The Winnetka Public Schools, September 2021
Work Session - Strategic Plan 2021-2025
Draft strategies related to the four goal areas, Intellectual Engagement and Motivation to Learn, Positive Culture and Well-Being, Local and National Leader in Progressive Education and Talent Development, and Financial Stewardship and Facility Improvements, were presented for review and discussion prior to a final draft being presented at the October 19, 2021, school board meeting for approval.
FY 2022 Final Budget Hearing
Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, provided the Final Fiscal Year 2022 budget. The impact of COVID-19 on the FY21 and FY22 budgets was addressed, as well as planning for a resumption of a more typical school year. This includes the reintroduction of costs that were not included in last year's budget such as transportation, food service, and additional instructional support. There were changes made to address enrollment fluctuations since the Tentative Budget was presented in August. The Final Fiscal Year 2022 budget was approved later in the evening.
Regular Board Meeting
Dawn Livingston, President, called the meeting to order. She thanked the community for their continued cooperation with safety mitigation efforts in order to maximize in-person learning.
Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, noted the recent in-person Go-to-School Nights allowed for positive connection between teachers and parents. She shared that educators are focused on integrating the characteristics of the District’s Portrait of a Graduate into their classrooms. Dr. Kocanda also stated the continued collaboration with Village and The Winnetka Police Department to strengthen bike safety efforts within the community.
At its August 17, 2021 meeting, the School Board approved the Return-to-School Guide 2021-2022 and committed to including monthly Board reports. This month’s update focused on the District’s COVID-19 Testing Program, Vaccination status of 12+ individuals (over 90%), nursing, and Teaching & Learning.
An overview was provided on the number of students who transferred out of the District and the number of students who enrolled in District 36 in the 2021-2022 school year. This summary includes details regarding the number of students who have enrolled to and from local private schools, schools within New Trier Township, other districts in Illinois, and other states and countries.
Denise Matthews, Director of Student Services Equity and Inclusion, provided an outline of her 2021-2022 entry plan, currently in Phase I of three phases. The entry plan consists of goals and objectives, activities and a timeline that will be implemented to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the District and build relationships. The findings gathered from the entry plan will be used to make recommendations for strategic development and opportunities for growth in the areas of student services, equity and inclusion.
An update was provided regarding the District’s Sexual Education Program and current state legislation. The District’s curriculum is developed in partnership with Lurie Children’s Hospital program to ensure that it is developmentally appropriate and aligned to current standards. The parent education component has been enhanced in order to provide further clarity and support for families in advance of the unit.
The Board received an overview of 2021 Opening Day events for staff. Staff returned to campus on Monday, August 23, participating in two Institute Days to reconnect prior to students beginning on Wednesday, August 25.
Each fall, the Board is presented with data reflecting shifts in enrollment and staffing as compared to the previous fall. The Board was briefed at the August meeting regarding stagnating enrollment numbers, maintaining a total enrollment in line with that of the 2020/2021 school year.
The Citizen Task Force met on September 14 to further discuss the District’s capital plans. Administration has been working with Beyond Your Base consulting on the development of educational materials to inform the public about an upcoming referendum option. An educational campaign will take place prior to polling later this school year.
Communication practices continue to be refined to meet the evolving needs of families and staff. Key areas of focus in 2021-2022 including launching the District’s Strategic Plan (once approved), sharing progress toward Portrait of a Graduate, continuing to inform the community on the Educational Master Facility Plan, reconnecting with community organizations and partners to ensure awareness on District initiatives and local alignment. A communication audit will be conducted this school year.
Details were provided on the summer work projects for the Summer of 2022. This will allow the District to move forward with bid packages for the winter months. The Board will be presented with summer bid package results in January or February.
The Policy Subcommittee reviewed a number of School Board policies and provided recommendations for updates. A 2nd read of policies and vote to adopt the recommendations will occur at the October 19, 2021, Board Meeting.
The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:
1. FY22 Final Budget
2. Transfer of Funds Resolutions as presented at Public Hearing
3. Vendor Contracts
4. Project Authorization Exhibit-2022 Summer Work-Perkins and Will
To view the entire Board Packet from the September 21 Meeting, click here.