October and November 2014 – Board Briefs

BOARD BRIEFS

AVOCA DISTRICT #37 BOARD OF EDUCATION

Report of October and November 2014 Board of Education Meetings

 

2921 Illinois Rd., Wilmette, IL 60091
847/251-3587
Web Site: http://avoca37.org

2014 Tax Levy Set
At its October 23 meeting, the Board approved a resolution to schedule a 2014 tax levy hearing date on December 18, 2014, at 6:15 p.m. in the Marie Murphy School Joseph M. Porto Community Center.

A resolution adopting the tentative 2014 tax levy was approved by the Board at the November 20 meeting.  The proposed tax levy reflects a 1.5% increase to match the consumer price index (CPI), plus an additional 1.5% to potentially capture new growth.  The District can only receive the additional funds if there is new growth within District boundaries.  The 2014 tax levy is scheduled to be approved at the December 18 regular Board of Education meeting.

Employment Matters
On October 23, the Board approved 12-week child-bearing leaves of absence for the following teachers:  seventh-grade language arts teacher Kathy Pagakis, commencing March 6, 2015; sixth-grade mathematics teacher Dana Allen, commencing February 22, 2015; and a six-week leave of absence for kindergarten teacher Shelly Kelly, commencing November 21.  The Board also approved the employment of Timothy Furman as Technology Specialist/Data Administrator at Marie Murphy School.

On November 20, the Board approved a leave of absence for Avoca West Technology Facilitator/District Technology Coordinator Beth Haugeberg to commence November 12 through December 1.  The Board also approved the employment of the following personnel:  Hannah Anderson as a long-term first-grade substitute teacher for Emily Hargadon, starting on December 17; and Adrienne Taylor as a long-term kindergarten substitute teacher for Shelly Kelly, starting on November 21.

Bond Issuance Notification Act (BINA) Hearing
At the November 3 Committee of the Whole Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Jauch shared the BINA Hearing order authorizing the BINA Hearing to take place as described below:

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Joseph M. Porto Community Center
Marie Murphy School
2921 Illinois Road
Wilmette, IL 60091

A BINA Hearing is a statutory requirement that must be held prior to a school board approving a resolution to sell bonds.

On November 20, 2014 the BINA hearing was held and the proposal to sell $3,753,478 School Fire Prevention and Safety Bonds, also known as Life Safety Bonds, for the purpose of conforming the existing facilities of the District that house students to the building code promulgated by the State Board of Education of the State of Illinois was presented.  The Public Notice was voted upon and signed during the regular Board of Education meeting that immediately followed the Public Hearing.

The Board of Education anticipates approving a bond issuance resolution at its December Board of Education meeting.  Proceeds from the bond sale will be used to replace some school roofs, air handlers, and univents, and address plumbing, security and fire safety needs.

Audit Report for Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2014
David Cain and Larry Kreuscher from the District’s auditing firm of Milburn Cain & Company provided the Board with copies of the 2014 fiscal year audit and an audit management letter.  They gave a brief audit presentation including comments on this year’s operating results, reports generated and assurances.

Mr. Cain reported that the Avoca School District received a 4.0 rating, which is the highest possible score.

2014 Avoca School Report Card
Superintendent Dr. Jauch discussed highlights from the 2014 NCLB Illinois State Report Card, which is available at www.illinoisreportcard.com. He navigated through the site pointing out specific areas including student demographic information, academic growth and achievement data, and financial statistics.

From an academic standpoint, Dr. Jauch briefly showed how data was reported by grade level, test subject and subgroup.  He shared that he had received notice from consultant Clay Graham of Advantage Analytics that the Avoca School District was again tied for 3rd highest performing elementary school district in the state of Illinois based on the raw scores of all students’ test data on all ISAT tests in all subject areas.

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates
Regular Board meetings are open to the public and are held at Marie Murphy School in the Joseph M. Porto 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 visitors’ comments portions of the meetings.  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:

  • 1/22/15, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
  • 1/22/15, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
  • 2/02/15, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the whole
  • 2/19/15, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
  • 2/19/15, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education

2015-2016 Avoca Community Preschool TuitionThe Board approved the 2015-2016 tuition rates for the Avoca Community Preschool at its November 20 meeting.  The rates remain the same as the 2014-2015 school year.  The tuition rates will apply as follows:  morning class 4 days/wk (3- and 4- year-olds) $3,550; and afternoon class 5 days/wk (4- and 5- year-olds) $4,250.  Non-Avoca residents are also welcome, but charged a 12% surcharge, so $3,976 and $4,760 respectively.

The Avoca Community Preschool blends typically developing students and students with special needs with an enrollment of 15 per section.

Registration for the 2015-2016 school year begins on Monday, January 5, 2015. To sign up for classes call (847) 728-4142.

 

 

 

 

November 2011 Board Briefs

Summary of November 17, 2011, School Board Meeting

Public Hearing on 2011 Tax Levy Set
A resolution adopting the tentative 2011 tax levy was approved by the Board at the November 17 meeting.  A public hearing on the levy is scheduled for Thursday, December 15, at 6:15 p.m. in the Joseph M. Porto Community Center located in Marie Murphy School.  The 2011 tax levy will be officially approved at the December 15 meeting.

Employment Matters
The Board approved the employment of the following personnel: Rachel Schecter as a long-term PreK-2nd grade substitute intervention specialist, effective December 5, 2011; Colleen Bramlage as a long-term 2nd grade substitute learning resource specialist, effective November 7, 2011; and Jacqueline Collier as a long-term 7th grade substitute math teacher, effective February 6, 2012.

Strategic Plan Facilitator Search
Dr. Robert Madonia, of RJM Consulting Services, Inc., presented his ideas to the Board for conducting and facilitating the District’s next strategic plan.  Dr. Madonia is a retired superintendent with 34 years of experience in school administration.  His proposed plan covered the following areas:  Timeframe; evaluation component; committee composition; and process. Superintendent Dr. Jauch indicated that two more candidates will be giving strategic plan facilitator presentations at the December 5 Committee of the Whole Board meeting.

Proposed 2012-2013 School Calendar
Superintendent Dr. Jauch provided the Board with a draft of the 2012-2013 school calendar that follows New Trier High School’s schedule for holidays and winter and spring breaks.  Primary differences between this year’s calendar and the proposed calendar include the following:  The first two days would be teacher contract days rather than an institute day and a contract day; and the first and last student attendance days are full attendance days rather than shortened days, which is a change mandated by the state.  The 2012-2013 school calendar will be approved at the December 15 Board meeting.

2012-13 Avoca Community Preschool Tuition
The Board approved the 2012-2013 tuition rates for the Avoca Community Preschool.  Increases in the rates were based on a survey of neighboring preschools and on rising program costs.  The new tuition rates will apply as follows: Morning class (3- and 4-year-olds) $3,200; and afternoon class (4- and 5-year-olds) $3,800.  The Avoca Community Preschool blends typically developing students and students with special needs with an enrollment of 15 per section. 

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 meetings.  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 recorded. 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:
> 12/5, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
> 12/15, 4:00 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 12/15, 6:15 p.m. – Tax Levy Public Hearing
> 12/15, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
> 1/19, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 1/19, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education

September-October 2011 Board Briefs

Report of September and October 2011 Board of Education Meetings 

2011-2012 Budget Approved
Avoca School District 37’s 2011-2012 budget, totaling $14,052,103 with a reserve level of approximately 72%, was approved by the Board of Education at its September 22 meeting.  The budget is now available to the public by accessing the District’s Web site at http://avoca37.org.

Tax Levy Hearing Date Scheduled
At its October 20 meeting, the Board approved a resolution to schedule a 2011 tax levy hearing date on December 15, 2011, at 6:15 p.m. in the Marie Murphy School Community Center.

Employment Matters
On September 22, the Board approved 12-week child-bearing leaves of absence for the following teachers:  Second-grade teacher Melinda McDermott, commencing December 13; fourth-grade teacher Grace Roh, commencing November 27; and sixth-grade English teacher Andrea Bialk, commencing November 1.  The Board also approved the employment of the following personnel: Susan Adams as a long-term first-grade and fourth-grade substitute teacher, starting on August 22; Janette Enwia as a Marie Murphy School lunchroom supervisor, effective August 25; Christine Vasilj as a long-term sixth grade substitute English teacher, starting on October 11; Cherie Ferraris as a Marie Murphy School nurse, effective September 19; and Aleksandra Sechorz as a fifth-grade inclusion assistant, effective August 22.  At the October 20 meeting, the Board approved a 12-week child-bearing leave of absence for seventh-grade math teacher Amanda Hoffmeister, effective March 12, 2012.

District Goals and Action Plans
At the September Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Jauch provided the Board with seven district goals and action plans for 2011-2012:  Goal 1 – Implement suggested action for the formation of business partnerships; Goal 2 – Assign responsibility to oversee district communications and utilize the Community Outreach Committee’s essential components; Goal 3 – Pursue a commitment to staff awareness and training of cultural diversity through the Professional Development Committee; Goal 4 – Investigate and then select ways to improve the district’s K-8 writing curriculum, including resources and instructional methodologies; Goal 5 – Hire a Pupil Services Director; Goal 6 – Hire a Marie Murphy School Principal; Goal 7 – Conduct strategic planning process.

Strategic Plan
Superintendent Dr. Jauch lead a discussion at the October 3 Committee of the Whole Board meeting about the direction the Board would like to take in regard to conducting the next strategic plan.  Board members offered suggestions regarding the following questions:  What is the purpose of the plan; who will participate; who will serve as the facilitator; and what are the next steps?  It is anticipated that the first strategic planning session will be held in February.

2011 Avoca School Report Card
Highlights from the District’s official 2011 Avoca School Report Card from the state were reviewed at the October 20 Board meeting.  Many test results indicated continued improvement over the previous year, and the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Information portion of the report indicates that Avoca continues to meet the No Child Left Behind criteria.  Statistician/consultant Dr. Clay Graham will again provide the Board with a deep analysis of the District’s raw scale scores from the 2011 ISATs at a future Board meeting.

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 meetings.  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:

> 11/7, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
> 11/17, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 11/17, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education

July-August 2011 Board Briefs

Below is a summary of items discussed and voted on at the July 21 and August 1 and 18 School Board meetings:

Employment Matters 
On July 21, the Board accepted resignations from Marie Murphy School tech specialist Kevin Kolcz and Marie Murphy School nurse Joanne Banks, both effective immediately.  The Board also approved a request from tech specialist Marcy Seiler for a lateral transfer from her position at Avoca West School to Marie Murphy School, effective August 22, 2011.  The Board approved the following personnel matters on August 18:  Employment of Jeanne Bischoff as an Avoca West School tech specialist, effective August 22, 2011; a 12-week child-bearing leave of absence request from PreK-2nd grade intervention specialist Lori Kvasnicka, commencing January 5, 2012; a 9-week child-bearing leave of absence request from Marie Murphy School learning resource specialist Jessica Bodzewski, commencing August 22, 2011; an approximate 12-week FMLA request from Avoca West School 1st grade teacher Kathleen Chapko, commencing August 22, 2011; and a request by Marie Murphy School instrumental music teacher Mary Rudzinski to withdraw her notice of intent to retire at the close of the 2014-2015 school year.

2010-2011 Great Indicators Report
The Board was provided with an in-depth report on the 2010-2011 Greatness Indicators at the July 21 meeting.  The report covered the following topics:  Student academic achievement; recognition of students, staff, schools and district; leadership in innovation; student connectedness; success in high school and beyond; and fiscal responsibility.  In terms of academic achievement, it was reported that students in grades 3 through 8 exceeded expected growth rates by testing two to three and a half years above grade level in reading and math.

Review Tentative 2011-2012 Budget
In July, Business Manager Beth Dever provided the Board with an end-of-the-year financial summary and the tentative 2011-2012 budget.   At the August 18 Board meeting, she reported there were very few changes to the tentative budget since it was first presented.  As of August 17, there was an overall deficit of approximately $50,000 and a projected balance of $10,106,298 by the end of fiscal year 2012. The final 2011-2012 budget will be approved following a public hearing on the budget immediately prior to the September 22 Board meeting.

Agenda Postings on the District Website
On August 1, the Board discussed which supporting documents should be posted for the public on the District’s website.  The Board decided to begin posting complete agendas and appropriate supporting documents starting with the August 18 Board agenda.

Superintendent Mentoring
On August 1, the Board discussed a proposal to have former Superintendent Dr. Joseph Porto mentor Dr. Kevin Jauch during his first year as superintendent.  The number of times they would meet, and for how long, was to be determined in the formal agreement.  The Board officially approved Dr. Porto’s contract at the August 18 meeting.

2011 Summer School Program Report
On August 18, Pupil Services Director Cindy Devin provided the Board with a breakdown of remedial, IEP and enrichment students and fees collected for the summer school program.  Cost-saving measures connected to the program will be discussed at the next Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA) meeting. Ms. Devin will report back to the Board with an analysis of summer school costs.

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:

>10/3, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
>10/20, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
>10/20, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education

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

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

January/February 2011 Board Briefs

January-February 2011 Board Meeting Summaries

2010 ISAT Comparison Presentation
For a fourth consecutive year, statistician/consultant Dr. Clay Graham delivered yet another positive presentation on the District’s 2010 ISAT results at the January Board meeting.  He reported that Avoca School District 37 ranked third overall in the state after having ranked fourth the previous year.   The District also ranked first among the New Trier High School feeder districts.  The rankings were based on achievement test scale scores rather than a percentage of “meets and exceeds” scores that can be misleading.  The presentation also included comparisons between Avoca School District 37 and eighteen similar, high-achieving Illinois schools.

District Social Studies Committee Update
At the January Board meeting, Avoca West Principal Dr. Kevin Jauch gave an in-depth report on the District’s Social Studies Committee’s recommendations to date.  Since the state is moving toward common core standards that do not include social studies, District 37 has allied itself with the National Council for Social Studies to create a new social studies curriculum.   The committee will make its final recommendations to the Board in the spring.

District Technology Committee Update
Dr. Porto reported at the January Board meeting that a new planning model for technology was being used, and that the new plan should be the last one the District will ever need.  Five subcommittees were formed based on District goals: Professional Learning Communities, Curriculum and Instruction; Programs; District Systems; and Communications.  The subcommittees will complete their work in March, after which time a three-year plan will be created.  The Technology Committee plans to report its final recommendations to the Board in May.

Demographic Trends and Enrollment Projections
During the February 7 Committee of the Whole Board meeting, the December 2010 Demographic Trends and Enrollment Projections report for the seven New Trier Township school districts was reviewed by the Board.  The districts commission demographer Dr. John Kasarda to conduct the study every two years to serve as a guide to future decision-making and planning.  The general trend projected for the next ten years in Avoca is a gradual decline in enrollment prior to another period of stabilization.  In the most likely scenario, the District may lose approximately 80 students during the next ten-year period.  According to the report, similar declines in enrollment were projected for most school districts in New Trier Township.  The administration plans to remain proactive and will continue to closely monitor future enrollment trends.

Employment Matters
At the January Board meeting, the Board accepted the resignation of K-3rd grade reading specialist Ellie Kaiser, who was on a leave of absence for the current school year.  At the February Board meeting, the Board accepted the resignation of Avoca West Elementary School inclusion assistant John Adinamis, effective as of February 25.

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 the 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:

> 3/7, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
> 3/24, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 3/24, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
> 4/4, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
> 4/21, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 4/21, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education

October, November, December 2010 Board Briefs

(Summary of October, November and December 2010 School Board meetings) 

New Superintendent Named
During a special Board meeting held on December 21, the Board voted unanimously in favor of selecting Avoca West Elementary School Principal Dr. Kevin M. Jauch as the District’s new superintendent, effective July 1, 2011.  The Board also approved Dr. Jauch’s three-year superintendent contract at the meeting.  He will replace Dr. Joseph M. Porto, who will retire after serving nine years in that position. 

2010 Tax Levy Approved
At its October 28 meeting, the Board adopted a resolution scheduling a public hearing on the 2010 tax levy that took place on December 15.  The Board approved an operating tax levy of $11,448,437 for the 2010 levy year at the December 15 meeting.  The levy represents a 4.70% increase over the previous year.

Employment Matters
The Board approved the employment of the following personnel at the October Board meeting: Cecilia Beneda, Avoca West Elementary School building secretary; and Joseph M. Tilton, special education teacher.   At the October and November Board meetings, the Board also approved eight-week leaves of absence for 7th grade language arts teacher Andrea Harbaugh, effective February 20, 2011, and interdisciplinary kindergarten teacher Susan Walsh, effective March 18, 2011.

2011-2012 District Calendar Adopted
At the December meeting, the Board adopted the proposed 2011-2012 District calendar.  Highlights of the calendar include:  First day of student attendance (a half day) is Wednesday, August 24; the days before and after Thanksgiving are holidays; winter break is December 17, 2011, through January 2, 2012; spring break is March 24 through April 1, 2012; no student and staff attendance on Labor Day (September 5), Rosh Hashanah (September 29), Columbus Day (October 10), Martin Luther King Day (January 16), Presidents’ Day (February 20), Good Friday (April 6) and Memorial Day (May 28).  Barring any emergency closings, the last day of student attendance is Friday, June 8, 2012.  The District previously obtained waivers/modifications for three holidays, including Veterans’ Day, Lincoln’s Birthday and Casimir Pulaski Day, making those student attendance days.

2010 Avoca School Report Card
The highlights from the District’s official 2010 Avoca School Report Card from the state were reviewed at the October Board meeting.  Many of the test results indicated continued improvement over the previous year, and Avoca once again compared very favorably with the other New Trier High School feeder districts.  Also discussed was the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Information portion of the report, which indicates that Avoca continues to meet the No Child Left Behind criteria.  Statistician / consultant Dr. Clay Graham will once again provide the Board with a deep analysis of the District’s raw scale scores from the 2010 ISATs at the January 20 Board meeting.

2011 Summer School and Bus Fees Established
At the October meeting, the Board approved the following fees for the 2011 Summer School Program:  $140 per remedial class; and a $95 bus fee.  The 2011 Science Summer Program tuition schedule was approved as follows:  One week – $70; two weeks – $105; three weeks – $140; four weeks – $175; and five weeks – $210.  Tuition for the science program  includes a $35 materials fee, and bus service for the program will be provided at $95 ($19/week).  It was decided that field trips will not be offered for next year’s Science Summer Program.

2011-2012 Avoca Community Preschool Tuition
It was reported at the November Board meeting that the Avoca Community Preschool had raised its tuition rate each year by $300 and that the recommended tuition increases for the 2011-2012 school year were in line with other preschools in the area.  The Board approved the following tuition schedules for next year:  Morning Class (3- and 4-year-olds) – $3,100; and Afternoon Class (4- and 5-year-olds) – $3,600.

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 the 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:

> 1/20, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 1/20, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
> 2/7, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
> 2/17, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 2/17, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education

July, August, September 2010 Board Briefs

(Summary of July, August and September 2010 School Board meetings)

2010-2011 Budget Approved
Avoca School District 37’s 2010-2011 budget, totaling $14,319,669 with a reserve level of approximately 69%, was approved by the Board of Education at its September meeting.  The budget is now available to the public by accessing the District’s Web site at http://avoca37.org. 

Employment Matters
The Board approved the employment of the following personnel at the July, August and September Board meetings: Kathryn LePine as a 5th grade learning resource teacher; Julie Barello as an Avoca Community Preschool teacher; Shari Theer as an Avoca West Elementary School nurse; Leslie Potter as a part-time 3rd-5th grade intervention specialist; Angela Piechowiak as a 7th grade learning resource teacher; Zaneta Zak and Tammy Shih as Avoca Community Preschool teacher assistants; and Janet FitzGerald and Ines Ringler as Avoca West Elementary School lunchroom supervisors.  At the September Board meeting, the Board accepted the resignation of Mary Carpenter as the Avoca West Elementary School building secretary, effective September 17, received a notice of intent to retire from Marie Murphy School instrumental music teacher Mary Rudzinski, effective at the close of the 2014-15 school year, and approved 12-week leaves of absence for 1st grade teacher Emily Hargadon, effective January 15, 2011, and 7th grade math teacher Amanda Hoffmeister, effective November 12, 2010. 

Superintendent Search Update
At the September Board meeting, the search firm of B.W.P. and Associates reported that they expected to receive a total of 40 to 45 completed applications for the superintendent position by the deadline.  Applicants represented a strong balance of backgrounds and experiences.  Six applicants will be selected to be interviewed by the Board in November, and the finalist will be named in December.  Dr. Porto indicated he would create a transition plan with the prospective superintendent and present it at an upcoming meeting. 

New Teachers’ Contract Ratified
After several months of interest-based bargaining with the Avoca Education Association, the Board ratified a new five-year teachers’ contract at its September Committee of the Whole meeting.  The teachers also voted to ratify the contract shortly thereafter.  

School Calendar Revised
Since the new teachers’ contract called for an additional day of student attendance, the Board approved a revision of the 2010-2011 school calendar.  April 5, 2011, is now a student attendance day, and the Teacher Contract Day originally scheduled for April 5 was moved to the end of the calendar. 

2010-2011 Student Lunch Prices Set
At its July meeting, the Board approved an increase in the price of a student plate lunch.  The $3.20 cost represents a five-cent increase over the previous year. 

2010-2011 District Goals Set
Nine District goals and corresponding action plans were presented at the September Board meeting.  The goals include:  Goal 1 – Research the potential causes for Avoca students feeling less prepared in literature and writing in high school than other core subjects; Goal 2 – Create a new three-year, long-range technology plan; Goal 3 – Implement suggestion action for the formation of business partnerships; Goal 4 – Assign responsibility to oversee District communications and utilize the Community Outreach Committee’s essential components; Goal 5 – Maintain a section of The Vision dedicated to educational finance and utilize the Website to offer financial links and financial calendars; Goal 6 – Explore how cultures, geography and current events can be expanded in the social studies curriculum; Goal 7 – Create physical and virtual Diversity Centers in school ITCs (libraries); Goal 8 – Provide access to key school communications in multiple languages and utilize Cross-Cultural Interpretation services for parent conferences and other school-related activities; and Goal 9 – Pursue a commitment to staff awareness and training of cultural diversity through the Professional Development Committee. 

August Enrollment Summary
It was reported at the August Board meeting that the enrollment of 45 kindergarten students was the lowest number the District had experienced in recent years.  Not including the preschool, which actually had a waiting list, there was a net loss of 34 students, for a total enrollment of 645 students in grades K-8. 

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates
Regular Board meetings are open to the public and are held in the Community Room at Marie Murphy School during the school year.  The public is invited to share input during the two visitors’ comments portions of the meeting.  Regular Board meetings normally begin at 6:30 p.m. on the second to the last Thursday of the month.  Committee of the Whole meetings usually 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 these 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 Marie Murphy School Library (847-251-3617).  Upcoming meeting dates include:

> 10/28, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 10/28, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
> 11/1, 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
> 11/18, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 11/18, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education

May-June 2010 Board Briefs

(Report of May 3, 20, and June 7, 17, 2010, Board of Education Meetings)

Employment Matters
The Board approved the employment of the following personnel at the May and June Board meetings: Mary Christine Dion as a 6th-8th grade Spanish teacher; Thomas Erf and Kelly Cummings as 3rd grade classroom teachers; and Amy Levin as a 2nd grade classroom teacher.  The Board accepted resignations from 7th grade resource teacher Jillian Jeserig and Avoca West Elementary School inclusion assistant Tammy Shih, effective as of the close of the 2009-2010 school year.  The Board accepted a notice of intent to retire from the superintendent’s secretary, Madeleine McCloskey, effective as of December 31, 2011.   Leave of absence requests were granted to the following individuals:  Second grade teacher Jennifer Greenberg, for a 12-week leave commencing September 9, 2010; and Jennifer Stump for a one-year leave of absence for the 2010-2011 school year.

Social/Emotional Learning Program Report
During the May 3 Committee of the Whole Board meeting, a report on the K-8th grade social/emotional curriculum covered background on the program and accomplishments and recommendations for the first year of the three-year plan.  Consultant Diane Becker indicated that specific measures were taken this year to establish a program that focused on district readiness.  Goals for 2010-2011 will be aimed at maximizing the unique potential of each student, and third year goals will focus on implementation, review and adjustment of activities for continuous improvement and sustainability factors.  She emphasized that the program is not treated as an add-on to the curriculum, since it relates to everything the teachers already do in the classroom.

District Community Outreach Committee
The District Community Outreach Committee presented a final report and recommendations to the Board at the May 20 meeting.  The purpose of the committee was to research and implement activities that enhance the partnership between the District and the Avoca community. Actions in the following areas were recommended: Communication vehicles; volunteerism in the schools; service projects and service learning; school finance education; and business partnerships.

District Diversity Committee
At the May 20 Board meeting, the District Diversity Committee presented their final recommendations that will be implemented over a period of three years:  Create physical and virtual Diversity Centers in the schools; formalize a recurring diversity communication schedule; pursue staff awareness and training of cultural diversity; explore opportunities for local to global sister school relationships; incorporate the Global Education Checklist for students and staff; review current recruitment strategies; explore how cultures, geography and current events can be expanded upon in all subject areas and fine arts; utilize Cross Cultural Interpretation Services and interpretation services of staff, parents and student relatives; provide access to key school communications in multiple languages; encourage clubs/sports coaches to facilitate involvement of culturally diverse students; and form a foreign language review committee.

New Extracurricular Fee
At the May 3 Committee of the Whole meeting, the District Extracurricular Study Committee presented specific recommendations on ways to expand and improve extracurricular offerings at both schools in a budget-neutral manner.  The Board was given several fee options that would be used to cover the additional $15,000 to $18,000 cost connected with these new offerings.  The Board discussed the matter again on May 20 and agreed on a flat extracurricular fee of $25 for each student for grades 1 through 8 starting this year.   The Board officially voted to adopt the new student fee at its June 17 meeting.

2010 MAP Test Report
A detailed PowerPoint presentation comparing the Spring 2009 and Spring 2010 Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test results was given at the June 17 Board meeting.  MAP tests were administered in grades 2nd-8th in the subjects of reading and math.  The overall analysis of the test results covered 14 different aspects of the testing, including:  Teachers continued doing an excellent job working with the lowest performing students; the 2010 RIT average exceeded results from 2009 in 10 of 14 tests; students scored 1.5 and 3.5 years above grade level in reading and math; considering this year’s implementation of a different math program, growth goals exceeded in three of five grade levels; all grades exceeded expected growth goals in reading; ELL (English Language Learner) students made strong progress in reading at all grade levels; and gifted students exceeded growth goals in all but one test.  Superintendent Dr. Porto indicated that an action plan or SMART goal will be developed to help IEP students to exceed their yearly growth goal expectations.

Upcoming Board Meeting Dates
Regular Board meetings are open to the public and are held in the Community Room at Marie Murphy School during the school year.  The public is invited to share input during the two visitors’ comments portions of the meeting.  Regular Board meetings normally begin at 6:30 p.m. on the second to the last Thursday of the month.  Committee of the Whole meetings usually 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 these meetings, please contact the superintendent’s secretary at 847-251-3587.  All School Board and Committee of the Whole meetings are videotaped, and the tapes may be checked out by the public through the Marie Murphy School Library (847-251-3617).  Upcoming meeting dates include:

> 8/19, 4:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 8/19, 5:30 p.m. – Board of Education
> 9/23, 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
> 9/23, 6:15 p.m. – Budget Public Hearing
> 9/23, 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education