Board Meeting Highlights

September 27, 2021

Complete Meeting Packet


Board Reports

Facility Development Committee (FDC) - Mr. Panzica
Mr. Bultemeier stated the design team is working on construction projects scheduled for next summer. McKenzie has two sections of roofing that are in need of replacement at an estimated cost of $390K. This roof work was previously slated to be accomplished in the summer of 2023 or 2024. After careful review of the project and knowing the limitations on how many buildings can be under construction each summer, it would be best to seek favorable alternate bids in order to accomplish this work in 2022 in conjunction with the air conditioning work at McKenzie.

School Finance Committee (SFC) - Mr. Cesaretti
Mr. Bultemeier provided background regarding the creation of Senate Bill 508 and noted the bill passed and is effective for 2021 tax levy. Payments will be received during the 2022 calendar year. Refunds for tax appeals processed after the levy process get refunded from all government tax entities. SB508 mandates at the county level, adding in all prior refunds on top of board approved tax levy each year. Legislation hasn’t specifically defined the ‘look back’ period, which is anticipated to be November 1 – October 31 of each year, with the county communicating the total refund amount by November 15th.

It is unknown as to how many refunds occurred during that period. Mr. Bultemeier estimated, based on past activity over the last several years, approximately $1M during that time frame. As the bill is mandatory, no action is required of school boards. SB508 is expected to have some revision, however, it will impact the FY23 budget.

Mr. Bultemeier stated there is another bill, House Bill 4130, which would repeal and replace SB508. HB4130 would make this refund process optional instead of mandatory and allow local boards to vote each year to add back that amount, putting power back at the local level. Unless major revisions are made to HB4130, the fine details and caveats pose such major administrative issues for the county level, most counties would not be able to administratively comply with the bill. Work continues to be done and administration will follow SB508 and how it will be enacted this first year. Mr. Bultemeier said District 39 tax levy process is held earlier than required and more details and information would be provided as the bills are monitored.

Strategy - Mrs. Schneider-Fabes Dr. Cremascoli presented the final draft of the five-year strategic plan for committee review and feedback. The Consortium for Education Change was chosen to navigate the strategic planning process. The Core Planning Team, led by Consortium for Educational Change (CEC) consultant, Arlana Bedard, met regularly to develop the mission, vision, core values, goals, and strategies. The plan included an incredible amount of engagement from stakeholders (board, community, parents, students, staff, administration) throughout the process and during a pandemic.

The strategic plan goals and strategies were presented for discussion. Members discussed terms used in the presentation including ‘differentiated instruction’ and much discussion ensued regarding specific language suggested for Goal 1 Strategies. Discussion also took place regarding how to continue challenging all students to grow academically and socially, including through additional opportunities for advancement of high performing students and as well as leadership and school connections for all students.

An action plan with detailed steps will be developed annually to accomplish the goals and strategies presented, along with key performance indicators. The action plan will be presented in October this year with subsequent years' action plans to be presented in September.

Liaison Reports

Educational Foundation - Mrs. Schneider-Fabes Members of the Ed Foundation were busy planning activities for the school year. October Gripp Grant fall application period is open with an October 29th deadline. Gripp Grant decisions will be made at the November 17th meeting. The committee is considering in-person and remote activities for this year, with some family activities and some adult activities. Ideas included Zoom Bingo, in-person Trivia, Silver Lining Project and “We Live Here”, a mural project with an assembly in spring. Lab39 is also moving forward with classes being held from November through February. The next Foundation meeting is October 19th.

Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) - Mrs. Kim IASB released a list of 23 actions proposed by member districts that will be voted on in the Delegate Assembly meeting in November. Several IASB recommended resolutions of interest, included allowing school boards to meet remotely without physical presence of a quorum; another called for mandatory inclusion of indigenous people curriculum in social studies and U.S. History programs; another resolution supported legislation to equitably allocate 20% of state tax revenues from cannabis sales to public education programs that support youth development, violence prevention, and health education. Another resolution compels IASB to support passage of an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would make education a fundamental right, making it a paramount duty for the state to provide a thorough and efficient system of public education that equitably serves students and provides an equitable education to all students without regard to race, social and economic status, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, nationality, immigration status, disability, or zip code.

Board Member Erin Stone was commended for her recognition by IASB as a Master Board Member for her participation and leadership in IASB programs, governance, and service to the public education community. This is a great achievement for a member who has only served two years on a school board.

Parent Teacher Advisory Committee - Mrs. Kim The Parent Teacher Advisory Committee met to consider updates to the Behavior Intervention Guidelines for Children with Disabilities. The guidelines were updated based on changes to regulations from the Illinois State Board of Education. The committee will continue to meet as needed to review policy updates to those policies addressing behavior, bullying, and discipline.

Legislative Update - no update

Information Items


Written Communication

Announcements from the Superintendent

Curriculum Nights
District 39 schools hosted curriculum nights virtually this school year. These events consistently provide an important opportunity for teachers and families to connect and begin partnerships that are fostered throughout the school year. Each event was well attended and many commended teachers and staff for their incredibly hard work and dedication to supporting students.

Board Building Tours
Board Members toured McKenzie and Romona Elementary Schools on September 20th. Members who were able to attend enjoyed the opportunity to visit the new learning spaces, see the new construction in its final phase and tour the Learning Commons. It was a wonderful chance for all to see the results of a very busy summer construction season. Other buildings tours will be scheduled in the winter and spring.

PASS39 Ice Cream Social
The Parent Association for Student Services, PASS39, met on September 17th for a fun evening of connection, ice cream and mingling in the outdoor tent at Wilmette Junior High School (WJHS). PASS39 is a parent organization that supports the parents of children with learning, behavioral, emotional and developmental challenges. Approximately 40 parents and student services representatives gathered to kick off the school year and build connections, and it was especially meaningful this year, following last year, when we were not often able to meet in person. Jocelyn Shook is the chair of PASS39, and contact information is on the District 39 website. There are a series of events scheduled for the rest of the year.

COVID-19 Metrics Page
Administration continues to closely monitor regional, local, and school district metrics related to COVID-19. The metrics that are most relevant and closely monitored are presented on the D39 COVID-19 Metrics page. These were briefly reviewed.

In addition, approximately 100 pages of information was released from the Governor's Office, ISBE and IDPH within three business days without any forewarning. Administration continues to closely monitor and integrate guidance into regular practices and procedures for health and wellness within schools. While most of these updates serve to simply provide clarification, they also include a few minor adjustments regarding response to illness and quarantine. This continues to be a very fluid and ever-changing pandemic, requiring ongoing consideration and responsive flexibility.

SHIELD Testing Update
District 39 launched Shield Testing on Saturday, September 11th. Any student or staff members are able to take advantage of this service. Two full weeks of testing have been completed with testing on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at WJHS. The testing protocol is running smoothly, and result times continue to improve. Participation and testing protocols have been good. It is hoped the 24-hour turnaround becomes more consistent. As of Monday, SHIELD will have run approximately 1250 PCR tests for COVID-19. Aggregate SHIELD results are displayed on the D39 COVID Metrics page.

Individual results will be available directly to families and staff by the SHIELD lab using a secure portal. Participants simply need to register and create their unique, secure login account. This will help to expedite access to results while maintaining confidentiality for participants.

In addition to SHIELD testing, the District continues to ensure that partnerships exist at other testing facilities and offer site information on the COVID-19 Testing page for easy reference by parents and staff.

Atlantic Research
Administration issued a request for proposal during the 2019-2020 school year to assist in examining D39 special education and supportive services. Atlantic Research Partners was selected, and administration was poised to begin the evaluation when the pandemic began. The evaluation was delayed last year due to the continuing impact of the pandemic, but will now begin the process. Atlantic Research Partners has been collecting District information and data, interviewed administrators, and will be onsite in October and November to hold classroom observations, and additional interviews. The firm will also solicit parent feedback through a survey and possibly focus groups. The goal of this evaluation is to conduct a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat (SWOT) analysis of special education and related services that are designed to support the neediest learners as well as those who are not growing/learning as expected. This evaluation will provide a great deal of information that will inform improvement efforts associated with the Strategic Plan.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) A FOIA was received from Eagle 3 Analytics that was sent to 99 districts listed as being “under the jurisdiction of the Township Trustees of Schools” requesting all public records received by the Public Body from the school district’s treasurer for the period of May 1, 2021 up to and including August 20, 2021, including monthly reports, end of quarter and end of year reports, surety bond records, and any/all other reports.

Additional FOIA requests received:

  • Jeff Axelrod of Wilmette Watch requesting a list of positive COVID cases in District 39 from August 1 - 27, 2021
  • Lisa Ditkowsky and Vickie Ditkowsky requesting all information for 2020 and 2021 relating to D39 State and Federal Funding, and All Funding COVID related, COVID Testing, Contact Tracing, COVID Measures, etc.
  • Roni Marie Davis of Data Research Partners LLC requesting a listing of all District 39 employees, names, email addresses, title/position and campus/department location.


Board Policy Review - Dr. Cremascoli
Second and Final Reading of Board of Education Policy 7:60 Policy 7:60 was presented for final approval. No changes were made since first reading.

Strategic Plan Updates
2021-2026 District 39 Strategic Plan Presentation
Dr. Cremascoli presented the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan facilitated by the Consortium for Educational Change. The Strategic Planning Team included staff, parents, students, community members, two board members, and administration. All stakeholders were engaged to have a voice in the development of the plan.The process focused on a five-year vision plan with mission and values defined by community stakeholders. Goals and Strategies were set to gauge success in accomplishing the mission, vision, and values. All work is available on the D39 Strategic Plan page.

Detailed action plans will be developed to provide steps to accomplish year 1 goals, and will be presented in October. A promotional campaign will be developed to build awareness and engage stakeholders in understanding and living the plan. Key performance indicators will be identified for each goal area to assist in monitoring and reporting progress. Progress will be monitored throughout and reported to the Board at least three times during the year with reporting in fall, winter, and spring.

Annual Business
2021-2022 Support Plan for Student Learning

  1. Summer Enrichment Program
    District 39 has historically offered a robust Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) that is designed to be cost neutral. Extended School Year services are also available for eligible students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Due to the pandemic, the 2021 SEP program focused on in-person academic instruction to allow students a reintroduction to in-person learning, and allowed students who struggled during the pandemic an opportunity for additional instruction, and focused on core subjects of reading,writing and math. Course offerings this year were Academic Camp, Review and Reinforcement, and Extended School Year. Academic Camp courses were offered to students seeking an opportunity to strengthen and reinforce skills. Review and Reinforcement classes were for students recommended to attend based on classroom performance, MAP test scores, and curriculum-based measurement. The summer program was a unique experience due to the impact of COVID-19 and though the expanse of classes typically offered were not available, students participated in academic instruction to prevent learning loss and focus on increasing academic and social emotional skills and community building.
  2. Social Emotional Learning and Learning Recovery Support Plan
    Following a difficult 2020-2021 school year of in-person, remote, and hybrid learning, the goal of 2021-2022 was to ensure students have the support and opportunities to heal, learn, and grow and be socially and emotionally supported and/or challenged academically. A social emotional framework developed by the Consortium for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) was developed to support equitable educational opportunities for all students. In addition to the framework, staff training on the Responsive Classroom will be provided to build a meaningful classroom community to serve as a foundation for Social Emotional Learning skills. The District is also providing an online tutoring service this year made possible by ARP/ESSER funds. Staff will also participate in student-focused/data-informed meetings regularly through the year to identify intervention and enrichment needs. Administrators will participate in an Introduction to Data Wise: A Collaborative Process to Improve Learning and Teaching, which will help administrators identify what works well while identifying areas for improvement. Interventions address all student achievement status and growth levels. Additional intervention resources and materials may be needed to support student instruction.
  3. ARP-ESSER III Funds Plan
    In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the United States Department of Education released three grants for which local education agencies can apply. These grants known as ESSER I, ESSER II, and ESSER III were authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act); the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRSSA); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP). District 39 received $708,636 dollars, of which at least 20% ($141,077) must be spent on Loss of Learning. Additionally, the state has set aside $3,253 as pre-identified set-asides. The funds are supplemental to District 39’s budget and will be used to address the impact COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on students and schools. Priorities for the use of funds include health and safety of students, staff, and educators; building school communities and supporting students’ social, emotional, and mental health; and advancing academic achievement and growth for students. District 39 will allocate funds for: an online tutoring service for students, Summer 2022 Enrichment Program, Mental Health/Social Emotional Learning 2021- 2024, Parent Education Events 2021-2023, Remote Learning (due to quarantine) 2021-2022, Mental Health/SEL Student Activities 2021-2024, Improving School Facilities 2021-2024, Intervention Resources and Curricula 2021-2024, and Improvement of Instruction/Professional Development 2021-2024.

Public Comments regarding the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ESSER III) Plan, followed by Public Comments on any topic. (No public comments)

BOARD ACTION The Consent Agenda was approved including the following:

Approval of 2021-2026 District 39 Strategic Plan
Personnel Report dated September 27, 2021
Second and Final Reading of Board of Education Policy 7:60

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education Meeting will be held on Monday, October 25, 2021 at 7:00 PM at the Mikaelian Education Center.