News from CCSD15 Board of Education

November 12, 2020


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District-Wide Adaptive Pause November 30-December 4

At its November 11 meeting, the Board of Education approved a plan to implement an Adaptive Pause across the District the week after Thanksgiving, implementing fully remote instruction Monday, November 30 through Friday, December 4.

The plan to pause in-person learning November 30-December 4 stems from an anticipated increase in cases shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday. Research suggests that family gatherings are a main driver of COVID-19 spread. Pausing the week after the Thanksgiving holiday would mean infected individuals would become symptomatic while outside of our schools, reducing infectious spread within our buildings.

Community COVID-19 Data

Although the Cook County Department of Public Health advises against over reliance hyperlocal or zip code data, this information is still looked at by administration each day. As of November 11, the positivity rate average for all D15 zip codes is 12.80 percent. The case rate (7-day) per 100,000 residents is 504.

Internal Metrics

District 15 has been open for in-person instruction for seven weeks, allowing us to obtain internal data regarding COVID-19 since mid-September. The number of cases reported across the District over the last four weeks is as follows:

Week of October 18: 14

Week of October 25: 37
Week of November 1: 21
Week of November 9 (as of Thursday afternoon): 24

Potential In-School Transmission Numbers

Of the 111 positive cases reported to D15 since in-person learning began, 17 can be connected by time and place within our schools. This amounts to approximately 15 percent of all reported cases. The remaining 85 percent of cases are a result of exposure outside of school.

Utilization of Adaptive Pauses

The District has proactively utilized tools provided by the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health to Adaptively Pause in-person learning as needed. The District has done so out of an abundance of caution at the classroom and school level due to potential in-school transmission. The District will continue to react to each situation and implement Adaptive Pauses as needed moving forward. Adaptive Pauses could take place at the classroom, building or District level for varying amounts of time.

Staffing Challenges

Due to school exclusion when individuals are symptomatic or in quarantine, we have seen a larger than usual number of staff absences. When nursing staff are absent, it puts the District in an especially difficult position as registered nurse substitutes are difficult to obtain. Nurses are not only responsible for caring for students with medical needs, but are also our main contact tracers for positive COVID-19 cases.

Should we continue to have vacancies in critical positions that are unable to be filled with substitutes, we will consider an Adaptive Pause to in-person learning at the classroom, building or District level.

COVID-19 Guidance Changes

Since the October Board of Education meeting, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has made several changes to its COVID-19 guidelines.

  • The definition of a COVID-19 outbreak was changed on November 4, from two cases connected by time and place to five cases connected by time and place.

  • Due to elevated community transmission levels, only RT-PCR test results can be accepted for students and staff returning to school after presenting with COVID symptoms. Rapid test results are not accepted forms of documentation.

Enrollment Change Requests

The District received 257 requests to change from virtual to in-person learning, with changes going into effect beginning January 5, 2021. Nearly all of these requests will be accommodated, depending on available space in the classroom. Parents will be notified of the changes no later than December 15.


Those Who Excel

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recognized several District 15 nominees with awards in its prestigious “Those Who Excel” awards program this year. The award honors outstanding teachers, administrators, student support personnel and volunteers for their exceptional contributions to schools across Illinois.

The District 15 award recipients were recognized by the Board of Education at the Nov. 11 meeting.

Vanessa Caro

Meritorious Service
Educational Service Personnel

Anetta Peebles, Beth Mendoza, Nicole Perso, and Leah Wertheimer

Conyers Learning Academy Early Childhood PBIS Coaches

Meritorious Service

Lisa Hanson-Braun
Meritorious Service
Community Volunteer

Lindsay Knoblauch

D15 Teacher of the Year Nominee


Digital Report Cards

This year, all student report cards will be available to parents digitally through the Infinite Campus parent portal. Report cards will be available to view online on the following dates:

Grades 1-6: Friday, November 20

Grades 7-8: Friday, January 8

Kindergarten: Friday, February 5

Schools will not provide paper copies of the report card. In the event that a family cannot use the Infinite Campus parent portal, parents are asked to contact their child’s school for a paper copy.

To access your child’s report card, please view these instructions.

Illinois Report Card for Schools

The Illinois Report Card (IRC) is an annual report released by the Illinois State Board of Education. The IRC shows how the state, and each school and district, performed on a wide range of educational goals and measures.

The 2020 At-a-Glance report is not available. This is because many key assessments and other performance indicators were either canceled or at least impacted by the COVID-related closure in the Spring. More information on this topic is available online.

Teaching and Learning Department Update

At its November 11 meeting, the Board heard an update from the Department of Teaching and Learning on its Research, Design, Implement and Monitor (RDIM) process, started in 2019.

In the RDIM process, teams of teachers at each grade level work together to research best practices in instruction of the content for which new materials are sought (research). Teacher teams then select power standards and review curriculum materials for their alignment to standards using a rubric driven method of evaluation (design).

The next level in the process is to ensure that all teachers are trained in the instructional methods, standards, and content, in order to effectively provide instruction to students (implement).

Teacher teams in each content area continually review what works most effectively and modifications are made to continually improve what is provided to students (monitor). This process is cyclical, and will be implemented in all core curriculum areas. Updates on each curricular area can be found in the slides provided to the Board of Education.


Tax Levy Proposal Discussion Begins

At its Nov. 11 meeting, the Board of Education heard a presentation about the tentative tax levy, which determines how much taxpayer money the district will request in the fiscal year. Property taxes make up 72-percent of District 15’s annual operating revenue.

The Board of Education will be considering a levy of $136,125,000, a 4.9 percent increase over the 2019 extension. This is sufficient to capture the five-year average of new growth and the 2.3 percent CPI increase. It is important to note that the amount actually received will be much less than the 4.9 percent requested because the annual increase in new property tax revenue is limited by the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to the lesser of the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 5 percent. This levy will be limited by a CPI cap of 2.3 percent plus the amount of tax received on any new property built within the district's boundaries during the last year.

It is common practice for a school district to levy an amount in excess of what the District actually anticipates for two reasons: To maintain the maximum tax rates the district is entitled to and to capture the tax receipts on all new property (EAV) coming on to the tax rolls in the current levy year.

The Board will vote to adopt the final aggregate tax levy at the December 2020 Board meeting.

Boundary Discussion Continues

District 15 administration continues to work closely with architectural partner STR and boundary specialists RSP & Associates to determine the best preliminary options for boundary changes.

An in-depth process to change District 15 school boundaries was launched several years ago through a community-led Boundaries Task Force. The group was tasked with proposing changes to school boundaries that provided relief to overcrowded schools and better aligned feeder patterns from elementary through high school.

In 2019, the District partnered with RSP to refine the preliminary proposals outlined by the Boundary Task Force. Community input and outreach regarding boundary change proposals will take place in early 2021.