News from CCSD15 Board of Education

December 8, 2021

Pledge of Allegiance: Willow Bend Students

We were proud to welcome students from Willow Bend who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Principal Harris shared that current and one former Willow Bend student-leaders excel both inside and outside of the classroom and that each student listed below demonstrated leadership either through mentoring or assisting other students in their school. The following student leaders were chosen to represent Willow Bend by its Social Worker, Cindy Wong.

  • Mykola A. - Problem-Popper

  • Abbey D. - Volunteer Reader

  • Emma D. - Mentor

  • Gianna D. - Leader

  • Hemant D. - Leader for Group Plan

  • Jack D. - Volunteer Reader

  • Scarlett D. - Volunteer Reader

  • Hannah E.-A. - Volunteer Reader

  • Cailyn K. - Mentor

  • Gavin P. - Assistant in a 2nd Grade Classroom

  • Alaina R. - Mentor

  • Nicholas S. - Assistant with Check Out

  • Brianna S. - Mentor (Carl Sandburg Junior High)

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Student Recognition: Thomas Jefferson Student Ryan L.

District 15 recognized Ryan L. for his amazing dedication to raising awareness of the homeless. To do so, he slept outside on one cold evening to earn money for the homeless. Through his efforts, Ryan raised over $900 for the cause.

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Staff Recognition: Bilingual Liaisons

District 15 recognized the herculean efforts and essential contributions of its five bilingual parent liaisons: Ana Flores, Cynthia Galvan, Adaly Gonzalez, Gloria Perez, and Isabel Ramos. The liaison team continues to work tirelessly to bridge communication between school and home by helping parents to secure information, assistance, and the support they need to ensure their child’s academic and social success in school.

Additionally, the liaisons work to bolster and facilitate parent participation in school events, as well as plan activities for parents that promote literacy, basic math, and technology access in the home.

District 15 is lucky to have such an extremely dedicated team that is highly respected and sincerely trusted by our parents and school communities. Their collective efforts make a genuine difference in the lives of our students and our District truly appreciates all they do for our schools.

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Volunteer Recognition: Community School

Through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant, the Community School program is currently offered at three District 15 schools - Jane Addams and Lake Louise Elementary School as well as Winston Campus Junior High School. As part of after school programmatic offerings, there are many outstanding opportunities available to District 15 students to extend time spent learning and enrichment activities. This includes many committed community members who are invested in providing engaging experiences for students and parents. District 15 is pleased to recognize the Community School volunteers for their commitment to bring additional resources and opportunities to our students.

The Community School program runs three days a week for four hours after school and offers academic support in math, reading, and writing, as well as homework help. Students also receive enrichments that support their social and emotional needs through boys and girls groups, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and life skills. Additionally, students receive enrichments to support the whole child through robotics, dance, sports, health and wellness, jewelry making, cosmetology, cooking, and strategy games.

All of this is possible thanks to the dedicated volunteers who support the program. District 15 would like to thank Cristina Correa, Tom Dempsey, Terri Kelly, Kathy Millin, Vickie Murphy, Kristin Pankratz, and Samantha Schroll for their support of our District 15 Community Schools. It is thanks to their acts of service that our students are offered such a rich, after-school program. An additional thank you to Bart Bates, the Supervisor of After School, Community School, and Extended Day Programs for District 15.

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Moving 15 Forward Community Information Sessions

The next steps of Moving 15 Forward include sharing the proposal and seeking feedback from as many stakeholders as possible. Board President Scuzupaj and Superintendent Dr. Heinz, along with members of the District’s administrative team, will bring this plan to both the school community as well as the broader community at various information session meetings.

Presentations will provide a broad overview of our holistic plan with a particular focus on why District 15 believes this comprehensive plan will Move 15 Forward and provide all students with enhanced and equitable educational opportunities and the chance to learn at near-neighborhood schools. Below is a proposed meeting schedule. Additional information including the meeting location at each school will be shared by each principal as their school’s meeting approaches.

We look forward to sharing our plan with stakeholders across our large District boundaries.

Technology Services Building Update

The 310 W. Colfax building contract for Technology Services has been terminated due to the extensive repair work that would be needed to occupy the building safely. District 15 is now in negotiations with the owner/bank of the building at 530 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine as a new location for the department and its storage needs.

Transportation Update

As previously reported to the Board of Education, District 15 has been facing significant challenges to its Transportation program since the start of the current school year. The Transportation Department has worked diligently to expedite its pick up and drop off routines, while also hiring and training more drivers to help successfully transport over 10,000 students on 602 routes using 127 District 15 buses. Despite stepped up efforts including job fairs, the recruitment of new drivers, and a new attendance incentive for drivers, the District continues to experience a bus driver shortage as 2021 draws to a close.

After careful consideration, as well as, a lot of creativity and hard work to combat a nationwide shortage of drivers, the administration believes it is necessary to move the District to a 3-Tier Transportation System beginning as early as February 2022. The Board asked many questions regarding how the 3-Tier system would work and the impact it may have on our families. Dr. Kowalcyzk and Mr. Bramley will work to solidify which schools will make up each tier, solidify start and end times, and prepare new bus stop and route schedules. Information will be shared before winter break begins. Please watch for more information to be shared via Blackboard and school newsletters.

View the Transportation Update here.

Revised 2022-2023 Official School Calendar

The 2022-2023 official school calendar presently reflects a student attendance day on general election day, November 8, 2022, which has since been deemed a State holiday – staff and student non-attendance day. Therefore, after review of the 2022-2023 school calendar, November 8, 2022, will be a student non-attendance day due to the gubernatorial election.

View the revised 2022-2023 Official School Calendar here.

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Life Space Crisis Intervention

Recently, student mental health has been catapulted into the national spotlight. The impact of the pandemic and other tensions have impacted students’ mental health. The level of concern for school age children is so high that it prompted the U.S. Surgeon General to issue an unprecedented advisory that outlined a national concern about our youths’ mental health.

District 15 has actively prepared for this crisis by bolstering our District’s mental health supports along several fronts. One preparation has been to provide enhanced, specialized training to our staff on how to approach students experiencing a personal crisis. This involves any time that a student, for whatever reason, is not able to act rationally and is struggling with attending to learning. In 2019, Dr. Laura Swanlund launched the Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) training initiative. LSCI is a sophisticated method used by a staff member to help students experiencing significant stress. This method prepares staff to interact with a student when they are the least receptive to others, and help the student move from their personal crisis to a state where they can reflect on their situation and behavior and contribute to ways that will enhance their ability to avoid such crises in the future. At the presentation, examples of the positive impact of this approach were provided, which is a small sampling of feedback received from this method. Overall, LSCI is part of a comprehensive model of how student mental and behavioral health is supported within District 15.

View the Life Space Crisis Intervention presentation here.

Committee Reports

Board Member Frank Annerino shared an update of legislative action.

one-five Foundation
Board Member James Taylor joined the one-five in asking for the community’s help to fund the annual teacher mini-grants program. You can donate here!

Finance Committee
Board Members Wenda Hunt and Anthony Wang shared there are no new updates at this time.

Equity Committee
Board members Samantha Ader and Zubair Khan shared that there are no new updates at this time and they have rescheduled their meeting for next week.

Action Items

  • 9.1 Request for Additional Clerical Assistant for Transportation Department - approved

  • 9.2 Approval of Personnel Report: Recommendations for Administration, Certified and Non-Certified staff members - approved

  • 9.3 Revised 2022-2023 Official School Calendar - approved

  • 9.4 Authorization of Certificate of Tax Levy - approved

  • 9.5 Resolution for Supplemental Tax Levy 2021 - approved

  • 9.6 ESPA Contract Extension - approved