The BOE Recap
August 17th, 2023
September 21st, 2023 - Regular Board Meeting
Watch The Meeting Recording Below:
1. Call To Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:32 p.m.
2. Approval of Meeting Agenda
The agenda was approved.
3. Closed Session
4. Reconvene to Open Session
The meeting reconvened to open session at 7:00 p.m.
5. Public Hearing: e-Learning
This is a state requirement that there must be a public hearing in regards to the district's formation of its e-Learning plan. (This is not unique to DPS 109, as every district that files an e-Learning plan will have to do the same thing.) Public comment was offered to anyone in attendance at the meeting about the plan, and there were no speakers.
6. What's Good in 109
Mr. Steckling presented the monthly What's Good in 109 report, featuring:
- New staff member profiles posted on DPS 109 Facebook & Instagram pages... these will take place on Tuesdays
- There will be a recurring Minute with Maldonado video series featuring safety tips from our School Resource Officer
- An interview with Mrs. Solveig Jurmu, the district's new Director of Safety & Security
- At South Park, Officer Maldonado served as the mystery reader for a class this week
- At Caruso, they have begun their weekly tradition of honoring their Blue Jays of the week - along with the excitement that comes from the surprise announcement
- At Shepard, our PE classes have had the chance to get into a pickleball unit thanks to a court sharing agreement with the Deerfield Park District
- At Kipling, students have begun a composting program during their lunch periods
- At Walden, Ms. Bonnette our multilingual specialist has been doing read alouds in classrooms of books in different languages to highlight the variety we have in our backgrounds
- At Wilmot, 5th graders did a really cool science experiment where they had to work together to filter pollutants out of water.
Our featured guests were 2nd graders from Mrs. Ray's class at Wilmot, talking about a "tough choices" unit they recently completed where they learned about needs vs. wants, how to budget money, and what to when unexpected obstacles in life come your way.
7. Superintendent's Report
Mr. Simeck was at the student council elections today at Wilmot and says he's thoroughly impressed with the tenacity and courage all of the students showed in making their speeches in front of most of the school today.
He showed a number of examples of Goal 1 of the strategic plan, highlighting dynamic & responsive instructional practices.
For master facility planning, we are continuing to assess the timeline & impacts of Strategy C, which would involve middle school renovations and potential elementary school replacements. You can go to dps109.org and click on Master Facility Planning to learn more.
He encouraged parents to attend an upcoming presentation at DHS by Julie Lythcott-Haims about how to raise successful kids. This takes place on November 30th.
8. Community Participation Relative to Matters on the Meeting Agenda (Policy 2:230)
There were no speakers present.
9.1. Freedom of Information Requests (Policy 2:250)
Dr. Filippi presented four items to the board that are detailed in the posted packet.
9.2. Communications Audit
Mr. Steckling presented the findings of the communications audit conducted in partnership with the National School Public Relations Association.
It was a three-stage process involving a review of materials, a survey open to all in our community, and focus groups targeting 10 particular groups involved with our district: elementary parents, middle school parents, elementary staff, middle school staff, principals, assistant principals, district office staff, the executive leadership team, community leaders, and members of the Board of Education (in groups of two or fewer).
The overall perception of the district is very high, with 86% of parents, 85% of the community, and 74% of the staff saying it is "excellent and above average." The overall perception of communications is is still mostly excellent and above average, except in the community... where 42% say it's average.
Mr. Steckling then broke it down by groups between staff, parents, and the community.
With parents, we are ahead of the national average in most areas (on a 5 point scale) but trailing when it comes to communication about my child's progress in school and communication about how I can support my child's learning. Data shows that while email is our top consistent means of communication, our website is checked much less frequently. There are three opportunities with parents: finding more ways for them to know what's going on in the classroom, using texting more when appropriate, and better educating them about finances & facilities.
With staff, we are ahead of national norms, but there are still opportunities and work to do. Less than 60% say they feel very informed about how to effectively deliver customer service or how to best represent the district as an ambassador. Along with the previously mentioned, there are opportunities for showing staff how we use their input (or why we didn't), better educating them about finances & facilities, and creating more templates to help them communicate with families or deal with crisis situations.
With the community, we have the most room for growth. We lag behind when it comes to communication about student success & achievements, and communication about finances and related issues. The most common way this group gets information about our district is from what other people tell them. We have opportunities to educate about finances & facilities, to find more connections to bring our community to our schools and take our students into the community, and an opportunity to tell more of our stories through the 109 Way magazine.
Major takeaways from the whole process:
- The principal weekly email is the most consumed piece of information in the district and should be leveraged when appropriate
- Very few people overall say they want less information
- Our website is not a destination for information
- Video content needs to further expand beyond celebratory
- We need to do a better job talking about money & facilities
- If you ask for input, actually mean it... better yet, show people you used it
There are seven official recommendations from NSPRA:
1) Develop a stra
tegic communication plan that includes measurable objectives focused on moving the district toward achieving its goals
2) Review the number of parents communication tools in use at the district and school levels and consider a more streamlined approach
3) Build greater awareness, understanding, and support for the master facility process
4) Create networks of key communicators and digital ambassadors
5) Develop and implement strategies to keep staff members involved and engaged
6) Review the district's Emergency and Crisis Response Plan with an emphasis on consistent language and parent notification protocols
7) Update or redesign the district website
Mr. Steckling laid out a three-year timeline to work on and achieve the seven objectives listed above. As you can see from the graph below, we will be continuously working on all of this. If there's an opportunity to improve, we are going to jump on it. The green dashed line indicates this intent towards continual growth. The red solid line indicates the period of time where this will shift into high focus for development. The check mark indicates the semester that we intend to review the progress and aim to have that goal completed.
All of this information can be found at dps109.org. The communications department will send out periodic updates on our progress as part of 109 News.
9.3. Recommendation to Support Ethan's Law
Mr. Simeck encouraged the board to support this recommendation of Ethan's Law that would require gun owners to secure their firearms in a storage or safety device. This item is for informational purposes only this month.
9.4. e-Learning Day Plan and Approved Resolution through 2024-25 School Year
Dr. Arnold introduced this plan, which is required to be submitted to the Regional Office of Education annually. DPS 109 plans to send devices home when bad weather is forecasted, so that if school needed to be closed due to inclement weather, we could implement an e-learning day. This means the district does not intend to have any "snow days" this year.
9.5. Annual Enrollment Update (Policy 4:150)
Dr. Filippi provided the update which is required annually per board policy.
Currently, our enrollment is around 2,700 students. We are projected to lose an additional 150 or so students in the next five years before the number starts rebounding.
9.6. Employee Compensation Report (Public Act 96-0434)
9.7. Succession Plan (Policy 3:70)
9.8. Rescheduled Regular Board Meeting in February 2024
Mr. Simeck shared that the February 2024 board meeting will be rescheduled to Monday, February 12th instead of Thursday, February 15th. This does not require a board vote, but will be advertised accordingly.
9.9. Recommendation to Accept Donations (Policy 8:80)
Dr. Filippi presented two generous donations: one for MagnaTiles at South Park and the other for drone racing equipment at Caruso.
10.1. Consent Agenda*
10.2. Treasurer's Report
The report was approved.
10.3. Employee Compensation Report (Public Act 96-0434)
The report was approved.
10.4. Succession Plan (Policy 3:70)
The succession plan was approved.
10.5. Policy: Final Reading - 2:80, 2:170, 4:100, 4:150, 5:230, 6:10, 6:240, 7:305, 8:25, 8:95
The policies were approved.
10.6. National Principals Month and Principal Appreciation Week - October 15-21, 2023
The resolution honoring Principal Appreciation Week was approved.
10.7. Fleet Vehicle Purchase
The purchase was approved.
10.8. Recommendation to Accept Donations (Policy 8:80)
The recommendation was approved. We give our sincere thanks to CreateOn and United Airlines.
11. Committee Reports
The Facility Development Committee just met today and discussed the next three years worth of potential summer construction/work. The board may hear more about next summer's work at the November meeting.
Mrs. Jakymiw says that TrueNorth has started a new school year and their new facilities are amazing.
Finance committee is meeting on October 2nd.
Executive Development Committee is meeting tomorrow.
12. Open Community Participation
There were no speakers present.
13. Board/Superintendent Other
Mr. Simeck thanked our principals for all of their work. Everything we want to get done as an organization relies on their effectiveness. It's the toughest job you'll ever love.
Mrs. Montgomery thanked the tech team for all of their work coordinating the remote attendance of some board members. She thanked the communications team for their work on the audit and the valuable feedback we have gleaned from it. She thanked the principals for all of their hard work all year along. She thanked Dr. Filippi and his team for their work on looking ahead when it comes to summer work and master facility planning.
The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.