Dear 64 Faculty and Staff,
January sure came and went in a hurry. Could it be because so much is happening across the District that time seems to be moving more and more quickly as the year progresses?
I am so thankful to have made it through January without any snow or extreme weather days.
That said, the 2015-16 school calendar allowed for a records/planning day on Monday, February 29, if sufficient emergency days still remained by February 1. Because no emergency days were used (thanks to this winter’s relatively mild weather thus far), classes (for students) will not be in session on Monday, February 29. District 64 staff will be working in their assigned buildings on records/planning day.
ComPsych Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Coming to D64
As many of you recall, last year District 64 lost a friend and colleague when special education teacher Lisa Garcia passed away unexpectedly. At that time, Nancy Jensen approached me about the possibility of bringing a formal system of support to District 64 to help staff in times of loss and other life/work stressors. Last spring, we interviewed a number of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and recently contracted with ComPsych to provide this service to everyone. We will be making this resource available through our Staff Portal beginning the first week in February. It is confidential, and support, resources and information for broad range of personal and work-life issues are available anytime both by phone and online. You will be able to tap into: financial information and resources from Certified Public Accountants and Certified Financial Planners; legal support and resources from attorneys; confidential counseling; referrals and customized resources for child/elder care, moving, college planning, home repair and other work-life issues; and an extensive array of videos, tutorials, “Ask the Expert” Q&A, and other resources. It is important to note that there was an expense for bringing an EAP to our District, but one we found worth incurring to ensure our employees have access to support when it is needed most.
The Board of Education and members of the PREA Negotiations Team began working to create a new multi-year contract this month. At the Board meeting on Tuesday, January 26, President Borrelli read the following statement regarding communication with the community about progress made within our bargaining sessions as well as the desired outcomes of the Board as we move through this process. Here is what Dr. Borrelli shared:
“As a measure to keep the public informed on the ongoing labor negotiations between the Board and the PREA (the District’s teacher union), the 8-member Board negotiations committee, consisting of legal counsel Terry Hodges, Board members Scott Zimmerman and myself, Superintendent Dr. Heinz, and administrators Ms. Kolstad, Mr. Martin, Dr. Lopez and Dr. Dwyer, officially met with the negotiations committee of the PREA on December 15, 2015 at which time the negotiation ground rules were agreed upon. The respective sides will be meeting approximately every two weeks to negotiate a new Bargaining Agreement, with each side alternating proposals. The meetings, per the existing Agreement, will be held in closed session. After each meeting, it will be my task, again per the existing Contract, to provide a general update as to the content and tenor of the negotiations discussion.
As such, the first actual negotiations meeting with the PREA was held on January 19, with the Board then convening the following night (January 20) to review both the union proposals and determine its own proposals. At the bargaining session on the 19th, the PREA presented its initial recommendations regarding the Contract articles pertaining to: recognition and definition of terms; Board rights; negotiations scope and procedure; and Association rights. At our next meeting, scheduled for February 2, the Board will provide responses to those PREA recommendations, as well as proposing the Board’s recommendations on these Contract topics and additional articles regarding: vacancies and transfers; reductions in force; and grievance procedures.
The PREA also brought some recommendations under the Contract category of conditions of employment and teacher rights. As this category will be extensive, we agreed to deal with it over several meetings.
I am glad to report that our meetings have been cordial and the recommendations have been discussed with civility.
Going forward, it is the Board’s unanimous decision and desire to negotiate a new Bargaining Agreement with the PREA with the following overriding goal: To negotiate a timely, clear and understandable Contract that strives for a continuously improving high quality education program that inspires every child to discover, learn, achieve, and care; provides for a motivated and fairly compensated staff; and ensures the ongoing fiscal stability of District 64. Each and every decision that the Board will make during the bargaining process will be based on this goal.”
Spring Conferences Time Adjustment
I wanted to make you aware of a change in our upcoming conference schedule. This spring there will be only one night of parent teacher conferences. This is a change in practice from years past when the District offered two spring parent teacher conference nights in March. This change was made to ensure that the District is in compliance with the language in our teacher contract. Unfortunately, despite our commitment to honoring the contract, there was an oversight in its implementation in prior years.
Due to the loss of one night of parent teacher conferences, the process of signing up for a conference may be different than in previous years. This year, parents will be contacted by their teacher if a conference is recommended.
We will also inform parents that if they have a concern about their child’s performance or if they’d like an update on their child’s progress, they may still contact their child’s teacher at any time.
Walk and Talk Photos are the highlight of my parent newsletter each month
As many of you have seen, I spend time every month visiting classrooms and I find it to be one of the highlights of my day. Watching teaching and learning in action really helps keep me grounded in the important work taking place within our schools. It was asked at a recent PREA Executive Board meeting whether the photos I take were being taken for evaluative reasons and the answer is a firm no. I take these pictures to be used within my Parents = Partners Newsletter that showcases the work you do with students or in slideshows that are shown to stakeholder groups - most recently Kiwanis to showcase our District’s offerings. I send a link to all staff when each issue of this monthly newsletter is released; I hope you have been spending a few minutes each month enjoying them. The photos bring parents into our classrooms and help illustrate teaching and learning in action -- and nothing else. I do not evaluate teachers, I evaluate my administrators.
An inspiring Institute Day is on tap next Friday
A huge thank you in advance to our Student Learning and Technology departments, who have been working hard to build a day packed with opportunities focused on the objectives of the Strategic Plan, including curriculum design, formative assessment, technology integration, and differentiation. This likely will be the final year that District 64 will have an Institute Day in February, as our calendar for 2016-17 will see us “front-loading” our professional development at the start of the school year in August with two days of PD instead of one.
District-sponsored hot lunch program for our elementary schools is being explored
At this week’s Board of Education meeting, Luann Kolstad presented a preliminary proposal about an exciting opportunity we are evaluating to expand the hot lunch program through our current lunch provider (Arbor) to all five elementary schools beginning in 2016-17. This proposal is in its very beginning stages, but we think it’s important for the District -- in close partnership with our school PTO/As -- to think about how we could make a high quality hot lunch available to all students for purchase consistently at all five elementary schools. Emerson’s kitchen would be the “production” kitchen and the prepared food would then be delivered to the schools daily while meeting all safety handling requirements for hot/cold foods. Following a lengthy discussion at the Board meeting, we will now be working again with our school PTO/As and Arbor to prepare a more detailed proposal for how the operation would run. Our elementary PTO/A leaders have been very enthusiastic about this opportunity to remove the burdens of finding lunch volunteers, ordering/payment, and meeting Park Ridge Health Department food safety requirements, which are becoming more rigorous. Feel free to view the meeting report or video if you are interested. We anticipate returning to the Board again in coming months with a more fully developed proposal and budget.
2020 Vision Strategic Plan - our first “official” progress report
Also at the Board meeting this week, I presented the first mid-year report on progress in implementing our Strategic Plan. We have much to be proud of!
Special March 8 Parent University on raising “digital natives”
We are very pleased to bring a noted guest speaker to our Tuesday, March 8 Parent University event from 6-8:30 p.m. at Emerson’s multipurpose room. Dr. Devorah Heitner is joining us to talk about how we can support our parents in raising “digital natives” who are connected through media and technology in a vastly greater number of ways than we were as children! She will also join ITC Linda Diekman and MJ Warden as part of a lively panel discussion fueled by parent questions. It would be very helpful if you would make this unusual opportunity known to your families. Here is a link to our news item and a link to the flyer. I also want to take this space to thank the ITCs and our other staff members who have created timely programs for our parents and adult community members on a wide range of parenting topics in our Parent University series, now in its second year. We are very proud of being able to offer ways for our parents to extend their learning through this outreach.
Looks like we are in for a balmy weekend ahead - but don’t be beguiled, as the first days of February are expected to remind us what a Chicago winter is really like!
Information From the Department of Student Learning
Test Administrator Manuals
In the coming weeks, we will begin scheduling and preparing for the upcoming PARCC assessment. District 64 PARCC testing will take place from April 11-22. Some people have expressed an interest in accessing the 2016 Test Administrator Manual. Manuals can be found here:
We will be sharing more information and training in February and March to assist you with test administration. This is simply an early preview for anyone who is interested.
REMINDER...Upcoming Staff Development
Formative Assessment and High-Impact Instruction are two strands of professional development identified in the Strategic Plan. Our goal is for 100% of staff to participate and all staff to implement these strategies. If you haven’t already attended these workshops, please register below.
Jim Knight’s High-Impact Instruction
This spring and summer, the Department for Student Learning is hosting Jim Knight and his colleagues for the workshop “High Impact Instruction”! Almost 200 District 64 educators have participated in this engaging workshop! Dr. Knight and his team will focus on the high-impact strategies that make the biggest difference in student learning:1) content planning, 2) instructional practices, 3) classroom community building, and 4) formative assessment. These strategies maximize the power of your lessons and are appropriate for any teacher in any content area!
This one-day workshop will be offered at the times below:
Thursday, February 25, 2016 - CLOSED
Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 10 spots left (Presenter: Jim Knight & Ann Hoffman)
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 - 5 spots left (Presenter: Jim Knight)
***NEW*** Monday, June 6, 2016 (Presenter Ann Hoffman - Jim Knight’s colleague)
***NEW*** Monday, August 8, 2016 (Presenter TBD - Jim Knight’s colleague)
Please do not secure a substitute for this workshop until your registration is confirmed by the Department for Student Learning.
The Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning
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. All participants will receive a copy of Jan Chappuis’ book The Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning.
The workshop will held from 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the ESC Room 1:
Workshop Date (Click below to register)
***NEW***Tuesday, April 5, 2016
***NEW***Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Please do not secure a substitute for this workshop until your registration is confirmed by the Department for Student Learning. Thank you!
The 2015-16 school calendar allowed for a records/planning day on Monday, February 29, 2016 if sufficient emergency days still remained by February 1, 2016. Because no emergency days were used;classes (for students) will not be in session on Monday, February 29, 2016. District 64 staff will be working in their assigned building on records/planning day.
Heart Health Awareness Week
Get Ready for
Heart Health Awareness Week
February 8-12, 2016
brought to you by your District 64 Wellness Council
The District 64 Wellness Council will again be leading a Heart Health Awareness and Education campaign for all staff members, beginning Monday, February 8th.
The culmination of this week will be a District-Wide Staff RED OUT Day (for those who choose to participate) on Friday, February 12th. All are encouraged to wear red apparel of their own, or their red AHA shirts from last year’s campaign on RED OUT Day.
Other planned activities:
· Virtual Education Campaign beginning Monday, February 8th:
Information will be shared daily, via email, on American Heart Association’s 5 FOR LIFE topics: physical activity, sodium, sugar, healthy eating and not using tobacco/smoking. Each day of that week will highlight one of these heart health topics. In addition, look for educational resources in the staff lounge.
· Why Posters
Tell everyone why you want to live a longer, healthier life by filling out a paper heart! Hearts are available in the staff lounge and will be displayed during Heart Health Awareness week.
· Red Out Water Bottle:
For a minimum $10.00 donation, receive a 2016 Red Out Water Bottle. Fill out the order form and make your donation (checks payable to the American Heart Association) in the staff lounge. Water bottles will be delivered soon after Heart Health Awareness Week.
· AHA Resources:
Check out www.heart.org for more information on heart health and education. Learn about AHA’s campaign, “Life is Why.” (Everyone has a reason to live a healthier, longer life…what is yours?) http://lifeiswhy.org/
Scholarships Available for Children of District 64 Employees
The Niles Chamber of Commerce is again offering both high school and college scholarships for children of any employee of District 64. This year, the Chamber will be awarding three $3,000 College Scholarships and three $1,000 High School Scholarships. Scholarships are based on service to the community and school, response to an essay, awards and honors, school transcripts and test scores. The scholarship application process is open through Friday, March 4, 2016. Information is available on the Niles Chamber website here.
New 2016 Mileage Reimbursement Rate
2016 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving Announced
IR-2015-137, Dec.17, 2015
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2016 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015
Emerson Jazz Band Performance
Great condo for sale in Michigan City, IN.
The link to the listing is: https://goo.gl/GqyhQI
It's a secluded 960 sq ft. condo in the heart of Lake country! 5 minutes to Michigan City's Uptown Art District, and a bike ride to the beach. Great for an investment property or a weekend visitor!
Please contact Beth Rihtar for further information.
For more information contact Mike O'Malley at Field: firstname.lastname@example.org
2/11/16 and 2/25/16
3/10/16 and 3/24/16 (Spring Break begins on 3/25/16 to 04/01/16-Returning
4/07/16 and 4/21/16
5/05/16 and 5/19/16
6/02/16, 6/16/15 and 6/30/16
7/14/16 and 7/28/16