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2018 Highlights

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Board Highlights

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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 January 9, 2018 Meeting

RECOGNITIONS

Discipio Named DuPage County Regional MS Principal of the Year

Congratulations to Jacquelyn Discipio, Principal at Bryan Middle School, for being selected as the 2017-2018 Middle School Principal of the Year by the Illinois Principals Association (IPA) DuPage Region. Ms. Discipio was selected from a pool of nominees from throughout the DuPage County region. She was honored by the District 205 Board of Education at its January 9 meeting.

Jacquie was nominated by Elmhurst District 205 Superintendent Dr. David Moyer, who stated in his nomination that “Ms. Discipio has been asked to lead monumental and transformative change in a short period of time, examples of which include: a successful one-to-one personalized learning implementation utilizing Chromebooks in year one; implementation of a new English Language Arts curriculum and the addition of instructional coaches in year two; ongoing development of common assessments in all grade levels and content areas; and a major overhaul of the schedule to include dedicated time for interventions and enrichment and increased co-teaching for the 2017-18 school year.”

Ms. Discipio will be honored at the DuPage IPA’s annual Spring Student Recognition Breakfast on April 23. She will now be considered for a State award from among 20 nominees representing the other regions served by the Illinois Principals Association. State winners will be announced in the spring.

ILMEA Junior Selectees

The Board of Education recognized the 28 Elmhurst District 205 middle school students who were selected to perform in the ILMEA Junior Festival Band, Orchestra and Chorus Concerts at the District I Music Festival on November 4, 2017. Two middle school students were also recognized for their selection to perform in the Jazz Concert at the Junior and Senior Jazz Band Festival on November 11, 2017.

They are:

Bryan Middle School Band Payton Byrk (Alto Sax); Anne Griffin (Tuba); Samantha Hess (Bb Clarinet);  Nathan Lee (Trumpet);  Michael Spurr (Trumpet); Chorus – Owen Espinosa (Tenor Voice); Rose Kungl (Alto Voice); Maya Valdez (Soprano Voice); Orchestra – Kacie Cortes (Violin); Madeleine Fine (Viola); Citlaly Herculano (Viola);  Sydney Lee (Violin); Erika Lenhardt (Violin); Quinn Olson (Cello); and from

Churchville Middle School Band – Daniel Sanders (Bb Clarinet); Chorus– Andrew Koczur (Alto Voice); Kristina Vezmar (Soprano Voice); Orchestra – Ariela Asllani (Violin); Lauren Capuno (Cello); Teagan Cullen (Violin); and from

Sandburg Middle School Band – Henry Deverman (Percussion); Reese Pavlik (Tuba); Grace Stumpf  (Trombone); Chorus Michael Reams (Tenor Voice); Orchestra – Johanna Johnsen  (Violin); Charlotte Reedy  (Violin);  and Amarin Sharma (Violin).

Their music teachers are: from Bryan - Brian Berg, Ellen Gary, Timothy Mitchell, Jeremy Nemec and Jessica Tatevosian; from Churchville - Cynthia Krause, Evangelia Pagones and Lindsay Sickinger; and from Sandburg - John Gaunt, Heather Knight, Kim Lambert-Haak and Stacie Savittieri, along with District 205 Grades 4-8 Instrumental Music Coordinator Ricardo A. Vazquez.


REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS

Annual Audit Review


Andrew Mace, from Klein Hall CPAs in Aurora, presented his findings on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the year ending June 30, 2017. Mr. Mace said his job as an auditor is to provide an opinion on whether the District’s financial statements are presented fairly. He had no comments related to internal control. “The District is well staffed and has excellent controls, you’re fortunate that you have enough people in your business office that you can do things correctly, and we’re happy to see that,” he said. “The audit went smoothly.”

Mr. Mace noted that District 205’s year-end fund balances are currently around 40%. While that seems sufficient, unseen changes from the state or capital items the District could face (with no option for funding from a bond), could require a higher fund balance.


Summer Facilities Projects

Frank Schuh, Director of Buildings and Grounds, presented recommendations for facilities projects for summer 2018. Mr. Schuh noted that the recommendations are very similar to those the Board has seen in recent years, and is a very modest request, totaling about $1.3 million in work. Forthcoming projects include replacing the auditorium roof at Sandburg Middle School and replacing the cafeteria roof at York Community High School. Mr. Schuh said there is a large amount of work at Lincoln Elementary and at Churchville Middle School that does not have a timeframe for completion or a source for funding.

Standards-Based Grading Update

Dr. Mary Henderson, Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Leadership, along with Tim Riordan, Principal at Hawthorne Elementary School, Heidi Thomas, Principal at Field Elementary School, Dr. Christina Podraza, Assistant Principal at Hawthorne Elementary School, Anne Parrone, first-grade teacher at Hawthorne and Valerie Baxter, fourth-grade teacher at Field, presented an update to the Standards Based Grading System. Hawthorne and Field are the two pilot schools for the Standards-Based Reporting system. With this system, students earn a number, rather than a letter grade.

Dr. Henderson said the traditional letter-grade system doesn’t align well to any learning standards or the District curriculum. Additionally, the letter-grade system trains kids to focus on “earning” a grade, rather than learning and understanding growth. Finally, students learn at different rates, and a traditional grading system doesn’t account for this, she stated.

So far this school year, teachers have been meeting in Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, as a grade level. This allows teachers to problem-solve together and make instructional decisions together as a team, rather than working as an individual in their own classroom. Both teachers and students are adjusting to the Standards-Based Grading System, but teachers see their students understanding the standards of the new system, and what details make their work a “3”, or a meets-expectations, as compared to a “4”, or exceeds expectations. “They can self-assess, as well as understand what they need to do to achieve proficiency,” Ms. Parrone said.

Dr. Podraza addressed the process of gathering feedback from teachers. Teachers were asked: What went well? What did you learn? What do you want to do differently? What do parents need to know? What do non-pilot schools need to know?

Dr. Henderson also addressed a survey that was given to parents of students at the two pilot schools. The survey was done after parent-teacher conferences and 89 parents participated, which amounts to about 10% of the parent population. Overarching results from the survey concluded that parents lack clarity on the difference between their student(s) meeting and exceeding standards. Thus, Dr. Henderson said there is a continuing need to increase parent understanding of standards-based reporting and how it differs from the traditional grading system. Additionally, there is a need for additional professional learning for teachers to increase consistency among teachers and deepen their understanding of the standards.

Parents will be surveyed again in the spring of 2018, and staff at Field and Hawthorne will continue to provide feedback on the specifics of the standards.

Learning and Teaching Committee Meeting Update

In the absence of Board Member Jim Collins, Kara Caforio presented the summary of the Learning and Teaching Committee meeting from December 13, 2017. Mrs. Caforio said the meeting was an opportunity to discuss the proposed changes to the middle school curriculum and make sure the committee members were aware of the main concerns of middle school parents and community members.

The committee also discussed acceleration. Ms. Caforio said the main concern regarding acceleration time was whether students are really engaged and learning, or whether it is lost time. However, the committee members agreed that as the community has expressed the desire for more STEM-related activities, acceleration is the perfect time to incorporate some of those activities.

The proposed changes to the band, orchestra and choir programs were also discussed, particularly regarding how changes to those programs might affect special education students who take guided study.

The full minutes from the Learning and Teaching Committee meeting can be found here.

SUPERINTENDENT’S AGENDA – ACTION

With one member absent, the Board voted 6-0 to approve the following items, one at a time:

  • Dual Language Program
  • Lacrosse Fees
  • Resolution of the Board of Education Transferring Money from the Education and Operations Maintenance Funds to the Debt Service Fund

There was extensive discussion on the Dual Language program before the final vote. Dr. Margaret Harrell stated that she had asked Dr. Dave Moyer for more information regarding the plan for finding enough space at Fischer Elementary School for the Dual Language program, information on the impact to the existing Fischer community, including those without children at the school, and information on the implementation of the program in years to come. Dr. Harrell then asked Dr. Moyer to share the information he provided to the Board on the record.

Jane Bailey, Principal at Conrad Fischer Elementary, discussed the issue of space. She said they are planning for five kindergarten sections for the 2018-2019 school year, the school currently has four sections. Ms. Bailey said many rooms at the school are allocated for “resource rooms,” which is nothing more than office space. If those rooms were allocated to kindergarten classes, resource personnel who previously used those rooms could partner with a classroom teacher and co-teach and/or provide acceleration.

"No implementation is without growing pains, and this will be the growing pain, but I do think it will be worth it at the end of the day,” Mrs. Bailey said.

According to Principal Bailey, it is difficult to plan for potential space concerns further down the road than the first year of the program because it is still unknown how many students will participate. If there are too many Dual Language students to fit into Fischer, plans can be made to add a second location.

Regarding impact to the Fischer community, Dr. Henderson said the District will look to collect feedback from parents, students and teachers in a similar fashion to the way feedback is currently being collected for the Standards-Based Reporting system.

“It’s not something to be fearful of, because we have to think differently,” Ms. Bailey said. “If you're talking about opportunities in a global economy, then you need to be bilingual."

Dr. Moyer added that “There are benefits for both the native English speaking and native Spanish speaking students in this program, even though the rationale focuses more on native Spanish speaking students. It’s a phenomenal enrichment opportunity to truly allow all students to graduate bi-lingual, bi-literate and bi-cultural.”

Click here for details regarding the D205 Dual Language program planned for 2018-19 and Dual Language in general.


FORTHCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

January 22 – Teacher Institute Day – No School for Students
January 23 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
January 27 – Special Board of Education Meeting – 9:00 AM – District 205 Center
February 13 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center
February 27 – Board of Education Meeting – 7:30 PM – District 205 Center