit District Association (LUDA) Spring Symposium was held June 8-9 at the Oak Brook Resort. The majority of the sessions focused on Illinois’ budget dilemma. While many of the lobbyists and professional organizations that are close to the source report that there is a significant amount of bicameral and bipartisan cooperation, the bottom line is that the citizens of Illinois are caught in a vicious power struggle between Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan. Elected officials are not permitted to vote their conscience without fear of retribution.

Here is the latest and how it affects Elmhurst:

  1. The Governor did not sign the school funding bill due to a last minute amendment related to the legacy costs of the Chicago pension system. In simple terms, the result of this amendment would permit Chicago to collect more general state aid under the new formula.
  2. Cliff’s Notes version: The new Evidenced Based Funding Formula allocates dollars based on 27 researched-based practices.
  3. The formula is a better way to fund schools, as Illinois is currently dead last among states in the union in its support of public education. However, it will not directly benefit Elmhurst.
  4. It should be a good thing in the long term for the health of the state, and it purports that districts like Elmhurst would be held harmless. The bill provides for any new money to go to the neediest districts first. However, the Governor is insisting that he will not sign any budget without a property tax freeze. This would cost District 205 $2.1M next year, so I do not consider this being “held harmless.”
  5. The State currently owes D205 $2.5M in categorical payments (i.e. transportation, special education, etc.). Since Elmhurst does not receive a lot of General State Aid, categorical payments are a significant source of revenue. Since these programs are mandated by law, the only choice for Elmhurst is to bite the bullet or make cuts in other areas.
  6. There was a court ruling this month which gave Illinois until the end of the month to come up with a plan to make payments on the $2B it owes providers in Medicaid payments. Currently, schools are receiving GSA payments. When the State has to begin making these payments with money it does not have, not only will schools not receive categorical payments, GSA almost certainly will also be affected.
  7. The City of Elmhurst is refusing to honor its 2004 IGA and declare a surplus in TIF I. To date, this has cost the District approximately $2.6M.
  8. The memo outlined a potential (and likely) budget impact totaling $7+M.

 

Property Tax Freeze – Impact on District 205
 

Dr. Moyer also presented slides on the impact of a 2-year and 4-year property tax freeze on District 205’s annual revenues and fund balance over the next five years.
 

BOARD COMMUNICATIONS
 

There were none.
 

FORTHCOMING MEETINGS
 

July 13 – Special Board of Education Meeting – 6:00 PM – District 205 Center}
July 18 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
August 8 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
August 14 – An Evening with Dr. Bill Daggett – 7:00 PM – York High School Commons
August 16 – First Day of School in Elmhurst District 205