ACROSS THE BOARD

November 2021 Committee Meetings

This issue of Across the Board provides an overview of the following meetings:

November 15: Learning & Teaching Committee Meeting

November 18: Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting

November 29: Business Services and Policy


Agendas, minutes, documents, and recordings from all meetings are available to view on BoardBook.

Learning and Teaching. Monday, November 15.

Superintendent Report

St. Charles Education Foundation Grants

The St. Charles Education Foundation is accepting grants to fund innovative projects and pilot programs that support high quality education. A complete application includes the following documents:
  • Grant proposal summary
  • Grant proposal application (3 page limit)
  • Grant Applicant Terms of Agreement Signature Form
  • Leadership Authorization Form (awaiting signature from Leadership)


Grant applications are due by January 21, 2022.

For Discussion

Review of Equity Audit Proposals

Discussion led by Dr. Christine Igoe, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, and Dr. Tracy Taylor, Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
A chart briefly comparing the key ideas from the proposals of companies who provide equity audits. The companies are ICS, DMGroup, Midwest & Plains Equity Center, and Consortium for Educational Change (CEC).
Dr. Igoe reviewed the presentations from all the equity audit providers. The chart above is a brief overview of the organizations that submitted proposals.


View the document outlining more details of each organization


Members of the school board asked about Fair For All. Dr. Igoe reiterated that the board had asked for organizations that provided other services besides equity audits. Fair For All has been in existence since March and does not have a history of providing equity audits. Dr. Igoe did reach out to Fair For All and they only responded at 5:00 p.m. the night of the Learning and Teaching Committee meeting. Their website did not indicate that they conduct audits. However, they expressed interest in discussing curriculum as it relates to equity.


The Board had some discussion about conducting an internal equity audit but the conversation moved to the benefits of having an outside audit firm complete the process.


Future Discussion for December's Meeting

  • Members of the board asked Dr. Igoe and Dr. Taylor to reach out to Fair For All and see if they can provide information about their services and whether anyone on their team has experience conducting equity audits.
  • Dr. Igoe will also develop a rationale for why CEC is the preferred provider for the equity audit.

Student Achievement Report

Reviewed by Dr. Jason Pearson, Superintendent, and Dr. Christine Igoe, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services


Dr. Pearson reviewed the continuous improvement framework and the work in which the district is engaging to ensure that all students are learning at grade level.


Note: There were some inconsistencies in student achievement data gathered during the 2020-2021 school year. This was due to decreased instructional time, lack of consistency in instruction (remote vs in-person), and social emotional needs of students and families.


The question to answer: Are kids growing over time?

The good news is that cohorts of students are making progress.


K-8 math

There is a decline when students move from 5th to 6th grade. However, cohorts of students are growing over time. While students are growing, we do see an increase in the achievement gap between groups of students.


College and Career Indicators

  • 85 % of students had one early college / career experiences

  • Graduation rate is typically high 94.7% of students graduate in 4 years, with some discrepancies in certain subgroups

  • Most 9th grade students complete their freshman on track


Statistics of District 303 Graduates

  • 83% of our students enroll right away in a two-year or four-year college after graduation

  • 94% of our students are persisting in college (returning for their second year)

  • 73% of our student who enter college finish within 6 years

Future Agenda Items

  • Compass Academy Update
  • Empower Update
  • Phonics and HS Math Update


The next Learning & Teaching Committee Meeting is scheduled for December 20 at 5:30 p.m.

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Citizen Advisory Committee. Thursday, November 18.

For Discussion

Community Wonderings

10 minutes at the beginning of the meeting is dedicated to this agenda item that offers members the opportunity to ask questions based on what they are hearing in the community.


Is Critical Race Theory taught in D303?

Asked by Ms. Susan Henry

Dr. Pearson responded that Critical Race Theory is not being taught in our schools. He reminded CAC members that all curriculum is listed on the District website.


What is the newly proposed Sex Education curriculum from the State?

Asked by Ms. Susan Henry

Dr. Pearson explained that the legislature passed a bill adopting some of the new national sex education standards that have been sent to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The ISBE will review the Illinois standards and align them with the national standards. Once that is complete, each district will have control over if and how they implement any of the new standards.


How is the district handling transportation shortages?

Asked by Mrs. Barbara Diepenbrock

Dr. Pearson shared that District 303 has been fortunate to only have had two days this year where busing has been impacted due to absences. He anticipates that we may have more days as the weather gets bad and we enter flu season. However, the District is committed to putting a rotation system in place to ensure that the same routes are not impacted each time.


What does it mean when a school is experiencing COVID outbreaks?

Asked by Mrs. Barabara Diepenbrock

Dr. Pearson indicated that the Illinois Department of Public Health makes decisions related to outbreaks. Currently, an outbreak is defined as 10% of the students in a classroom being infected. Given the class sizes in our schools, that could be triggered when only 3 students have tested positive.

CAC Norm Review

Executive Team Member Thomas Lentz reviewed the Norms created when the CAC was formed. He also indicated that the Executive Team reviewed the proposed 6th norm and determined, based on conversations from the last full CAC meeting, that the spirit of the 6th norm was already included in the others.

Connecting with the Community

Members were split into small groups and discussed the charges given by the School Board related to public comment. They reported their findings at the end of the meeting.

Public Comment
The first charge members used as a starting point for discussion was:
“Considering all the ways that the School Board currently receives community input and the time limitations during Board meetings, are there other ways that this School Board could or should gather public comment? Why and how? What positive or challenging consequences may occur?”

Two Way Communication with the Community
The second charge members used as a starting point for discussion was:
“Considering all the ways that the School Board currently receives input, are there other ways that this School Board should increase two-way communication with the community? Why and how? What positive or challenging consequences could occur?"

Communication for CAC Members

Often CAC members have discussions with community members that they may want to capture for future reference. Mrs. Carol Smith, Director of Community Relations, and Mrs. Lynne Schwartz, Administrative Assistant to Assistant Superintendent, created a Google form that CAC members can use if they want to document these conversations. Use of the form is optional and the contents are not subject to FOIA because it is a working document.

Future Agenda Items

The next CAC meetings are scheduled on:
  • January 27, 6:00 p.m.
  • February 24, 6:00 p.m.
  • March TBD
  • April 28, 6:00 p.m.
  • May TBD

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Business Services Committee. Monday, November 29.

Superintendent Report

Early College Credit Night

St. Charles North High School will be hosting an Early College Credit Night on December 1 at 6:30 p.m. High school students from North, East, and Compass are welcome to attend and learn about the dual credit opportunities available to them.


Compass Academy Open House

Compass Academy is hosting an open house on December 7 at 7:00 p.m. Staff, students, families, and community members are welcome to attend.


Parent University on Empower

The next Parent University event will be held on December 9 at 6:00 p.m. The discussion will be on Empower, the new special for grade K-5. If you would like to learn more about the class and how to support the activities, please register to attend.


Registration form for Empower: An Innovative K-5 Learning Experience


Educator of the Year

The Educator of the Year Banquet will be held on April 29 at the Q Center. There will be more information in January.

For Discussion

COVID-19 Financial Impact Summary

Presented by Mr. Justin Attaway, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services


There were no additional grant expenditures.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Grant

The District applied for the FEMA grant for approximately $353,000 to pay for additional expenditures that resulted from the pandemic. The District was recently notified that approximately $4,800 allocated to HEPA air filters had been denied. FEMA indicated that those filters could be purchased at any time and were not necessarily related to the pandemic. Mr. Attaway is hopeful that he will get a response from FEMA about whether or not the additional funds have been approved.


View the COVID-19 Financial Impact Summary

June 30, 2021 Audit

Reviewed by Mr. John Epperson from Miller Cooper & Co., Ltd.


Mr. Epperson reviewed the final fiscal year 2021 audited financial statements. There were no significant findings, and the District received a clean opinion in the audit.

Public Hearing to Adopt Aggregate Tax Levy for the Year 2021

The public hearing will be held on Monday, December 13.

Strategic Planning Proposals

The District has received proposals from the following organizations:


Hazard, Young, Attea, Associates (HYA)

Cost Estimate: $24,500

Cost includes engaging the community, focusing and planning for the future, implementing and evaluating the impact.


The Consortium for Educational Change (CEC)

Cost Estimate: $40,300

Cost includes readiness days, strategic planning, and stakeholder engagement Total: 15.5 days


Northern Illinois University (NIU)

Cost Estimate: $63,500-68,500

Cost includes mileage/travel, pre-workshops, action planning and analyses, post-workshop goal prioritization, and action planning launch.


District Recommendation: Hire HYA to partner with us on the strategic plan. HYA has experience with districts like ours, has experience with Portrait of a Graduate, and is the most cost-effective. The District wants to engage the community in the process.

Facility Master Plan Update

Discussion led by Mr. Dan Kritta, Wold Architects


  • Mr. Dan Kritta discussed criteria for standards in spaces throughout the district with an emphasis on Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, and High School. Mr. Kritta used the term best practice, which is based on industry standards and criteria about how to place furniture and what has worked in the past in other districts.

  • Dr. Pearson outlined that the District currently has elementary schools that are 3-section, 4-section, and 5-section buildings. The lens we plan to apply to our schools is 3-section buildings. We want dedicated spaces for art, music, band, orchestra, and Empower. We are noticing that because of the size of some of our schools, we need to have additional special staff. None of our buildings have two gyms or art rooms. We want to use the standard of 3-section buildings so that we can use the facilities that we currently have to accommodate the programming needs we have.

  • Mr. Kritta discussed that, of course, there are more spaces at the middle and high schools. Mrs. Fairgrieve asked that Mr. Kritta provide the number of classrooms at the middle and high school levels that do not meet best practice relative to size.

  • At the middle and high school levels, we know there are additional support staff members and the spacing needs to reflect that.

  • The Board had a discussion about how the strategic planning process will go nicely with the facility master planning process to ensure that the needs of the district now and in the future related to both academics and facilities align.

Summer 2022 Capital Project Equipment Purchases

  • The five-year capital improvement plan included several HVAC projects to be completed during summer 2022.
  • Lead times for manufacturing the equipment are high due to ongoing supply chain issues and following a typical bid process may result in certain projects extending beyond the summer or remaining incomplete.

District Recommendation: Approve a joint purchasing agreement with Wold Architects to complete the project. The risk of not doing this process is that we will not get the work completed by the summer.

Haines Center Classroom Wing Improvements

Discussion led by Mr. John Baird, Assistant Superintendent of Operations, and Dr. Pearson


Mr. Baird discussed that the Compass Academy student enrollment is almost double of what we anticipated this year. As enrollment increases, Compass will need a science lab to accommodate students.

There is a wing of the building with 10 rooms that is currently unusable because it is not equipped with a fire suppression system. Mr. Baird proposed 3 options for the space:

  • Remodel 2 rooms as science labs for a construction cost of $1.3 million
  • Remodel all 10 rooms of the wing for a construction cost of $1.8 million
  • Demolish the wing for $380,000

All options would require asbestos abatement, which is not included in the estimated construction costs. The District had a surplus in the O&M Fund last year, and there is money available in reserves to fund this project.


District Recommendation: Renovate the entire space given the cost differential is only $500,000.

Dr. Pearson indicated that some decisions need to be made related to Compass Academy. If the Board does not approve a space renovation and add science labs, there might not be full time students at Compass next year.


The Board would like to wait for more data concerning Compass Academy's enrollment and performance before moving forward with a decision. The Board authorized Mr. Kritta to begin design work for the wing so that it is complete by the time the Board is ready to make a decision.

Haines Center Classroom Wing Asbestos Abatement

This item is on hold.

The Board wants additional information related to Compass Academy prior to making any decisions about the wing.

Equipment Purchases

Reviewed by Mr. John Baird, Assistant Superintendent of Operations


Purchase of Buses for Transportation

The district needs to purchase eight 71-passenger buses and 2 14-passenger activity buses to replace current buses per the regular rotation of vehicles. The total cost is $694,700.


Purchase of Six John Deere Commercial Mowers

The district needs to purchase 6 commercial mowers as per the regular rotation of vehicles. The total cost is $122,158.

Technology Purchases

Reviewed by Mr. Matt Smith, Executive Director of Technology


Data Center Storage Refresh and Expansion

The support contract for the district's data storage array must be renewed and expanded in size. This costs $185,000 for 5 years of usage.


Disposal of Surplus Technology and Equipment

We started assigning devices to students in 2016-2017. We now have a surplus of obsolete devices and are looking for vendors who are interested in purchasing them. We could recoup up to $100,000 for the devices.


3 Year Renewal of Microsoft Select Agreement

This is a renewal for Microsoft products. The renewal will cost $79,500, which has not changed from last year.


Polaris Radar and Sonar Backup Protection
As the auditor reported, it is important to review our security systems.
This is a system that looks at backup data to detect anomalies, atypical changes, or private information such as credit card numbers so that IT can address compromising issues. The cost is $35,400 for 30 month contract.

Future Agenda Items

  • Overview of the Transportation department
  • Public Hearing and Resolution to adopt the 2021 Tax Levy


The next Business Services Committee Meeting is scheduled for December 16 at 5:30 p.m.
Policy Committee. Monday, November 29.

Review of Policy 2:230: Participation at School Board Meeting and Petitions to the Board

This item came to light because of a conversation with the Citizen Advisory Committee.


Currently, the policy states, “During public participation, there will be a 20-minute minimum total length of time for any one subject. When public participation takes less time than these minimums, it shall end.”


  • Members of the CAC noted that the current practice of the board is not following the policy.
  • The Board discussed keeping the 30-mintue time frame and striking the language about a 20-minute minimum.
  • Mrs. Barker asked that the District, along with the attorneys, develop some plain language for the public that explains what the policy is.

Future Agenda Items

These items were on this meeting's agenda but will now be discussed at the next meeting.

  • Motion to Clarify the Board’s 2021-2022 Return to School Plan
  • Senior Leadership Team Hiring


The next Policy Committee Meeting is scheduled for January 31 at 6:15 p.m.

BOARDBOOK

Agendas and meeting minutes from the School Board meetings are accessible online via BoardBook.