News from CCSD15 Board of Education

March 10, 2021


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Staff Recognition

Mr. Martín Da Costa, Principal of Winston Campus Junior High School (WCJH), was named one of 9 finalists for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership. The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity, and delivered dramatic student growth.

An enthusiastic group of WCJH staff attended to support Mr. Da Costa and show their Warrior Pride! We are so excited for Mr. Da Costa and we know that whether or not he is chosen as the final winner, we are so very lucky to have him as a member of the District 15 community.

COVID-19 Update

The Board COVID-19 update included sharing of community metrics, case rates within the zip code districts, as well as the updated guidance that was released this week. Updated IDPH and ISBE guidance supports and encourages the return to in-person instruction as soon as practical for each community while additionally prioritizing in-person learning over extracurricular activities.

Updates to the guidance include:

  • Capacity limits for in-person learning, including non-academic school hour activities such as lunch, are now determined by the space’s ability to accommodate social distancing, and not a set capacity limit number or percentage.

  • Social distance for in-person learning is now defined as 3 to 6 feet for students and fully vaccinated staff.

    • Strict adherence to social distancing must be maintained when face masks are removed in limited situations and monitored by school staff.

  • Unvaccinated staff should maintain 6 feet social distance as much as possible because adults remain more susceptible to infection than children.

  • IDPH and the CDC no longer recommend symptom screenings upon arrival on school grounds, but schools may continue this practice if preferred.

  • Schools and districts should still require self-certification for all staff, students, and visitors.

  • Bus guidance remains the same that no more than 50 people are allowed on each bus.

Dr. Heinz and her team will work to discuss and plan how best to apply new guidance for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

Click here for the full COVID-19 Board presentation.


As members of Tier 1b, all District 15 staff are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. We have been working diligently to help staff find available vaccination appointments. Most recently, we partnered with Districts 21 and 211 to send remaining staff for their first dose.
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Multilingual Program & Spanish Literacy Update

The Multilingual Department provided a wonderfully inspiring update on their newly developed Spanish Literacy Program, LIVA Lectura Interactiva en Voz Alta. The Multilingual Department provides direct services to 3,297 students who are English learners. With District 15 having the 13th largest ELL population in Illinois -- supporting more than 80 languages -- the Multilingual Department has been working tirelessly to ensure student success through adding new staff, implementing new curricular resources as well as new pedagogical practices to support student learning and growth. If you missed the meeting, click here for the full Multilingual Program & Spanish Literacy Curriculum presentation.

Community Engagement - We Want To Hear From You!

District 15 has engaged EOSullivan and Cor Strategies to assist in the implementation of community engagement around our ongoing boundary and capacity work. EOSullivan and Cor Strategies will help bring communities together to collaboratively engage and seek feedback around problems and opportunities within the District while fostering a community-driven plan. Click here for the full EOSullivan and Cor Strategies Board presentation.

Since its founding in 1946, District 15 has become a destination district for our academic and social emotional initiatives as well as leading the way in literacy and culturally responsive practices. While we are incredibly proud of the work we have done academically, little attention or funding has been given to the operational foundation of the district over those 75 years.

Our decades-old boundary lines no longer meet our communities’ or our students’ needs. Solving these challenges brings opportunity. By improving our boundary lines and modernizing our facilities, we can achieve many of the enhancements our community has wanted for decades which will support our students’ academic and social emotional needs.

That’s why our community has collaborated on a solution for the past three years. Thousands of community members have provided insight to our district leaders and elected Board of Education Members, and together we have identified nine high value priorities for our school district while maintaining our commitment to fiscal responsibility:

  1. Focus on Near-Neighborhood Schools

  2. Establish a Cohesive Educational Path for Students

  3. Balance Enrollment

  4. Offer Full-Day Kindergarten for All

  5. Upgrade to a Middle School Model

  6. Eliminate the Bilingual Overlay

  7. Ensure Equitable Access to Programs & Services

  8. Utilize Our Facilities More Efficiently

  9. Repair and Restore Our School Buildings

This multi-year effort requires continuous planning, even in the midst of the pandemic. We are ready to take the next steps forward by inviting the community to learn more about where we are in the planning process and invite them to share feedback to help further inform our thinking.

How to Participate in Community Engagement -- Beyond Just Boundaries

To view dates and register for an engagement session, please visit the website. Please note that all sessions will cover the same information regardless of whether they are in-person or virtual meetings. We really hope to hear from you!

Health-Life Safety & Capital Improvements

District 15 has partnered with Wold Architects and Engineers to revisit District 15’s current Health Life Safety report formulated in 2014. Throughout this process Wold worked with our Director of Facilities and Operations, James Kaplanes, to organize remaining work into categories that will help prioritize and cost out remaining recommended work. This revised information will be used to help inform the District’s future goals and possible revenue streams to complete projects.

Click here for the full Health-Life Safety Board presentation.

Illinois Elementary School Associate (IESA) Membership

The Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) is a statewide athletics and activities association serving elementary and middle schools in the State of Illinois. The Board discussed the option of purchasing a membership either for the all schools or for one school to serve as a pilot school. The Board directed administration to look more deeply into what membership would entail and to ascertain which nearby junior high/middle school Districts currently participate in IESA.

Action Items

  • 10.1 Approval to Change District Translator Contract - Approved

  • 10.2 Approval to Hire Two New Junior High LRC Clericals - Approved

  • 10.3 Approval for Bus Driver Trainer - Approved

  • 10.4 Request for Increase in Hours for Nutrition Services Driver - Approved

  • 10.5 Approval of Personnel Report: Administration, Certified, and Non-Certified - Approved

  • 10.6 Reduction in Force Resolution: Honorable Dismissal of Teachers - Approved

  • 10.7 Resolution: Non-Renewal of Administrator’s Contract and Dismissal of Third-Year Probationary Teacher - Approved

  • 10.8 Resolution: Non-Renewal of Administrator’s Contract and Dismissal of District Literacy Program Coordinator - Approved

  • 10.9 Request for Quotation #21-102 Data Center Refresh - Approved

  • 10.10 Approval of Thomas Reuters CLEAR PROFLEX Investigation Software - Approved

  • 10.11 Bid Award #21-004 – Door Installations - Approved

  • 10.12 Bid Award #21-005 – 2021 Life Safety Project at Kimball Hill Elementary School - Approved

  • 10.13 Ratification of SEIU Contract Extension - Approved

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