Board Briefs

October 28, 2021

Board Meeting Details

This regular Board of Education meeting was held in person at the District Office with no pandemic-related capacity limit. In-person public comment was available for attendees.

1. Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m.

2. Approval of Meeting Agenda

The agenda was approved.

3. What's Good in 109

Director of Communications Eric Steckling shared highlights from around the six DPS 109 schools.

Highlights include:

-Artwork featured at the District Office from Caruso students

-Custodian appreciation events taking place around the district

-Students at Shepard dancing the Charleston to learn about the 1920’s

-Conference championships in cross country between Caruso & Shepard student-athletes

-Halloween artwork and spirit taking place in all six buildings

-Notice of the upcoming 109 Gives Back Food & Supply Drive starting next week

You can see his presentation below.

Kipling was our featured school of the month, with a presentation by fourth graders from Mrs. Kellie Cacioppo's class, where they discussed an activity called Share Something Fridays, their newly formed pen pal relationship 4th grade class in France, and their class Twitter account they run. You can watch their presentation below:

4. Curriculum and Assessment Update

Danielle Arnold & Jason Jezuit of the Teaching & Learning Department, along with the district’s curriculum specialists presented. You can see their slides and watch their presentation below.

Danielle began by explaining that staff leadership teams have been formed for all core content areas and that each curriculum will undergo a formal review every 6-7 years. A formal review is not synonymous with a program adoption, but it is a deep analysis of curricular resources, data, and teaching models to ensure that instructional practices are maximizing outcomes for students.

Sarah Hogan provided an update on the math committee, including revised K-8 curriculum maps and revamped K-5 assessments. Danielle noted that the math committee has had very little turnover since 2018, which contributes to the strength of it.

Dan Yablonsky provided an update on the science committee. The group is evaluating and piloting instructional materials to ensure teachers and students have access to high quality, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned materials. They will be making a formal recommendation to the Board in March.

Barb Mastin provided an update on the social studies committee, which is in a formal review right now. The elementary and middle school teachers are partnering to review the standards and evaluate existing programs. The focus is on the inquiry model, DEI, and adhering to Illinois mandates. Changes to social studies programming will be phased in with elementary occurring first and middle school to follow.

Alison Chroman provided an update on the social emotional learning committee. The committee has focused on district access to Panorama, a review of the state SEL standards, and an introduction of Second Step resources. Elementary schools are growing SEL initiatives based on the specific needs of their students, including buddy programs, calming boxes, and morning meetings. The middle schools have dedicated ExSEL time every Wednesday morning. The curriculum is generated by a small team of middle school staff and has focused on skills like self-management, including self-care, organization and time management. SEL will be under formal review next year.

Megan Christiansen provided an update on the English/Language Arts committee. The English-Language curriculum is one of the longest standing in the district. The leadership team is focused on refinement of instructional practices. K-5 is examining phonics, grammar, word study, and spelling instruction. Grades 6-8 is studying independent reading with the goal of finding the perfect book for every student.

Jason Jezuit talked about updates to classroom libraries. 180-200 titles have been added to K-5 classrooms. Elementary schools also received a library of 900 books focused on diversity, equity, and social/emotional learning. These new resources will supplement the curriculum across all subjects.

Maria Galanis discussed innovation in DPS 109. She mentioned SOPPA, the Student Online Personal Protection Act, that went into effect July 1st, putting student data and privacy at the forefront. Maria and the librarians are also working together on updating the digital citizenship curriculum. In-action examples from STEAM, STEM, and CMA can be found within her slides.

Danielle Arnold discussed the math MAP scores from Fall 2021. They compared numbers from 2021 vs. 2020 vs. 2015-2019. From 2020-2021, most grades had RIT scores approximately 2-4 points lower, which simply indicates that students may be emerging in some skills that were previously developed. Jason Jezuit shared that reading MAP scores show similar trends. Mean RIT scores in both subjects at all grade levels are 9+ points above the national mean. Cohort data shows that students made progress over the course of the pandemic, but did not grow at rates consistent with pre-pandemic levels.

Danielle also briefly touched on the Panorama social-emotional learning survey. Results showed 3-8 students evaluating themselves high in most categories as compared to their national peers, but continuing to score below in the area of grit (resilience and/or perseverance through challenges). You can watch the T&L department's presentation below:

5. Superintendent's Report

Mr. Simeck spoke about the 440 Group progress. Data collection has gone well with a focus on national percentiles, proficiency and growth, and academic access. This is the first study of its kind like this, with a regional approach to data. A big challenge is that feeder districts like 109 have a lot more data than high school districts because they have students for twice as long. Presentations to the boards of education across the 440 will happen in the coming months. Mr. Simeck says he is impressed with ECRA’s work. We have taken a step to look deeply at our students’ pathways and placement.

Dr. Filippi discussed a tentative student vaccination clinic for ages 5-11 once the Pfizer vaccine is approved by the CDC. Three rounds of dates will be offered in mid-November and December at Shepard Middle School. Initial capacity would be able to serve 1,000 kids with the ability to scale up. Information about the clinic will go out to families tomorrow with sign-ups anticipated on Monday.

Test-To-Stay remains successful. SHIELD testing positivity rate is 0.09%. We are getting SHIELD testing results at a later time. The turnaround has slowed down, but we are notifying families as soon as we learn of a positive case. Unfortunately, that’s not always at a consistent and predictable time like we were able to provide last year. Locker usage has gone well in the middle schools. Daily health certifications will stay in place for now, because it expedites the contact tracing process for our staff. Mr. Simeck also urged caution for everyone with Halloween and the upcoming holidays to practice safe habits.

Mr. Steckling said that in the Define 109 sessions there had been a few questions about how to solve issues/get answers with current problems. He reminded the board and audience that the district and school websites now have a dedicated page called "Who Can Answer My Question?" that points users in the right direction for answers.

6. Community Participation Relative to Matters on the Meeting Agenda (Policy 2:230)

There were no speakers present.


7.1. Define 109 Update

Todd Battaglia with Eklund Consulting provided an update on the Define 109 process. Over the last month, 850 middle school students have been surveyed. 3 in-person and one virtual community feedback session was held.

He presented a word cloud of top terms from the student feedback activity.

Staff will be surveyed next week. A community-wide ThoughtExchange is expected to be launched the week of November 8th.

7.2. Freedom of Information Requests (Policy 2:250)

Dr. Filippi discussed four requests that have been fulfilled.

7.3. Consultant Agreement - Interim District Coordinator for Student Services

Ms. Ford presented the agreement to have Heidy LaFleur serve in an interim role based out of Caruso, serving that building along with Wilmot and South Park.

7.4. IASB Delegate Assembly/Resolutions Committee

The board discussed several topics in order to give President Montgomery direction as to how to vote at the IASB Delegate Assembly.

7.5. Andy Frain Crossing Guard Services

Dr. Filippi presented a multi-year agreement that will be up for a vote at the November board meeting.

7.6. 2021 Tax Levy (Policy 4:10)

Dr. Filippi presented several slides going over key terms and the status of this year's tax levy process. The board will take action at the November 18 meeting.

7.7. First Draft - Proposed School Calendar 2022-23 (Policy 5:70)

Dr. Fisher discussed the draft calendar. He said that we always do our best to align our calendar with District 113, to accommodate families that have students in both districts. There will be a vote in November.

7.8. School Resource Officer Agreement

Dr. Filippi discussed the intergovernmental agreement between the village and 109. It will be up for a vote in November.


8.1. Consent Agenda*

Personnel items were approved.

Bills for payment were approved.

The September Quarterly Treasurer's Report with Student Activities was approved.

Destruction of closed session audio was approved.

8.2. Policy Final Reading: 1:30, 2:10, 2:20, 2:30, 2:130, 2:240, 3:30, 4:60, 4:160, 5:10, 5:30, 5:210, 6:160, 6:170, 6:235, 7:220, 7:230, 7:280, 7:340, 7:345, 8:30, and 8:90 (Policy 2:240)

The policies were approved.

8.3. Recognition- School Board Members Day by IASB on 11/15/21 (Policy 5:110)

The resolution was approved.

8.4. Approval of Meeting Minutes

The minutes were approved.

8.5. Consultant Agreement - Interim District Coordinator for Student Services

The agreement was approved.

9. Open Community Participation (Policy 2:230)

There were no speakers.

10. Committee Reports (Policy 2:150)

Mrs. Jakymiw said that TrueNorth has a board meeting a few weeks ago. They are running a scholarship program for teaching assistants.

Mrs. Wener attended ED-RED and said they are forming several committees. She looks forward to being more involved.

Mr. Begley said that the Executive Development Committee met and that will be discussed in closed session this evening.

Mr. Kuo mentioned that the Finance Committee met tonight and that has been discussed during the meeting with the tax levy item.

11. Board/Superintendent Other

President Montgomery thanked Dr. Filippi for setting up the vaccine clinic and Mrs. Arnold for her thorough presentation tonight. She thanked the communications department for their work on Define 109.

12. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 11:09 p.m. and moved into closed session.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Thursday, November 18, 2021 @ 7 p.m. - Regular Board Meeting

Thursday, December 16, 2021 @ 7 p.m. - Regular Board Meeting