Staff Bulletin

January 2015

Dear District 64 Staff,

February promises to be our busiest and potentially most important month yet as we launch the CEC System Overview Assessment audit, Strategic Planning, and a Master Facility Study!

CEC Audit

I would like to thank those of you participating in the CEC visit for your willingness to share your thoughts in order to identify areas of strength as well as growth opportunities for District 64. It is only through open, honest, and professional conversations that we continue to improve upon our already strong system. I’d also like to thank our administrative team for handling schedules, recruitment and logistics for the visit. I continue to appreciate the partnerships and roll-up-your-sleeves attitude I encounter each day.

Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning needs a few more staff members in order to have a well-rounded team. As of today, I am in need of a middle school classroom teacher, special education teacher, fine arts/ encore teacher, secretarial and custodial/maintenance staff member to represent their departments. Please email me today if you are willing to join the steering committee. The first meeting is Saturday morning, February 7 (8 a.m. - noon). Here is a link to the other dates the group will meet.

Don’t forget to join us on Thursday, February 5 from 4:15 - 6:00 p.m. in the Emerson LRC to meet our Strategic Planning Consultant Bob Ewy. Bob will conduct an interactive session with any and all interested staff regarding the Strategic Planning process. This is a special opportunity to have your voice heard BEFORE the kick-off event on Saturday.

Master Facility Study

As you may have heard, we hired a new architectural firm to conduct a Master Facility Plan and 10-year Life Safety review, which includes a comprehensive study of each of our buildings. As an important part of this work, teams will be spending time in our schools later in February. We are getting started by gathering information about our flooring needs. You will soon be receiving a link to a short survey regarding flooring surfaces; please complete it as soon as possible so our architects can include this input as they begin developing a comprehensive plan for us.

School Calendar for 2015-16 Adopted January 26, 2015

The Board of Education adopted the 2015-16 calendar on Monday night. I have highlighted some key dates and included the link to the calendar below:

  • Institute Day – Monday, August 17, 2015

  • First Day of School for Students - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

  • Thanksgiving Recess - Begin Monday, November 23, 2015 - Return Monday, November 30, 2015

  • Winter Recess - Begin Monday, December 21, 2015 - Return Monday, January 4, 2016

  • Spring Recess - Begin Friday, March 25, 2016 - Return Monday, April 4, 2016

  • Last Day of School for Students - Thursday, June 2, 2016

The complete 2015-16 adopted calendar is available on the District 64 website at:


As I know you are aware, PARCC testing begins in March. As a result, I know there are unanswered questions and concerns about the first-time use of this standardized assessment. This year, our job will be to administer the assessment to the best of our ability. The Board of Education has been made aware that the assessment is still under construction and that this year will serve as a baseline. I have shared with the Board the concerns I have about PARCC in terms of the loss of instructional time and the potential stress the tests may cause our students (and staff!). We have also discussed the technology challenges that may emerge based on the volume of students engaging in these assessments during a two-week window. I am confident in our staff’s commitment to supporting our students as we work through this new assessment. Thank you in advance for your extra efforts, energy, and patience.

As you may know, the Curriculum Specialists are supporting departments with reviewing and revising our Educational Ends. As we work through these revisions, we affirm our commitment to having a balanced assessment portfolio - one where we consider data from multiple sources to make decisions about student learning.

Walk and Talks continue to be a highlight of the work I do. Please do not hesitate to invite me into your room for special events as I thoroughly enjoy watching teachers teach and students learning. Seeing the creative and innovative approaches going on in our classrooms really keeps me connected and focused on what’s most important - KIDS!

Have a terrific Super Bowl weekend (I just have to say: GO PATRIOTS!)



The Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning: Wednesday, February 18 - 8:30-2:15 at ESC Room 1

Do you want to get started using formative assessment in your classroom? Are you looking for simple, easy-to-implement strategies that you can start using ASAP?

The Department for Student Learning will once again present “The Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning.” This full-day workshop will teach you about seven formative assessment strategies that can positively impact student achievement. These strategies maximize the power of your lessons and are appropriate for any teacher in any content area. All participants will receive a copy of Jan Chappuis’ book The Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning.

The workshop will be held on ​Wednesday, February 18​ from 8:30 a.m. - ​2​:15 p.m. at ​

ESC​- Room 1​.

Space is limited so sign up ​soon if you are interested in participating. Registrations are due by

​Wednesday, February 11. Please do not secure a substitute for this workshop until your registration is confirmed by the Department for Student Learning.

PARCC Testing Test Administrator Manuals

As we begin scheduling and preparing for the upcoming PARCC assessment, many people have started to review the Test Administrator Manual. Because the test structure is new to us, the manual may be a little overwhelming at first glance. If you look more closely at the material, you will see that:

3rd-5th Test Administrator Manual

The most important pages to focus on are pages 1-26. Pages 27-73 are scripts for particular tests so you only need to preview the tests you will be administering.

6th-8th Test Administrator Manual

The most important pages to focus on are pages 1-26. Pages 27-88 are scripts for particular tests so you only need to preview the tests you will be administering.

We will be sharing a presentation on this material in early February to assist you with the test administration process. The first year of any new test is always the most challenging - thank you for the extra effort you are putting into making this successful for our students!

Student Support

The structure and format of the PARCC assessment is unique. There will be a learning curve around this format for our students. There are many resources that we can use to help students become familiar with the format in order to reduce their stress and increase their success. Your building principal will review these resources with you in early February:

  • VIDEO which shows students the format/structure of the PARCC assessment.

    • Pearson Access Site (use Safari or Firefox) - This is where all PARCC resources can be found.

      • Tutorials for the Math Assessment: Use the dropdown menu under Equation Editor to find the:

        • 3-5 Equation Editor Guide, 3-5 Practice with Equation Editor, 3-5 Equation Editor Tutorial

        • 6-8 Equation Editor Guide, 6-8 Practice with Equation Editor, 6-8 Equation Editor Tutorial

  • Pearson TestNav8 Tutorial - Scroll to middle of screen. This tutorial should be used to familiarize students with how to navigate the TestNav 8 computer-based environment (advancing, going back, toolbar, embedded supports and accommodations).

  • Online Student Tutorials - Scroll to middle of screen. Use the dropdown menu to find tutorials for your grade level. These online tutorials will help familiarize students with the PARCC assessments.

  • Sample tests: ELA and Math (Click on the Sample Items tab and use Safari or Firefox)

  • Most importantly, we need to remind students to read the directions before completing PARCC assessment questions as the questions may be very different from what they have experienced on prior tests.

Knowing Your Learning Target

Many teachers are using learning targets to make learning goals clear for students. Sharing our learning targets with students, or inviting them to help us construct them, enables us to introduce other high-impact instructional strategies into our practice including formative assessment, goal-setting, and reflection. This article from Educational Leadership is a great summary of learning targets, their purpose, and how to construct them.

REMINDER: Records Planning Day March 9 will be Regular Day of Student Attendance

The District 64 calendar sets aside four emergency days within the school calendar on an annual basis. If more than two are used prior to February 1, the designated March records planning day becomes a day of student attendance. District 64 has used three emergency days thus far. Therefore, District 64 will have a regular day of school for students and staff on Monday, March 9, 2015.


The District 64 Wellness Council will be leading a Heart Health Awareness and Education campaign for all staff members, beginning Monday, February 9.

The culmination of this week will be a District-Wide Staff RED OUT Day (for those who choose to participate) on Friday, February 13.

RED OUT t-shirts can be pre-ordered for one more day only!! Show your support for heart health awareness and to help raise funds for the American Heart Association. The suggested minimum donation to receive a shirt is $10.00. Order forms are available in staff lounges. Shirts will be delivered prior to February 13th.

All are encouraged to wear their AHA shirts -- or red apparel of their own -- on RED OUT Day, Friday, February 13.

Consider adding one of our senior workers as YOUR Valentine's gift!

Could you use an extra pair of hands or an encouraging adult for students practicing their skills? Consider adding one of our senior workers as YOUR Valentine's gift!

Our unique Senior Tax Exchange Program continues to attract new workers who are interested in being of service to our schools. These local residents are available to interact with students (like listening to students read or work on math facts), or to assist you in the classroom or behind-the-scenes in some way. Their time is provided to you at no charge, and students have the benefit of interacting with these vibrant older citizens. Seniors are active in all of our schools, taking on interesting assignments typically a few hours per week. We are ready to make a "match" for you in 2015 with one or more of our members. Please fill out the simple form available in your school office or download one from the Staff Portal. Questions? Feel free to talk with your principal or senior program coordinator Bernadette Tramm(x4343). Thank you!


The date of the Recognition Dinner is Thursday, May 7, 2015 at the Park Ridge Country Club beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m.


Looking to expand your music collection? Check out Otherwise Civilized's new single, One More Day on ITunes. (Carpenter Principal Brett Balduf's band) You can find the single here on ITunes.

2014 – 2015 PAY DATES

2/12/15 and 2/26/15

3/12/15 and 3/26/15– Spring Break begins on 3/30/15 to 04/06/15-Returning Tuesday, 04/07

4/09/15 and 4/23/15

5/07/15 and 5/21/15

6/04/15 and 6/18/15

7/02/15, 7/16/15 and 7/30/15

NEXT BOARD MEETING-Washington School

Monday, Feb. 23rd, 7:30pm

1500 Stewart Avenue

Park Ridge, IL