ACROSS THE BOARD
November 2021 Committee Meetings
November 15: Learning & Teaching Committee Meeting
November 18: Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting
Agendas, minutes, documents, and recordings from all meetings are available to view on BoardBook.
St. Charles Education Foundation Grants
- 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.
Review of Equity Audit Proposals
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
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.
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.
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
Connecting with the Community
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
Future Agenda Items
- January 27, 6:00 p.m.
- February 24, 6:00 p.m.
- March TBD
- April 28, 6:00 p.m.
- May TBD
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.
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.
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.
June 30, 2021 Audit
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
Strategic Planning Proposals
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
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.
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.
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.
Review of Policy 2:230: Participation at School Board Meeting and Petitions to the Board
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.