January 2023 Board Meeting Recap
Fremont School District 79
Regular Board Meeting
Gabriela Whipple, Board President, welcomed all in attendance. She thanked both Mundelein High School and Stevenson High School for their fine and applied arts assemblies that were held for Fremont Middle School eighth-graders in order to introduce them to potential offerings at the respective schools next year. President Whipple also thanked the Fremont PTO for their recent successful Casino Night fundraiser, as well as the volunteers and area businesses for their generosity.
Dr. Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent of Schools, remarked on the following items:
- District teachers and staff returned from winter break with a productive day of learning, engagement, and wellness opportunities on its Institute Day January 9. As part of the day's activities, staff also were able to hear an inspiring presentation from guest speaker Chris Singleton.
- The Ivanhoe Village project is in a holding pattern at this point as plans are being further developed, including the roadway system, which will be done in conjunction with the Village of Mundelein. The District continues to communicate with the Village.
The Board of Education recognized Fremont Middle School social studies teacher and coach Daniel LaCursia (top photo) was honored for his teamwork and leadership, while Middle School principal Krista Winkelman and Elementary and Intermediate School principal Stefan Ladenburger (bottom photo) were honored for recently being named Lake Region Principals of the Year by the Illinois Principals Association.
Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Ivy Fleming presented on the recommendation for the District to shift from tuition-based full-day kindergarten to a tuition-free model. The District performed a thorough financial and cost-benefit analysis, while also assessing staffing needs, and evaluating the long-term financial and education impact. By eliminating tuition, more students are able to enroll in the District's full-day program and benefit academically, socially, and emotionally. The changes are possible due to favorable cost management by the District, as well as the availability of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. It was recommended, and later approved, to approve the tuition-free program in Fall 2023.
Dr. Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent of Schools, provided an update on the District's findings leading up to the 2023-2027 Fremont School District 79 Strategic Plan. A series of Superintendent Entry Plan meetings were held throughout the fall with students, parents, community members, and staff that resulted in 70 hours worth of interactions and feedback from approximately 450 individuals ages 8-80+. All of these interactions helped develop a list of themes and proposed areas of focus, many of which aligned across the different constituent groups. Additionally, the District's recent strategic planning survey resulted in over 1,000 responses from parents, community members, and staff. Another round of focus groups with staff, students, and parents are being held in the coming weeks.
This fall, the District collaborated with external experts on a thorough security audit. The
result of this assessment produced a comprehensive report indicating areas for improvement
and recommendations to enhance building security. The District is addressing the recommendations by completing them with our own staff as well as collaborating with the Lake County Sheriff's Office, Wold Architects, and FEA officials to address some of the bigger items that could be added to the Master Facilities Plan.
The District has committed to addressing the recent health life safety items and the ongoing
renovation construction projects per our capital improvement projects plan.
The 2023-2024 school year calendar was presented to the Board for approval. The calendar once again aligns with local high schools districts for its major breaks. School Improvement Planning half-days are still under review and subject to change as the District is continuing to explore options as it relates to staff professional learning. Final decisions regarding professional learning and SIP days will be made this spring and communicated to families.
The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:
Disposal of School District Personal Property
2023-2024 School Year Calendar
Tuition-Free Full-Day Kindergarten Programming
Registration Fee Increase for 2023-24 School Year
Farm Lease Agreement
Sanitary Pump Purchase and Installation at Fremont Elementary School
Dismissal of Educational Support Personnel for Cause
To view the Board Packet materials from the January 23, 2023 Meeting, click here.