Board Highlights

The Winnetka Public Schools, November 2021

Work Session- Strategic Goal Area #2: Integrated Systems of Support Framework for Equity & Inclusion (with TrueNorth Educational Cooperative 804)

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, Denise Matthews, Director of Student Services, Equity and Inclusion, and Kurt Schneider, Superintendent of District partner TrueNorth Educational Cooperative 804, established a shared understanding on the importance of aligning systems, teaching and learning practices, policy and resource allocation to ensure equity (defined as a high-quality education for all students) in The Winnetka Public Schools. An overview was provided on how this work is connected to the District’s Strategic Plan.

Regular Board Meeting

Dawn Livingston, President, called the meeting to order. In light of American Education Week, she recognized all educators and support staff who make a difference each day, helping the District achieve its vision and also thanked our parents. Ms. Livingston shared that the District partnered with New Trier Township Districts and first responders in order to host a vaccination clinic on November 12. Approximately 950 children aged 5-11 were vaccinated. She shared that the Board discussion on modifying mitigation layers will not occur until after Winter Break (barring anything unusual happening at the State level). This gives all families who choose to vaccinate their children a chance to do so. Additionally, the Board is limited on discussion regarding masking and quarantine mitigations due to its position as a defendant in a lawsuit, among over 140 other school districts in Illinois, brought forward by a group of parents.

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, thanked all who helped the Township vaccine clinic run smoothly including the Winnetka Park District, Police Department, and Fire Department. With Thanksgiving approaching, Dr. Kocanda noted that schools are in the midst of planning festive seasonal activities to restore connection and belonging Districtwide. In honor of National School Board Recognition Month, she recognized the leadership and dedication of the School Board, who volunteer their time to serve our community in this important role.


Tentative 2021 Tax Levy

Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented information on the 2021 Tentative Levy. The Levy is a request for property tax income, representing over 90% of the District’s annual revenue. A public hearing to discuss the proposed tax increase, and the School Board approval of the levy will be held at the December 14, 2021, Board Meeting. The District is seeking an aggregate levy increase of 1.06%. The increase is lower than CPI due to a 100% reduction in our Debt Service, with the final debt payment on December 1, 2021. The operating fund request is seeking an increase of 3.89%; this request includes the capture of unknown new property growth and a 1.4% CPI tax cap for existing property owners. The average taxpayer will see a slight increase in the District 36 portion of their tax bill of approximately 1.06%. The 2021 Tentative Levy was approved later in the evening. To access FAQs on the 2021 Tentative Levy, please visit this link.

Fall 2021 Annual Assessment Report/District Improvement Plan

Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning presented the annual Fall Assessment report, including data from the NWEA MAP assessment and the spring 2021 Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) assessment. Grade cohorts performed at or above the 94th percentile on the MAP assessment in reading and math in grades 4-8. The fourth grade fall MAP reading score was at the 97th percentile. A previously targeted area of improvement, 5th grade math, showed a 6 percentile increase in achievement and an overall achievement level at the 94th percentile. Mr. Rodgers shared IAR data and indicated that the state has not yet provided any analytical or normative data. In addition, no data is currently available for the Illinois Science Assessment that was taken by 5th and 8th grade students this past spring. For the second year, the District shared social emotional learning survey data which is used to address student wellness and readiness for learning. The District Improvement Plan focuses on the key academic areas of math, reading, and writing to support areas that may have been impacted by the pandemic. Mr. Rodgers indicated that the District utilizes all available data to inform instruction, support students, and strengthen the home-school partnership with families.

Informational Items

2021 School Plan Monthly Report

​​At its August 17, 2021 meeting, the School Board approved the Return-to-School Guide 2021-2022 and committed to including monthly Board reports. This month’s update focused on the New Trier Township Vaccination Clinics, metrics data, and vaccination rates.

Kindergarten & New Student Registration

The District begins online registration for incoming kindergarteners and students new to the District on November 18, 2021. Continuing to launch new student registration in the fall benefits families as we begin to connect with them via District communications prior to hosting kindergarten programs at the elementary schools in the spring.

Advancing the Educational Master Facility Plan

The Administration has been working since the June 22, 2021 Board Meeting to continue moving forward with its Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP). At their October 15, 2021 Work Session, the Board determined an amended public information timeline for a referendum based on a possible November 8, 2022 election (rather than June 2022). The referendum would align with Strategic Plan goals. Additionally, it would include a reduced scope and tax impact as compared to the April 2019 proposal, and some projects would not be exclusively funded by the referendum. A community outreach timeline will commence in February 2022. This outreach and information sharing will include educational materials sent to homes and informational sessions hosted both in person and via Zoom.

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) - American Rescue Plan Funding

The District shared its plan for the use of ESSER-American Rescue Plan funding. Although the District has Covid-19 expenses that outweigh the federal funds being received, the plan is meant to maximize the available funding. The District will receive $631,584 from the federal government for COVID-19 related expenditures. The District’s plan was shared with the School Board and public and approved by the Board.

Staff Institute Day Summary - November 1, 2021

The District hosted its Fall Institute Day on Monday, November 1. The focus of Institute Days are intended to provide a balance of professional learning as well as collaborative time for teachers to connect on curriculum and instructional practice.

2021-2022 School Improvement Plans

School improvement plans are aligned to the District’s Strategic Plan in order to best support student well-being and success as we transition back to a regular school year. School Improvement Plans for all schools highlight the importance of social emotional learning and align with our District annual goals. Elementary schools focus on enhancing early literacy skills to support student readiness for developing reading and writing skills. Middle school plans focus on the alignment of grade 5-8 practices across the Skokie and Washburne campuses to foster a cohesive student experience, preparing students for the transition to high school.

The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:

  1. IASB Resolution Positions for Delegate Assembly 2021 - Resolution#1

  2. IASB Resolution Positions for Delegate Assembly 2021 - Resolution#2

  3. IASB Resolution Positions for Delegate Assembly 2021 - Resolution #15

  4. Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund - American Rescue Plan (ARP)

  5. Resolution for Lease Agreement - American Capital Financial Services, Inc.

  6. Tentative 2021 Tax Levy

  7. Carleton Washburne Roof Bid - Summer 2022

To view the entire Board Packet from the November 16 Meeting, click here.

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