Board Briefs

September 23, 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 7:17 p.m. The start was delayed a few minutes due to some live stream difficulties.

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. You can see his presentation below.

Caruso was our featured school of the month, with an in-depth look provided by Mr. Steckling along with Principal Tim Brodeur and Associate Principal Caitlin Lucci. Watch that portion of the meeting below.
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4. IASB Governance Award Recognition

President Montgomery described the award bestowed by the Illinois Associate of School Boards. DPS 109 was one of only 35 districts in the state to earn this honor. Superintendent Simeck congratulated the Board of Education on earning this honor.
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Pictured (left to right): Andrew Morrison, Vice President Nick Begley, President Sari Montgomery, Secretary Maureen Wener, Superintendent Mike Simeck, Kelly Jakymiw

Not pictured: Kenneth Ashman, Ryan Kuo

5. Superintendent's Report

Mr. Simeck started his presentation by giving the board a glimpse inside classrooms at Caruso, Wilmot, and Walden. He noted that the instructional model is markedly improved from last year.

He discussed SHIELD testing and that the district has only had 9 positives since school started, with a 0.1% positivity rate. The Test To Stay program has successfully kept dozens of students in school that would have been quarantined last year. He thanked Dr. Filippi, Ms. Ford and our entire nursing staff for the long hours and dedication that have made the start of the school year relatively smooth.

Mr. Simeck said that the administration has looked at reintroducing lockers in the middle school and that the LCHD is fine with it providing locker time is limited. Lockers are slated to be reintroduced at the middle schools next week and the principals are coordinating the effort.

The administration hears and acknowledges that many find the daily health certifications annoying, but at this time they will continue with them. They provide numerous benefits, including expediting the contact tracing process, helping nurses organize potential Test To Stay rosters, and preventing unnecessary precautionary quarantines.

Vaccinations for ages 5-11 may be possible before the year's end. DPS 109 will advocate and seek out opportunities and resources for students when appropriate.

Just today, the CDC said that individuals ages 65+ and immunocompromised individuals should get booster shots, but did not recommend them for all educational staff. DPS 109 will help facilitate booster clinics for interested staff who qualify.

UPDATE: On the morning of 9/24, the CDC reversed course and now recommended booster shots for all staff. DPS 109 is rolling out booster clinics at each school for interested staff who qualify. This will not impact the school day schedule.

Our mission and vision work is being rebranded as "Define 109." We are asking the community at large to define what success is, what motivates kids to go to school, what we could be doing better for kids at school, and the list of questions could go on. This work does not mean anything is wrong. Great organizations do this type of work routinely. It's also appropriate to go through this process because the pandemic has taught us a lot, and there are many new faces in leadership, including at the board and administrative levels.

Mr. Simeck asked Mr. Steckling to speak about the early stages of the Define 109 process.

Mr. Steckling said that the four important early steps are to listen to all stakeholders, draft a mission and vision, revise that initial product, and then approve & hand off the final product to the administration to craft a strategic plan.

He described the phases at which the listening stage will be executed. In early October, there will be an introductory video and email welcoming the Eklund Consulting team. In early to mid-October, there will be an activity for all middle school students to participate in during school so that they can start the feedback conversation for Define 109. Phase 3 will feature virtual feedback opportunities. Phase 4 in late October will be in-person feedback opportunities. Locations and times to be determined. The final product will be an executive summary of feedback. That summary will then distributed and subjected to an all-encompassing virtual feedback opportunity using ThoughtExchange.

Using ThoughtExchange will allow us to hear from stakeholders anonymously, and to see which ideas resonate and which ones don't. TE also provides multiple modalities of analysis that will be provided to the drafting group and public, like a word cloud of popular terms used during this process.

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

There were no speakers.


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

Dr. Filippi discussed four requests that were responded to.

7.2. Annual Enrollment Update (Policy 4:150)

Dr. Filippi presented the enrollment update, which shows numbers down slightly more than 100 compared to pre-pandemic totals. He discussed that the district has an RFP out for demography services.

7.3. Employee Compensation Report (Public Act 96-0434)

Dr. Filippi presented the report for the board to consider. He noted that DPS 109 goes beyond others by providing these reports for all individuals on the district’s payroll.

7.4. Succession Plan (Policy 3:70)

Dr. Filippi presented the succession plan for the superintendent’s role and each school, which the district is required to create.

7.5. Policy First Reading: 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, and 8:90

Dr. Fisher presented changes on behalf of the Policy Committee. All changes and new language were presented in red. Language specific to DPS 109 is highlighted in yellow.

7.6. Principals Month October 2021 and Principal Appreciation Week

President Montgomery read a resolution honoring and appreciating the principals in District 109. We will observe October 24-30 as Principal Appreciation Week.

7.7. Summary of the Board Self-Evaluation Workshop with Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) on September 9, 2021

President Montgomery discussed the workshop that was held earlier this month. The board discussed goals and norms and developed next steps. The board is establishing a norm that emails to the BOE will be responded to by the board president or superintendent and the community can expect a response within 2 DPS 109 business days. The board will also funnel all requests for information and questions for administrators or staff through the superintendent. He will be their primary point of contact for district business. The summary is included in the agenda in the meeting.


8.1. Consent Agenda*

Personnel items were approved.

The meeting minutes were approved.

Bills for payment were approved.

The August Treasurer's Report was approved.

Destruction of closed session audio was approved.

8.2. Recommendation to Approve the Resolution Recognizing Principals Month and Principal Appreciation Week

The resolution was approved.

8.3. Succession Plan (Policy 3:70)

The plan was approved.

8.4. Employee Compensation Report (Public Act 96-0434)

The report was approved.

8.5. Job Description - Library and Interventions Assistant

The motion was approved.

8.6. Approval of Meeting Minutes (Policy 2:220)

The minutes was approved.

9. Open Community Participation (Policy 2:230)

There were no speakers present.

10. Committee Reports (Policy 2:150)

Mrs. Jakymiw said that TrueNorth has not had a board meeting in the last month, but she went through a half-day orientation that was very informative.

Mrs. Wener will be attending her first ED-RED meeting tomorrow.

The finance committee will meet in October.

Mr. Begley said that the Executive Development Committee met this week to discuss contracts and the superintendent evaluation tool. All of this will be discussed in closed session at the October BOE meeting.

Mr. Morrison said the Policy Committee met several weeks ago, and that most of the work was presented as part of tonight's meeting.

11. Board/Superintendent Other

President Montgomery thanked various members of the administration for their work.

12. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Thursday, October 28, 2021 @ 7 p.m. - Regular Board Meeting

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