The Winnetka Public Schools, February 2022
Regular Board Meeting
Dawn Livingston, President, thanked staff for their efforts managing changes in safety mitigation practices. She shared that the Board is engaged in community outreach efforts surrounding the Downsized Capital Improvement Proposal. Ms. Livingston encouraged all residents to complete a mail survey, which will be delivered to every home in mid-March. Community input from the survey will help shape how the District moves forward in addressing its facility needs.
Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, thanked educators and families who participated in conferences, an important touchpoint for alignment in supporting students’ academic and social emotional growth. She also acknowledged Mr. Barry Rodgers, who announced his resignation as the Director of Innovation, Teaching & Learning, effective at the end of the school year. She shared that a national search process is underway for this important role.
School Board Members Maxie Clarke and Emily Rose shared an update on the development and information-sharing campaign for the Downsized Capital Improvement Plan. The proposal improves upon the 2019 request, including:
Reducing the size of the proposal
Decreasing the estimated annual tax impact
Keeping The Skokie School open
Eliminating $36 million from Carleton Washburne’s facility plan
Additionally, a timeline of next steps was presented, and further information was provided on Community Engagement Events and the informational materials recently mailed to residents. It was noted that a survey will go to every home in Winnetka in mid-March and residents are asked to share their input with the District via the survey. Ms. Rose and Ms. Clarke also addressed emerging questions, primarily surrounding financial information.
An update on current mitigations and metrics was provided. It was recommended (and later approved) that the Board approve the District’s current mask-optional environment. This will now apply to all visitors to school premises as well. In accordance with guidance from the CDC and IDPH, mask use is still recommended but now optional.
Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning provided an overview of the mid-year update for School Improvement Plans. School efforts include a focus on Social Emotional Learning and align with the District’s Annual goals. The elementary schools demonstrate significant progress in strengthening early literacy skills through the implementation of evidence-based phonemic awareness practices and assessments. A staff-led design thinking process is underway to develop formal Board recommendations on fostering a more cohesive experience for all students in grades 5-8. An end of year report on the School Improvement Plans will be shared at the June 14 Board meeting.
Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning shared a mid-year update on the District Improvement Plan, focusing on reading and math. Normative IAR data demonstrates academic performance in relation to other schools in the state. In comparing the percentage of students that meet and exceed standards, 8th grade students performed at the 96th percentile in English Language Arts and the 99th percentile in math. Mid-year MAP data showed that all grades achieved winter growth targets. In the first year of the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Assessment implementation to support early literacy, Kindergarten students demonstrated significant progress. An end of year report on the District Improvement Plan, including spring data, will be shared at the June 14 Board meeting.
A recommendation for the final staffing plan for the 2022-2023 school year will be shared at the March Board meeting. The process of developing a comprehensive staffing plan incorporates the consideration of four key factors: enrollment, programmatic drivers, special education, and finances. While the District will continue to monitor enrollment through the spring and summer, early numbers indicate a 2.4% decline in enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year. These early numbers indicate a 6.8 FTE reduction amongst certified staff and a 9.5 reduction in classified staff. The March presentation will include programmatic considerations, prioritizing literacy and reallocated staffing to meet that need.
The Calendar Committee approved three draft options for consideration for the 2022-2023 school year. One of these options will be selected, vetted for state compliance, and presented to the Board for approval at the March Board meeting.
Denise Matthews, Director of Student Services Equity and Inclusion, provided her initial findings from her three-phase 2021-2022 entry plan. These findings are currently being shared with stakeholders for validation and to establish priorities. The data to inform these findings included sources from: focus groups, observations, data reviews, document analysis and surveys. Once these findings have been validated and finalized, priorities and recommendations will be submitted for review at the March 2022 board meeting.
Policy Update - 2nd Read
At its January 25, 2022, meeting the Board was asked to conduct a 1st read on policy recommendations provided by the IASB Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS). Following the 2nd reading on February 22, 2022, the following policies were adopted (click here) during the consent agenda portion of the meeting.
Brad Goldstein, CFO, gave an update on the transportation contract for 2022-2023. The Administration received a proposal from current vendor, North Shore Transit, for services in 2022-2023 amounting to 25% over current costs. This is due to several factors including rising labor and fuel costs, as well as a reduction in routes versus prior years. It was recommended to the Board that the District goes out to bid for transportation services for next year.
The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:
Summer 2022 Bid Package Period 3
Playground Improvements at Hubbard Woods and Greeley Schools
Food Service Contract Renewal 2022-2024 School Years
FY23 Budget Calendar & Preparation Resolution
The Continuation of a Mask Optional School Environment
To view the entire Board Packet from the February 22, 2022 Meeting, click here.