A Message from the Board President

May 2023

Dear District 41 Community,

At the Special Reorganization Board of Education Meeting on Monday, May 1, I shared the remarks below. I am extremely grateful for my board colleagues, all school district staff, and the communities we serve. The Board of Education looks forward to continuing to serve Glen Ellyn School District 41 as we move forward into the future.

With sincere gratitude,
Dr. Robert Bruno
President Board of Education

I am grateful to my fellow board members for their continued and unwavering service to the children, staff, and parents of D41. I appreciate the respect they show to one another and to the folks who reach out to them. My colleagues’ work consistently upholds the integrity of the board.

Speaking for the board, we are deeply appreciative of the parents and community members who work with us to enable children to attend schools where someone welcomes them with a joyous heart and a message of belongingness.

And to our students, represented so ably by Maeve Bernstein and Elizabeth Bredfeldt, we thank you for being the inspiration for our service.

Additionally, it’s most appropriate to warmly acknowledge all our district employees and administrators who partner with the board to fulfill the indispensable mission of our schools to - quoting our Strategic Plan - “educate the whole child by developing intellect and curiosity, engaging creativity, fostering responsibility and citizenship while building positive and collaborative relationships.”

On this occasion I’d like to reaffirm that as a school board we are a governance body that establishes goals, monitors performance, creates markers of accountability and are guided by policy. We are directly elected by the residents of all five communities that constitute our jurisdiction. And it’s worth noting that we are volunteers, parents, taxpayers, local consumers, people of faith, friends and importantly - we are your neighbors.

Our actions are the culmination of hours of study, deliberation, query, and internal assessment which creates a robust infrastructure of programs and resources to lift the wellbeing of over 3,500 students and 400 employees. The board’s charge is to collaborate with the district administration to search for and implement what is universally best, while being attentive to the complexity of individual conditions.

I believe this professional approach to governance is highly valued by the communities we serve. And it has produced an impressive fact about the seating of this new board. Mrs. Mogk, the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, has informed me of something extraordinary. Based on the data she has been able to access, this is the first D41 board in at least 30 years that has not changed because of an election.

Now, let me provide a brief synopsis of how much board activity has been invested in creating governance stability and continuity during uncertain times.

I'm going to share a few data points which represent the cumulative work of current board members since they first joined the board. Jason and I were initially elected in 2017, Julie, Ted, and Jess in 2019 and Chris and Tayyaba in 2021. Parenthetically, to differing degrees, our record can apply to previous boards and serve as a standard for the work of all school boards. While the numbers may not be exact, they collectively tell an impressive story of service to the community.

Board members have participated in …

· 78 Regular Board Meetings

· 52 Community engagement sessions

· 29 Committee meetings

· 166 President’s meetings

· 187 PTA Meetings

· 33 Special Board Meetings

· 10 Committee of the Whole Meetings

· 18 Continuous Improvement Team Meetings

· 40 Legislative Education Network of DuPage (LEND) Meetings

· 21 IASB Professional development trainings

· 19 D41 School Board professional development and discussions sessions that furthered board governance, including the Board Book Study "Why Race and Culture Matter in Schools," an update from legal counsel on new laws related to gender identity and sexual orientation, a safety presentation w/ the GEPD and "The Science of Us vs. Them" w/ Dr. Terry Wu.

And we wrote and submitted 6 policy letters on early childhood learning to elected congressional and state representatives.

Now this data does not include board member attendance at school events, like band, orchestra, theater performances, high interest days, international nights, 8th grade promotions or outreach events during the pandemic like the distribution of laptops, books, and food. Nor does it include phone calls or emails.

And Board members have done service projects, attended funerals for those in our community who we have lost, walked 4th of July parade routes, and participated in a fast in observance of a religious holiday.

One last fact. If you printed out the Board Calendar from 2017 when Jason and I were first elected, to today it would take up nearly 100 pages.

School boards are special because public schools are the heart of a community. They are the connective tissue that ensures a democratic civil society endures and opportunities for individual prosperity are continually in reach from one generation to the next. Our oath of office compels us to remain focused on creating the conditions that allow educators to do their best work for children. We begin the future of doing that work right now.