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2015 Highlights

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Past Highlights

Board Highlights

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

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...from the June 23, 2015 Board of Education Meeting

STAFF RECOGNITION

Thank You to Retiring Superintendent Dave Pruneau

Board President Jim Collins thanked Superintendent Dave Pruneau and presented him with a plaque to recognize his years of service to District 205 from 2011-2015. “I know Dave wanted to slip away under the radar, but we just couldn’t let him do that. I can’t even put into words the great difference that Mr. Pruneau has made in this school district during his four years here. Thank you very much, Dave. We truly appreciate your many valuable contributions to District 205.”

“I want to thank the Board of Education,” said Mr. Pruneau. You’ve been a great Board to work with. The community is really lucky to have you. Very seldom have I worked for a Board with no hidden agendas; all seven Board members want to do what’s best for students. You kept that in front of you and that’s sometimes hard to do. I thank you for your support and commitment to the district and the kids. With your leadership, this district will be in good hands.

“I also want to thank my cabinet and my administration for all the support and help they’ve given me; they made me look really good, probably a lot better than I really am. It’s because of all of them working very hard, putting in long hours, never complaining and, again, doing what’s right for kids; I feel very fortunate to have had that kind of dedicated team around me. I want to thank everyone who’s made these four years really memorable. It’s a great way to go out and feel I had a great finish to my career.”

Mr. Collins responded by saying “Dave, you have made it easy for us as a Board to remain focused on the education of the children of Elmhurst. “You have steered us around the pitfalls. You’ve used your experience, your educational leadership, your management style to make us look really good. I can’t tell you how much we truly appreciate that. Thank you.”

He also extended the Board’s thanks to Ellen Walsh, who is retiring after serving in the Curriculum and Instruction Department for 23 years and has also served as the Board’s minute taker for 22 years. “I don’t think she’s missed a Board meeting in all that time,” noted Mr. Collins. “Thank you for your many years of dedicated service.”

Shining Star Staff Recognition Winners for June

Four District 205 employees were named Shining Star awardees for this month. They are: Marina Haugan– Churchville Middle School Assistant Secretary; Mary Kragel – Churchville Lead Secretary; Tina Motto – Day Custodian, District 205 Center; and Pam Berger – Test Makeup Center Coordinator at York Community High School.

Each of the awardees was nominated for going “above and beyond” and making a positive impact on the students and staff of District 205.

SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNICATION

Freedom of Information Act Requests

Two FOIA requests were received: one regarding the custodial/maintenance contract, which was granted, and one regarding specific test results which was partially granted and partially denied.

York Chromebook Alternate Payment Plan for Juniors/Seniors

Superintendent Dave Pruneau presented an alternate Chromebook payment plan for York juniors and seniors that was discussed at the Finance and Operations Committee meeting on June 15. This plan was developed in response to parent concerns about the $300 price tag for families of those students in particular, who will not realize the same long-term savings from the introduction of digital textbooks and other digital materials compared to the families of freshmen and sophomores. “This is one way to ease the initial outlay for our families,” said Mr. Pruneau.

Margaret Harrell noted that “It’s important the community knows we are listening to their concerns. We have to figure out how to make this work for as many people as possible.”

Mr. Collins asked why families can’t buy their own Chromebook. Chris Blum talked about having the ability to control the software. The Chromebooks are pre-configured to operate in the District network and they include a management console that allows the District to provide students with a number of important applications and features within the Google Application suite. “We would have to increase the size of the technology department in order to be able to load the software and bring all externally purchased Chromebooks into compliance." Families would have to purchase a license and their personal Chromebooks would have to be “wiped clean” and controlled by the District.

Additionally, from a learning environment perspective, students accessing the same device model streamlines classroom work flows and ensures equitable access to tools and information. Teacher and instructional assistant training is centered on the Dell Chromebook, as are technology support procedures, data systems, tools and repair parts inventory. These are some of the advantages of students using the same device both inside and outside of school.

Assistant Superintendent Chris Whelton pointed out that this new alternate payment plan is also a family-ownership model, where families are still responsible for the difference if the Chromebook is damaged or stolen.

Mr. Blum said he would encourage families who can afford it to please pay the $300 and buy the Chromebook outright, leaving this alternate plan for families who feel that can’t afford that. Follow-up information regarding this new option will be sent to the families of next year’s juniors and seniors via email next week.

BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS

Finance and Operations Committee

The Finance and Operations Committee met on June 15, 2015. Topics discussed included:

  • May Monthly Financial Reports - on plan on budget; more in June at fiscal year-end
  • Fund Balance Policy
  • Revisit York Chromebook Purchase Options Based on Feedback

Chairman Chris Blum reported that the committee discussed the impact going to a digital environment might have on the York Bookstore. “We need to gather additional information and take our time talking about this. One question is whether or not we buy licenses for e-books as part of our inventory or do we provide links for families to buy directly. Another consideration is what to do with the existing textbooks and if we should still keep a classroom set for a year or so.”

Learning and Teaching Committee

The Learning and Teaching Committee met on June 10, 2015. Topics discussed included:

  • K-5 Writing Implementation Update
  • Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) in District 205
  • York Textbooks

Chairman Shannon Ebner reported that four teachers gave an update on the pilot Lucy Calkins writing implementation, noting that they will come to the full Board in the near future. “This workshop model includes a lot of child-directed, small group work, which is changing the way teachers are instructing writing and students are learning to write,” she said. “The benefits spread into other topics, such as social studies. Professional development is underway to expand to the program to the rest of our K-5 teachers.”

This led to a discussion about the purpose of the Board committees. It was noted by John McDonough that it’s not efficient to have presentations in committee, only to turn around and have them represented to the full Board. Dr. Harrell suggested that instead of various committees looking at large topics such as the Mobile Learning Implementation (MLI) in a piecemeal fashion, they be brought to the full Board.

“I agree; let’s not lose sight of the importance of bringing these issues to the full Board, looking at them comprehensively,” said Karen Stuefen. This will be a topic of discussion at the Board’s summer retreat.

District STEM coordinator Dave Beedy reported to the committee that REACH math curriculum K-8 has been completed. “The Learning and Teaching Department’s goal is to have K-12 seamless curriculum for English, math and science, so there is vertical articulation without gaps between grades,” said Mrs. Ebner. “The work is under way, but this will take several years to complete.”

The committee looked at digital instructional materials to see what students are going to be working with in AP Physics classes next school year. New materials were also approved for one of the Advanced College Placement (ACP) classes - Speech 101 - a course taught at York by high school teachers who have volunteered to receive training through Indiana University and will serve as adjunct professors. York is the only high school in Illinois to have such a relationship with IU.

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - CONSENT

The Board voted 7-0 to approve the following consent agenda items:

  •  Personnel Report
  •  Financial Reports
  •  Facility Rental Usage Agreement for 2015-16 School Year
  •  Recycle and Remarket Surplus Technology Equipment
  •  Bid #15-15 - Xerographic Paper in the amount of $103,749.50 from Unisource
  •  Authorization for the Destruction of Verbatim Recordings of Closed Session Minutes

Due to the financial constraints under which Elmhurst District 205 is operating, the administration and the Board of Education is striving to keep expenditures in line with our revenue stream. Our largest source of revenues (property taxes 84.61%) is limited to the Consumer Price Index. The District is working towards tying all contracts and expenditures to this index. The Facility Rental Usage Agreement for the 2015-16 school year includes a Consumer Price Index or 1.5% increase on the facility usage fees and the rental staff charges.

Over the past year surplus technology, consisting primarily of retired computers, monitors, printers, TVs, and networking equipment, has been collected as a result of technology replacement and upgrade projects. This surplus property is of diminutive value to the District and needs to be removed from the York warehouse. Equipment with residual value will be sold wholesale to capture that value and the remaining equipment will be appropriately recycled.

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA - ACTION ITEMS

The Board voted 7-0 to approve the following action agenda items, one at a time:

  • Resolution Approving Bank Depositories for 2015-16
  • Amendments to the School Association for Special Education in DuPage (SASED) Articles of Agreement - SASED can no longer retain IDEA funding if a member district withdraws from the cooperative
  • Approval of Donation - Jackson Elementary - new school sign from the PTA valued at $4,000
  • Approval of Donation - York High School - toward new uniforms for the boys basketball team donated by Elmhurst Airborne and valued at $1,070, plus a new score table valued at $12,000 which would benefit the basketball, volleyball and wrestling programs
  • Approval of Donation - Field Elementary - two water bottle refilling stations valued at $1,908 from the PTA
  • Approval of Donation - Emerson Elementary - one water bottle refilling station valued at $954 from the PTA
  • Approval of Donation - Hawthorne Elementary - 50 atomic clocks for the school valued at $1,499.50 from the PTA

Board members thanked the four PTAs and the Elmhurst Airborne youth basketball organization for their support and generous gifts to the District, as well as to the students and staff, in accordance with Policy #8:80 - Gifts to the District.

“The Board expresses its gratitude to all of the private donors who make our school district a better place,” noted Mr. Collins.

BOARD COMMUNICATIONS

Mr. Collins received a communication from Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley asking that the Board of Education meet with representatives of the City in open forum beginning on July 9 regarding stormwater solutions. Mayor Morley would like to meet every two weeks. The meeting that was set for June 29 on this topic has now been cancelled as a result. “I think regularly scheduled meetings that are open to the community are great!” Mr. Collins said.

“We provided a draft of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to the City in April. The City responded with a letter that pointed out changes which I would consider drafting issues. There is at least one large Board issue, which is the idea of starting the project within a year. The City has asked that be extended to four years,” reported Mr. McDonough.

Emily Bastedo said she would like to know the reasoning behind the request for four years. “That seems like a long time.”

According to Mr. McDonough, the other significant sticking point is the District 205 Board’s insistence on absolute discretion over the use of the school district-owned properties that are proposed as flood mitigation sites (see documents linked on the City’s BoardDocs site).

Mrs. Ebner said that she and Mr. McDonough have pressed for a credible Plan B (an alternative storm water retention system) in case the District 205 sites need to be reclaimed for educational purposes. “There are 144 acre feet of water need to be relocated. The Madison Early Childhood Center site, for example, represents only 5 acre feet. The City believes they can come up with a Plan B over the next seven years,” she said.

“The school district cannot be in charge of this; it would be on the City to come up with an alternate plan,” said Mrs. Bastedo. “We are just a small piece of this solution.”

Related business points will be brought to the Board for discussion during the Board Communications portion of its business meetings, when and as necessary.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

July 21 – Public Reception for new District 205 Superintendent, Dr. David Moyer – 5:30 PM – York Community High School Commons; Board of Education Meeting – 7 PM – York Commons

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).