March-April 2011 Board Briefs

School Board Reorganized
New Board member Joel Raynes and incumbent Board members Henry Kingwill and Sherry Wallingford were sworn in for four-year terms during a special organizational meeting of the Board on April 28.  Mr. Raynes replaces Michael Knippen, who retired after serving on the Board since 2007.  Board members also voted to retain Jeffrey Greengoss as Board President and Rosanne Ullman as Board Vice President for another two years.

Employment Matters
At the March meeting, the Board accepted resignations from Avoca Community Preschool assistant Zaneta Zak, effective immediately, and 7th grade language arts teacher Andrea Harbaugh, effective as of close of the current school year.  Full-year leave of absence requests were approved for 5th grade teacher Diane Bilcer and 2nd grade teacher Leslie Boyle for the 2011-2012 school year. Also approved was a request for a child-rearing leave of absence from kindergarten teacher Connie Moran, effective August 22, 2011, through January 2, 2012. The Board also approved the employment of the following individuals:  Sarah Mazur as an Avoca Community Preschool teacher assistant; Candy Geweke as an Avoca West inclusion assistant;  Sara Gmitro as a 6th-8th grade art teacher for the 2011-2012 school year; Stella Menegas as a full-time bookkeeper in the Central Office, effective April 4, 2011; and Suzanne Burkey as a long-term substitute Kindergarten Interdisiciplinary Studies teacher, effective immediately.  The Board also approved a one-year contract for Dr. Jennifer Graham, who will be serving as the new principal of Avoca West Elementary School, effective July 1, 2011.

At the April meeting, the Board accepted a notice of intent to retire from kindergarten teacher Mary Rosic, effective at the close of the 2015-2016 school year.  A request for a child-rearing leave of absence was approved for Katherine Morgan, commencing October 1, 2011, through the close of the 2011-2012 school year.  The Board approved the employment of Evangelina Morales as a full-time bus driver and custodian at Avoca West Elementary School, effective July 1, 2011, in addition to the employment of Roberto Caprera, effective August 15, 2011.

2011-2012 School Fees Established
The Board voted at its March meeting to keep the 2011-2012 school fees at the same level as the current school year.  The 2011-2012 bus fees will be as follows:  Two-way service – $500 (1st child), $400 (2nd child), $350 (3rd child), a $1,400 cap, and a $50 discount per family if paid on time.  One-way a.m. or p.m. service only – $275 (1st child), $225 (2nd child), $200  (3rd child),  $200 (4th child),  $175  (each additional child), $1,400 cap, and a $50 discount per family if paid on time.  The 2011-2012 books and materials fees per child, including a yearbook, are as follows:  Kindergarten ($143 includes headphones), grades 1-4 ($160), grades 5-8 ($175), and a $25 discount per child if paid on time.  The 2011-2012 technology fees are as follows according to the number of students per family:  1 student ($135), 2 students ($160), 3 students ($185), 4 or more students ($210), and an early bird discount of $10 per family is applied to payments made on time.

Revised 2010-2011 School Calendar
At the April meeting, the Board approved the revised 2010-2011 school calendar to make up the two emergency snow days called in February.  The total number of student attendance days has been reduced from 178 to 177, and June 10 will be a full last day of student attendance.  Teachers will keep to the original calendar by utilizing June 13 and 14 as Teacher Contract days.

Ad Hoc English Committee Report
Ad Hoc English Committee members delivered an in-depth presentation at the April Board meeting on their findings and recommendations regarding the question, “Why have Marie Murphy students in the last two years indicated that they feel less satisfied with their preparation for 9th grade English as compared to 9th grade math or science?”  The committee gathered valuable information through New Trier High School student and teacher surveys, focus groups, classroom observations and participation in articulation meetings. Marie Murphy School Principal Dr. Reed reported that adjustments to the English curriculum have already begun this year.

Social Studies Curriculum Committee Report
Avoca West Elementary School Principal Dr. Jauch and several Social Studies Curriculum Committee members delivered their recommendations for the new social studies curriculum at the April Board meeting.  Topics discussed during the presentation included:  Mission statement; beliefs content and process; and unifying themes, units and stories for grades K-8.  Several aspects of the curriculum were demonstrated, and, except for one textbook, all curriculum resources will be accessible through Open Source websites.  Dr. Jauch indicated that the proposed new social studies curriculum is a program that will continue to grow from year to year.

Approval of Bus Leasing Contract
At the April meeting, the Board approved trading in two of the District’s older buses and leasing two more 66 passenger buses from Midwest Transit this summer.  Once the fleet consists of eight buses that are five years old or less, Business Manager Beth Dever anticipates reducing the fleet to nine buses.

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates
Regular Board meetings are open to the public and are held at Marie Murphy School in the Community Room during the school year and in the library during the summer.  The public is invited to share input during the two visitors’ comments portions of the meeting.  Regular Board meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. on the second to last Thursday of the month.  Committee of the Whole Board meetings take place at 5:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month in the Marie Murphy School Library. To confirm the times and locations of the meetings, please contact the superintendent’s secretary at 847-251-3587.  All open session School Board and Committee of the Whole Board meetings are videotaped.  A DVD copy of a particular meeting may be requested by the public through the Pupil Services Office (847-251-3138).  Please allow a minimum of three business days when requesting a copy.  Upcoming Board meeting dates include:

> 5/19, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 5/19, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
> 6/23, 4:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 6/23, 5:30 p.m. – Board of Education
> 7/21, 4:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 7/21, 5:30 p.m. – Board of Education

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