May-June 2011 Board Briefs

Employment Matters
At its May meeting, the Board approved a request for a child-bearing leave of absence from Avoca West Elementary School kindergarten teacher Connie Moran from August 22, 2011, through January 2, 2012.  At the June meeting, the Board accepted Candy Geweke’s resignation as an Avoca West Elementary School inclusion assistant, effective as of the close of the 2010-2011 school year.  The Board also approved the employment of two long-term substitute teachers for Avoca West Elementary School as follows:  Kirsten Crispin as a substitute kindergarten teacher, effective at the start of the 2011-2012 school year through January 13, 2012, and Sophia Kondos as a substitute fifth-grade teacher from September 19, 2011, through the close of the 2011-2012 school year. 

Three-Year Technology Plan Approved
The Board was provided with an in-depth presentation on the Technology Committee’s three-year plan for the District at the May Board meeting.  Six subcommittees had researched their assigned areas extensively before providing recommendations.  The Board was given an executive summary covering the following topics: Mission and beliefs statements; recommended goals for curriculum and instruction, Professional Learning Communities, special programs, communications, District systems and Open Source software options; current and updated financial projections with the new technology plan; and a list of areas for potential annual savings.   It was suggested there most likely will not be a need for another Technology Planning Committee in the future after the three-year plan is fully implemented. The Board approved the technology plan and corresponding budget at the June Board meeting. 

Social Studies Curriculum Approved
The social studies curriculum and corresponding budget were approved at the May Board meeting.  The $139,014 budget will be spent in three phases: $64,869 now; $37,145 in September; and $37,000 in January.  Funds not spent during fiscal year 2010-2011 will roll over to the next year. 

Avoca Food Services Agreement Approved
The Board was provided with an in-depth presentation at its June meeting on the finances and changes in the food services program in 2010-2011 and ideas for improvement in 2011-2012.  Documents provided to the Board included Arbor Management’s budget comparisons, a kitchen facilities plan, student plate lunch prices since fiscal year 1988, an operating statement analysis for April-June 2011, a food and labor cost outlook, a list of Arbor Management’s administrative and management services, and District 37’s 2011-2012 financial forecast and school year price list.  Recommendations for fiscal year 2012 include: Continue improving menu options; review the catering program; secure needed staff; review schedules and job duties; create an equipment contingency for compressors and aging equipment; implement a District policy on negative balance accounts; and provide an annual food services report to the Board.  A 5% increase in food prices and a one-year agreement with Arbor Management were approved by the Board.  Student plate lunches will now cost $3.35 and milk fees remain at $.55. 

Social-Emotional Curriculum Summary
The Board was given an end-of-the-year summary of the District’s efforts to improve upon its existing K-8 social-emotional curriculum at the June meeting.  The Board was provided with an executive summary regarding the measures for the implementation and sustainability phases of the program for fiscal year 2011.  A PowerPoint report was also presented on the SAFE (Sequenced, Active, Focused and Explicit) model.  It was reported that many positive results had already been experienced due to the improvements to the social-emotional curriculum.  The implementation stage took place in 2010-2011, and the sustainability phase will take place over the next three years. 

2010-2011 District Goals
At its June meeting, the Board was provided with an end-of-the-year update on completed action plans for the nine District goals for 2010-2011.  Six goals were completed in full and two were deferred to 2011-2012, including: Goal 3 (Implement suggested action for the formation of business partnerships); and Goal 4 (Assign responsibility to oversee district communications and utilize the Community Outreach Committee’s essential components).  Goal 9 (Pursue a commitment to staff awareness and training of cultural diversity through the Professional Development Committee) had begun in 2010-2011 and will continue into 2011-2012. 

Preliminary 2011 ISAT Results/Comparisons
The Board was provided with preliminary 2011 Illinois Standards and Achievement Test (ISAT) scores in math and reading for grades 3 through 8 and in science for grades 4 and 7.  Also provided at the June meeting were longitudinal ISAT scores comparing years 2007 through 2011, total score comparisons for 2008 through 2011, New Trier Township 2011 ISAT score comparisons and 2008-2011 township rankings by “meets and exceeds” and “exceeds” only scores.  It was reported that none of Avoca’s 2011 scores were below 94, and the overall trajectory continues to move upward.  There was particular improvement in the percentage of students reaching the “exceeds” category in all three subjects, which had been a District-wide target.  A more detailed ISAT report will occur in November when the state comparative data become available. 

Preschool Summary
At its June meeting, the Board was provided with actual figures for the 2010-2011 school year, with $295,096 in total revenues and $242,776 in total expenditures.  The $52,320 surplus was earmarked to go toward the repayment of the original renovation costs for the two preschool rooms.  As of June, enrollment for 2011-2012 included six typically developing students and six students with IEPs in the morning class and twelve typically developing students and three students with IEPs in the afternoon class.  The pros and cons of expanding the program by starting up the second preschool room were discussed.

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates
Regular Board meetings are open to the public and are held at Marie Murphy School in the Community Center during the school year and in the Marie Murphy School library during the summer months.  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 the last Thursday of the month, and 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 office 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:

>>8/18, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
>>8/18, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
>>9/22, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
>>9/22, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education

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