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2016 Highlights

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...from the May 10, 2016 Board of Education Meeting


REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America

The FCCLA State Leadership Conference was held in Springfield, Illinois, April 7 - 9, 2016, and the following York Community High School students earned top positions in the competition categories as noted:
 

Apparel Construction | Silver –Bridgette Strawbridge and Bronze – Jolene Gundrum; Children’s Literature Presentation – Senior Category | Gold Nora Barrett, Stephanie Reinke, Caitlyn Rambo and Elena Vezmar; Children’s Literature Presentation – Junior Category | Silver and Most Outstanding Distinction Emma Ryan and Kaitlin Templeman; Culinary Arts | Bronze Matthew Carbone and Richard Incandela; Fashion Apparel Display Team | Gold Allison Peterson and Abbey Templeman; Fashion Construction STAR | Silver Madison Miller; Food Production Relish Tray | Gold Kevin Homan; Food Production Salads | Silver Rachel Atristain; Interior Design | Silver Kima Barannik and Oksana Batryn and BronzeAllison Evans; | Pastry Arts: Cake Decorating  | Gold Nina Fabrizius, Samantha Flesch and Julianna Gecsey; Pastry Arts: Cookie Decorating  | Gold Alexandra Geary; Professional Career Image | SilverKatherine Strawbridge; and Sports Nutrition | Silver Kaitlyn Fischer.

 

Richard Incandla has received a scholarship from Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts in Providence, Rhode Island, and Madison Miller also received a scholarship from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California. Faculty of the Family and Consumer Sciences Department include Wendy Albert (Division Chair for Technology & Applied Arts), Laurie Foss, Lindsey Goldsmith, Sarah Marik, Rachael Marten and Ashley McDonough.

 

Junior Achievement Chicago Titan Competition

The Junior Achievement Titan challenges students to apply their knowledge of business as they compete online in the highly-competitive industry of the fictional Holo-Generator, designed to support the skills and competencies identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

 

This program encourages excellence on the part of individual students by encouraging them to run a virtual manufacturing company, master five key business decisions - price of product, production levels, marketing expenses, research and development costs, and capital investment level – to earn the largest amount in retained earnings.

 

According to Rich Rosenberg, a local business owner who has volunteered for eleven years in the business class at York Community High School, “The Chicago Titan Competition creates a ‘critical thinking’ environment where complex interrelated decisions are made by students in small groups. Dependent upon each other, the students learn through shared decisions, in time compressed, computer supported business cycles, providing an amazing course study in evaluating options and opportunities.”

 

On April 15, 2016, at the Junior Achievement Titan Competition in Chicago, the following York students placed as noted: First Place Team – Ajay Jain, Jordan Less, Garrett Gilmartin and Megan Boyle; and Second Place Team – Lance Lukose, Matthew Finan and Brennan McGovern. They are coached by York Business Department chair Jim Borel and volunteer Rich Rosenberg.

 

SkillsUSA State Competition

In February of this year, 54 York Community High School students took SkillsUSA written exams to qualify for their particular competition. They competed against students from around the State of Illinois for the chance to participate at State and 28 York students qualified.

 

The following York High School students earned medals in the competition categories held on April 21-23 in Springfield, Illinois, as noted: Auto Service Technology | Jeremy Olson – third place; Collision Repair Technology| Michael Falco – first place; Principles of Engineering | Paige McIntyre – first place; Screen Printing Technology | Jacob Wendell – second place; Technical Drafting CAD | Jack Chylstek – first place, Abigail Gundrum – second place, and Stephanie Cui – third place; and by placing first in their competitions, Michael Falco, Paige McIntyre and Jack Chylstek will be representing York Community High School at the National SkillsUSA Competition and Conference this June, in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Members of the Industrial Technology Department include Wendy Albert (Division Chair for Technology & Applied Arts), Ken Ross (Department Leader), Dan Calenberg, Ron Robak and Joe Stolz.

 

Student Achievement Objectives

Superintendent Dr. Dave Moyer introduced Director of Research and Assessment Charles Sprandel and Dr. Jim Woell, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, who gave an update on the work of District 205’s PERA Committee. PERA stands for the Performance Evaluation Reform Act and governs teacher evaluation in Illinois. “PERA establishes what the end product will be, but leaves it up to the [school] districts how to accomplish that,” said Mr. Sprandel.

 

Serving on the PERA Committee are: Chris Covino, Lisa DeSanti, Michelle Fitzgerald, Laurie Giblin, Ariana Leonard, Nan Loerop, Dave Moyer, Katy Padberg, Charles Sprandel, Teresa Soria, Elizabeth Wall, Jim Woell.

 

Teacher evaluations will be 70% professional practice and 30% student growth measures, thanks to the District 205 Joint Committee developing a plan. The committee began meeting officially in November and had 180 days to complete a plan that fit met the requirements. “The plans were collaboratively designed and have been well received. Teachers may email members of the committee directly, if they have questions,” noted Dr. Woell.

 

The elementary and middle school levels will be using Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) data to determine student growth. The goal is that after the first two years, MAP will no longer be used. Instead, local assessments will take their place. York High School will be using local assessments for measuring students’ growth (having piloted them this school year). The emphasis on developing a balanced assessment system and improving assessment literacy throughout the District is critical.

 

“EPAS (Educational Planning and Assessment System) is going away. Is the intent for the local assessments to create a path for student success?” asked Karen Stuefen.

 

“We are working to move away from external assessments and move toward building quality internal measures that are directly tied to our curriculum and the standards we are teaching. Assessment should not be a day you take away from instruction to do; it should actually be part of the flow of what’s happening,” noted Mr. Sprandel. “Less reliance on external assessments means we don’t have to give as many of them.”

 

Chris Blum noted that “This is a measure of progress and achievement that ultimately leads to our ACT scores, which is the measurement we’ve picked as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator). So that’s all embedded in the way we teach, absent what the legislators’ decide we should do. PARCC is something we layer on top because we have to.”

 

York HS New Materials: Update and Requests

York Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Chris Covino, presented information on dynamic sources and the high school’s move away from print toward digital texts (click here).

 

“When we began the Mobile Learning Implementation (MLI) about 18 months ago we established the conceptual framework as agility, access and agency. Classroom resources should support and reflect the learning environment, as well as meet the present and future needs of students. Digital texts are typically static versions of the paper texts formerly used; they are accessible via Chromebook and do provide greater flexibility. Dynamic texts are open source (designed and curated by teachers) and change with the demands and curriculum of the course. It takes time to makes sure that what is put before the students is a good source,” he said.

 

Currently, about 33% of all York courses are using digital/dynamic textbooks; next year that will change to 43%; in 2018-19, 51% will use them; and in 2019-20 that number climbs to 55%. Advanced College Placement (ACP) courses, offered in conjunction with Indiana University, are still using printed textbooks.

 

A survey of students revealed that with the MLI in place, their learning experiences have changed dramatically, especially in the areas of communicating with teacher outside of class and researching. Some 50% said they felt comfortable with the using the Chromebook for academic work right away and that number climbed to 90% within just a few weeks. Dr. Covino said that “59% of freshmen felt comfortable immediately, compared to 39% of the seniors, demonstrating a digital divide even among York students.”

 

About 75% said they used the device for homework multiple times each week. About 25% of students said they preferred the traditional paper textbook.

 

Mrs. Stuefen asked about the 25% of the students who said they preferred paper. Dr. Covino stated that York will be able to drill down over time to understand exactly why these students feel this way.

 

He also presented York’s three-year plan for conversion to digital/dynamic text and how that change will affect the overall cost of academic resources for students.

 

A revised book bag study compared average textbook prices at each level – grades 9-12 – before Chromebooks and after Chromebooks (tracking college bound and highly selective college bound). The estimate is that over a four-year period, from 2016-17 to 2019-20, total costs will be about $240 less for college bound students and about $418 less for highly selective college bound students.

 

Middle School Task Force Update

Members of the District 205 Middle School Task Force (MSTF) presented their Annual Report to the Board of Education on May 10, 2016 regarding their work this school year, as well as the results of the recent District Management Council (DMC) survey of the parents of middle school students, 31% of whom also have children currently enrolled at York High School.

 

Superintendent Dr. David Moyer introduced his co-chair of the Middle School Task Force, Michele Bowles (Bryan), as well as Katy Padberg (Elmhurst Teachers’ Council President and a teacher at Sandburg), middle school principals Linda Fehrenbacher (Sandburg), Jackie Discipio (Bryan) and Gina Pogue Reeder (Churchville), along with presenters Michelle Kalchik (Bryan) and Dr. Carrie Emrikson (Sandburg). The MSTF includes additional staff from the three middle schools – six from each – who represent a variety of disciplines and all three grade levels, sixth through eighth.

 

The idea of a Middle School Task Force came out of the most recent negotiated agreement between the Board of Education and the Elmhurst Teachers’ Council. The purpose of the Task Force is to define the philosophy of the D205 Middle School Program. Facets of implementation and development of consistency across the middle schools shall incorporate the following guiding principles:

  • Use research-based, best practices for learning and teaching;
  • Consider individual needs of students while maintaining consistency across middle school buildings; and
  • Communicate clearly the specific reasons for any changes.

The District Management Council’s proposal, presented to the Board of Education last September, was to:

  • Codify the school’s priorities and theory of action for serving students
  • Review each school’s program offering, use of time, and schedules
  • Review supports and services for struggling and gifted students
  • Review the cost-effectiveness of staffing patterns and practices
  • Create and help implement a phased-over-time plan for continuous improvement

MSTF timeline and process:

  • August: TA reached on certain contractual items, including Middle School Task Force
  • September: Board approves consulting contract with District Management Council
  • September: Communication with MS faculties (Bowles, Moyer, Padberg, Jim Woell)
  • October: ETC identifies members for MTSF to include representation from all buildings and content areas
  • October: Initial organizational meeting of MSTF
  • November: DMC conducts Focus Group interviews of approximately 100 employee and parent stakeholder groups
  • January: DMC conducts MS Time Study
  • January - March: MSTF studies District Student Achievement Objectives and best educational practices to include Professional Learning Communities, Effect Size Research, Assessment, Middle School Philosophy, Interventions, and identifies core values
  • March: DMC presents findings
  • April: Parents survey conducted to elicit feedback on findings of study; MSTF identifies current building practices related to interventions
  • May: MSTF begins action planning for next steps

Parent Survey Results:

  • the survey was sent to 3,157 unique email addresses, representing 1,999 middle school students; about 31% of the respondents also have a child at York High School
  • 390 parents took the survey (an approximately 12% return rate)
  • 38% of the parents ranked instructional coaching as the top opportunity for the District to consider pursuing
  • An overwhelming majority of parents expressed an interest in learning more about the four opportunities for growth presented in the survey
  • Open responses fell into five general categories
  • Results will be included into a final report, which will be posted publicly
  • Additional opportunities for input and feedback: Middle School Task Force Website and Fall parent meetings

The opportunities gaining the most traction among parents taking the survey were:

  • Coaching for general education teachers to support continued professional development in lesson planning and responding to a wide variety of students' needs in the classroom (known as differentiated instruction)
  • Creation of an intervention/enrichment block in order to provide dedicated time for struggling students to gain grade-level mastery, as well as opportunities for increased enrichment for students on or above grade-level.

Overall, parents expressed an interest in learning more; communication continues to be an important part of this work. Plans call for each middle school to hold parent information nights next fall to discuss the work of the Task Force, answer questions and gather ideas.

 

The work of the Middle School Task Force (including a summary of survey results) is featured as part of the new District 205 Committees website. To access the Middle School Task Force tab directly, click here.

 

While the survey collected many open-text box comments from parents, which the District continues to read through and analyze in depth, there will be opportunity for further feedback through a comments box accessible from the Middle School Task Force pages. Parents are urged to share any and all ideas related to the Middle School Program.

 

“Our purpose for the Task Force starts with defining the philosophy of what we really want our middle schools to be here in District 205,” said Ms. Bowles. During our first session, we agreed that PLCs are key. Professional Learning Communities focus on three big ideas and four critical questions. The big ideas are: to insure that students learn, have a culture of collaboration and focus on results. The four critical questions are: what do we want our students to learn; how will we know if each student has learned it; how will we respond when some students don’t learn; and how can we extend and enrich learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency?

 

“These ideas and questions also tie into true middle school philosophy, which focuses on being child-centered and needs based. The basic structure of both middle school and PLCs is to have collaborative teams with a common purpose, to help every child learn to the best of his or her ability. Our mission as teachers is to help children be successful academically, socially, emotionally and to prepare them to be part of our global society. PLCs with middle school philosophy can help us achieve our mission.”

 

The following represent the Middle School Task Force Core Values:

  • This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents by the Association for Middle Level Education
  • Essential Attributes and Characteristics
  • Developmentally Responsive, Challenging, Empowering, Equitable
  • Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Characteristics (active Learning; curriculum is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and relevant; multiple learning and teaching approaches)
  • Leadership and Organization Characteristics (collaborative vision building, change leader/willing to challenge beliefs, empower, personalization, trust and risk-taking)
  • Culture and Community Characteristics (JOY)

“There are 16 essential attributes and characteristics,” noted Sandburg Principal Linda Fehrenbacher. “Critical to student success is staff who embrace middle school students.”

 

Margaret Harrell said “I love the fact that you are continuing to go back and clarify information so this is an on-going process, not a one-time issue, so the community is continually being involved. I might even try to sneak into one of those parent nights just to hear what’s going on; I think that’s excellent.”

 

Karen Stuefen noted that she loved the team effort demonstrated at the Board meeting and was pleased that “some of the social emotional issues in both the intervention and enrichment phases, that we have heard about from parents, will be addressed. It’s not just sequential; [these opportunities] provide some positive impacts in other areas.”

 

Dr. Moyer commented that “It’s important that you point out these four areas are interrelated. We are trying to dig deeper and understand exactly what the comments mean. The summary statements are just the themes that emerged. Maybe improving the quality of our teachers through coaching is the way to not have to worry so much about interventions. This is much more than a structural fix; we need to fix root causes – it all hangs together.”

 

Ms. Padberg pointed out that middle school teachers would very much like to see instructional coaches in reading and math (one of the DMC recommendations), but understands that would entail money. I think that is definitely something we should engage the Board about, because it’s really the way to move forward. It’s a decision if that’s where you want to put your funds and are there funds available for that?”

 

Jim Collins asked if it might be valuable to reissue at least part of the survey to parents who attend the fall sessions. He also asked members of the MSTF “Have you thrown out ideas due to them not being cost neutral? We are in the business of delivering excellence. I think it’s your duty to suggest these ideas to the Board and community and let us make the decision of whether or not we can afford them.” Ms. Padberg assured Mr. Collins that thus far no ideas had been rejected on that basis.

 

Shannon Ebner closed the discussion by thanking the presenters. “This was great!” The Board took no action and will continue to hear reports and recommendations from the Middle School Task Force.

 

Math Curriculum Development Team Process 2016-2017

 

Dr. Moyer introduced STEM Coordinator Dave Beedy, who focused on what he called the “D205 rosette” during his presentation on K-12 Mathematics Curriculum Development. “Each of the petals are levels we will push against to raise the bar and close the achievement gap for all students,” said Mr. Beedy.

 

He explained that the overlap of Illinois Learning Standards represents the transfer of skills from one area to another. “Life is not divided into math, science and English – it is messy. Students who have the ability to transfer skills are better prepared to be successful and realize their dreams,” he noted.

 

Conceptual framework development will begin on May 25. In June, Curriculum Development Training (CDT) will take place with teams chosen through an application process. The actual curriculum building will take place during flexible times over the next year (minimizing teachers being out of class). “The goal is to prepare all D205 students for college, career and life,” said Mr. Beedy.

 

“How can we make sure teachers can manage the workload of implementing the new English Language Arts curriculum next year, while developing the new math curriculum?” asked Mrs. Ebner.

 

“We are trying to be proactive, but do realize we’re asking a lot of our teachers,” said Dr. Fitzgerald, Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Teaching. “We are engaged in some practice of skills this year, so that when this is rolled out it’s not brand new. The answer is being proactive, building capacity, offering professional learning and support during the implementation year. We always talk to our teachers to judge how the rollout is working. This is not drastically new and we have top teachers, so we’ll have a good handle on it.”

 

Dr. Moyer commented that “traditionally, what you would see was a textbook study. What we’re trying to do now, through a PLC model, is get into a continuous improvement mindset. Once we get some of these foundational pieces in place it will be an on-going dialogue that takes place annually, not in fits and starts.”

 

Health and Dental Insurance Presentation

 

Chris Whelton, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, introduced Jan Kleinle from Corporate Benefit Consultants, Inc., part of HUB International, who presented the 2016 insurance renewal projection report. Based on claim trends, she projected a 4.2% increase on PPO and 6.2% on HMO gross costs. Dental was flat. A trend of 8% is projected between now and 2020.

 

Gross medial claims were down 11.6% for PPO and HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan), but prescription drug costs were up 8.3%. Total gross claims were down 8%. Gross medical claims were down .76% for the HMO, but prescription drug costs were up more than 43%, for a total gross claims increase of 7.28%.

 

In order to consolidate the District’s open enrollments, the PPO, HMO and Dental open enrollments will be moved to a calendar year plan effective January 1, 2017. Ms. Kleinle reported that Elmhurst will have a short plan year (July 1 – Dec 31) with open enrollment in May for the PPO, HMO and Dental. There will be another open enrollment in November for the January – December plan year for all plans (PPO, HMO, HDHP/HSA, Dental, Vision, Flexible Spending). Rates will be reset in the fall for the January – December 2017 plan year. All future years will run January – December.

 

The so-called Cadillac Tax was postponed from 2018 to 2020, but tax implications to District 205, related to the Affordable Care Act, will total over $1M that year, about $1.4M in 2021 and over $1.8M in 2022. “We need to make some plan changes to get the premiums down,” noted Ms. Kleinle.

 

Policy Committee Report

 

Mr. McDonough said the policies the Policy Committee tracked looked at changes in legal language which were provided by PRESS (the Policy Reference Education Subscription Service). “The biggest thing we considered were policies related to the new student discipline procedures. Removal from school now needs to be used only as related to safety and disruption and should not be used as punitive. The District has been moving toward that best practice for a while.” The committee also looked at policies related to depression and suicide.

 

Learning and Teaching Committee Report

 

Dr. Fitzgerald stated that the K-5 Mobile Learning Implementation (MLI) report discussed in the Learning & Teaching Committee was then presented at the April 26, 2016 Board of Education meeting, so there is nothing new to report.


SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA – CONSENT ITEMS

 

The Board unanimously approved the following items in a vote of 7-0:

  • RFP 16-08 - Management Services for Book Store Operations (Beck’s for $60,000)
  • Approval of Donation (Jackson School PTA - $950)

Dr. Harrell questioned how this will change the York Bookstore experience for students and parents from book buying to purchasing tickets and spirit wear.

 

Dr. Moyer stated that patrons may notice more conveniences over a period of time – ordering books online, for example; there could be some additional financial benefits for families. Mr. Whelton noted that “For the most part, it’s not going to be noticeable because we will keep the onsite bookstore. There will be better technology with bar codes and a POS system.”

 

Mr. Blum said “One thing that became very clear was the concern about not forcing people to change process too quickly. Beck’s was the only company that offered that human option. We wanted to keep the customer experience. An additional resource these folks provide is knowledge of dynamic sources, so that adds teacher resources too. Beck’s provides a broader market that improves on what we have – mobile app, online ordering, etc. We checked with other districts that use Becks that are very happy and have renewed their contract. At Glenbrook, Beck’s is even doing Chromebook repair.”

 

Mr. Collins pointed out that there would be more used books available. Buy back would be 50%, not the 70% that people are used to. Becks will own the inventory; they will purchase it from the District after this spring’s buy back.

 

“The market value on printed textbooks is decreasing,” said Mr. Whelton. “Hopefully, this will save our families money over time.”

 

Regarding the Jackson donation, Mrs. Ebner expressed that this is a very thoughtful way to honor the Shea family, who lost their young son earlier this year. She thanked the Jackson PTA for this donation, which will go toward the planting of a tree in his honor.

 

SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNICATION
 

Dr. Moyer said that if the Manar SB231 funding scenario (reallocation of General State Aid) should pass in Springfield, Elmhurst stands to lose $4.7 million. It was approved by the Senate and will move onto the House.

 

Mrs. Stuefen encouraged residents to speak up and contact their State representatives about this.

 

BOARD COMMUNICATIONS

 

Mrs. Ebner reported that there is a proposal by the City of Elmhurst to create a new TIF district in Elmhurst. “We don’t have numbers and values at this point. I think our best step is to, at the next Board meeting, list the questions to which we need answers.”

 

ACTION ON CLOSED SESSION ITEMS

 

The Board unanimously approved the following items in a vote of 7-0:

  • New Position Title

The new title of Communications Coordinator was granted to Kathy Schroeder, former District 205 Webmaster, as of June 1, 2016.

 

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

 

May 23 – Last Day of Attendance for York High School freshmen, sophomores and juniors

Finance and Operations Committee Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center

May 24 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center

May 27 – Last Day of Attendance for Grades 1-5 and 6-7, with early dismissal at 11:15 and 11:35 AM

June 9 – Learning and Teaching Committee Meeting – 6:15 PM – District 205 Center

June 13 – Special Board of Education Meeting – Time TBD – District 205 Center

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

June 23 – Special Board of Education Meeting – Time TBD – 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).