District 30 Board Brief
October 12, 2023 - Board of Education Meeting Summary
Fostering safe and inclusive schools
Your feedback is driving our work
Dear District 30 Community,
This month, as we began our strategic planning work in District 30, we heard a chorus of student, parent, and community voices sharing valuable feedback on our district, with so much to celebrate! As part of the ongoing work to build our Strategic Plan, District 30 hosted a Data Retreat to review and analyze survey responses from our stakeholders.
The overwhelming majority of our students expressed enthusiasm and engagement with their schoolwork and praised the vibrant learning environment we strive to cultivate. Responses like this represent so much of the positive and proud feedback our learners shared with us. At the same time, the data tells a parallel story that challenges District 30 to continue working to create a fully safe and inclusive environment in our schools.
Amidst the commendations and highlights we discovered in our survey data, a significant number of students say that they do not have a trusted adult to turn to in our buildings when they are having trouble with peers. Some responses bring up words like “bullying” and “school safety” as concerns. These responses tell us we must work harder to create schools where all children feel genuinely included.
We know constant improvement is a must for District 30, and we are taking multifaceted action to respond to these concerns through professional learning; education opportunities for parents; evaluating the systems, structures, and supports in our schools; and making changes to staffing that aim to support students better.
These efforts will take time – and they can only succeed with the partnership of the parents and staff who support our students. School efforts alone will never be enough. To ensure we embark on this work hand-in-hand, I want to share some critical improvements happening in our schools:
This winter, Maple School staff attended professional training centered on creating safe learning environments and how to have courageous conversations around biased behaviors.
The district’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee has also partnered with Maggie Schwalbach, an ADHD-certified practitioner, executive functioning coach, and World of Difference facilitator who will provide professional learning for all teaching staff in March.
Parents and community members will be able to learn about belonging and inclusivity directly from Ms. Schwalbach on March 20 during a Parent Education Night at Maple School. (Please watch our newsletters and social media for forthcoming details.)
Maple students will participate in a day of growth and learning called "Illuminate." The event aims to address negative behaviors and patterns happening at school, while supporting students to develop a sense of belonging and reinforcing that each student’s unique qualities are worth celebrating.
In the 2024-25 school year, District 30 will add one Social Worker at Maple and another who will divide time between Wescott and Willowbrook, ultimately providing extra social-emotional support for students in tandem with our School Psychologists.
District 30 will hire additional highly qualified certified special education teachers while reducing some educational support staff to enhance our inclusive education efforts.
Our teams will work over the summer to ensure we have a cohesive preK-8 learning experience that explicitly addresses acceptance, inclusive behaviors, and actions. This will include continuing work with RULER, a set of skills and practices that supports the development of emotional skills for students and adults. Year 3 of this program will focus on parent education and outreach (following the 2022-23 rollout to staff and this year’s work with students.)
Even with all of these initiatives, change cannot happen overnight, and this work is inherently ongoing. But please know that we will always strive toward creating an environment in our district that welcomes all and respects differences. I look forward to continuing to partner with you in this important work.
Dr. Emily K. Tammaru
Superintendent of Schools
Strategic Plan update: Data Retreat
Board Members Mrs. Zivit Blonder and Mrs. Pamela Manicioto reported on their experience participating in the Strategic Plan Data retreat on Feb. 1. Both commended the thorough, day-long process of reviewing District 30 student, staff and community survey results, as well as achievement data, financial data and a district overview.
More than 60 students, staff and community members who attended then analyzed the data, ultimately working to create a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.
Mrs. Blonder remarked that she felt proud to see so many people giving up their time to help guide the future of District 30.
Superintendent Dr. Emily Tammaru added to Mrs. Blonder and Mrs. Mancioto's review of the Data Retreat and its findings. She presented the resulting SWOT analysis to the Board and detailed each item in the document's four categories.
Dr. Tammaru shared that the SWOT will be shared with the community in the coming weeks and stakeholders will have the opportunity to share input on the document in a district-wide survey. Additionally, she noted the Strategic Plan Team will meet next on March 18 for a Vision Retreat, where the group will be tasked with updating District 30's mission, vision and values.
Wescott washroom renovations approved
The Board of Education approved a contract for $555,500 with Happ Builders, Inc. to renovate the washroom in Wescott School's north corridor. The washroom will include 16 stalls and galley sinks, which allow for improved student supervision. Work will be completed this summer and is part of a multi-year plan to upgrade washroom facilities at Wescott and Willowbrook.
2024-25 staff plan approved
The Board of Education approved the 2024-25 staffing plan for all three District 30 schools. Key points are:
- To better support student mental health, one Social Worker will be added to Maple and another who will divide time between Wescott and Willowbrook.
- Because Maple has a large incoming 6th-grade class and a smaller departing 8th-grade class, staffing changes will be necessary. Conversely, Wescott will have one less 5th-grade section.
- Part-time support in math intervention to support elementary learners.
- Hiring of additional certified staff positions and reduction of several non-certified staff to better support inclusive learning.
ELA and writing: summer curriculum work
ELA for Maple School
Maple 7th-Grade English Language Arts (ELA) Teacher Mrs. Nicky Stannard and 6th-Grade ELA Teacher Mr. Kyle Manders presented on their department's summer work, which focused on curriculum mapping across grade levels. They shared that their work produced a curriculum mapping process that will encourage teacher reflection on their current practices and allow incorporation of professional development.
District 30 Literacy Coordinator Dr. Amy Copeland, Navigate Language Arts Teacher Mrs. Lainie Levin, and Willowbrook Teachers Mrs. Molly Neumann (5th-Grade) and Ms. Megan Stevens (4th-Grade) presented details on summer work completed by a staff writing cohort, focused on aligned instruction across grade levels and student empowerment in writing. They shared that outcomes of the work show student gains in writing confidence and enjoyment.
Next District 30 School Board Meeting
You are welcome to join us at our next Board Meeting, where Wescott Principals will discuss the annual school report and we will honor the student winners of the Character Counts! Art & Video contest.
Thursday, Feb 22, 2024, 07:00 PM
Wescott School, Western Avenue, Northbrook, IL, USA
Our Board of Education
The Board of Education consists of seven members elected from the general public to serve the entire Northbrook/Glenview School District 30 Community. The Board provides governance for the district by hiring and evaluating the superintendent and approving a budget, policies, and goals that align with the district's strategic plan. Board members are:
- President -Jeff Zuercher
- Vice President - Ammar Rizki
- Zivit Blonder
- Keith Karchmar
- Pamela Manicioto
- Patrick Wang
- Dr. Stephanie Yohannan
Northbrook/Glenview District 30
Northbrook/Glenview District 30 exists to create a community that craves learning, fosters resiliency, and cares deeply for every student. District 30 serves more than 1,200 students in pre-K through 8th grade across Willowbrook, Wescott and Maple Schools.