The Winnetka Public Schools, September 2023
Regular Board Meeting
The Board was presented the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, including information regarding rising third-party and cooperative special education costs and the ways in which the district is proactively working to mitigate these in future years. The Board approved the Final Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The Budget will be filed with Cook County and State by September 30, 2023.
Regular Board Meeting
Emily Rose, President, welcomed all in attendance. Ms. Rose wished the community a successful start to the fall season and encouraged continued work as a “collaborative community” to support the students and staff within the District’s five buildings.
Reports on the following Committees were shared by participating Board Members:
Facility Subcommittee Meeting
Crow Island Stewardship
Special Work Session Meeting
TrueNorth Cooperative 504 Leadership Council
Winnetka Public School Foundation
Finance Subcommittee Meeting
Dr. Kelly Tess, Superintendent, noted highlights from the start of the school year and recognized the launch of the District’s Portrait of an Educator. A team of 35 educators, students, parents and School Board members convened throughout the 22/23 school year to identify the attributes ideally embodied by Winnetka educators. This video and graphic showcases how the Portrait of an Educator complements the Portrait of a Graduate, both of which are informed by the Tenets of Progressive Education: Whole Child Approach, Experiential & Meaningful Learning, and Collaborative Community.
Perkins & Will gave a presentation on the design process for Crow Island. This included a rendering of the three additional classrooms, a gymnasium, an updated Library Resource Center, and a new secure vestibule. They discussed the process for selecting various materials to match the existing building. This process involved a user group including administrators, faculty, staff, as well as the Stewardship Group and the Illinois Department of Historic Preservation due the National Landmark status of Crow Island. This project will go out to bid in October, with bids scheduled to be presented to the Board at the November meeting.
The Administrative team presented the Board with an overview of the Annual Goals tied to the District’s Strategic Plan. Annual Goals inform the schools’ improvement plans, which will be presented along with the District Improvement Plan at the October 24, 2023 regular board meeting. To watch the presentation, click here.
In the spring of 2023 the District provided staff with a detailed summer work program that included professional development, project development, and the opportunity to propose their own ideas for summer work. Over 75 staff members participated in order to further their professional capacity and to develop curricular programming.
The scope of work ranged from developing Multi-tiered Systems of Support criteria for intervention in the areas of reading and math to training for teacher leaders. The projects supported Strategic Plan Goals One and Two.
Each year the District compiles a request for funding to present to the Winnetka Public Schools Foundation (WPSF). The request provides an overview of the funds requested by the District and a description of how the funds will be used to enhance the student experience in support of three areas identified as priorities by the Foundation: “Creativity & Innovation,” “Summer Institute,” and “Core Plus.” Click here to view the plan in its entirety.
The Winnetka staff returned for institute day on August 30, 31, and half a day on September 5. This time was highlighted by the unveiling of the Portrait of an Educator with all staff kicking off the school year on August 30. Staff were given time to for team and staff articulations, continued work with RULER by creating a charter, and required policy/annual goals information. Feedback from the staff was obtained showing a high level of alignment with district/building goals as well as the days being organized and engaging. Feedback from institute days will continue to be reviewed and future learning will be planned for with assistance from a team of administrators and WEA members working collaboratively throughout the school year.
The School Board was updated with the most current 2023/2024 staffing plan. District 36 has shown a 1.9% student increase from last year at this time along with a 2.8% instructional staffing increase. Enrollment was broken out by buildings to show increases in student population in two buildings (highest growth at Greeley School up 12%). A staffing recommendation is also included noting the difficulty in obtaining school psychologists and associates.
The Board was provided with the most current data regarding the number of students who have transferred into the District and those who have graduated and transferred out of the District during the 2022-2023 school year. This memo also contains details regarding the location of the schools they attended before transferring into the district and what schools the exiting students are now attending. In addition, historical data has been provided showing transfers in and out of the district in the last decade.
As part of The Winnetka Public Schools’ ongoing commitment to equity and inclusion by fostering connection and belonging amongst students, staff and families, the District will take time each month to recognize the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds. The goal of these monthly observances is to provide resources and support for teachers in order to bring awareness and appreciation to the diverse population of students and families in our community. As materials are developed for these observances, they will be made accessible to the public. These monthly observances are not in lieu of planned curriculum, but rather intended to be an opportunity to supplement or complement learning planned for this year.
District Communications will continue to move forward with efforts already underway in connection to promoting the work done toward the District’s Strategic Plan and annual goals, the rollout of the Portrait of an Educator, and Construction 2023-2025. This will include the continued implementation of the Communication Calendar for 2023/2024 School Year in partnership with District administration to ensure consistent, concise messaging with a high level of reach and accessibility. Additionally, District Communications will be responsible for work, data collection and reporting to the Board in association with the communications, safety and security goals presented to the Board on September 26, 2023.
The Board was updated on the Finance Subcommittee and Special Board meeting that took place on September 12, 2023.
The September 12, 2023 Special Board meeting was to approve a resolution to convey land from the Winnetka Park District to the School District. This will be on the agenda for approval at the September 21, 2023, Winnetka Park District Board Meeting. This will then go before the Winnetka Village Council on September 27, 2023, where they will vote on the Application for the Subdivision of the Plat to finalize the conveyance.
In an effort to ensure the community’s investment in its schools is prioritized and timeline/budget is closely maintained, the Board moved to engage a new construction manager, Bulley & Andrews, for the remaining work on the referendum project. This is done in anticipation of the most complex phase of the work: Summer 2024, in which all five campuses will be under construction/renovation.
The Policy Subcommittee met on September 20, 2023 to discuss the following:
updating policies provided through the IASB Policy Subscription Service in its June 2023 release.
considering language modifications in Policy 7:50, Student Admissions and Student Transfers to and from Non-District Schools, to provide clarity for families enrolling a kindergarten or first grade student in the District.
reviewing annual updates to Student Safety Policies plans and processes
Following Board discussion, updates or edits provided will be incorporated and presented for a 2nd read and adoption at the October 24, 2023, meeting of the School Board.
The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:
FY2024 Final Budget
Annual Plan 2023-2024
Master Agreement with Bulley & Andrews
To view the entire Board Packet from the September 2023 Meeting, click here.