Board Highlights

The Winnetka Public Schools, March 2022

Regular Board Meeting

Dawn Livingston, President, welcomed all in attendance. She noted the Board has made it a priority to visit District schools this spring and thanked staff for their efforts this year. Ms. Livingston shared that progress has been made regarding strategic goals related to early literacy and the alignment between grades 5-8; Board outreach regarding the Downsized Capital Funding Proposal; and the District’s continued focus on Social Emotional Learning and academic excellence.

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, shared that the administrative team, along with educators, recently presented an all-staff “State of the District” via Zoom, with updates on our Strategic Plan progress and other important matters. A highlight of the presentation included Washburne students sharing projects they have been engaged on while mentored by District educators. She noted that seven Washburne students were honored by the Anti Defamation League in several categories of the First Amendment Art and Essay Contest.


2022-2023 Staffing Plan

Kelly Tess, Assistant Superintendent for Professional Learning and Human Resources, presented the Proposed Staffing Plan for the 2022-2023 School Year. Staffing priorities are reflective of students' needs and a balanced consideration for a decline in enrollment in the coming year. The plan, as presented, is below the 3% cost per pupil target. The staffing models include reductions in areas where enrollment is in decline as well as recommended reallocations that help to support the District’s priority of early literacy. The plan has a net impact of a reduction of 5.9 FTE certified staff and 8.5 classified staff. Despite these reductions, the plan also includes the retention of several FTE additions made in response to the impact of the pandemic: 2.0 Classroom Teachers at Washburne, 2.0 Special Education Teachers (Washburne and Skokie), and 1.0 Speech Pathologist at the elementary level. Additionally, adding an Assistant Director of Student Services role was considered based on priorities and student needs. These positions will be re-assessed next year when planning for the 2023/2024 school year.

Informational Items

2021-2022 School Plan Monthly Report

The Board was provided with a regular monthly report on current mitigations toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 as well as positivity and vaccination rates. The District shifted to a mask-optional environment in early February, and continues to uphold that practice.

2022-2023 Calendar

The Board received a final recommendation for the 2022-2023 academic calendar. Based on feedback from staff, parents, and the Calendar Committee, “Option B” was selected (aligning with the New Trier winter and Spring break schedules). This includes an August 22, 2022 start date for teachers (August 24 for students) and a last day of June 9, 2023. Later in the meeting, the Board approved the calendar.

2022 Downsized Capital Improvement Proposal

An update was shared regarding highlights of the community outreach the Board and Administration is conducting to educate and evaluate interest on the proposal. This includes a Newsletter mailed to every home in the Winnetka community; meeting with community and school organizations; four community engagement sessions for community members; a screencast recording of the community engagement sessions posted to the website; and a survey sent to every home in Winnetka (open through April 4).

DSSEI Entry Plan Recommendations

Denise Matthews, Director of Student Services, Equity and Inclusion presented the results of her entry plan, implemented during the 2021-2022 school year in three phases. Phase One consisted of listening and observing by connecting with District stakeholders and reviewing current data. During Phase Two, the information collected was analyzed and reported. This information was presented to administrators, the DSS department and building leadership teams in each building. The purpose of this process was to identify emerging themes, validating what was presenting and establishing District priorities. The final phase that was presented includes the established priorities, specific recommendations and a timeline for implementation.

Student Fees 2022-2023

The three elementary schools spent less than budgeted on FY22 student activities so the District is extending the one-year pause on collecting student activity fees for elementary students. Due to planned use, Skokie and Washburne fees will be reinstated with a slight increase of $21. All other fees such as clubs, activities and Extended Play will remain consistent. Transportation services will be addressed once bids are received in early April; an increase in costs are expected. Later in the meeting the Board approved all recommended fees.

March 4 Institute Day Summary

The District hosted its Spring Institute Day on Friday, March 4, serving as an extension of the social emotional professional learning that has been provided to staff throughout the year, offering an opportunity for those staff who did not participate in the “Search Inside Yourself Workshop” in the fall, to attend the first day of the workshop. This workshop focuses on the professional skills that can be positively impacted in one’s educational practice when both staff and students are socially and emotionally balanced. Others participated in committee meetings, building-based work and one of two professional learning options: Apple Pencil training or “Supporting Students Functional Needs” presented by Kelli Hunt of TrueNorth.

Summer Institute 2022

Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning shared plans for the 2022 Teacher Summer Institute to be held June 13-15. The Winnetka Summer Institute is an in-depth professional learning opportunity aligned to District Strategic goals. This summer, the institute will focus on the Science of Reading for Grades K-4 and on Project Based Learning for grades 5-8. With the ongoing support of the Winnetka Public Schools Foundation, the District will partner with the Reading League and the Buck Institute for Project Based Learning to provide high quality professional learning for District educators.

The Consent Agenda and Following Action Items Were Approved:

  1. Follow up: Action Item for Summer 2022 Bid 3

  2. 2022-2023 Academic Year Calendar

  3. Student Fees 2022-2023

  4. 2022-2023 Staffing Plan

To view the entire Board Packet from the March 22, 2022 Meeting, click here.

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